V.I (a) and (b). Northern India and Adjacent Areas in the Time of the Ghūrids and the Mamlūks, c. A.D. 1170–1290
The Ghūrids (Shansabānīs) rose to power after the decline of the Ghaznavids. The senior branch of the family was sta- tioned at Fīrūzkūh and ruled over the area of Ghur near the center of modern Afghanistan, expecting westward expansion after the capture of Herat about 1175. Another branch as- sumed importance at Ghazni. That city was conquered by them in 1173 and formed a base for their Indian exploits, which were to prove far more enduring. A third branch, with its seat at Bāmiyān, extended its jurisdiction over Tukharistan, Badakhshan, and the area up to the bank of the Jihūn (Oxus). Ghūrid ambitions in the north and the west, however, were frustrated by their decisive defeat in 1204 at Andkhud at the hands of the Karā Khitāi, who dominated a vast region to the east of the Jaxartes (map (b)).
The Indian campaigns were led by Muhammad Shihāb ud- dīn (later entitled Mu'izz ud-dīn) bin Sam, popularly known as Muhammad Ghūrī, who after marching from Ghazni through the Gumal Pass, conquered Multan in 1175 and Uch in the following year. Since his campaign in 1178 against the Cau- lukyas of Gujarat was unsuccessful, he turned northward toward Peshawar and Lahore, which he annexed in 1186 after expelling the last Ghaznavid ruler. A raid against Debul in 1182 had resulted in his establishing his supremacy over Sind. In 1190–91 he occupied Tabarhinda (Bhatinda), which forced a clash with the Cāhamāna ruler, P&rtod;thvīrāja, leading to two battles at Tarain.2 The first, fought in 1191, resulted in the Ghūrī's defeat; but the second, in 1192, was a significant vic- tory for him and laid a foundation for durable Turkish rule in India. The Ghūrids were then able to extend their hold over Delhi and Ajmer, and this was followed by further conquests and consolidation. They pacified the Doab and, with the de- feat and elimination of the Gāha&dtod;avālas, annexed the Gan- getic Plain as far east as Banāras. South of the Plain, Bayana, Gwaliyār, Mahoba, Kalinjar, and Khajuraho were also ac- quired. The most daring venture was, however, the conquest of Bihar and part of Bengal, including its capital, Nādia, by a Turkish general, Bakhtyār Khaljī, in 1199–1200. This was the beginning of Muslim settlement in Bengal, which was in time to become an area with a Muslim majority population, thus giving rise to the establishment of East Pakistan and later Bangladesh. Nagaur and Malwa are also believed to have be- come Turkish dependencies; but imperial control was not really effective over all areas.
After Muhammad Ghūrī's death in 1206, his Indian viceroy Qutb ud-dīn Aibak became an independent ruler and founded the Sultanate of Delhi. Even though his authority was formally recognized by the new Ghūrid ruler, who also conferred on him an investiture for ruling over India,3 his position was chal- lenged by two other Ghūrid deputies, one in Ghazni and the other in Sind; but both of them were eventually disposed of under Sultan Iltutmish (1211–36).
After the first flush of Turkish success in northern India and the consolidation there of Mamlūk rule (see footnote 3), the pace of their expansion slowed considerably (map (b)). Though numerous expeditions were dispatched in various di- rections, most notably against the Paramāras of Malwa, the Senas of Bengal, the Eastern Ga&ndot;gas of Orissa, and Kāmarūpa (Assam), new territorial acquisitions were modest in all re- gions but Bengal. In that quarter the successor of the Ghūrid general Bakhtyār Khaljī assumed independence in 1211, and he and later rulers often campaigned on their own behalf in Orissa and Assam. Only for brief periods were they under the sultanate between 1225 and 1287. To the west, various Rajput houses related to the defeated Cāhamānas were intermittently in a state of rebellion throughout the 13th century.
The sultanate in its early years faced serious external dan-
gers. The Khwārazm Shāhs of Khīwa, originally protégés of
the Saljūqs, had risen to sovereign power about the middle of
the 12th century and had gradually extended their sway over
the greater part of Persia, Bukhara, Samarkand, and Utrār. In
1214 they captured Ghazni, absorbed the Ghūrid lands, and
extinguished that short-lived dynasty (map (b)). Their prog-
ress was, however, soon cut short by the then rapidly rising
power of the Mongols, and Jalāl ud-dīn Khwārazm Shāh, flee-
ing before Chingiz Khān, reached Lahore in 1221. But Sultan
Iltutmish of Delhi refused to give him asylum, for fear that
doing so would bring down on himself and the country the
wrath of the Mongols. Further Mongol raids nevertheless con-
tinued from time to time against Lahore, Multan, and upper
Sind, and in 1285 Prince Muhammad, son of Sultan Balban
Little has been said above about the surviving Hindu powers on the periphery of the sultanate in northern India and of those farther to the south. Some of the important particulars are pro- vided on map (a) itself, and others will be furnished on map V.2 (b) and in the text relating to it.
Sources (in addition to those in the General Bibliography)
&Htod;amd Allāh Mustawfī Qazvīnī; Hasan Nizāmī; Ibn al-Athīr; 'I&stod;āmī; Joveyni; Minhāj Sirāj Jūzjānī; Va&stod;&stod;āf; Ziyā' al-dīn Baranī.
M. 'Aziz A&htod;mad (1949); A. B. M. Habibullah (1961); K. R. Qanungo (1960); H. C. Ray (1931, 1936); J. Sarkar, ed. (1948); J. Tod (1920).
V.1 (c). The Convergence of East and West, c. 1200–1400
The first quarter of the 13th century witnessed in Central Asia the convergence of two great expansionist movements, that of the Mongols, sweeping westward from the steppes of Mongolia, and that of the followers of Islam, who, while al- ready established in Turkestan, were spreading from that re- gion into northern India. Map V.1 (c) illustrates the growth of both the Mongol and the Islamic domains, not only in the regions in which they overlapped, but also across the entire breadth of the Old World in Asia, Europe, and Africa. The spread—and occasional contraction—of Islam is shown for the periods before and since the year 1200 (for the details of growth to the year 1050, see plate IV.3), while that of the Mongols is shown up to and since the death of Chingiz Khān.
Chingiz Khān, named Temujin at birth in c. 1155, became the ruler of one of many Mongol tribes in c. 1196 and suc- ceeded by 1206 in conquering many neighboring tribes and forging a powerful Mongol confederacy. Shortly thereafter he defeated the Ch'in Empire of China and occupied much of its territory. The rapidity of the subsequent expansion of Mongol power was without precedent in history. The arrows on the map depicting the major campaigns led by Chingiz Khān and his generals provide no more than a generalized idea of their incessant military activity. Their military discipline, attention to communications, and mastery of cavalry warfare enabled them to traverse immense distances in relatively little time and to strike decisively out of the Eurasian steppes into the more settled lands on their periphery. Under Chingiz the Mongols gained control of a broad area from the Pacific to the Caspian Sea and carried out raiding expeditions through Persia and the Caucasus deep into southern Russia. As the Mongol domains expanded they absorbed large areas with an ethnically kindred Turkish population and enlisted in their cause hordes of will- ing Turks. In varying degrees the identities of the two peoples were merged in different parts of Asia so that subsequently, in many areas, no clear distinction between them could be made. On Chingiz's death his empire was divided among his sons and grandsons into four ulus (khanates) which continued to ex- pand southward and westward. By the time of their apogee, c. 1300, the Mongols collectively controlled a land empire greater in size than any other the world has ever known.
In our discussion of map V.1 (a) we noted that Chingiz Khān supplanted the rule of the Khwārazm Shāhs in Central Asia by 1221. Although he pursued Jalāl ud-dīn Khwārazm Shāh to the banks of the Indus, he did not follow through on his grand design of marching through northern India to reenter Mongolia by way of Tibet. He had, however, performed the great task of breaking down the barriers between Eastern, Cen- tral and Western Asia, where important new developments were to take place under his successors.
Chingiz Khān's decision to depart from the Indus probably saved the Delhi Sultanate from two calamities: that which he would himself have visited upon it and the other which was obviously planned for it by the Khwārazm Shāh, who, having wiped out the Ghūrid Empire, would have sought to dislodge their successors from India in much the same way that the Ghūrids had earlier put an end to Ghaznavid power in the Punjab. Instead, the fugitive Sultan Jalāl ud-dīn actually helped Iltutmish in overcoming another rival, Nāsir ud-dīn Qubācha, whom he drove out of the Sind Sāgar Doab.
Yet another important effect of the Mongol advance into Central and Western Asia was the migration of numerous Mus- lim scholars and Sufi saints into India, where they settled in different parts of the country. They not only promoted the study of literature and sciences, but also spread the message of Islam throughout the subcontinent. A number of them went to Bengal and from there carried on their missionary activities in Malaysia and other parts of Southeast Asia.4
The principal Mongol succession states were (a) the Great (Supreme) Khanate, ruling in China until 1320; (b) the Cha- ghatāi Khanate of Trans-Oxiana (united only until c. 1301); (c) the Western Kipchāk Khanate (the Golden Horde), ruling in western Siberia and eastern Russia until 1502; (d) the East- ern Kipchāk Khanate (White Horde), originally ruling be- tween the Western Kipchāks and the Chaghatāis and succeed- ing to the sovereignty of the Golden Horde in 1380 (after which the term White Horde was little used); and (e) the Īl Khanate, established in 1256 as an offshoot of the Great Khan- ate and ruling in Persia until 1353. In all of these states a di- versity of religions was present. Nestorian Christianity, for example, had spread widely through Asia, allegedly being in- troduced into Shensi province of China as early as A.D. 636. (The map shows the distribution of Nestorian metropolitan sees.) But over much of the area of Mongol conquest a large part of the population was already Muslim and, in the latter half of the 13th or in the early 14th century, the Mongol rulers of each of the khanates, save for the Great Khanate itself, con- verted to Islam. As their conquests continued, so did the area over which Islam came to be the dominant faith.
Although the Chaghatāi Khanate proved to be the most short-lived and disunited of the states named above, it was to give rise to a figure whose own meteoric career was to have a major impact on the history of India and whose progeny were to radically alter its course. That figure was the mighty con- queror Tīmūr; and the Tīmūrid house, popularly known as the "Mughals" (a variant form of Mongols) was later to provide India with its most illustrious Muslim dynasty. Although our map shows the limits of Tīmūr's empire at its zenith, we shall defer a discussion of Tīmūr until the text accompanying plate V.3.
A characteristic feature of the lands under Mongol rule dur- ing the 13th century was their hospitality to strangers and the freedom of travel and social intercourse that was enjoyed therein. This was particularly true in the domains of the Great Khān. It is therefore not surprising that Christian missionary activities should have been vigorously pursued in those regions, that Roman Catholic bishoprics and even archbishoprics (see map) should have been established at a number of centers, and that a number of papal emissaries should have been sent to the Mongol Court of Karākorum, among them the Franciscans Giovanni de Piano Carpini (1245–47) and Wilhelm von Ru- bruck (1253–55). It was the hope of the papacy, in sending these missions, to forge a Christian-Mongol alliance against Islam, the Crusades having by then been under way for more than one and a half centuries. The missions failed totally in their diplomatic purposes and also in their aim of converting the Great Khān to Christianity. Although a number of influ- ential Mongols did in fact become Christian (in addition to the earlier Nestorian converts), the religion that ultimately gained the widest allegiance was Buddhism, which was brought to Mongolia after the Mongol absorption of Tibet in the mid- 13th century. (Kublai Khān himself was converted to that faith by the head of the Sakya [Sa-skya] sect and subsequently sent the Sakya leader back to Tibet to serve as its first Lama ruler.)
The most important outcome of the Christian missions, then, was that they transmitted westward a great deal of knowledge of Asia and whetted Western appetites for trade with the East. While in no case was India the principal object of papal missions, several emissaries nevertheless did sojourn there in the late 13th and 14th centuries (see end cover Chro- nology of South Asia, columns 1 and 5) and added to the West's knowledge of that country. Among other travelers who furthered Western knowledge of Asia in general and of India in particular, the two most celebrated were the Venetian Marco Polo (1254–1324) and the Moroccan Ibn Batūta (1304–57). The routes of both of these travelers are depicted on our map.
In 1271 Marco Polo set out with his father for Cathay, which they reached in 1275. He met Kublai Khān at his sum- mer resort, Kaiping-fu, and also at Shang-tu near Peking. Polo entered the service of the Khān, who sent him to distant prov- inces as a visiting administrator. On some of these journeys it is probable that he visited the southern states of India. He started back from China in 1292, accompanying the escort of a Chinese bride for the Persian Īl-Khān. After arriving at Sri Lanka he is believed to have touched the Tamil Nadu coast and thereafter, sailing via India's western coast, he reached Hormuz on the Persian Gulf, from whence he came overland to Trebizond on the Black Sea, returning to Venice in 1295. The following year he was taken prisoner in a war with Genoa and was said to have dictated the account of his travels to a fellow prisoner, Rustician of Pisa, during his three years of captivity.
Ibn Batūta, whose full name was Sharf ud-dīn Muhammad bin 'Abdullah, set out in 1325 from his home city of Tangier to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina. The trip, however, proved to be only the beginning of a long journey that ended after covering more than 75,000 miles. He visited several places in North Africa and the Middle East and entered India through Kabul in 1333, arriving at Delhi in the following