The part 1 of this series can be accessed here
Now let us study the history of the Islamic invasions of India and the native resistance to these invaders. We’ll start with the native fightback against the Ummayads.
Raja Dahir did his best to defend the kingdom of Sindh but the Arab general Muhammad Bin Qasim managed to defeat him and captured the kingdom.
Following the annexation of Sind, the Umayyads tried to go further east.
Nagabhata I, the founder of the Gurjara-Pratiharas, utterly defeated the Umayyad Caliphate when it tried to invade Ujjain (Records of Muslim historian – Al-Baladhuri).
Lalitaditya Muktapida, the greatest ruler of the Karkota dynasty of Kashmir, defeated the mighty Umayyad army that was sent by the Governor of Sindh – Junaid in Punjab. His empire is believed to have extended from what is modern-day Iraq to Bengal along with parts of Tibet too. The great Lalitaditya also brought learned people from the kingdoms that he conquered to his kingdom.
The battles fought between the Umayyads and the Indians came to be collectively known as the ‘Battles of Rajasthan’.
The ruler of Mewar – Bappa Rawal played a crucial role in the native war against the Umayyad invaders. He united the smaller states of Jaisalmer and Ajmer and evicted the Umayyads from Mewar. His heroics in the battles against the Arabs made him a legendary figure in Rajasthan.
The ruler of the Chalukyas — Vikramaditya II sent his best general Pulakeshin to Gujarat, to repulse the Umayyads. He succeeded in defeating them and Vikramaditya II conferred the title of Avanijanashraya (refuge of the people of the earth) on Pulakeshin in honor of his valor.
Dantidurga, the Rashtrakuta prince, was one of the heroes who participated in the native defense of India. He fought alongside the Chalukyan general Pulakeshin at Navsari, Gujarat and managed to defeat the Umayyads.
Therefore it can be said that the Arab invasion of India was an utter failure. The Arabs could only conquer Sind but were defeated when they tried to enter Rajasthan, Punjab, and Gujarat. The battles fought between the Umayyads and the Indians came to be collectively known as the ‘Battles of Rajasthan’. The Umayyad campaign of India was such a disaster that the latter Caliphs completely forbid any further raids into Indian territory to avoid losses.
That the early Indian kings played a huge part in the resistance to the Islamic invaders is abundantly clear. India managed to avoid the fate of countries like Persia and Mesopotamia whose great civilizations were utterly annihilated by the invaders from the desert.
To be continued…