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Ghaznavid Invasions on India

  • The Turks were an ethnic group, they spoke Turkish language. They lived in Central Asia. From Central Asia, they started to attack India.

  • The first Turkish ruler to attack India was Alptigin. In 963 AD, he captured Ghazni in present day Afganistan and made it their capital and established the Yamini dynasty. Since Ghazni was their capital, they are also known as the Ghaznavids.

  • Alptigin was followed by his son Subuktigin, who was followed by his son Abu Kasim Muhammed (Muhammad Ghazni).

  • Muhammed Ghazni attacked India 17 times. He primarily targeted Indian temple cities. His last attack was on Somanath in 1027 AD.

  • When Ghaznavid invasions took place, parts of todays Afganistan, Pakistan and Punjab was ruled by Hindushahi dynasty. Their capital was at Kabul. When they could not hold on Kabul, they shifted their capital to Wahind and then to Bhatinda.

  • When Alptigin attacked India, the Hindushahi ruler was Jayapala. He was defeated continuously by Alptigin and his son Subuktigin. Due to the continuous defeats, Jayapala committed suicide and was followed by his son Anandapala. Anandapala was followed by his son Sukhpala who embraced Islam and was appointed as the ruler of Multan by Muhammad Ghazni.

Nature of Ghaznavid Invasions

  • The Ghaznavids had two targets; to create a safe haven and to plunder wealth.

  • They attacked Afganistan and the nearby areas to create a safe haven for them. Because, Central Asia was a place of political and military upheavals at that time.

  • They attacked interiors of India for wealth, these attacks were not for political domination. Indian temple cities were famous for their wealth.

  • Muhammad used Islam as an excuse to motivate his soldiers. The concept of Jihad was used against the Hindu rulers of India.

Impact of Ghaznavid Invasions

  • Political impact was negligible in immediate sense. After 1027 AD, there was no Turkish attack on India for the next 150 years. But in the long run, invasions of Muhammad exposed the political and military weaknesses of Indian rulers. The stories of these invasions encouraged future invaders like Muhammad Ghori to attack India.

  • Economic impact was severe. India was plundered; Indian wealth was taken away by the Turkish invaders.

  • An atmosphere of fear was created by these invasions which intensified social evils. The Turks captured the unmarried girls for marrying; because of this, child marriage became common. They violated the married women of the defeated area; because of this the new social evil of Jauhar came into existence. The Indian rulers wanted the caste system to remain intact to defend against the Turkish invaders; because of this caste system and untouchability became extremely deep rooted.


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