Rajput Culture and History: The distortions, the conspiracies, and the truth – Arab Invasions & Resistance by Rajputs

The Rise of Arab war machine & it’s Indian campaign

Arabs under Al-Walid were unstoppable. Over the span of a decade – North Africa, Spain, Transoxiana, Persia, and Sindh had fallen into the hands of the Arabs. This was a great military feat which could easily eclipse the exploits of the King of Macedonia or those of the kings of Persia.

After the conquest of Sindh, the Arabs drunk with success, resolved to carve out a new province for the Caliphate on the Indian mainland. Sindh with its capital at Al Mansura, was used as a launchpad for the conquest of India.

After establishing himself firmly in saddle at Sindh, Muhammad Bin Qasim called upon the Kings of India proper to surrender their arms and join the house of Islam. Having realized that his threats were effete, he opted for the military option, and swiftly launched attacks at Bhinmal, Vallabhipura, and Kannauj. He tasted success everywhere except at Kannauj, where the might of Yashovarman repelled the Arabs with great slaughter.

Despite his success, Bin Qasim was unceremoniously recalled by the Caliph. He died on his way back. The interpose between Qasim and Al-junayd gave the much needed respite to small kingdoms of India and they did recover their lost territories. Al-junayd resumed the Arab offensive and relaunched military campaigns against the Indian kings. Campaigns were launched against kingdoms of Rajasthan ( Marudesha, Bhinmal, Chittor etc) and Gurjara desa ( southern Rajasthan & northern Gujrat) as well as Ujjain and Malwa.

In the Northern theater, the Umayyads ventured to expand their footprint in Punjab, but were summarily defeated by the mighty Lalitaditya Muktapida of Kashmir. A campaign was also launched against the south through Gujrat, during which the Arabs conquered Kutch, Okhra, Saurashtra, and Broach before the might of the Chalukyas halted farther progress.

In this phase of Arab onslaught, the kingdoms which suffered the most were the Moris of Chittor, Guhilots of Nagda, rulers of Gurjara, and the Maitrikas of Saurashtra. In 726 CE the Caliphate replaced Al-junayd with Tamin as the governor of Sindh. The Arab records tell us that in the subsequent years all the gains made in Rajasthan, Gujrat, and Saurashtra were lost and even the new governor was put to flight from Sindh.

But why? What had happened after 726 CE? The Arab sources don’t tell us anything clearly. However, the old inscriptions of the Rajput kings give us a clear account of how the Arabs were not just defeated, but crushed beyond redemption on the Indian soil.

The Inscriptions of Rajput Kings & the story they tell us.

The Inscription of King Jayabhatta 4th mentions that he sided with the Maitrikas of Saurashtra to inflict a crushing defeat upon the Arabs. Likewise, the Navsari grant inscription states that Chalukyas under Pulakesin crushed Arabs. The Inscription heaps lavish praise upon commander Pulakesin for having conquered the unconquerable. He was also accompanied on his expedition against Arabs by his vassal Rashtrakuta king Dantidurga. Likewise, the inscriptions note that Bappa Rawal became the rallying point for all the kingdoms of Rajasthan and together under his leadership these Rajput kings forced the Arabs to flee with great slaughter. The Gwalior inscription states that Nagahbhatta 1st the founder of the Prathihara dynasty crushed Mellechas ( Arabs) with the aid of his vassals.

Now we know, it was the great Pratihara King Nagabhatta 1st, whose sagacious diplomacy united all Rajputs rulers from north to south under one banner and helped forge a confederacy to put an end to the yoke of Arabs.

A series of battles were fought at numerous sites under Arab occupation, spread between Ujjain and Sindh encompassing much of Gujrat and Rajasthan and regions south of Malwa, which literally destroyed the Arab power in India for good. So badly were the Arabs crushed that they abandoned all futures plans of conquering India. The defeat of Arabs established the Pratiharas as the undisputed masters of much of North India.