choose between two alternatives—conversion or death. Hindus came
under the category of the kafirs. When Muhammad bin Qasim
conquered Sind, he found it impractical to either convert all Hindus to
Islam or put them to death. Therefore, with the permission of the
khalifa, he accepted Hindus as zimmis. The Turks could find a ready
made solution thus; with the Arab conquest of Sind, a new age began
in the policy of the Islamic states towards the non-Muslims.
• The Arab conquest also led to the transmission of Indian culture to the
Islamic world, and from there to Europe through the Arabs. The
Arabs learnt what now goes by the name of Arabic numerical’ from
the Indians. The Arabs also profited from astrology and science of
medicine of the Indians.
Mahmud’s invasions of India commenced in AD 1000, when he captured
some forts near Lamghan. In 1001 he defeated Jayapala, the Hindu Shahi
ruler, in a battle near Peshawar. Jayapala was succeeded by his son,
Anandapala. After eight years Mahmud crossed the Indus again and defeated
Anandapala, Jayapala’s successor, at Waihind in 1009. Mahmud’s repeated
invasions of the Punjab and eastern Rajasthan destroyed Rajput resistance. In
1025-26 he set out on his famous expedition to Somanatha in Gujarat. Bhima
I, the Chalukya ruler of Anhilwara, offered no resistance, and the temple was
Mahmud was extremely generous to only those poets who composed
glowing eulogies on him, but other learned men were given a raw deal.
Scientists in particular, such as Al-Beruni who was taken captive after the fall
of Khwarazmshah in 1017, were given little encouragement. Even Firdausi,
who completed the Shah Namah in 1010, was not adequately rewarded.
Mahmud’s Background and His Life
• Subuktagin (a Turkish slave from Central Asia) had seized on the
decline of the realm of the Saminides to conquer in 977 AD, a large
territory which covered most of Central Persia and had its eastern
boundary at the Indus.