Monday, April 5, 2010

Mehmood Ghaznavi

Mehmood محمود of Ghazni (Arabic/Persian/Urdu: محمود غزنوی) (November 2, 971 - April 30, 1030), also known as Yāmīn al-Dawlah Maḥmūd (in full: Yāmīn al-Dawlah Abd al-Qāṣim Maḥmūd Ibn Sebük Tegīn یامین الدولہ عبد القاسم محمود ابن سبکتگین) was the most prominent ruler of the Turk Ghaznavid dynasty and ruled from 997 until his death in 1030. Mehmood Ghaznavi محمود غزنوی is one of the greatest conquerors the world has ever seen. He was one of the very few leaders who were never defeated in a battle field, He was a brave man and use to take part in all the battles his forces fought. Mehmood محمود turned the former provincial city of Ghazni غزنی (now in Afghanistan افغانستان) into the wealthy capital of an extensive empire which extended from Central Asia (وسطی ایشیا) Afghanistan (افغانستان) into most of Iran (ایران) as well as Pakistan (پاکستان) and regions of North-West Sub-Continent. He was also the first ruler to carry the title Sultan ( (سلطان("authority"), signifying the extent of his power, though preserving the ideological link to the suzerainty of the Caliph.

Military campaigns
In 994, Mehmood محمود joined his father Sebüktigin سبکتگین in the capture of Khorasan خراسان from the rebel Faiq in aid of the Samanid Emir, Nuh II. During this period the Samanid state became highly unstable, with shifting internal political tides as various factions vied for control, the chief among them being Abu'l-Qasim Simjuri, Fa'iq, Abu Ali, the General Behtuzun as well as the neighbouring Buyids and Qarakhanids.

Consolidation of rule
Sultan Mehmood's محمود غزنوی سلطان first campaign was against the Qarakhanid Empire, which controlled the northern portion of his Empire. After his defeat, he enlisted the alliance of the Seljuk Turks in southern Soghdia and Khwarazm خوارزم who aided him in securing the north by diplomacy (998). In 999 'Abd al-Malik II عبدالمالک ثانی of the Samanids engaged in hostilities with Mehmood محمود over Khorasan حراسان after political alliances shifted under a new Samanid Emir. These forces were defeated when the Qarakhanids under Nasr Khan invaded them from the north. Mehmoodمحمود then solicited an alliance which was cemented by his marriage to Nasr Khan's daughter. He already had relationships with the leadership in Balkh بلخ through marriage. It's local Emir Abu Nasr Mohammad ابوناصرمحمّد, offered his services to the Sultan and his daughter to Mehmood's محمود son, Muhammad محمّد. Image of Mehmood محمود in his court where noblemen and noblewomen convened. After Nasr's death Mehmood محمود brought Balkh بلخ under his leadership. This alliance greatly helped him during his expeditions into Northern sub-continent.

The Multan and Hindu Shahi struggles
Mehmood's محمود first campaign to the south was against the Ismaili Fatimid Kingdom at Multan in a bid to curry political favour and recognition with the Abbassid Caliphate خلافت عبّاسیہ, he engaged with the Fatimids elsewhere. At this point, Raja Jayapala of the Hindu Shahi Dynasty in (Lahore and Kashmir) attempted to gain revenge for an earlier military defeat at the hands of Mehmood's محمود father, who had controlled Ghazni غزنی in the late 980s and had cost Jayapala extensive territory. His son Anandapala succeeded him and continued the struggle to avenge his father's suicide. He assembled a powerful confederacy which faced an unfortunate defeat as his elephant turned back from the battle in a crucial moment, turning the tide into Mehmood's محمود favour once more at Lahore in 1008 bringing Mehmood محمود into control of the Hindu Shahi dominions of Updhanpura. There is considerable evidence from writings of Al-Biruni البیرونی, Soghidan , Uyghur and Manichean texts that the Buddhists, Hindus and Jains were accepted as People of the Book and references to Buddha as Burxan or as a prophet can be found. After the initial destruction and pillage, Buddhists, Jains and Hindus were granted protected subject status as Dhimmis (ذمّی) . By that time, however, most of the centers of Buddhist and Hindu learning were already destroyed.

Ghaznavid campaigns in the Subcontinent
Though he was interested in extending his empire toward Central Asia, the maneuverings of the Hindu rulers of Punjab forced him to invade South Asia, (Although, it is an existing perception of the historians that Mehmood محمود didn't have any interest to rule Sub-continent, Mehmood محمود had respect for other religions. A large number of Hindus lived in Ghazni, and they enjoyed religious freedom. One of his commanders named Tilak was a Hindu. A number of soldiers in his army were also Hindus. Mehmood محمود attacked the Hindu Temples in India because of political and not religious reasons). After the defeat of the Rajput Confederacy, He deciding to teach them all a lesson for combining against him, he came to South Asia seventeen times and went back to Ghazni every time with a great victory. He fought against the strong forces of Jaipal, Annadpal, Tarnochalpal, Kramta and the joint forces of Hindu Rajas and Maharajas but all of them were forced to flee away from the battlefield due to Mehmood's محمود war strategy as a general. After the conquest of Multan and Lahore, Mehmood محمود made Punjab a part of his empire in 1021.

Unlike other great conquerors like Alexander and Chengez Khan, Mehmood محمود did not leave the areas conquered to the mercy of his soldiers. After becoming the first Muslim ruler to conquer Northern Punjab, he consolidated his rule in the area and established his provincial headquarters at Lahore. He established law and order in the areas that he ruled, giving special attention to the people he ruled. The department of police and post were efficient. His judicial system was very good as everybody was equal before the law and justice was the order of the day.

Patron of the Arts and Poetry
Mehmood محمود was also a great patron of learning. His court was full of scholars including giants like Firdosi the poet, Behqi the historian and Al-Biruni the versatile scholar. It is said that he used to spend four hundred thousand golden Dinars on scholars. He invited the scholars from all over the world and was thus known as an abductor of scholars. Under Mehmood محمود, Ghazni became one of the most important and beautiful cities of the Islamic world. It was the city of mosques, madrasas and libraries. He also established a Museum in Ghazni. During his rule, Lahore also became a great center of learning and culture. Lahore was called 'Small Ghazni'. Saad Salman, a poet of those times, has written about the academic and cultural life of Lahore.

Mehmood محمود was also a deeply religious man. He himself wrote a book on Fiqh. Monument of Ferdowsi, whose work along with other artisans and poets, was promoted by Mehmood محمود. After 30 years of hard work, the notable poet Ferdowsi went to Ghazni and presented the Shahnameh to Mehmood محمود. He sent the amount to Ferdowsi’s village, but when the messengers reached his house, they found that Ferdowsi had died a few hours earlier. The gift was then given to his daughter, since his son had already died at the age of 37. Later Mehmood محمود ordered the money be used for repairing an inn in the way from Merv to Tus, named “Robat Chaheh” so that it may remain in remembrance of the poet. This inn now lies in ruins, but still exists.

Political challenges and his death
The last four years of Mehmood's محمود life were spent contending with the influx of Oghuz Turkic horse tribes from Central Asia, the Buyid Dynasty and rebellions by Seljuqs. Initially the Seljuks were repulsed by Mehmood محمود and retired to Khwarezm but Togrül and Çagrı led them to capture Merv and Nishapur (1028-1029). Later they repeatedly raided and traded territory with his successors across Khorasan and Balkh and even sacked Ghazni in 1037. In 1039 at the Battle of Dandanaqan, they decisively defeated Mehmood's محمود grandson, Mas'ud I resulting in Mas'ud abandoning most of his western territories to the Seljuks.

Sultan Mehmood محمود died on April 30, 1030. His mausoleum is located at Ghazni in modern Afghanistan