collection of hauma hamiddha's scattered posts

Posts tagged ‘khilji’

The Northern Alliance and history repeating itself

Following was written in Nov. 2001:

The current events in A’stan have an uncanny resemblance to some very
less known events in Central Asia that affected India’s history in a
significant way. I just felt that I must post this as there may be
lessons to be learnt from this in today’s context. After having
smashed many Indian rulers, Shihab-ad-Din Muhammad Ghori, the Afghan
Sultan, decided to settle scores with his Northern neighbor Muhammad
Shah of Khwarizm. In 1204 AD Ghori marched on Muhmamad Shah with a
large force to seize territory north of the Amu Darya. His forces
were strengthened by the mercenaries and cannon-fodder (there were no
cannons then) he had acquired from the Ghaznavid territory of Punjab
after he had taken over that. Compare this with the struggle between
TaliPaks and the NA of today (Literally the descendents of these
respective parties). Ghori routed Shah on the banks of the Amu Darya
and marched into Khwarizm. The great Mongol ruler, the Ghur-Khan of
the Qara-Kitai, had excuses to open hostilities with the Moslem Ghori
as his troops had executed buddhist merchants (In return the Ghur-Khan
had some Mullahs nailed to their mosque doors). The Khwarizm Shah
Muhammad who was his vassal saw a great opportunity in this, and
humbly approached his suzerain, the Ghur-Khan, to make common cause
against the Afghan Sultan Ghori who was now marching straight into
Central Asia (A superpower, and the NA make an alliance!). The
Qara-Kitaian Mongol cavalry was sent forth under their able commander
Tayanku-Taraz who defeated Mhd. Ghori near Hezarasp and Shah got to
occupy the territory. Then, the Mongol cavalry trashed Ghori in a big
way in Andkhoi, west of Balkh and sent him fleeing into India with all
his entourage. Here, he was of course killed by the the Khokars in
1206. Soon aided by the Mongol suzerain of his, Muhammad Shah seized
most of A’tan starting from Herat, then Ghor and finally Ghazni. This
ironically drove the whole Ghorid clique into India to take shelter in
Delhi with their agent Qutub-ad-Din, who invited them with open hands
and used them extensively in India in war against the infidels. The
most prominent of the hordes that migrated in this event was the
Khalji horde- one of the biggest nightmares we have ever seen in our

The fleeing TaliPaks of today being redirected to India is a real
dangeras the Ghorid agents in Delhi. Also note the western press until
a few days ago was waxing eloquently about the Afghani invincibility.
The true superpowers of the past ages- the Mongols on two occassions
and Timur-i-lang, have thrashed them badly. So after all history is
repeating itself- is it not ironical that even the USA has to follow
the footsteps of the Kha’Khans of yore (from Baghdad to Balkh)!

Structure and weapons of the Khalji army

Bughra Khan gives the structure of the Khalji army as following the classical
Altaic decimal pattern. The titles are different
though the structure is identical to that of Chingiz Kha’Khan’s or the great
Uighur Khan ‘s army:

1horseman is a sipahi
10 horsemen=sarkhail
10 sarkhails=sipahsAlAr
10 sipahsAlAr=amIr
10 amIrs=maliq
10 maliqs=khan

Each sipahi had: a horse armor and body armor with helmet all made of Indian
-a long sword and a short sword
-a mace (like hindu weapon called parigha not the like the hindu gada)
-a battle axe (like the hindu paTTishi rather than hindu parashu)
-a dagger (like the hindu vrishchika)
-a composite bow. The Khaljis frequently used arrows poisoned with dung in their
jihads on the infidels.

They used 3 kinds of launchers
-manjniq: this was mangonel that hurled ball like a giant catapult.
-arrAdA: a giant crossbow also called a ballista and was the favorite Altaic
-maghrabI: a trebuchet for launching giant projectiles.

The Khalji army had the traditional Turko-Mongol review of man and horse that
lasted a week or fortnight under the
direction of the Sultan himself. At their peak the Khaljis commanded an army
with 475000 horsemen in a permanant
weaponized state.

I would like to bring to the attention of detractors that the Hindu rulers of
the time simply never had that magnitude of a
cavalry. Large Hindu cavalries like that of the great harshavardhana were around
100000. Secondly, note that the Ghazi
was armed to teeth and Alla-ud-din ensured that they were maintained well. The
Hindu soldier typically just carried two
swords or sometimes just a sword. Most Hindu archers were on foot and could not
effectively holdout against a Ghazi
charge. The Hindu defensive war was also blunted with the introduction of the
Central Asian ballistics as a result of
Chingiz’s revolution. I shall illustrate all these points but considering in
detail a single Jihad of Jalal-ud-din by
analyzing the military points.

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