The Progress of the Arabs in Sind.

From faith in Firishta, who has been followed exclusively by our modern historians, it has been usual to consider that the con­quest of Sind was effected by only six thousand men, who, by some misapprehension of the original, are wrongly stated to be Assyrians. The more correct statement, given by our Arab authorities, shows that, independent of an advanced guard under Abú-l Aswad Jaham, which was ordered to join Muhammad Kásim on the borders of Sind, there were six thousand picked cavalry from Syria and 'Irák, six thousand armed camel-riders, thoroughly equipped for military operations, with a baggage train of three thousand Bactrian camels, which, however, Mír Ma'súm converts into three thousand infantry. In Makrán, Muhammad Kásim was joined by the governor, Muham­mad Hárún, with other reinforcements; and five catapults, together with the necessary ammunition, were transported by sea to Debal. The number of men conveyed by the naval squadron may be esti­mated by the fact, that we find one catapult alone requiring no less than five hundred men to work it. These heavy machines had been used by the Prophet in the siege of Táif, and had done effective service only a few years before at Damascus and Mecca, as well as in the re-conquest of northern Africa; but they were so pon­derous that they could be rarely used, except where the means of transport by water existed, or but a short distance by land had to be traversed. Hence Kutaiba, in his campaign beyond the Oxus, was often compelled to regret that a long and tedious land-carriage deprived him of the advantage of these implements, which were nearly indispensable in the operations in which he was engaged.

Besides these Arab troops, we find the Jats and Meds enlisting under Muhammad Kásim's banners, which, independent of its moral effect in dividing national sympathies, and relaxing the unanimity of defence against foreign aggression, must have been of incalculable benefit to him, in his disproportionate excess of cavalry, which could be of but little service in a country intersected by rivers, swamps, and canals.

This desertion of the native princes was doubtless occasioned by the severity with which they had treated the Jats and Lohánas upon the capture of Bráhmanábád. The inhibition of riding on saddles and wearing fine clothes, the baring the head, the accompaniment of a dog, the drawing of and hewing wood for the royal kitchen, were more suited to Musulmán intolerance than the mild sway of Hindúism; and accordingly, after the conqueror's first acquisitions, we find him so indifferent about retaining the good will of his allies, that he imposed the same conditions upon them, which he enforced with even greater stringency than his predecessors.

After the news of Muhammad Kásim's success reached Damascus, he was joined by other troops and adventurers eager for plunder and proselytism; insomuch that when he left Multán, for the pur­pose of proceeding to Dípálpúr and the north, we find it stated in the Tárikh-i Sind and Tuhfatu-l Kirám, that he had no less than 50,000 men marching under his standard, besides those whom he had left in the forts and garrisons of Sind. Hence we may see, that paucity of numbers was by no means so much against the chance of Muham­mad Kásim's success as has hitherto been supposed.*

There is no occasion here to follow this conqueror through all the rapid stages of his successful career. These will be found fully set forth in the translations from the Chach-náma and Futúhu-l Buldán, which furnish details hitherto wanting in the authorities accessible to us. Abú-l Fidá and Abú-l Faraj tell us merely that Hind was conquered by Muhammad Kásim in the year 94 H. Ibn Kutaiba, ascribes the conquest to 93 H., but gives no particulars. Elmacin (Al Makín) only tells us that Hind and Sind were conquered, and that King Dáhir was slain by the Musulmáns, and had his head cut off; and Weil gives the following as the sum of all that the great historian Tabarí has to say upon this theme: “In the year 90 (?) Muhammad ibn Kásim, whom Hajjáj had appointed to command an army, slew the king of Sind, named Dass ibn Sassa. In the year 94, Muhammad ibn Kásim conquered India. In the year 95, the farthest India was conquered, with exception of Kíraj and Alman-dal.” * A like complaint has been made of the meagreness of our modern writers with respect to this interesting period of Indian history, but without just cause, for they really had no documents to appeal to.

Though Muhammad left Shíráz in the year 92 H., he does not appear to have reached Debal till the beginning of the following year. The precise date is not mentioned, yet Hajjáj replies to the announcement of its capture, on the 20th Rajab, 93 (1st May, 712 A.D.); so, as news between Sind and the capital is said to have been conveyed in seven days, the fall of Debal may be dated in the beginning of that month.*

After the conquest of the capital Alor, in Ramazán of the same year, the Futúhu-l Buldán carries him no further than Multán, from which place he returns on hearing of Hajjáj's death; but the Chach-náma takes him to the very foot of the Kashmír hills, to the part where the Jhelam debouches from the mountains, and forms the streams and islands which cannot fail to strike the traveller with the minute correctness of Quintus Curtius, in describing (viii. 45) the scene of Alexander's decisive victory over Porus, after passing the Hydaspes. In the Chach-náma, the place is called Panj-máhiát, or “The Five Waters,”—a miniature Panjáb, in short (supra, p. 144). It was here that Chach fixed the boundary of Sind and Kashmír; and the planting of fir-trees, to mark the site, shows how elevated a spot these conquerors had reached in their northern progress.

The balance of authority is perhaps in favour of Jalálpúr, as the place of Alexander's crossing the Hydaspes: argument and ocular demonstration conclusively decide in favour of the upper passage; but we need not discuss the point further. The literature of the question may be ascertained by consulting the references in the note.*

The Khalif Walíd died six months after Hajjáj, in Jamáda I. A.H. 96—A.D. January, 715; and as Muhammad Kásim's recal was immediately consequent upon that event, he must have remained altogether about three years and a quarter in Sind and the Panjáb.

Our authorities differ respecting the mode of Muhammad Kásim's death; but it must be admitted that there is much more probability in the statement of the Futúhu-l Buldán than in that of the Chach-náma , which is followed by all the later writers. The former states that he was seized, fettered, imprisoned, and tortured to death with the Khalif Sulaiman's sanction; the latter, that the two daughters of Dáhir, who had been sent to the capital for the Khalif's haram, complained that they had already been violated by their father's conqueror,—upon which, Walíd, in a fit of wrath, ordered that he should be sewn up in a raw cow-hide, and so transmitted to Damas­cus. When his body was exhibited to the girls, they declared that their assertion was untrue, and that they had uttered it merely to be avenged on the destroyer of their family and country. The tale goes on to say, that the capricious tyrant, in an agony of remorse for his hasty conduct, ordered them to be immured alive. Others say they were tied to horses' tails, and so dragged about the city.* The whole story certainly savours more of romance than reality, but the reason which has been advanced against it—namely, that the sewing up in a hide was a Tátár mode of punishment, and not Arab—constitutes no valid objection; for, though it undoubtedly was practised by the Tátárs—as when the savage Hulákú murdered the last Khalif of Baghdád—yet an earlier example might have been discovered in the Arab annals. Even before the time of the Sind conquest, we find the adherents of the first Mu'áwiya enclosing the body of the governor of Egypt in the carcass of an ass, and burning both to ashes.* And as for the general tone of romance which runs through this version of Muhammad Kásim's death, we find a case somewhat parallel in contemporary history; for, when Músa, the conqueror of Spain, was treated with similar indignity by Sulaimán—the same relentless Khalif who persecuted the conqueror of Sind,—and was lingering in misery and exile at Mecca, the head of his son, who had been murdered at Cordova, was thrown down at his father's feet, while the tyrant's messenger taunted him in the midst of his agony and despair.*


7. Sulaimán, A.H. 96-99. A.D. 715-717.

Yazíd, who was appointed to succeed Muhammad Kásim, died eighteen days after his arrival in Sind. Habíb, the son of Muhallab, was then appointed to pursue the war in that country; for, in the interval, the princes in India had revolted, and Jaisiya, the son of Dáhir, had regained possession of Bráhmanábád. The local his­torians, indeed, tell us that, for two years after the departure of Muhammad Kásim, the natives recovered and maintained possession of the countries which had been conquered from them. Habib encamped on the banks of the Indus, and the inhabitants of Alor submitted to him, after he had defeated a tribe which opposed him in arms (p. 124).

'Ámar bin 'Abdu-lla is also mentioned as one of the Sindian governors during this reign.*

8. 'Umar II., A.H. 90-101. A.D. 717-720.

The Khalif Sulaimán, who died A.H. 99—A.D. 717, was succeeded by 'Umar bin 'Abdu-l Azíz. 'Umar addressed letters to the native princes, inviting them to embrace Islám, and to swear allegiance; proposing, as the reward of their acquiescence, that they should be allowed participation in the rights and privileges of other Musul-máns. The son of Dáhir, and many princes, assented to these pro­posals, and took Arab names. 'Amrú bin Muslim al Bahálí was the Khalif's lieutenant on this frontier, and he was successful in the invasion of several Indian provinces (p. 124).*

9. Yazíd II., A.H. 101-105. A.D. 720-724.