Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/122

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Il8 EARLY MUHAMMADAN CONQUERORS. battle by his false teeth. The brave Rahtor Rajputs of Kanauj, with others of the Rajput clans in Northern India, quitted their homes in large bodies rather than submit to the stranger. They migrated to the regions bordering on the desert of the Indus, and there founded the military kingdoms which bear their name, Rajputana, to this day. History takes her narrative of these events from the matter-of-fact statements of the Persian annalists. But the Hindu court-bard of Prithwf Raja left behind a patriotic version of the fall of his race. His ballad-chronicle, known as the Prithwiraj Rdsau of Chand, is one of the earliest poems in Hindi. It depicts the Musalman invaders as beaten in all the battles except the last fatal one. Their leader is taken prisoner by the Hindus, and released for a heavy ransom. But the quarrels of the Chiefs ruined the Hindu cause. Muhammadan Conquest of Bengal, 1203. — Setting aside these patriotic songs, Benares and Gwalior mark the south- western limits of Muhammad of Ghor's own advance. But his general, Bakhtiyar Khiljf, conquered Behar in 1199, and Lower Bengal down to the delta in 1203. On the approach of the Musalmans, the Brahmans advised Lakshman Sen, the Hindu King of Bengal, to remove his capital from Nadiya, to some more distant city. But the prince, a religious old man of eighty, could not make up his mind, until the Afghan general had seized his capital, and burst into the palace one day while His Majesty was at dinner. The monarch slipped out by a back door with- out having time to put en his shoes, and fled to Purf in Orissa, where he spent his remaining days in the service of the god Jagannath. Meanwhile the Sultan, Muhammad of Ghor, divided his time between campaigns in Afghanistan and Indian invasions. Ghor was his capital, and he had little time to consolidate his Indian conquests. Even in the Punjab, the tribes were defeated rather than subdued. In 1203, the Ghakkars issued from their mountains, took Lahore, and devastated the whole Province. In 1206, a party of the same clan swam the Indus, on the bank of which the Afghan camp was pitched, and stabbed the Sultan while asleep in his tent. Muhammad of Ghor's Work in India. — Muhammad of Ghor was no religious knight-errant of Islam like Mahmiid of