by KS

Remember those long-staying, TV-remote hogging, serial TV-serial watching distant relatives who used to arrive unannounced when you were a kid. And then stopped you from watching cricket in favour of their crappy TV serial. What were your feelings towards them? Whatever it was, it did not resemble love and affection.  Now replace those crummy, intractable relatives of yore with your school subject of History or Social Sciences. Weren’t your feelings towards History kinda similar? I stake all the contents of  my nearly empty wallet, that at least for the most of you, it was.

However, There is one thing that tops the ‘I hate’ list by a distance

History for most of us, was always a major impediment, an obstacle, an immovable object opposing our unstoppable drive towards knowledge ( Read Maths and Science). Useless questions like  ‘how does Babar’s fun and frolic in 1476 affect my future’ were raised, without an iota of  hope for a definite answer. What we used to get was a growl or a scowl or perhaps both. What we could only do was utter the choicest expletives under our breath, memorize those never ending dates and practice our artistic talents on the unfortunate photographs of the great souls printed in our textbooks.

How will this dead dude help me get ahead in my life?

In our academic pecking order, Maths and Science always figured at the top,  subjects that we had to master. History mostly figured somewhere at the bottom of this list, lower than drawing, craft, value education and even Aayo Naga perhaps. Has our monumental indifference towards History enabled our educationists and academicians to disfigure, hell mutilate..our own history and actually get away with it?

Let me begin this by recalling a small conversation with a tenth grader relative of mine

This is India’s history from that persons point of view

  1. Harappans were the first people in India, and they had a fetish for building abnormally large bath-tubs.
  2. Their asses were then kicked by the some unknown invading Aryans.
  3. Somewhere down the line, Alexander and his badass gang of Greeks came calling.
  4. Chandragupta Maurya with his adviser Chanakya, did some awesome 420giri to take over from the Greeks.
  5. They were then  succeeded by the Guptas who brought the ‘Golden Age’ with them.
  6. Mahmud of Ghazni, however, looted all that gold. He needed a sum total of 17 visits to complete his gold quest.
  7. Mohammad Ghauri followed him with similar intentions, but decided to avoid the trouble and simply stay back. And then he died.
  8. He left his slave Qutub-ud-din Aibak to do all the ruling. His most significant achievement was to build one pointless tower.
  9. Then came a Muslim queen, underlining our credentials in female liberation.
  10. It was then the turn of Tughlaq and his gang of idiots. They moved national capitals around because they hated the weather.
  11. From somewhere, Babar, a descendant of a lame, one eyed king from Central Asia landed in India.
  12. He and his sons, calling themselves Mughals,  ruled India for the next 350 years.
  13. Their party came to an end when Englishmen arrived, redcoats and all, and took a strong fancy to our country.

I am not making the above stuff up. Of course, I might have taken liberties with some of the descriptions, but then this was more-or-less what a tenth grader summarized about pre-British Indian history. I would have appreciated this individuals grasp of Indian history if not for the fact that this version is completely and utterly bullshit.


Peruse that list again, in case you did not read it carefully. Till the advent of the British, how many Indian emperors, kings have been mentioned in the above list? How many of them have been highlighted and glorified in our history despite some seriously awesome stuff they did? Has our History been modified to such an extent that our own ancestors have been left out of out of it?

The one word answer to the last question: YES

If you see, India is one of the very few countries to have a civilization which goes back to about 3000 BC. No other country has this big a history. To put it in perspective, India’s last golden age was in the 6th century BC. Wonder what were the others in the world doing at that time……….

The Angrez

No comments!!


America…What the hell is that?

We are a civilization that was so advanced, that we were actually celebrating our golden age when Brits still hadn’t figured out what ”Being Clothed’ meant and the Americans could have been the name of an opium brand. So isn’t it kinda surprising that only two Indian emperors were considered to be worth remembering by a tenth grader in an eon or so? Would have been humorous, if it wasn’t our civilization. And because it is, it becomes deeply distressing and disturbing.

The Gupta dynasty as a dynasty, ended in about 6th century AD. However, the last meaningful king that our History textbooks bother to mention is Chandragupta II, whose reign ended in 4th Century AD. And then, the scene is fast forwarded to the point where Mohammad Ghauri invaded India in 1191, to start the Delhi Sultanate which would then metamorphose into the Islamic Empire. What does the above line tell you?

It tells you that an average tenth grader actually knows nothing about what happened in India in the intervening period between the Guptas and the Delhi Sultanate (A time period of about 800 years). At least they do not think it was worth remembering. To be fair they are not to blame, especially when you consider our academicians have dedicated ONE  single Chapter in the Seventh standard History textbook, to cover the period when it was Indians who ruled the land..

Yes… ONE CHAPTER, COVERING A PERIOD OF A THOUSAND YEARS ENCOMPASSING THE WHOLE OF THE INDIAN CIVILAZTION. One Chapter from history lessons stretching across the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and the tenth grades of CBSE. One insignificant chapter in over five years of schooling dealing with a period of more than one thousand years.

This is that chapter.. Click on the image if you have the time and patience to revisit your seventh standard History textbook

Now why only one chapter, is known only to the enlightened souls who designed those textbooks. And as a result of either their deliberate oversight or perhaps pure ineptitude, most of the school children do not know have any idea about

The Harsha Empire

This empire was founded by King Harshavardhana. This guy ascended the throne immediately after the Gupta dynasty, at an age when we aren’t allowed to have a driving license or have a drink. He became an emperor at the age of  sixteen in about 606 AD. He went on to capture what is today called North India (Including Kashmir) and Pakistan, His empire at its greatest extent looked something like this

He actually united all these states, something that we struggle to do even today!!!

He fought almost 300 battles in the 41 years he ruled with a win loss ratio that even Novak Djokovic would envy;  299-1. Uniting all these states, I guess was trouble even then.

Not only was he adept as a fighting machine, but actually authored three full length Sanskrit plays Ratnavali, Priyadarsika and Nagananda, while he was busy conquering.  Nagananda especially is considered one of the greatest plays ever written in Sanskrit literature. It is thought to be the first play ever to have five acts where the tone changes midway from Romance to horror and ends with the villain turning into the hero. This guy introduced plot twists and ‘cut to the chase‘ in the 6th century AD. And all of that was probably thought in the middle of a battle.

Amongst Harsha’s other achievements, was that he was the first to abolish Sati as a rule in his kingdom, some 800 years before Raja Ram Mohan Roy was even born. He was a major patron of the Nalanda University, and was the title sponsor of the ramparts around it, for protection from invaders and other pricks. No wonder Nalanda expanded singularly because of this guys patronage.

Harsha was the first King to have ever established a diplomatic relationship with China, with ambassadors and gifts being exchanged in 630 AD. And last but not the least the guy in the pic below lived  in the kingdom of Harsha, and was patronized by this emperor so that he could work on his field of expertise.

This was the guy who went on to INVENT THE ZERO!!!!

Surely Emperor Harsha deserves more than the 10 lines that he currently gets in our history textbook.


The Pala dynasty

This dynasty was founded by Gopala in Bengal in the year 705 AD. This guy was not your run-of-the-mill type of tyrant that were prevalent those days.

Gopala was DEMOCRATICALLY elected by the people of his kingdom. He was theFIRST EVER democratically elected ruler in South Asia, perhaps even Asia and even the world. Giving people right to elect the ruler wasn’t the most fashionable thing those days you know!!!!

Legend goes that people of Bengal at that time were sick of repeated invasions, pillaging and general anarchy. So they got Gopala, the most powerful military dude in their kingdom, anointed him as their king. And boy did he rule! He and his successors ruled for the next 400 years. Yes… 4 centuries in all!

This was their empire at the peak of their power. Purely in terms of square kilometers, it exceeds even the Mughal Empire at its peak. Go figure….

Pala’s other achievements again had something to do with the Nalanda university. In those days, what would a king do if he captured a territory? His intentions would most probably be to rape, loot, pillage, plunder, destroy and disfigure, not necessarily in that order. And what did King Dhanapal do when he captured Nalanda? He adopted it and took it to even greater heights. And then figured one university was probably not enough. So he established the Vikaramashila University as well. These two universities are even today universally acknowledged to be the greatest universities ever in Indian History. One flourished under the Palas, and the other was established by them. And as a footnote, the entire region of Tibet adopted Buddhism because of this guy’s efforts. So the Dalai Lama, in some way, has to thank the Palas for his influence today.

So ruling almost the entire Indian Sub-continent (From Afghanistan to Myanmar), establishing not one but two of the greatest Universities of those times guarantees  you a place in the annals of history as a magnificent king. But then the Palas did not stop at that. They then went on to build the biggest ever Buddhist Vihara or monastery, ever. The Somapura Mahavira consisted of 177 cells for the monks to live with a magnificent stupa in the middle. The entire campus occupied about 30 acres and rivaled the Pyramids for its opulence, but with a fundamental difference. The Somapura Mahavira was actually useful. In those times you couldn’t have been a great Buddhist monk if you hadn’t been to Somapura.

Kicks ass…doesn’t it

Apparently, an archeologist named J.C.French wanted to excavate the site of Somapura, but was refused citing lack of funds. Pretty much the story of the shortchanging of this great empire by our history. They deserve more than the 7 lines they get in our history textbook.


The Chalukyas

Remember the King Harsha you met two paragraphs ago where I told you that he had a battlefield win loss ratio of 299-1? Well,  The Chalukyas were responsible for that ‘one’ is his loss column.

And amongst many other things like inspiring the architecture that you have seen in Hampi, establishing and propagating the Kannada language, they also were the first ones in the world to legalize prostitution.

Poor souls don’t even get a mention in the text book.


The Pallavas

You all know Chalukyas defeated the undefeated king Harsha right. But then shortly afterward,  Pallavas gave a bloody nose to the same empire which had defeated the then undefeated king. Pallavas ruled over the Chalukyas and most of India south of the Narmada for about 150 years.

They single-handedly built the rock-cut temple complex in Mahabalipuram. It is rumoured that half the temples are actually under the sea, so the Mahabalipuram complex is actually way more impressive than what is visible.

And it is in the Pallava kingdom, you have the genesis of the south-asian script or ‘Pallava Grantha’. Whenever and wherever you read Tamil or see it’s alphabets, remember that it had its origins in the Pallava Grantha. Here is a list of all the languages that owe its existence to the Pallava kingdom as their scripts have their root in this grantha

  • Tamil
  • Telugu
  • Malayalam
  • Tulu
  • Sinhalese
  • Malay
  • Bahasa Indonesia
  • Thai

And how many pages does the great Pallava dynasty get in our textbook… u guessed it… ZERO.

and Finally

The Cholas

In a speaking convention, the best speaker is always reserved for the last. In a farwell party for your seniors, the most popular guy is always honoured last. So I am mentioning the most important empire in Pre-Islmic Indian history, which also happens to be the most shortchanged, The Cholas, Last.

Just to give you an idea, the Chola empire, if it existed today would have spanned

  • India
  • Sri Lanka
  • Bangladesh
  • Myanmar
  • Thailand
  • Malaysia
  • Indonesia
  • Vietnam
  • Singapore
  • Maldives

Still not able to visualize the expanse of the Chola Empire, Let me help you

Clearly, Cholas did not know what the word small meant.

Cholas were one of the earliest empires in Indian history, with some estimates dating them back to almost 300 B.C. They are even mentioned by Emperor Ashoka in his pillars,  as a friendly empire in the south. Their recorded downfall is in the 1250’s. In pre-medieval India’s highly fluid power equations, the Chola empire was the one and perhaps the only constant.

The good stuff about the Cholas first. I am sure all of you must have heard of the beautiful and the grand temples all over Tamil Nadu. It was the Cholas who added the adjective grand before the temples. The kind of made it a fashion statement to build big temples, covered with intricate carvings, a trend which was essentially followed by his successors transcending empires.

Ever heard of the Brihadeeshwara Temple in Tanjore. It was built by Raja Raja Chola in the 11th century. Let me tell you some quick facts about this place of worship

  • The Shivling in this temple is the largest of its kind,  in the world.
  • The Nandi outside, is, again, the largest in the world.
  • The base of the temple is supposed to be so big, that the shadow of its massive ‘gopuram’ actually does not fall on the ground.
  • The top of the ‘gopuram’ consists of a single granite stone weighing approximately 82 tonnes (82,000 Kgs for those weak in metrics). Now, this being 11th century AD, it was a problem getting that big piece of rock to a height of  63 Metres. So what did the Cholas do?
  • Unsurprisingly they built the world’s largest transport ramp, using some kick-ass trigonometry, which stretched all the way to about 20 Kms, all the way inclining towards the top, which basically allowed the elephants to push the rock all the way up.
  • Once on top, they sent masons to do some intricate carvings on that stone, as if somebody would notice at that height.

No wonder it is called ‘Big’ Temple

Any emperor or empire will consider this piece of art to be the peak of their artistic prowess which will be talked about for generations to come. But Cholas being the Cholas,  weren’t satisfied. Raja Raja’s son Rajendra went on to build an exact replica of this temple at a place called Gangai Konda Cholapuram, near the modern town of Chidambaram.

Two big temples, takes quite a beating doesn’t it. Sadly the second temple is not even mentioned in the history books, anywhere. None outside Tamil Nadu even know about its existence, even today.

And also did I tell you, the Cholas were the first in the world to build a fully functional water diversion/water regulation system in the world. Chola king Karikalan built this 329 feet stone dam over the river Kaveri and a network of canals, in 1st century AD, for water storage and irrigation. So when most of the western world was still eating raw animal flesh, Cholas were building dams, navigable canals and were irrigating 10,00,000 (1 Million) hectares of land in their kingdom.

And before I forget, the system they built is in use even today!!!

I don’t have to tell you whether our historians bothered to mention this thing in our textbook.

In case you think Cholas were your peace loving, violence shying role model Emperors, let me move on to some of  their badass stuff

Cholas pioneered in the 6th century what we today know as the Navy. Use of ships for fighting battles existed, Battle of Salamis was probably the first naval engagement ever recorded, but Cholas took Naval warfare to an entirely new level. They probably were the first ones to make their Navy a totally independent service with its own powers and not the extension of the army as was the norm then. They also were the first to pioneer the concept of building exclusive fighting ships and the first to implement the idea of fleets.

Their ship building program was instituted and ships were designed and built for different purposes. Trap ships (They called themselves ‘Kannis’ which means a ‘virgin’ in Tamil. They even had a sense of humour) to lure the enemies into traps, destroyers to do what their name suggests, supply ships etc were the some of the different types of Chola Naval vessels. Cholas also were one of the first to evolve strategic naval doctrines, advanced ship formations and naval warfare tactics.  They were the first ones to start operating ships in fleets. The smallest fleet in the Chola navy consisted of about 12 ships and the largest went up to 500 or more vessels.

In three words, They kicked ass…

And to match their tactical nous, they augmented their vessels with the then state of the art weaponry, both indigenous and imported from China. Their ships were equipped with catapults and probably the first ship-based flamethrowers. Chola navies were routinely known to annihilate enemies five times their number. The Chola navy, in one line, could be described as

Awesome tactics+Brilliant Ships+Latest Weaponry= Bad news for the enemy

This combination enabled Cholas, to practice the first ever recorded instance of what is today called ‘Gunboat Diplomacy’. Sri Vijaya empire, ruling Cambodia, had the guts to actually sack a Chola Merchant convoy. Cholas responded by taking two fleets of about 500 ships each and obliterating the Sri Vijaya kingdom out of existence.  The neighboring  king of Kambujadesa, terrified of what happened to his colleague, basically folded his hands, bowed his head and sent an ornamental chariot to appease the Cholas and declared them as his rulers. And Cholas didn’t even have to fire a single shot.

It is also believed by some sources, that Cholas because of a navigational error, landed in Sri Lanka by mistake. And just for fun, they went on to capture the entire country. There is no actual proof of this but knowing the Cholas, this is quite possible.

At their peak Chola ships consisted of about 1000-1500 battle ships divided into 4 fleets placed in strategic locations like Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Kaveripoompatinam in Tamil Nadu also known as Poompuhar. They were so powerful that the Chinese actually requested Cholas to stop the rampant piracy in the straits of Malacca. They even merited mentions in dispatches in faraway Greece for their naval expertise.

And they were no mugs on the land either. Recall the Gangai Konda Cholapuram temple built by Rajaendra Cholan? It literally means ‘Subduing of the river Ganges’. He built the city in honour of his march upto the Ganges river.  A south Indian empire stretching from the River Kaveri in the south all the way up to the River Ganga in the North deserves much better treatment in our history books. As one of my friend’s said, if the Cholas had been born in America, DC or Marvel comics would have transformed them into super-heroes with a body of adamantium. Because they were born in India, they get about a quarter page in the text-book.

There were in all a total of 16 Chola kings in the Chola Empire. For all of you who actually read that chapter, you will find only the names of two (Raja Raja Chola and Rajendra Chola) have been mentioned. And all the other kings and important details of their empire have been completely eliminated.

There were other empires too at that time who find next to no mention or even worse no mention at all in our History textbooks. The Rashtrakutas ruling what today will be Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra were singularly responsible for three of the top four tourist destinations in the state of Maharashtra today. I am talking about the Ajanta, Ellora and the Elephanta Caves. A Special mention to the Kailas temple in Ellora which is the world’s largest temple cut out of a single piece of rock.

This whole thing was built out of one single piece of rock!!!

Same was the case with the Yadavas, who built the fort of Devagiri or Daulatabad, made famous later by the idiot Mohammad Bin Tughlaq. You know why he specifically chose Devgiri to move his capital?

It is the only fort in recorded history that hasn’t yet fallen in an open battle. It was captured by Alaudiin Khilji through deceit and bribery, but was not won in a fight. Who built it..The Yadavs? Are they mentioned in the History textbook? If you said ‘No’, You got the answer right.

I am not against the lessons on the Islamic empire and their conquests, brutal as they may have been. They are a part of our history. But my question is, aren’t these emperors and their empires a part of our history too? Haven’t these empires contributed to our way of life, our values and principles more than the Islamic kings have ever done? And by eliminating these kingdoms from our history, aren’t you depriving our generation of this great knowledge?

And by this wholesale deletion, aren’t you mutilating history?

For all of you who have developed a sudden interest in the History of India, I will suggest this mind blowing book. Please buy it, the author deserves it.

Imagine a country called X, a country with a continuous lineage of 5000 years. And it was filthy rich. In fact it was richer than the rest of the world, at that time, put together. And everyone knew that. For the ancient non X, earth dwellers who were not cavemen, X was not a country but an entire freakin continent. And their papyrus scrolls showed it that way.

Rest of Asia, You are not worthy to be on our precious papyrus

Anyways, as what happens to a rich house in a poor locality, all the have-nots in the world, realizing how much wealth was there for the taking, converged onto X. They came in droves, time after time,  to help themselves to the unlimited booty on offer. And after a while (seventeen times), someone just said ‘screw it, let’s settle down in India once and for all’. And in the process they claimed X theirs, by birth.

It was as if a huge guy walked into a house, sat on its sofa, took out a cigar, and said the house belongs to not only him, but his ancestors as well. Without even as much as looking at the original inhabitants. What would or could the poor souls do?

This is my house now amigo…

Whatever they did, it will still be better than what our historians have done.

If you haven’t guessed it by now, Country X is India and the huge guy is an allegory for the various Islamic hordes from regions as far as Mongolia to modern day Kazakhstan. So instead of telling our children who this guy really was and what he really did, we have deified and honoured this invading band of tribes. In fact most of our medieval history is dedicated to these bunch of rear-cracks, for reasons I don’t know. And as our historians lack ’round objects below the abdomen’ to present the true picture of the Islamic rule, let me do the job for them.

India’s first encounter with an Islamic ruler started when a douchebag named Mahmud Of Ghazni landed here in 1004 AD. You might have come across this guy in your textbook as the dude who raided the Somnath Temple, a little over 17 times. However, what our historians have neglected to mention is that this guy did not just raid the Somnath temple, he demolished it every time he came. In fact at one point of time he was so pissed off by our resilience, he massacred about 50,000 Somnath inhabitants, razed the temple to the ground again, smashed the ShivLing made from solid gold into tiny little pieces and then embedded them in the steps of the Jama Masjid back in his home town of Ghazni, so that the people could step on it whilegoing to pray.

Had there been a in the 1st century AD, the first entry for the words evil, horror, despicable and other similar words, would have been Mahmud Of Ghazni.

If evil had a face..This had to be it

And if obliterating one temple was not enough, he also destroyed the temples in Ujjain and Dwarka and sacked them. In fact, in all his invasions he never tried to consolidate his rule in India. All he wanted to do was loot and kill. To sum it up, He came, he saw, he destroyed, he looted, unleashed an evil laugh and went back. In Fact he was so evil and caused so much damage to our country, that our friends in Pakistan named a freakin missile after him, just to harness his India destruction potential.

This was what was left of it after the first launch…

And that he was evil is not something that is being made up. This was what his own biographer had to say

“In the interest of his successors he constructed, in order to weaken the Indian frontier, those roads on which afterwards his son Mahmud marched into India during a period of thirty years and more. God be merciful to both father and son! Mahmud utterly ruined the prosperity of the country, and performed there wonderful exploits, by which the Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all directions, and like a tale of old in the mouth of the people. Their scattered remains cherish, of course, the most inveterate aversion towards all Muslims. This is the reason, too, why Hindu sciences have retired far away from those parts of the country conquered by us, and have fled to places which our hand cannot yet reach, to Kashmir, Benares, and other places. And there the antagonism between them and all foreigners receives more and more nourishment both from political and religious sources.”  Source.  

The biographer was executed.

This guy, who will be right up there, in any ‘top 10 evil men of the century’ list, should have been portrayed as the evil version of  the evil Gabbar Singh, a bandit and a mass murderer. Instead our historians admire his persistence and perseverance. And then, we also name a freakin movie after him.

It is like an MBA book, citing the Nazi holocaust as a case study for logistics management. Perseverance, you must be kidding me.

Sacking and razing the great Indian temples was not the only contribution made by Mahmud of Ghazni to our history. He was the guy, who basically showed the desolate regions in central Asia that the unlimited Indian wealth was there for the taking and you just had to turn up. He was the guy who laid the foundation of Islamic rule in India for the next 700 odd years.

And we admire his perseverance.

After Mahmud of Ghazni, all the emperors in the central Asian wilderness were itching to go to India for its limitless wealth. But it took them a 100 years to actually gather up enough men and material to mount another invasion, simultaneously giving Indians time to replenish their treasure stocks. While we were coming back to terms with life, Mahumd Of Ghazni married 9 wives, sired 56 legitimate children and got bitten by a female anophles mosquito and died of Malaria (Never underestimate an angry mosquito). After long years of internal squabbling, Mohammad Ghori (Ghauri) finally ascended the throne of Ghazni in A.D 1178. And promptly attacked India in A.D 1191.

Opposing him this time was the Rajput king, Prithviraj Chauhan, who famouslyeloped with Princess Samyukta, right under the nose of her father, Raja Jaichand of Kanauj.  Mohammad Ghauri, thanks to the lessons learnt from Mahmud of Ghazni, was so overconfident about his impending victory that he was already planning the after victoy pillage party when he came face to face with ‘My profession, hobby, passion and happiness is war’ Prithviraj Chauhan, at Tarain, some 150 Kms from New Delhi.

He got his ass kicked.

He was not just defeated, he was totally routed. In fact, he got his backside kicked so badly, that he was captured by Prithviraj Chauhan whom he begged for mercy. And much to the consternation and objections of his courtiers, (who wanted to chop Ghori’s head off), Chauhan magnanimously spared Ghori’s life and let him return back to Ghazni with his head on his shoulders.

But Ghori, like all other ungrateful wretches, attacked Chauhan again in A.D 1194.

Using some skulduggery and deceit, he somehow manged to defeat Chauhan and his army and captured him alive. He promptly entered Delhi and massacred some 100,000 people combining it with some general pillage and loot thrown in. He then went back to Ghazni, where he executed the man who spared his life three years before. Chauhan was killed with the full knowledge that he had signed his own death warrant.

So according to our Historians

Prithviraj Chauhan, a merciful king, who in a total departure from the general rules of warfare, spares the life of his adversary and under whose aegis, the famous sufi saint Shaikh Salim Chisti was able to establish the famous Ajmer Dargah, is not worthy enough to be mentiond.

While, Mohammad Ghori, an ungrateful wretch, killer of a man who spared his life and 100,000 more, gets more space than Emperor Harsha and Palas put together.Youthink this is travesty, well it only gets worse from here. And yes, Pakistan named another missile after this guy.

Mohammad Ghori, did not have any heir, so he basically carved up his empire among his different Turkish Slaves, with Qutub-ud-Din aibak given the kingdom of India or Hindustan as it was known then. And that started the Delhi Sultanate. Here is a list of the other Delhi Sultanate Rulers

Qutub-Ud-Din Aibak: 1206-1210

Iltutmish: 1210-1236

Razia Sultana: 1236-1240 (Murdered in 1240 because she refused to wear a veil, was secular, tried to appoint a Hindu to an important position and had a relationship with an Abyssinian slave. Resurrected and murdered again by Hema Malini in 1983)

Balban: 1246-1290

—————-End of the Slave Dynasty——————————-

1290-1320 Alauddin Khilji : Was probably the best of the Sultanate kings. No religious porgorms were reported, and there were no widespread massacres in the name of religion. He was also known to restore a defeated king to kingship in exchange for tribute and gold.

However, his general, a eunuch named Malik Kafur, a Rajput who converted to Islam, marched upto Tanjore in the south for some plunder. He negotiated in such a way that he did not have to fight a single battle till he reached his destination. He/She went south as far as Tanjore, desecrating and sacking temples in Srirangam, Madurai and Chidambaram and taking their solid gold idols away, which was his intention. However, it must be said that unlike the Mahmud of Ghazni, nothing was demolished and all the looting happened without the usual accompanying massacres.

It is said that when Kafur returned to New Delhi, he/she returned with 612 Elephants, Twenty Thousand Horses, 96,000 Thousand Nams (Approximately 241 Tonnes) of Gold and the usual countless boxes of jewels and pearls.

And an eunuch in Delhi was never insulted after that.

This was about the last time, there was a sort-of benevolent Delhi Sultan, as most of the time, the term benovelent Delhi Sultan was an oxymoron. Also please remember Alauddin Khalji, for he has a role later on.

1320-1413 — The Tughlughs: World Famous

1414-1451 — The Sayyidis: Another gang

1451- 1526 —- The Lodis: The Last of the Sultans.

—————————————————-End of the Delhi Sultanate——————————

(The only reason why there is a description for Alauddin Khilji is that, he was the only one who was the chip off the block. The rest were almost similar in nature and evilness. To know more about the others, Please read Mahmud Of Ghazni, do a Ctrl C and a Ctrl V)

With all these crackpots, (yes Mohammad Tughlugh included) the Delhi sultanate lumbered along for 300 years, with different kings coming, killing and naming different areas in today’s Delhi (Ferozshah Kotla and Tughlaghabad, after Feroz Shah Tughlagh, Lodi Gardens after Ibrahim Lodi and so on) after them and then mostly, getting killed.

I can go on and on about the not-so-nice details that our historians have skipped in this era, for reasons best known to them, but won’t for reasons of brevity. Please read this book or visit this website, if you want to know more about this period.  However, I will point some of the really big omissions.

Qutub-Ud-Din Aibak is described by the Indian historians as a slave who worked up to be the king. However, he is famous because of of the eponymous ‘Qutub Minar’ in New Delhi. Our historians lavish some unnecessary praise for what is at best a tall building, shaped like a particular part of the male anatomy.

Big deal

This is what the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) plate at the minar says about this totally pointless tower.

‘It is the perfect example of  a minar known to exist anywhere in the world. Thevariegated plan of its three lower stories the projecting balconies with stalactite pendentive brackets and some more mumbo jumbo.’ 

However, what our eminent historians have apparently forgotten to mention or deliberately ignored is, that 27 temples were utterly destroyed and the stones from those very temples were used to build this tower.  And the builders were bloody proud of this fact. So proud, that Aibak and his successors had the gall to inscribe it on the eastern gate of the Qutub complex.

27 temples destroyed for building this ‘thing’ and all our historians do is praise its variegated, pendentic brackets.

Just another thought, isn’t it ironic that most of the areas in our national capital are named after invaders, temple destroyers and who imposed taxes on poor innocents who just happened to be non-Muslims? I doubt any other nation on this planet honours their destroyers in this manner. (America even changed it’s metric system to wash itself off the British influence). Most importantly, nothing is named after the ones who actually did a lot of good for our country.

The Delhi Sultanate, with the exception of Razia Sultana, Balban and Alauddin Khilji,  actually was nothing more than a bunch religious fanatics, who rose to power almost miraculously and then somehow sustained it. However, whatever they did pales in comparison to who followed them, The Mughals.

The name Mughal itself is quite an accident. Genghis Khan, in his many conquests across the length of world, had some fun when he was doing his stuff in Central Asia. The result was a awkward hybrid between Mongol and Persian, which resulted in the name Moghul, which became Mughal. Genghis Khan, gave these guys the right to rule as long as they recognized the superiority of the Khan. All was well, until Genghis Khan died.

Kingdoms those days, especially the central asian ones, were not entirely unlike a bunch of kids in the first standard. Totally quiet till you have a teacher in a class, only to explode the moment teacher leaves. The only difference was, these guys had swords, spears and cannons to settle their disputes.

So amid all the bloodshed and anarchy, there rose a warrior who united them all. And he was lame and he looked like the illegitimate child of the ugliest ogre.

This was apparently his best pic

So lame guy, kills everyone else, captures the capital city of Samarkand and declares himself king. And then attacks, you guessed it right, India.

Attacking and plundering India was like a high point in a Mongol’s life, something you had to do to prove to rest of the world that you were a man. Mongols, before Timur,  repeatedly attacked India, and once almost defeated the then emperor Alauddin Khilji. Which was when Khilji decided that shit had really hit the fan. So the next time Mongols came, he sent the now legendary Malik Kafur after them, who annihilated them in open battle. And just to drive home the message, Khilji had all the prisoners (some 10,000 dudes) trampled by elephants, their heads cut off and displayed as scarecrows outside his fort in Siri.

The Mongols did not come back.

Till Timur the Lame.

When Timur the lame, attacked India in A.D 1398, the Delhi Sultanate was in a total state of anarchy. So he basically had a free pass. Brushing aside whatever little resistance he faced, he got busy doing what was considered his dynasty’s expertise.

There are a 100,000 people in this stadium

Just imagine, every single human in this crowd, speared through the chest, decapacitated and their heads stacked up in a Jenga like formation outside a city. Which was exactly what Timur the lame did.

To discourage resistance or mebbe he just got a kick out of it, Timur killed 100,000 ‘non Musulmáns’, cut their heads off and built a skull-wall outside Delhi. When the terrified Dilliwallahs capitulated, he walked in and killed the rest to the last man, woman and child, excepting the quarter which had ‘saiyids, the ‘ulamá, and other Musulmán’ and went back with another trove of cash, gold and jewels. He also apparently sent out an order that, every soldier in his looting column had to return with at least two severed human heads to show him.

And, how did Timur justify these dastardly acts of violence: ‘Muslim Delhi Sultanate was too tolerant toward its Hindu subjects’. Yes, too tolerant.

Built entirely using Indian money

And the first emperor of the much celebrated by our historians, Mughal Dynasty, Emperor Ẓahīr ad-Dīn Muḥammad Babar was the great great grandson of this murdering wretch. Yes, a direct descendant.

So now you know why the ancestry of the great Mughal empire has been conveniently hidden from us for so long. You don’t want to tell the people that the empire we celebrate the most, and dedicate the maximum space in out history books to, is directly responsible for the most destructive religious and ethnic cleansing ever in Indian history. And as portrayed in our textbooks, Babar did not land in India because he was a great visionary or an emperor. He came here simply because he had nowhere else to go.

He tried to capture Samarkand, in modern day Uzbekistan where he got his ass kicked by the Uzbek king Shaibani Khan. Reduced to a wandering nomad but with the support from the then Persian king, he landed at the gates of India, where to his luck the Lodi’s were in strife. And before you know it, he was the ruler of India. And he had the temerity to claim the throne of India, ‘as his right’.

And he was scary

Babur set about expanding his kingdom, defeating the Rajputs, capturing the fort of Chittor and also is credited with the world’s first execution by firing squad, when he ordered his musketmen to kill the 100000 prisoners of war. His rule was in no way better than the others, as Indian historians potray. He defaced Jain temples in Rajashtan, simply because he could not stand them. And ofcourse he demolished the most famous temple of all, the temple at Ayodhya to build the  eponymous mosque, the Babri Masjid. So Babar is directly responsible for the communal tension in our country today. And our historians, lead by the esteemed Ms Romila Thapar continue to deny this, in face of clear evidence, and as a result we are kept completely in the dark.

On a related note, it is deeply distressing that the most comprehensive work detailing the wanton destruction of temples and massacres perpetrated by the sultanate and their successors comes from a Belgian Historian, Koenraad Elst. Yes a Belgian

The next part  will delve further into the excesses and the occassional benovelence of the Mughals.

Personally, I want these not-so-good things to be expunged from our History for obvious reasons. But when I read successive chapters in Indian history textbooks dedicated to the glorification of these very emperors, I felt I had to bring out the real story. I apologize if I hurt some sentiments, It is not my intention. But I ask

  1. Why glorify the Mughal rule, when it was their ancestor who was the architect of one of the most destructive religious pogroms?
  2. If you are mentioning Ghazni’s 17 incursions and describe him as persistent, why not tell what he actually did those 17 times?
  3. When you credit the Delhi Sultanate for bringing stability to India, why hide their less glorious stuff like forced conversions, wanton looting and‘jiziya’?
  4. Most importantly, Why do you think our countrymen cannot handle the truth?

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