Bhakhtyar's twelve year rule over Bengal

This article provide the information about the history of Bengal. The Bhakhtyar rule of Bengal is the main topic in this resource. One of the most important landmarks in the chronology of the early Muslims in Bengal is the date of Muhammad Bhakhtyar Khalji's raid on Nadia. There is a lot of controversy among the contemporary as well as modern scholars as regards the exact date of the raid.

The date of Bakhtyar's raid on Nadia

One of the most important landmarks in the chronology of the early Muslims in Bengal is the date of Muhammad Bhakhtyar Khalji's raid on Nadia. There is a lot of controversy among the contemporary as well as modern scholars as regards the exact date of the raid. Neither there is any agreement among the Medieval Muslim chroniclers nor among the modern researchers on this puzzling issue. There is no clear evidence from the Hindu sources so as to precisely fix the date of Bhakhtyar's raid on Nadia. But the Hindu sources may be utilized as corroborative evidences. About the date considerable difference of opinion exists making it vary from 590 A H. or 1193 A.D. to 602 A.H. or 1204 A D.

Bhakhtyar's twelve year rule over Bengal

As early as 1813 Charles Stewart in his History of Bengal fixed the date of the raid of Bakhtyar to 1203 A.D. In 1871 Edward Thomas in his "The chronicles of the Pathan Kings of Delhi" corroborated the date given by Stewart. But in 1873 Raverty in his translation of the Tabaqat-i-Nasiri pushed back the date by 10 years i.e. 590 AH. or 1193 A.D. In doing so, Raverty has argued that Bakhtyar ruled in Bengal for 12 years. This statement of Raverty can be rejected. It cannot be ascertained as to wherefrom Raverty derived the information about Bhakhtyar's twelve year rule over Bengal. Rejecting the statement of Raverty, Blochmann has observed "Major Raverty is mistaken, however, on his own authorities, when he asserts that the conquest of Bengal took place in 590 A.H. or 1194 A.D." It may be noted that in 589 A.H. or 1192 A.D. the Ghauhan King Prithviraj was defeated by Muhamu ad of Ghore at the second battle of Tarain. Minhaj writes that in 589 A.H. Koil (Aligarh) was occupied, but the Tajul Maa- ir places it in 590 A.H. Subsequently Koil was entrusted to Husamuddin Aghul Bak who took Bakhtyar in his service and granted him the parganas of Bhuili and Bhagwat as jagir. Hence it was well nigh impossible for Bakhtyar to conquer Nadia in 590 A.H. 1193 A.D. although Wolsey Haig has supported this statement.

Certain disputed or doubtful events

We know that after Nadia campaign Bakhtyar made a dash on Oaur and after this he set himself in consolidating his authority over the conquered tracts. Destruction of Hindu temples, construction of mosques, setting up of some sort of a clannish feudalism, establishment of a new capital at Devkot and such other constructive works certainly took Bakhtyar a few years to be accomplished. Having consolidated his authority, Bakhtyar and the Turks again were on the war path and they proceeded to conquer Tibet in 1.2' 6 A.D. Blockmann's theory about the date of Bakhtyar's raid on Nadia seems to be plausible. Again his theory is confirmed by an indirect evidence supplied by Minhaj to which our attention was drawn by M. Ghakravorty. The latter in his article 'Certain disputed or doubtful events" has critically examined the statement of Taj ul-ul Maasir and the Tabaqat-i Nasiri regarding the visit of Bakhtyar to Qutbuddin Aibak. Referring to the evidence of the Taj ul ul Maasir on Bakhtyar's visit to Qutbuddin from Udandapura Vihara in the year 599 AH. or 1202-3 A.D., M. Chakravorty writes, ''It is however, just possible that the offering of the presents (to Qutbuddin) might refer to the dispatching of a large portion of the booty after the sack of Nadia. The Tabaqat is silent as to whether Muhammad Bakhtyar himself came to Delhi this time. If he did, then 600 A,H. would not be inconsistent. It might also be argued that the year of the Tajul Maasir might be incorrect, for in the four Mss examined by Major Raverty, the date was written ambiguously and might be read as 597 or 599 A.H. and between the immediately preceding date and this one, the gap is rather suspiciously long. On the present state of facts, therefore, the possibility lies in favor of 596 A.H."

Bakhtyar was assassinated at Devkot

Although Blochmann has rejected the date of Bakhtyar's raid on Nadia as given by Raverty, he himself has confused his own statement on the issue. He has fixed the date as 594 or 595 A.H. (1193 or 119) A.D.). His fixation of the date is based on the evidence of the Tabaqat-i-Nasiri which has given two terminal dates in the career of Bakhtyar, one is 599 A.H. or 1193 A.D. when Bakhtyar called on Qui buddin Aibak in Delhi in search of an employment and the second is 602 A.H. or 1205 A.D. when Bakhtyar was assassinated at Devkot. Ahmad Hasan Dani has described Blochmann's calculation of the date as simply conjectural.49 N.K. Bhattasali has rightly observed that '"it can waver on this side or that by one or two years."50 Blochmann's conjectural assessment is due to the fact that did not properly assessed the accounts given by the authors of the Taj-ul-ul Maasir, Tabaqat-i-Akbari and Gulshan - i-1 brahimi.


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