Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/120

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Il6 EARLY MUHAMMADAN CONQUERORS. meaning a golden one, for each verse on its completion. After thirty years of labour, the poet claimed his reward. But the Sultan, finding that the poem had run to 60,000 verses, offered him 60,000 silver dirhams, instead ofdirhams of gold. Ferdousi retired in disgust from the court, and wrote a bitter satire, which to this day tells the story of the alleged base birth of the monarch. Mahmiid forgave the satire, but remembered the great epic, and, repenting of his meanness, sent 100,000 golden dirhams to the poet. The bounty came too late ; for, according to the legend, as the royal messengers bearing the bags of gold entered one gate of Ferdousi's city, the poet's corpse was being borne out by another. House of Ghor, 1152-1186. — During a century and a half the Punjab remained under Mahmiid's successors as an Afghan Musalman Province in India. There had long been a feud between the Afghan towns of Ghor and Ghaznf. Mahmud subdued Ghor in 1010; but about 1051 the Ghor chief captured Ghaznf and dragged its principal men to his own capital, where he cut their throats, and used their blood in making mortar for the fortifications. After various reprisals, Ghor finally triumphed over Ghaznf in n 52; and Khusru, the last of Mahmiid's line, fled to Lahore, the capital of his outlying Indian territory. In 1 186 this also was wrested from him; and the Ghor prince Sbahab-ud-dfn, better known as Muhammad of Ghor, began the conquest of India on his own account. But each of the Hindu principalities fought hard, and some of them still survive, seven centuries after the torrent of Afghan invasion swept over their heads. Hindu Resistance to Muhammad of Ghor, 1191. — On his first expedition towards Delhi in 1191, Muhammad of Ghor was utterly defeated by the Hindus at Thaneswar in the Punjab, badly wounded, and barely escaped with his life. His scattered hosts were chased for forty miles. But he gathered together the wreck of his army at Lahore, and, aided by new hordes from Afghanistan, again marched into Hindustan in 1193. Family quarrels among the Rajputs prevented a united effort against him. The cities of Delhi and Kanauj stand forth as the centres of rival Hindu monarchies, each of which claimed the first place