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Jain Legend : Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (4): Political Events During Ācārya Vijayaŗşi’s Era

Published: 17.08.2016

During the tenure of Ācārya Vijayaṛṣi (i.e. V.N. 1524 to 1589), the 50th Pontiff of Lord Mahāvīra's tradition, Mahamūda Gajanavī invaded India 17 times in a span of 29 years between Vikram 1058-1087 creating havoc and terror in the lives of people in many parts of India. In the very first attack itself Mahamūda Gajanavī acquired a lot of wealth comprising precious stone studded jewellery, gold, elephants, etc. Considering India a golden goose, he attacked different parts of India 17 times and openly plundered its wealth to his heart's content, with an intention to make his country wealthy and prosperous with the riches from India. During the invasions, Mahamūda Gajanavī not only amassed wealth from the invasions, but also demolished many holy shrines and temples, destroyed thousands of idols and massacred people in several cities and villages, forcibly converted them to his religion.

Soon after the death of Mahamūda's father Subuktagīna, Jaipāla, the King of Lahore repudiated the authority of Gajanavī who took over his province in Vikram 1034, declared himself independent and refused to pay the land taxes to the Gajanavī government. Indignant over this development, Mahamūda with a large battalion set out towards Lahore in Vikram 1058. Even Jaipāla, the King of Lahore mobilised a strong army, including 300 elephants and blocked the army of Mahamūda Gajanavī at Peshawar. A fierce battle ensued between both the armies. After a brutal war, Mahamūda Gajanavī made King Jaipāla, his brother and son, and 15 other kinsmen his captives. In this invasion, Mahamūda acquired tremendous wealth, which also included 16 valuable gem-studded necklaces. The jewel-evaluators, he summoned, examined the jewellery and estimated the value of each necklace equal to 180,000 gold dinars. Each dinar is considered to be the weight of 32 Rattis (Gunja seed, approximately 0.182 grams). Other than the wealth that he seized in this pillage, he also confiscated a lot of money in the form of reparation at the time of releasing Jaipāla after three months of captivity.

After getting released from captivity, King Jaipāla relinquished the kingdom to his son, Ānandapāla. According to the then prevalent Hindu custom, a twice-conquered prince could not reign as he was considered unworthy, King Jaipāla solemnly mounting a funeral pyre burned himself and died.

After a few years a ruler named Abula Fataha Dawood of Multan declared himself independent and stopped paying land revenue to Mahamūda. When Mahamūda was about to attack Dawood, Ānandapāla lent his support to Dawood to take revenge on Mahamūda. Enraged by this, Mahamūda deployed his army against Ānandapāla in Vikram 1066.

By that time, many kings of India were strongly determined to uproot the Muslim rule by hook or crook by joining forces for this common purpose. Ānandapāla sent his ambassadors to various kings soliciting their support to foil the invasion of Mahamūda and to destruct his formidable army. A ravenous desire to evict the Muslim plunderers out of India once and for all emerged like a tidal wave in the hearts of all the Indians. Consequently, women from all corners of India sold their ornaments and mobilised a large amount of money and sent to Ānandapāla as aid to fight against Mahamūda. About 30,000 Gakkhara warriors resolute to crush Mahamūda in the battlefield and help Ānandapāla joined his army. The rulers of Ujjain, Gwalior, Kalinjara, Kanauja, Delhi and Ajmer also came forward along with their troops to support Ānandapāla. Thus Ānandapāla could assemble a powerful confederacy to wage war against Mahamūda. The Indian army encamped for about 40 days near Peshawar. After a long wait, the army of Mahamūda fronted the Indian army and Mahamūda ordered his archers to create a stampede with a bombardment of blazing naphtha arrows. The force of 30,000 wild Gakkhara warriors fought the Sultan's army with such ferocity that they surged ahead pushing back the archers, burst into the enemy's camp, slaying the enemies. In the decimating battle, within a short time the powerful Gakkhara warriors have slaughtered 5000 soldiers of Mahamūda. Just when Indians were close to gaining victory, a stray burning arrow pierced deep into the head of the elephant on which Ānandapāla was sitting. Owing to the burning fires of naphtha, the panicstricken elephant with excruciating screams fled from the battlefield. The Indian army thought that Rājā Ānandapāla was turning tail to the war and fleeing. With this apprehension, the army of other six kings also retreated from the battlefield, turning the tide in favour of Gajanavī. The victory which would have been in their hands in a few moments, resulted in a defeat in spite of the Indian army being so strong and resolute.

Mahamūda gained a lot of wealth, a troop of elephants and military equipment.

In Vikram 1075, Mahamūda Gajanavī invaded Kannauja and subjugated King Rājyapāla, thereby accumulating a great fortune. Later, he attacked the Mahāvana region on the banks of river Yamunā. Its ruler Kulacandra was prepared to fight against Mahamūda; but realising that his army was inadequate compared to that of Mahamūda's, he killed his family and before facing the war he killed himself to avoid the disgrace of defeat. The plunder from Mahāvana to Mahamūda was 80 elephants and a great deal of wealth.

After Mahāvana, Mahamūda attacked Mathura and after a brief fight Mahamūda defeated King Haradatta and annexed Mathura to his kingdom. Mahamūda had destroyed many gold and silver idols with hardly any resistance from anyone. He ransacked the precious stones like rubies, diamonds and other gems embedded in those idols. By melting all the idols of the temples of Mathura, he amassed lot of gold and silver blocks. Then he set off towards Gajanavī with the enormous wealth that he accumulated and on the way he razed as many temples as he came across and destroyed the idols.

In Vikram 1082, Mahamūda Gajanavī targeted Somanātha temple for its immeasurable treasure, to ravage the Somanātha idol and to unveil the much-talked mystery about it. Taking the route from Multan and further through the unpopulated desert, he attacked Somanātha. He was accompanied by 30,000 valiant horsemen chosen meticulously. As it is difficult to find food or water in the desert route, he set off towards Somanātha well-equipped with food and water laden on 30,000 camels. He arrived at Somanātha on Thursday a bright fortnight of Pauṣa month.

According to Firiśtā, an eminent Persian historian, King Bhīmadeva-I (Vikram 1079 - 1129) of the vast Gurjara province reached Somanātha with his army to protect the Somanātha temple. On Friday, the second day of his arrival, Mahamūda attacked the strong fort on the seashore. A fierce battle ensued. The warriors who assembled there for the protection of Somanātha fell upon on the army of Mahamūda with various arms and ammunition. As a considerable number of their army was getting injured, the soldiers of Mahamūda placed ladders and climbed the fort. As described by Firiśtā, King Bhīmadeva-I, who came from Anahilawāḍa to protect Somanātha, had killed about 3000 Muslim soldiers. The war was called off for the night and the fierce battle restarted the next day right at sunrise. Many men were killed in the battle. Finally, Mahamūda was able to enter Somanātha temple. There were 56 teakwood pillars in the temple all of them covered with lead. The Somanātha idol was made of solid rock, measuring five hands high and embedded two hands deep in the ground. Its circumference was about 3 hands. The idol was placed in an unventilated room, which was illuminated with gem-studded lamplights. Near the idol was a chain weighing 200 mana (1 mana equals 34.5 kilograms) onto which a bell was hung. This bell was rung at every prahara (about 3 hours' duration) by tolling the golden chain. The storeroom located near the idol had a lot of other idols made of gold and silver and precious gem-studded garments. Mahamūda broke the idol with a mace. One part of the idol was burnt there itself, while the other part was taken to Gajanavī along with the loot from the temple comprising of gold, silver, precious stones etc. This piece of Somanātha idol was used in one of the stairs at the entrance of Jāmā Masjida.

In this horrendous invasion by Mahamūda Gajanavī on Somanātha, about 50 thousand Indians sacrificed their lives and the value of the wealth he amassed and took to Gajanavī from here was assessed to be over 20 lakh dinars.

Even an ordinary layman would wonder why India, which was the leader of the world for thousands of centuries in spiritual, cultural, educational, political and global welfare policies or activities, had, at the onset of Vikram tenth and eleventh centuries, witnessed such adverse and pathetic upheavals?

After a deep and objective contemplation from the perspective of glorious historic events of India in the past, it is clearly evident that there is only one reason that led India and the Indians to such a quandary and dismal situation. The different views presented by various distinguished historiographers like Alberuni, R.C. Majmudara et al point towards the same basic reason, which is as follows:

To lead an honourable life like a tiger-man, what is fundamentally essential is the basic mantra "Saha nāvavatu, saha nau bhunaktu, sahanau vīrya karavāvahai, tejasvi nāvadhītamastu, mā vidviṣāvahai" which means – "let us all stay together united, let us share equally and enjoy our meal together, let us together enjoy the comforts and amenities of life, let us work together using our vital energy for the welfare of humanity, let our learning be full-fledged blessing us with joy and enlightenment, let us never poison our life and soul by hating and despising each other, let the humanity flourish", which we Indians forget time and again. By disregarding this fundamental mantra, which leads to the path of progress, Indians have repeatedly experienced several jolts and many a time faced degeneration. Snapping out of the deadly blows that they received, when they recollected this mūlamantra and started applying it in their lives, then again they ascended the path of progress. In the process of progress and declension, at the onset of Vikram 10th century, Indians have almost forgotten the fundamental mantra of progress both in word and deed.

Attitudes like hostility towards other castes, haughtiness of upper caste, upper class and creed, religious intolerance, false religious pride and ego, superiority complex, etc. spread all over the country like a wild fire. The resultant destructive effect was that not even a single province, city or village was left untouched by the environment of internal strife. Social integrity and collective constructive efforts were nowhere to be seen in India. The general social milieu of disputes and mutual hatred in all places not only hindered the progress of the country but paved a way, or rather ways for its decline.

As the mūlamantra went into oblivion, disaster fell on India from all sides, like recurrent massacres of Indians in the hands of despots, plundering of incomparable and immeasurable wealth of India and forcible conversion of Indians into their religion. Indians were subjected to so much irreparable damage economically, politically and psychologically that even after the lapse of 1000 years till date, they have not been able to totally regain the earlier status and stand.

The very thought of the damage caused due to invasions of foreign despots - to the rulers, to the merchants who lost their immense wealth equal to that of 'Kubera', the God of Wealth and to a particular section of India who lost their kith and kin, property and morale as well - sends chills down the spines of sensitive empathetic persons.

After invading India for 17 times and thus enriching his own country with the spoils and strengthening and making his government the most powerful one, Mahamūda of Gajanavī died in Vikram 1087 (V.N. 1557). After the death of Mahamūda, his sons quarrelled among themselves for the immeasurable riches. Masūda, the younger son of Mahamūda blinded his elder brother Sultan Mahamūda, dethroned him and became the ruler of the Gajanavī province. Within a short time, the army of Gajanavī deposed Masūda and re-crowned his blind elder brother Mahamūda as the Sultan of Gajanavī. After some time, in V.N. 1569, Ahmed, the son of Mahamūda killed Masūda. In the same year, Maudood, the son of Masūda killed Mahamūda and established his authority on the throne of Gajanavī. In this manner, the successive line of sons and grandsons of Mahamūda Gajanavī always quarrelled among themselves and killed one another. Eventually, the Sultanat of Gajanavī, established by Mahamūda as a strong and secure province, using the immeasurable riches looted from India, had come to an end. Approximately around Vikram 1209 (V.N. 1679), Allāuddīna Hussain Gaurī, the brother of Saifuddin Gaurī ascended the throne and put an end to the Turkish rule.

During the aforesaid period, 14 years after the death of Gajanavī Mahamūda in V.N. 1571 a Hindu King of Delhi had established his authority on Hansi, Thanes war, Sindh and Nagarkota. He expelled Muslims from these places. Idols were reinstated in the temples and renovation of the temples began. Around the same period, kings of different regions in Punjab together attacked Lahore. However after seven months of severe warfare, the Hindu kings of Punjab lost the battle and Lahore remained still under the Gajanavī rule.

Thus 16th century V.N. proved almost totally inauspicious from the point of view of Indian History and was in fact quite dreadful for Indians.


Title: Jain Legend: Jain Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa (4)
Acharya Hasti Mala
Shugan C. Jain
Publisher: Samyakjnana Pracaraka Mandala, Jaipur
Edition: 2011
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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Ajmer
  2. Contemplation
  3. Delhi
  4. Environment
  5. Gwalior
  6. Hansi
  7. Lakh
  8. Mana
  9. Mantra
  10. Mathura
  11. Pride
  12. Punjab
  13. Soul
  14. Ujjain
  15. Vīrya
  16. Ācārya
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