Sultan Muizz-ud-din Mohammad bin Sam, commonly known as Sultan Shahab-ud-din Mohammad Ghauri is one of the key persons who played a significant role in the establishment of Muslim rule in South Asia. An ambitious person, Mohammad Ghauri wanted to extend his rule towards South Asia. He took the small state of Ghazni, in modern Afghanistan, from his brother Ghiyas-ud-din Mohammad bin Sam and turned it into an empire by conquering vast territories including Pakistan. First he captured the area ruled by the Ghaznavids and later on extended his rule to northern India and upto Bangladesh in the east. He was an able general and a brave soldier. He never let a temporary defeat stand in his way.

Sultan Mohammad Ghauri attacked Multan captured the city and appointed his own governor. From Multan he proceeded to Uch and captured it in 1178, Ghauri led an expedition against Anhiliwara, capital of Gujrat where he faced defeat. Soon he found it impossible to conquer South Asia through Sindh and Multan. He thought of conquering Punjab, which was the key to South Asia. In 1179, he conquered Peshawar. He then added Sialkot and used it as a base for next expeditions especially against Sultan Khusrau Malik, the last ruler of Ghaznavid dynasty. After a few years of war, Sultan Khusrau Malik was captured and imprisoned in Ghaur. The Punjab was then annexed to his empire and the Ghaznavid rule in west part of the area, which is included in Pakistan, came to an end.

After the fall of Ghaznavids, Mohammad Ghauri had to face the resistance of the Rajputs. Prithvi Raj Chuhan ruler of Delhi also started to worry after rapid success of Ghauri dynasty and decided to fight against Mohammad Ghauri. He made grand preparations and gathered a large army. According to famous historian, Mohammad Qasim Farishta, Prithvi Raj included 200,000 horses, 300 elephants in his army and marched against the Mohammad Ghauri. In 1191 both armies met in the field of Tarain, near Thanesawar. A battle was fought in which the Ghauri's army faced a defeat.

Sultan Muhammad Ghauri did not lose heart and started to organize a strong army again and invaded South Asia in 1192. He, with a force of 120,000 cavalry, reached a place near Tarain and encamped there. This time Prithvi Raj appealed to Rajput princess to join him to fight against the Mohammad Ghauri. About 150 Rajput princes offered their help and gathered for a great war. An army alongwith 500,000 horses and 3000 elephants has been described in history for this event.

Sultan Mohammad Ghauri, after facing defeat last time, adopted a new strategy for this battle. He divided his army into four divisions and ordered one division to engage the Rajputs at one time while the others were ordered to take rest. The battle started in the historic field of Tarain. Rajputs fought bravely but the Mohammad Ghauri's new tactics proved too strong for them. The army of Prithvi Raj failed to resist Ghauri's attacks. Smelling a defeat, Prithvi Raj tried to escape from the battlefield but was captured. Mohammad Ghauri marched and captured Delhi. He was the first Muslim ruler to conquer Delhi and establish a Muslim rule in South Asia.

Sultan Mohammad Ghauri was a loyal brother. He refrained from declaring his independence in South Asia, knowing that it would result in civil war between the two brothers. Till the death of Ghiyas-ud-din Mohammad bin Sam in 1202, Mohammad Ghauri never considered himself anything but a general in his brother's army. After every victory he would send the best of the items to his elder brother in Firuz Koh. Ghiyas-ud-din reciprocated by never interfering in the affairs of his younger brother. Thus they were each able to concentrate on their own responsibilities. As a result, Mohammad Ghauri managed to push permanent Muslim rule much further east than Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi did.

Sultan Mohammad Ghauri had no heirs and thus he treated his slaves as his sons. It is said that he trained thousands of Turkish slaves in the art of warfare and administration. Most of his slaves, mostly from Turkistan modern Central Asia, were given excellent education. During his reign many hardworking and intelligent slaves rose to positions of excellence. Once a courtier regretted that Sultan has no male heirs. Mohammad Ghauri immediately replied, "Other monarchs may have one son, or two sons; I have thousands of sons. Namely my Turkish slaves who will be the heirs of my dominions, and who, after me, will take care to preserve my name in the Friday sermons in the Mosques throughout these territories". Mohammad Ghauri's prediction proved true when he was succeeded by a dynasty of Turkish Slaves.

Though Sultan Mohammad Ghauri's main aim was the expansion of his empire, he also took an interest in the patronization of education and learning. Illustrious Muslim philosopher Fakh-ud-din Razi and the well know poet Nizami Aruzi were few of the big names of his era.

In 1206, Sultan Mohammad Ghauri had to travel to Lahore to crush a revolt. On his way back to Ghazni, his caravan halted at Damik near Jehlum. He was killed while offering his evening prayers. Many think that the murderer was an Ismaili. However, some historians believe that the murderer belonged to the warrior Ghakkar (Khokhars) tribe that resided in the area. While returning he made a stop at Dhamik, a small village near Jhelum. On 15 March 1206 (3rd of Shaban A.H.) he was praying in his tents a few raidersentered his tent and assassinated him along with his three guards. The murder killed him so brutally that there were 22 wounds on his body. Some historians say that after defeat by Mohammad Ghauri, some of the Khokhars joined Ghauri's army in disguise and attacked him, which proved fatal.

Sultan Muhammad Ghauri is remembered as an empire builder and is justly called the founder of the Muslim Empire in South Asia.





Page Last Updated: Thursday, February 02, 2006 18:26:10 -0500