Rajput Culture and History: The distortions, the conspiracies, and the truth – Pratiharas, the Rajputs who defeated the Arabs

This article limns a quick summary of the series of battles which collectively go by the name of the “Battle of Rajasthan”, fought between the Prathihara Rajputs aided by their Chalukya allies and the invading Arabs. In the aftermath of these battles, the Arabs vanished from the Indian mainland, and the Pratiharas emerged as a major power in North and West India.

[1]: KM Pannikar writes in his monograph, “Survey of Indian history” : The power, which within a 100 years of demise of the prophet of Arabia, had expanded its fiefdom from the great wall of China to the borders of southern France conquering everything lying in between these two extremes including Persia, Egypt, North Africa, and Spain; the power which had numerous forces and never ending resources; the power which had conquered everything from urban cultures to remote inaccessible provinces alike, was defeated on the Indian soil.

[2]: Wherever the standard of the Caliphate went, the ancient civilizations of those lands were reduced to museum pieces. The natives of those lands were converted to Islam. If the Arabs had succeeded in their Indian campaign then the same story would have been repeated here as well. The Vedic civilization of India would have become a relic of the past. The rulers who reined in the tempest of Islam were the Prathiharas. From Nagabhatta Prathihara to Mihir Bhoj Prathihara, the Pratiharas put their heart and soul in defending their motherland from these Arabic invaders and they didn’t merely succeed in repulsing the enemy but they destroyed their backs completely and thus guarded the native religions and civilization of Bharatvarsha.

[3]: Contrary to the popular leftist narratives which don’t see Bharat as a nation but merely as a patchwork of numerous ethnic peoples and nationalities, the medieval Rajput rulers had a clear conception of their motherland. And they jealousy guarded it’s borders.

We are also told very often that Hindu history has been a long sob story of defeats and that Muslims were great warriors and Hindus were feeble slaves in comparison. The spirited manner in which the Prathihara Rajputs and their vassal Rajput kings along with their Chalukya Rajput allies fought against the Arabs calls these bogus and politically motivated narratives into question.

[4]: In 730 AD After having firmly established themselves in Sindh, the Arabs were determined to win the Indian mainland for Caliphate. Junaid the governor of Sindh having realized that he cannot match his sword with the powerful Rajput kings of Kannauj and Kashmir instead attacked small kingdoms of Rajasthan and Gujarat and even penetrated so far as Ujjain in Madhyadesa. In this Arab juggernaut the old kingdoms of Mandor, Chittor, and Ujjain had been uprooted which led Arabs to think that they were now in a position to inflict upon Bharatvarsha the fate of Spain, Iran, and Sindh. The situation was truly precarious for Hindus. But as they say, cometh the hour cometh the man, the Prathihara ruler Nagabhatta appeared before Hindus as a beacon light of hope. As if Rama himself had reincarnated once again in the form of Nagabhatta to save his people.

[5]: These Prathihara kings are Raghuvanshi Kshatriyas who descend from Sri Lakshmana, the younger brother of legendary Sri Rama. Due to the Agnikula legend they are also called Agnivamsi Rajputs. These kings had served as vassals under the Guptas as well as the Emperor Harsha. And since they were highly decorated soldiers of these Empires and guarded them from enemies both foreign and domestic they were often designated by the epithet “Prathihara” or the “Sentry”.

[6]: Nagabhatta along with his Guhilot feudatory Bappa Rawal who is also known in history by the name of king Kaalbhoj or Rana Khumman made an alliance with the mighty Chalukyas of south. He also solicited help from the kings of Kashmir and Kannauj who were not found wanting in national commitment. Now the Hindu front was prepared to take on the forces of Islam but they were still heavily outnumbered.

[7]: Battle of Rajasthan.

Vikramditya Chalukya’s chief military commander Pulakesin inflicted a crushing defeat upon Al Murir. While Nagabhatta himself led the offensive against Junaid and pushed him back to the borders to Sindh. The Rajputs under Nagabhatta and his second in command Bappa Rawal fought the decisive battle with the Arabs on the borders of Sindh. The outcome of this battle marked the end of Arab power on Indian soil. Even here, the Rajputs were outnumbered as compared to the Arabs, but the Rajput Khanda ( double edged sword) made a short work of the Arabs and they retreated. The fleeing Arabs were molested by the Rajputs under prince Kaalbhoj and most of them were cut to pieces. The outcome of these battles was so devastating for the Arabs that in their aftermath they remained confined to a small town of “Mansura”.

In this way, the Rajputs by their uncommon valor defeated the Arabs and saved the Indian civilization from certain decimation.