112 EARLY MUHAMMADAN CONQUERORS. under three great semi-Hindu or semi-Buddhistic over-lords represented by the Chera, Chola, and Pandya dynasties. Hindu Power of Resistance. — Each of these groups of kingdoms, alike in the north and in the south, had a certain power of coherence to oppose to a foreign invader ; while the large number of the groups and units rendered conquest a very tedious process. For even when the over-lord or central authority was vanquished, the separate groups and units had to be defeated in detail ; and each supplied a nucleus for sub- sequent revolt. We have seen how the brilliant attempt in 711, to found a lasting Muhammadan dynasty in Sind, failed. Three centuries later, the utmost efforts of a series of Musalman invaders from the north-west only succeeded in annexing a small portion of the frontier Punjab Provinces, between 977 and 1 1 76 a.d. The Hindu power in Southern India was not com- pletely broken till the battle of Talikot in 1565 ; and within a hundred years, in 1650, the great Hindu revival had commenced, which, under the form of the Maratha Confederacy, was destined to break up the Mughal Empire in India. That empire, even in the north of India, was only consolidated by Akbar's policy of incorporating Hindu Chiefs and statesmen into his government (1556-1605). Up to Akbar's time, and during the earlier years of his reign, a series of Hindu or Rajput wars had challenged the Muhammadan supremacy. In less than two centuries after his death, the Mughal successor of Akbar was a puppet and a prisoner in the hands of the Hindu Marithas at Delhi. Muhammadan Conquests only Partial and Tem- porary. — The popular notion that India fell an easy prey to the Musalmans is opposed to the historical facts. Muhammadan rule in India consists of a series of invasions and partial con- quests, during eleven centuries, from Usman's raid about 647 a.d. to Ahmad Shah's tempest of devastation in 1761. They represent in Indian history the overflow of the tribes and peoples of Central Asia to the south-east ; as the Huns, Turks, and various Tartar tribes disclose in early European annals the westward movements from the same great breeding-ground of nations. At no time was Islam triumphant throughout all India. Hindu dynasties always ruled over a large area. At the
Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/116
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