Nadia Campaign of Bakhtyar for the invasion of Bengal

This article describes the history of khalji invasion of Bengal of 13th century under the leadership of Muhammad Bakhtyar Khaji and the causes of the invasion. This article gives you the valuable stepping stones in the history of Bengal. This resource help to study the history of Bengal.

Nadia Campaign of Bakhtyar for the invasion of Bengal

It was in South Bihar that the momentum of Muslim plundering raids under the leadership of Bakhtyar had acquired a great driving force. As his eastward expansion through North Bihar was barred due to the existence of the powerful Hindu kingdom of Mithila under the Karnataka dynasty, it was through South Bihar that Bakhtyar preceded towards Nadia.

In the summer of 1202 A.D. (599 Hijra) Muhammad Bakhtyar with his 18 horsemen, assuming the placid demeanor of merchants appeared before the palace of Raja Lakshmansena at Nadia. Baktyar's starting point with his army was the city of Bihar Sarif. Through Gaya and Jharkhand and proceeding eastwardly direction he entered Nadia. He spent the night preceding his entry into the city of Nadia in the jungles of Jharkhand, about twenty miles north-west to Nadia. He was moving so fast that only 18 mounted troopers could keep pace with him.

He was being followed by his main army. Bakhtyar and his 18 horsemen assumed the demeanour of Arab merchants while approaching the city gate. It is to be noted that since long before Bakhtyar's arrival in Bengal, the people of the province were quite familiar with Arab merchants who used to visit the province with fine Arab horses and other merchandise for sale. Hence Bakhtyar and his small party did not excite the curiosity either of the guards posted at the city gate or of the people of the city. Bakhtyar and his 18 troopers entered the city unopposed and by the time he reached the palace gate of Raja Lakshmansena, the second and the third batch of his horsemen entered the city and joined Bakhtyar.

Bakhtyar's attack towards the palace

It was midday. The morning court having been dismissed, the officers and the citizens were having their bath and midday meal. So there was a general slackness all around. Bakhtyar took this opportunity for his offensive. Having arrived at the palace gate, Bakhtyar and his party threw off the mask and drew their swords. The palace guards were overwhelmed and got no chance of offering any resistance. With drawn swords Bakhtyar fell upon the Hindu guards, cut them to pieces and forced his way into the inner quarters of the palace. Meanwhile, the rest of Bakhtyar's troops entered the city and resorted to pillaging and killing on which they could lay their hands. There ensued a hue and cry all around and "cries rose up from the gate of the Raja's palace and the middle of the city". It is evident that two sections of the invaders made simultaneous attack on two points one at the palace gate and the other at the middle of the city. It was never a single attack by 18 troopers on one point only.

Raja was greatly bewildered and puzzled by Bakhtyar

At this juncture, as the story goes, Raja Lakhshmansena was at his meal "with his food set before him in gold and silver plates" when the tumult at the palace gate reached his ears. He was told by the confused and terrified inmates of the palace that the invaders had already dashed into his palace and the inner apartments. The Raja was greatly bewildered and puzzled. There was not possibility of resisting the assailants as he was without any army. Hence the Raja with his family members hurriedly took to flight, got into a boat, sailed down the river and came to Eastern Bengal. Nadvi writes, "Being terrified, the Raja left his palace and went to Orissa and took shelter in the temple of Jagannath and died there." About Lakhshmansena's flight, Minhaj writes, "The Rai fled barefooted by the rear of the palace and his whole treasure and all his wives, maid servants, attendants and women fell into the hands of the invader. Numerous elephants were taken and such booty was obtained by the Muhammadans as beyond all calculation. The victory of Bakhtyar was accomplished "when his whole army arrived and the entire city was brought under control".


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