Let’s read about Muhammad Ghazni’s 17 attacks on India.
Ghazni’s 17 attempts to enter India have their place in the folklores of India. These failed attempts showcase the mightiness of bravery and strength of the Rajputs. However, he succeeded all 17 times. His win on these 17 attempts also showcases India’s biggest weakness- treachery. Had the Rajputs remained loyal and united, Ghazni and many more would have gone back to their motherland empty-handed.
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Ghazni’s intention of attacking India started at a very young age. His father, a commander of the Persian military told him about the riches of India. His father was also the founder of the Ghaznavid dynasty. After the mise of his father Ghazni ascended to the throne and began realizing his plan of attacking India.
There were two main agendas behind Ghazni’s attack on India. The primary goal was to do as much looting as possible. The Ghaznavid dynasty had just started and Muhmmad Ghazni wanted these loots to finance his newly built kingdom and capital. The second reason was to spread Islam. Ghazni wasn’t, particularly a religious man. But he definitely needed the support of his Muslim army.
Ghazni started his journey of onslaught from modern-day Afghanistan. Here King Jaya Pal was the ruler. After receiving a defeat from Ghazni, Jaypal killed himself rather than surrender. This became the base for Ghazni’s army. From here he fought three battles in three consecutive years in Multan, Bhatia, and Bhatinda. These three wins gave Ghazni the major part of the Punjab region. From here Ghazni could easily the mainland India.
Ghazni’s had his eyes on the kingdom of Mathura. One of India’s oldest kingdoms, Mathura was a place of riches. Plus it was also the birthplace of Lord Krishna and hence had religious significance as well. But before attacking Mathura, Ghazni needed to replenish the army he had lost. For this, he raided smaller kingdoms of Peshwar and Kashmir.
A coalition of small kings took upon Ghazni when he attacked Mathura. This was the first incident when Hindu kings came together to protect a religious Hindu site. But the massive army of Ghazni outmatched them. In the coming years, Ghazni won over Gwalior in central India and Lahore in present-day Pakistan.
His eyes were now set on the temple of Somnath. The remaining Rajput kingdoms came together to defend this temple. The battle was fought for three days. But Ghazni had planned an attack from both ends. He attacked from the land as well as the sea. After a great fight, the Rajputs lost and the temple was looted.
What worked in the favour of Ghazni was his cavalry. Horses were not native to India and were introduced nu invaders over time. Hence Indian rulers failed to counter such fast-paced wartime tactics.
Another reason was the disunity of Indian rulers. Though being Hindu, these kings failed to come under one umbrella. Ghazni on the other hand used Islam as a tool to unite more and more people under his reign.
Ghazni in his 17 battles saw everything. The courage of Rajput kings, some of whom fought his massive army in the certainty of death. He also saw the unity and disunity of Hindu kings. He saw how glorious the land beyond Hindukush was. He saw how peace-loving its culture was. He saw but he never understood.