Muhammad Bakhtyar Khalji turned his eyes towards 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.

Dwelling on the capture of Nadia by Bakhtyar in Bengal in 1241AD

It is well known that the earliest narrative of this event is preserved in the Tabaqat-i-Nasiri by Minhaj who visited Lakhnauti in 1241 A.D. and traveled as far as Devkot. He came into contact with two persons named Nizamuddin and Shamsuddin who were in the service of akgjityar. However, Minhaj never states to have heard the account of the capture of Nadia either from Nizamuddin or from Shamsuddin. He heard the account of the raid of Bihar from Shamsuddin and the account of Tibet expedition from a person named Mutamuddaulah.

Dwelling on the capture of Nadia by Bakhtyar, Minhaj writes, 'The second year from this, Muhammad Bakhtyar got his troops ready, started from Bihar and suddenly entered the city of Nadia, so fast that not more than 18 troopers could keep up with him, while the rest of his army were coming up behind him. When he reached the gate of the city, he did not molest anyone, but (proceeded, silently and modestly so that none could imagine that it was Muhammad gakhtyar, but most probably the people thought they (incoming foreigners) were merchants who had brought much valued horses for sale (in Bengal). When Muhammad Bakhtyar reached the gate of the residence of Rai Lakhmaniya, he drew his swords and began the slaughter of infidels. At that time the Rai was seated at his meal when cries rose up from the gate of his palace and the middle of the city. By the time he (the Rai) learnt what the circumstances were; Muhammad Bakhtyar had run into his palace and harem and cut down a number of people. The Rai fled away by the back door with bare-foot".

Bakhtyar and his 18 troopers

This is the short account given by our authority about the capture of the palace of Raja Lakshmansena and his flight for refuge. The account of Isami has been given earlier. There is some amount of agreement between the two accounts given by Minhaj and Isami. For instance, both the chroniclers are in agreement on the point that Bakhtyar and his 18 troopers came to Nadia in the disguise of horse-traders and they took advantage of Lakhoman-sena's unprepared ness.

The entry of Bakhtyar and his 18 troopers in the disguise of traders did not excite any suspicion among the people of the city and hence it became possible for this advancing party to make a surprise attack upon the palace and the city of Nadia only when the rest of Bakhtyars army entered the city and joined Bakhtyar. But Isami writes that Lakshmansena fell a prisoner into the hands of the invader, while Minhaj writes that the Raja took to flight. Among the modern scholars, R D Banerjee, mistranslating Raverty's translation of the Tabaqat has made it current that Lakhmaniya as named by Minhaj and Lakshmansena were not identical persons.

Bakhtyar turned his eyes towards Bengal

B.B. Bhattacharya in his 'History of Hughli and Howrah' has referred to a conspiracy of the two sons of Lakshmansena, Biswarupasena and Keshavasena with Muhammad Bakhtyar which led to such surprise capture of Nadia. The scholar states that after occupying Bihar, Bakhtyar turned his eyes towards Bengal. Considering it impossible to face the Hindu army in an open field, Bakhtyar had been awaiting an opportunity for a surprise attack upon Raja Lakshmansena. He came to a secret understanding with the Governor of the Rarh country Biswarupasena or Keshavasena and having gained their connivance, Bakhtyar marched upon Nadia.

The author further states that "possibly Raja Lakshmansena, putting the capital Lakshnavati and Gaur and western and eastern provinces in the charge of Madhavasena (the eldest son) and Biswarupasena and Keshavasena respectively, had been residing at Nadia at his of age 35. The scholar noted above tries to make us believe that there existed some sort of rivalry for the throne of the Sena Dynasty between the step-brother Madhavasena and the other two brothers Biswarupasena and Keshavasena and it was with the object of frustrating Midhavasena's prospect of peaceful succession to the throne that his step-brothers encouraged Bakhtyar to invade Nadia. This hypothesis cannot be accepted as to be true in the absence of corroborating evidence.


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