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Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji

Ikhtiyar al-Din Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji
Born Garmsir, Afghanistan
Died 1206
Devkot, Bengal
Occupation Military general

Ikhtiyār al-Dīn Muḥammad Bakhtiyār Khaljī [1] also known as Malik Ghazi Ikhtiyar 'l-Din Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji or Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji or simply Bakhtiyar Khalji (died 1206), a military general of Qutb al-Din Aibak who conquered Bengal. His invasions are believed to have severely damaged the Buddhist establishments at Nalanda, Odantapuri, and Vikramashila.[2]

Early life

Bakhtiyar Khalji, a member of the Khalaj tribe,[3] a Turkic tribe long settled in what is now southern Afghanistan,[4][5] was head of the military force that conquered parts of eastern India at the end of the 12th century and at the beginning of the 13th century.[6]

Rise

Khalji came from the town of Garmsir in present-day southern Afghanistan. Tradition has it that Khalji's conquest of Bengal at the head of 18 horsemen was foretold.[7] He was of common birth,[8] had long arms extending below his knees,[7] a short physical stature, and an unfavorable countenance. He was first appointed as the Dewan-i-Ard at Ghor. Then he approached India in about the year 1193 and tried to enter in the army of Qutb-al-Din, but was refused rank. Then he went further eastward and took a job under Maklik Hizbar al-Din, then in command of a platoon at Badayun in northern India.[8] After a short period he went to Oudh where Malik Husam al-Din, recognised him for his worth.[8] Husam gave him a landed estate in the south-eastern corner of modern Mirzapur district. Khalji soon consolidated his position by recruiting some fiercely Muslim soldiers under his domain and carried out successful raids into neighbouring regions.[6]

Conquests

The image, in the chapter on India in Hutchison's Story of the Nations edited by James Meston, depicts the Bakhtiyar Khalji's massacre of Buddhist monks in Bihar, India. Khaliji destroyed the Nalanda and Vikramshila universities during his raids across North Indian plains, massacring many Buddhist and Brahmin scholars.[9]
Ruins of ancient Nalanda

Khalji's career took a new turn when he subjugated Bihar in 1203.[6] This effort earned him political clout in the court at Delhi. In the same year he took his forces into Bengal. As he came upon the city of Nabadwip, it is said that he advanced so rapidly that only 18 horsemen from his army could keep up. He conquered Nabadwip from the old emperor Lakshmana Sena in 1203.[10] Subsequently, Khalji went on to capture the capital and the principal city, Gaur,[6] and intruded into much of Bengal.[11][12]

Bakhtiyar Khalji's invasions are believed to have severely damaged the Buddhist establishments at Nalanda, Odantapuri, and Vikramashila.[2] Minhaj-i-Siraj's Tabaqat-i Nasiri suggests that Bakhtiyar Khalji destroyed a Buddhist monastery;[2] the author simply calls the establishment a vihara.[13] According to American scholar Hartmut Scharfe, the Tibetan sources suggest that this monastery was the one at Vikramashila;[2] historian André Wink believes that this monastery must have been Odantapuri.[13] According to the early 17th century Buddhist scholar Taranatha, the invaders massacred many monks at Odantapuri, and destroyed Vikramashila.[13] The Tibetan pilgrim Dharmasvamin, who visited the region in the 13th century, states that Vikramashila had been completely razed to the ground by the Turushka (Turkic) invaders, and Nalanda was the residence of a Turushka military commander. Around 80 small viharas remained at Nalanda, but most of them had been damaged by the Turushkas, and had been abandoned: only two were in "serviceable condition".[13]

Death and aftermath

Ikhtiyar al-Dīn Muḥammad Khalji left the town of Devkot in 1206 to attack Tibet, leaving Ali Mardan Khalji in Ghoraghat Upazila to watch the eastern frontier from his headquarters at Barisal. Khalji forces suffered a disastrous defeat in Assam during Tibetan expedition. The entire army of Bakhtiyar Khalji was defeated by King Vishwasundar Dev alias King Prithu Dev the descendant of King Vaidya Dev. Khalji then returned to Devkot with about one hundred surviving soldiers. Upon Ikhtiyar Khalji's return while he was lying ill at Devkot, he was assassinated by Ali Mardan.[14][15]

Loyal troops under Muhammad Shiran Khalji avenged Ikhtiyar's death, imprisoning Ali Mardan. Ghiyas-ud-din Iwaz Khalji became the successor. Ali Mardan escaped and was made Governor of Bengal by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, but was killed in 1212. Ghiyas-ud-din again assumed power and proclaimed his independence.[16]

Legacy

Al Mahmud, a leading Bangladeshi poet, composed a book of poetry titled Bakhtiyarer Ghora (Horses of Bakhtiyar) in the early 1990s.[17] He depicted Khalji as the praiseworthy hero of Muslim conquest of Bengal. During Bakhtiyar Khalji's reign, Islam gained a large number of converts in India.[18] Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji had the Khutbah read and coins struck in his own name. Mosques, madrasas, and khanqahs arose in the new abode of Islam through Bakhtiyar's patronage, and his example was imitated by his Amirs.

Buddhist sources hold him responsible for the destruction of Nalanda.[19][20]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Ikhtiyār al-Dīn Muḥammad Bakhtiyār Khaljī | Muslim general". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2018-09-09.
  2. ^ a b c d Hartmut Scharfe (2002). Handbook of Oriental Studies. BRILL. p. 150. ISBN 90-04-12556-6. Nalanda, together with the colleges at Vikramasila and Odantapuri, suffered gravely during the conquest of Bihar by the Muslim general Muhammad Bhakhtiyar Khalji between A.D. 1197 and 1206, and many monks were killed or forced to flee.
  3. ^ The Turkish Khalji must not be confused with the Pastun Ghalzi tribe. Minhāju-s Sirāj (1881). Tabaḳāt-i-nāsiri: a general history of the Muhammadan dynastics of Asia, including Hindustān, from A.H. 194 (810 A.D.) to A.H. 658 (1260 A.D.) and the irruption of the infidel Mughals into Islām. Bibliotheca Indica #78. 1. Calcutta, India: Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal (printed by Gilbert & Rivington). p. 548. (translated from the Persian by Henry George Raverty)
  4. ^ the Khiljī tribe had long been settled in what is now Afghanistan ... Khalji Dynasty. Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 23 August 2010.
  5. ^ Satish Chandra (2004). Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals-Delhi Sultanat (1206-1526) - Part One. Har-Anand. p. 41. ISBN 978-81-241-1064-5. The Khaljis were a Turkish tribe from southwest Ghur. However, Bakhtiyar was ungainly in appearance...
  6. ^ a b c d Sarkar, Jadunath (2003). The History of Bengal (Volume II): Muslim Period. Delhi: B.R. Publishing. ISBN 81-7646-239-X.
  7. ^ a b (Minhāju-s Sirāj 1881:556–557)
  8. ^ a b c (Minhāju-s Sirāj 1881:549)
  9. ^ Sanyal, Sanjeev (15 November 2012). Land of seven rivers: History of India's Geography. Penguin Books Limited. pp. 130–1. ISBN 978-81-8475-671-5.
  10. ^ "District Website of Nadia". Government of West Bengal.Retrieved: 11 January 2014
  11. ^ Sen, Amulyachandra (1954). Rajagriha and Nalanda. Institute of Indology, volume 4. Calcutta: Calcutta Institute of Indology, Indian Publicity Society. p. 52. OCLC 28533779.
  12. ^ "Far East Kingdoms".[self-published source]
  13. ^ a b c d André Wink (2002). Al-Hind: The Slavic Kings and the Islamic conquest, 11th-13th centuries. BRILL. pp. 146–148. ISBN 0-391-04174-6.
  14. ^ Nitish K. Sengupta (1 January 2011). Land of Two Rivers: A History of Bengal from the Mahabharata to Mujib. Penguin Books India. pp. 63–64. ISBN 978-0-14-341678-4.
  15. ^ William John Gill; Henry Yule (9 September 2010). The River of Golden Sand: The Narrative of a Journey Through China and Eastern Tibet to Burmah. Cambridge University Press. p. 43. ISBN 978-1-108-01953-8.
  16. ^ Chandra, Satish (2004). Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals-Delhi Sultanat (1206–1526) – Part One. Har-Anand Publications. pp. 41–43. ISBN 9788124110645.
  17. ^ "Al Mahmud". Truly Bangladesh. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  18. ^ Arnold, Sir Thomas Walker (1896). The Preaching of Islam: A History of the Propagation of the Muslim Faith. pp. 227–228.
  19. ^ Ichimura, Shōhei (2001). Buddhist Critical Spirituality: Prajñā and Śūnyatā. Motilal Banarsidass Publishe. p. http:65 (note 87). ISBN 978-81-208-1798-2.
  20. ^ Sen, Gertrude Emerson (1964). The Story of Early Indian Civilization. Orient Longmans. OCLC 610346317.

External links

Preceded by
Sena dynasty
King Lakshman Sen
Khalji Dynasty of Bengal
1204–1206
Succeeded by
Muhammad Shiran Khalji