Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/117

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

mahmOd OF GIIAZNI. 113 height of the Muhammadan power, the Hindu princes paid tribute, and sent agents to the imperial court. But even this modified supremacy of the Mughal Empire of Delhi did not last for one and a half centuries (1560-1707). Before the end of that brief period, the Hindus had again begun the work of re- conquest. The Hindu chivalry of Rajputana was closing in upon Delhi from the south-east ; the religious confederation of the Sikhs was growing into a military power on the north-west. The Marithas, who combined the fighting powers of the Hindu low-castes with the statesmanship of the Brahmans, had begun to subject the Muhammadan kingdoms in Southern India to tribute. So far as can now be estimated, the advance of the English power in the last century alone saved the Mughal Empire from reverting to the Hindus. First Tiirki Invasions — Subuktigfn, 977 A. D. — The first collision between Hinduism and Islam on the Punjab frontier was the act of the Hindus. In 977, Jaipal, the Hindu Chief of Lahore, annoyed by Afghan raids, led his troops through the mountains against the Muhammadan kingdom of Ghazni, in Afghanistan. Subuktigfn, the Ghaznivide prince, after severe fighting, took advantage of a hurricane to cut off the retreat of the Hindus through the pass. He allowed them, however, to return to India, on the surrender of fifty elephants, and the promise of one million dirhams (about ^25,000). Tradition relates how Jaipal, having regained his capital, was counselled by the Br&h- mans standing at his right hand not to disgrace himself by paying ransom to a barbarian; while his nobles and warrior Chiefs, standing at his left, implored him to keep faith. In the end, Subuktigin swept through the hills to enforce his ransom, defeated Jaipal, and stationed an Afghan officer with 10,000 horse to garrison Peshiwar (977). Subuktigin was soon after- wards called away to fight in Central Asia, and his Indian raid left behind it only this Peshawar outpost. But henceforth the Afghans held both ends of the Khaibar pass. Mahmiid of G-hazni, 1001-1030.— In 997, Subuktigfn died, and was succeeded by his son, Mahmud of Ghaznf, aged sixteen. This valiant monarch reigned for thirty-three years, and extended his father's little Afghdn kingdom into a great