Muhammad Ghori’s Invasion of India – Conquest of Multan and Sindh

Muhammad Ghori’s first invasion was made against the Shia ruler of Multan in 1175 A.D. The victory of Multan was useful from several “points of view as there was a direct and straight route between India and Ghazni through Multan. So for Muhammad Ghori, who intended to establish Turkish Empire in India, it was essential to gain victory against Multan.

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Secondly, after capturing Multan, it would have become easy to establish his control over Sindh and Punjab. Multan could be used as base for further victories in India and the army of Ghazni could stay there for reinforcements. Keeping in view all these considerations Muhammad Ghori defeated the Karmathian ruler of Multan and captured the city.


After establishing his control over Mjultan, he marched towards Uchh in Upper Sindh, where Bhatti Rajput was ruling. There was a discord between the king and the queen of Uchh and Muhammad Ghori took advantage of it. He assured the queen that in case, she murdered the king, and he would marry her and make her his chief queen.

She was entrapped in the false promise of Muhammad Ghori and she murdered her husband. Hence, he could enter the city without any difficulty in 1176 A.D. Some opine that Ghori had not given this assurance to the queen but to her daughter.

But he did fulfil his promise after establishing his control over Uchh. Modern historians do not agree with this view of Ferishta for during this period no Hindu ruled over Sindh. After conquering Upper Sindh he directed his attention to Lower Sindh and forced the Sumra ruler to accept his supremacy.

Expedition against Anhilwara (1178 A.D.):

In 1178 A.D. Muhammad Ghori launched an expedition against Gujarat where Bhim ll or Moolraj was the ruler. Anhilwara was the capital of Baghela rulers. Muhammad Ghori was driven back with heavy losses when he attempted to take Anhilwara. Habibullah writes that he was lucky that he could escape alive from this expedi­tion.


Sir Wolseley Haig has remarked, “The sufferings of the retreat far exceeded those of the advance and it was but a miserable remnant of the army that reached Ghazni.” The defeat of Anhilwara discou­raged Muhammad Ghori so much that he did not attack Gujarat again for twenty years. Dr. V. A. Smith has written, “The magni­tude of the danger induced the various Hindu kings to lay aside their quarrels for a moment.

The Conquest of Punjab:

Very soon Muhammad Ghori realized that Mujlan and SindJl were not the proper route to enter India, hence he directed his atten­tion towards Punjab where Khusrav Malik, the last of the Ghaznavitis was ruling. He wrenched Peshawar from the feeble hands of the Ghaznavid “and appeared before Lahore itself in 1181 A.D. which he finally took in 1186 A.D.Here too Muhammad Ghori took recourse to measures which must stand condemned for ever in the land of the noble chivalry of Rajasthan.

Khusrav Malik attempted to take re-course to this measure when his adversary turned his back. So in 1186 A.D. Muhammad once more came to Lahore. When Khusrav sued for peace he pretended to release Khusrav’s son who had been taken as a hostage on the previous occasion.

The credulous Khusrav, being assured of his safety, came out to receive his son. Then trea­cherously Muhammad seized him and sent both him and his son to their doom in Firoz Koh (Ghor).


Lurid light is thrown on the state of affairs in the Punjab at this time by an incident which is likely to be passed over by historians. The Rajas of Jammu were in perpetual strife with the Ghaznavid rulers of Lahore. But the valiant Khokhars who had once fought against Mahmood were now won over by Khusrav Malik from their allegiance to Raja Chakra Deo of Jammu.

The latter, like the Lodi chieftain who invited Babur in later years, called in Muhammad Ghori who swallowed all, Hindus and Muslims alike, in one common subjection. In spite of such native assistance, however, Mumammad could progress little beyond capturing stray fortresses like Bhatinda or Sirhind which he took in the winter of 1190-91 A.D. But this brought him into opposition with his most formidable antagonist in India.

First Battle of Tarain (1191 A.D.):

As-Muhammad Ghori had established his control over Bhatinda, Prithviraj Chauhan, also known as Rai Pithora, wjio ruled over Delhi and Aimer, was alarmed. He was a very Brave and courageous ruler.

He at once marched towards Bhatinda in order to check the advancing steps of Muhammad Ghori along with a powerful army. A fierce battle was fought in the field of Tarain, about 23 kilometers away from Thaneshwar.

Several Rajput rulers helped Prithviraj Ghauhan financially during this battle but Gaharwal ruler, Jaichand of Kannauj, was the-only Rajput who did not help Him on this occasion. During the course of War, Govind Chandra) a brother of Prithviraj Chauhan lost his he made a severe blow on Ghori and wounded him.

Owing to excessive bleebing Muhammad Ghori was on the verge of falling down from the horse when a Khalji soldier came to his rescue and carried him safe out of the battlefield. A soon as the Sultan was removed from the battlefield the Muslim army was discouraged and fled. No doubt, Prithviraj recovered the fort of Bhatinda and defeated the Muslims but Ghori was made of another metal.

Neither was he disheartened nor did he burn himself on kindled pyre; rather the fire of revenge kindled in his heart more vigorously and he began to make preparations to avenge his defeat. He again attacked India just after a year.

Second Battle of Tarain (1192 A.D.):

Muhammad Ghori having reached Ghazni safely punished his officers and soldiers who filed the battlefield. He was badly per­turbed by the defeat of the first battle of Tarain. It is related that he “never slumbered in case nor waked but in sorrow and anxieties. He passed his days and the fire of revenge went on increasing in his heart.

To retrieve his position he made very thorough and elaborate preparations and returned to the fray the fray the very next year (1192 A.D.) and encamped once again near Tarain. Once again Prithviraj Chauhan fought a pitched battle against the Muslims. In the beginning Hindus achieved success against the Muslims but ulti­mately they were defeated due to better warfare of Ghori.

In fact the war tactics of Ghori enabled him to succeed against the Rajputs. Ferishta has remarked, “Like a great building, this prodigious con­course of the Rajputs, once shaken, tottered to its fall and was lost in its ruins.” The brave Rajputs like Govind Chandra and Khande- raj succumbed and seeing his position precarious Prithviraj alighted from his elephant, mounted a horse and endeavored to escape from the battlefield but he was captured near Sarsuti and killed.

There is a sharp difference of opinion among the scholars regard­ing the death of Prithviraj Chauhan. Minhaj writes, “He was captur­ed and sent to Hell.” Hassan Nizami mentions, “He was imprisoned and sent to Aimer where he was put to death after some time.” Court bard and historian Chandra Bardai writes an interesting story about the death of his master. According to him, Prithviraj was blinded but he killed Muhammad Ghori in a show of archery, hence he was beheaded by the Muslims.

The fall of Prithviraj proved fatal for the Rajputs. Several brave warriors were killed at the battlefield and the fear of Rajput power vanished from the hearts of the Muslims. V. A. Smith has written, “The second battle of Tarain in 1192 A.D. may be regarded as the decisive contest which ensured the ultimate success of the Moham- madan attack on Hindustan.

All the numerous subsequent attacks were merely consequences of the overwhelming defeat of the Hindu league on the historic plain to the north of Delhi.” Dr. Ishwari Prasad has described this battle as the last blow to the power of the Rajputs.

In his own words, “The defeat of Puthviraj was an irreparable blow to Raiput power, the demoralization caused by the defeat pervaded all granes of Indian society and there was now left no one among the Rajputs who could draw to his banner his fellow princes to withstand the attacks of the Muslims.”

Muhammad Ghori before returning to Ghazni appointed his worthy general Qutbuddin Aibak, his Viceroy to look after his con­quered territory.


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