His capital was at Ghazni to the south of
     possessed an enormous power base which he then extended very
     rapidly. Mahmud succeeded his father in 997 and extended his
     patrimonial ambition in all directions.
  •  He conquered Afghanistan and Persia, obtained the title Yamin al-
     Daula (Right Hand of the State) from the Caliph, and took tribute
     from local rulers in seventeen raids across India. Mahmud defeated
     Hindu Sahis; then he sacked Mathura and Kanyakubja; and, in 1025-
     26, he sacked the Somanatha temple in Gujarat.
  •  His deeds became legendary. They were memorialised, often
     fancifully, by generations of admirers and detractors who bestowed
     upon him everlasting fame for his pillage, plunder, and murder of
     heretics and infidels, including Muslims and non-Muslims. He
     became symbolic in cultural politics.
  •  In the fourteenth century, two Sunni authors, Barani and Isami—
     writing in Delhi and in the Deccan Bahmani kingdom, respectively—
     praised Mahmud as an ideal Muslim ruler because he persecuted rival
     Muslim sects of Shias and Ismailis, as well as non-believers. Mahmud
     of Ghazni also used some of his wealth to support Al-Biruni, the
     master geographer, who compiled a brilliant account of medieval
     India using material provided by his Ghaznavi patrons.
Course of Mahmud’s Campaigns
  •  Mahmud’s Indian campaigns invariably began in the dry season; his
     return to Afghanistan was always made before the monsoon rains
     filled the rivers of the Punjab, which would have cut off his route
     while his troops were loaded with loot.
  •  In the year 1000 AD, the more or less subtle balance of power in
     northern India was shattered when Mahmud of Ghazni waged a war
     of destruction and plunder against India. From that date until 1025 AD,
     he launched a total of 17 campaigns of this sort and captured places as
     far distant as Kanauj and Saurashtra.
  •  The Hindushahi dynasty ruling the territory around the Hindukush
     mountains was the first to feel the pressure of the Ghaznavides whilst
     still ruled by Mahmud’s father. But the kings of this dynasty managed