collection of hauma hamiddha's scattered posts

Posts tagged ‘mongols’

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)!

Amir Khusroo the sUfi’s Jihadist prose

Some of Amir Khusroo’s florid prose describing the deeds of his patron Alla-ad-din of vile memory from khazain-ul-futuh . To be more precise his commander Maliq Naib Barbeq (from the Hindustani translation using E&D of course as a template):


“The tongue of the sword of the Khalifa of the time, which is the tongue of the flame of Islam, has imparted light to the entire darkness of Hindustan by the illumination of its guidance. And on one side an iron wall of royal swords has been raised before the infidel Magog-like Mongols, so that entire Allah-deserted people drew their feet within their skirts amongst the hills of Ghazni, and even their frontline-arrows did not have strength enough to reach into Sind. On the other hand so much dust arose from the battered temple of Somnath that even the sea was not able to lay it, and on the right hand and on the left hand the army of the most exhalted Alla-ad-din Khalji has conquered from sea to sea, and several capitals of the gods of the Hindus, in which the worship of Shaitan has prevailed since the time of the Djinns, have been demolished. All these impurities of the Kaffrs have been cleansed by the exhalted Sultan’s destruction of idols and temples, beginning with his first jihad against Devagiri, so that the flames of the light of the Shariat illumine all these filthy Kaffr lands, and places for the callers of Namaz are exalted on high, and prayers are read in Masjids. Allah be praised!”


Points to note:

-The Mongols were as Kaffr as the Hindus

-Amir Khusroo imagines a great favor being done to India by the Islamists in cleaning the land of Shaitanism. This exactly what Mohammed Habib, whose clansmen are adored by some, was trying to state. The Islamists were curing India of its satanic practices and replacing it with the much welcome brotherhood and peace.

-The “flames of Shariat illuminating the land”: This is exactly what the Maulana in the madrassa sees as an ideal- not the Indian constitution.


Another excerpt on Maliq Kafar’s sack of rAmeshvaraM in TN.


“The canopy was covered with gems and it was the holy place of the Hindus, which the Maliq dug up completely from its foundations, and the heads of the Brahmins and Kaffrs danced from their necks and met the ground at their feet, and blood flowed in rivers. The stone idols called Linga Mahadeva, that been established at that place at for a long time were copulating sex organs of kaffrs. There were 12 of these, up to this time, which the kick of the horse of Islam had not yet broken. The Momins destroyed all the Lingas, and the Hindu king Deva Narayana was struck down. The other gods who had fixed their seats were thrown so far that they reached the fort of Lanka. So much was the terror that idols of sex organs themselves would have fled had they had any legs to stand on. Much gold and valuable jewels fell into the hands of the Musalmans, who returned to the royal canopy, after executing their holy Jihad (April, 1311 A.D.)”


Point to note: The trivilization of Hindu Iconography is not recent phenomenon of the missionaries but was also carried out by the Islamist. We all know what the origin of the Linga symbol is, but note how the Islamist delights in specifically vulgarizing it.

The rise and fall of the Uighur empire

Uighurs were the most powerful of the Turkic Oghuz confedration, that included other clans such as the Khaljis. The yabghu of the Uighurs, Etmish Qutlugh Bilge, was a vassal of the Blue Turks when they were at the height of their glory under Kul Tegin and Bilge Kha’Khan. The pretender Özmish Khan seized the Blue Turk throne, three Altaic tribes, namely the Basmils from the region around modern Kucheng, the Uighurs from the region between the Kobdo and Selenga, and the Qarluqs from Eastern end of the Balkash Lake, tried to seize the empire of Mongolia. The Basmil made the first attempt by marching on Özmish Khan in AD 744; they killed him in the battle and his capital Ötuegen was captured. They sold his severed head to the Chinese Emperor Hsuan Tsung hoping to obtain patronage from China. Confident of Chinese aid the lord of the Basmil Turks declared himself Kha’khan and the supreme ruler of all Mongolia. However, the Chinese governor Shuo Fang betrayed him when the yabghus of the Uighurs and Qarluqs made common cause with each other. This huge Uighur-Qarluq horde marched on Basmils in late 744. The Basmil army was beaten thoroughly by this coalition and its Kha’Khan was beheaded. The survivors were distributed as naukers amidst the victors or sold to the Chinese, and Basmil tribe was erased off the slate of Mongolian history. The Uighurs seized Mongolia and allowed the 3 Qarluq tribes to keep the western reaches of the original Blue Turk empire. The lord of the Uighurs crowned himself as Etmish Qutlugh Bilge Köl Kha’Khan, the supreme ruler of all Altaic tribes. He founded his capital, Ordu Baligh, some distance away from Ötuegen, and close to the original capital of the first Hun Kha’Khan, Motun Tegin. The lord of Qarluqs was asked to retain the junior title, Yabghu, in deference to the dominance of the Uighurs. Soon after this Qutlugh Bilge ratified a treaty of peace and cooperation with the Chinese Emperor. Soon after this he died (747) and the empire passed to his youngest son, Kul Mayanchur Kha’Khan.

Mayanchur set up trading outposts with the Chinese where a large number of goods such as horses, yaks, camels, reindeer, fur, wool, silk jade, metals, medicines and diamonds were traded. The Uighurs used their wider network of subject tribes to become a nexus point for goods. The gains made from this trade enabled Mayanchur to embellish their capital Ordu Baligh and build a second city in their original homeland, upstream of the Selenga River. Ordu Baligh was supposed to have a duodecagonal plan with 12 iron gates allowing an entry into the walled city. Inside the city there was vast area where the elite core of the Uighur army camped in gers (tents) in the classic Turko-Mongol style. There were also numerous more permanent stalls that constituted a huge flourishing bazaar. In the center of the city there was raised mound with a huge tent topped with gold in which the kha’khan of the Uighurs held court. The descriptions from the Chinese embassy in Ordu Baligh state that the Kha’Khan wore a ceremonial saffron robe and a rimmed hat with fur ear flaps. He was surrounded by a heavily armed squadron of bodyguards, which included of some of most elite warriors in his army, and held discussions regular with his administrators and army staff. There were embassies from various Turkic tribes, Chinese, Tibetans, Indians and Arabs that called upon the Kha’Khan to negotiate trading deals. This point clearly illustrates the power the Uighurs gained by taking control of the Central Asian trading hubs. They also set up a courier service throughout Mongolia and other conquered domains. These developments allowed the Uighur reap the best of their nomadic steppe world as well as those of the settled civilizations.

In 751 the Chinese armies faced huge defeats in Talas at the hands of the Qarluqs led by yabghu Tun Bilge and the Arabs, and in the South at hands of the Thais. At this point An Lu-shan, a general whose father was an Iranian from Sogdhiana and his mother a Mongol from the tribe of the Khitans, gathered a large army of Mongols and Chinese adventurers and marched on the Tang capitals of Loyang and Changan. The Chinese emperor sent a mighty army under his Altaic general Qoshu Khan to save his throne. However, Lu-shan routed the Tang army, captured Qoshu Khan and subsequently executed him. By 755 he had captured the two Chinese capitals and crowned himself emperor. The imperialist Chinese emperor, Hsuan Tsung’s empire lay in shambles: within his lifetime had raised China to its greatest heights and now he was beaten and fled for his life to Szechwan. He died there in despair and was succeeded by his son Su-tsung. He humbly sought the aid of the Uighur Kha’Khan to relieve him from the march of An Lu-shan. Mayanchur seeing an opportunity to meddle in Chinese affairs offered to help. He came down with his Uighur cavalry and besieged Changan and forced An Lu-shan to relinquish the city. Then he attacked Loyang before Lu-shan could act and occupied. However, after having taken the city Mayanchur refused to move out and started seizing property within the city. The Chinese emperor paid him fine of gold and 20000 rolls of pure silk before he agreed to relinquish the city. He also took the Chinese princess as a wife and returned to Mongolia after receiving the promise that the Chinese would annual send him the same amount of silk and gold thenceforth. In the following year the Uighurs decided to restore the full extant of the unified Turkic empire, as under the Blue Turks, and attacked the Kirghiz to the north. The Kirghiz apparently were trying to contact the Chinese, Arabs and Tibetans for trade relationships. The Uighurs rightly saw this as a potential threat to both their military and economic dominance of central Asia. Mayanchur Kha’Khan led a great Uighur army of about 70,000 horsemen against the Kirghiz. He first raided and destroyed all the trading outposts of the Arabs and Tibetans set up in connivance with the Kirghiz. Then the Kirghiz were chased by the Uighur army towards Siberia, where a fierce encounter took place between them. The Kirghiz army of 50,000 slaughtered completely by the Uighurs, their Khan was killed and replaced by a pliant chief who assumed a junior title as a servant of the Uighurs. In 759 Mayanchur died after heavy drinking at some celebration. He was succeeded by his son Tengri Boegue, who decided to inaugurate his reign with an invasion of China. He was asked by both An Lu-shan and Su-Tsung to come to aid them. However, he decided to act as per his own agenda. On November 20th 762, the Tengri Boegue’s cavalry force of invaded China and having captured the city of Loyang, went on to massacre its population. Several people fled into two gigantic Taoist temples in the city for shelter. The Uighurs surrounded them and burnt them down and killed the fugitives by showering arrows on them. They then devastated the countryside, gathered all that they could carry, and sent off trains of booty to Mongolia. They are said to have extracted 20 cattle, 200 sheep and 300 Kgs of rice each day from the Chinese population, resulting in famine. Finally the Uighur Kha’Khan decided to leave China after forcing on the Chinese ruler an agreement where by the Chinese would trade any goods the Uighurs wanted at price set by them. Any Chinese trader passing through Central Asia also had to pay a hefty fine to Uighurs.

During his stay in China, the Kha’Khan met several Manichaeists who had fled from the from the ex-Iranian lands of Soghdiana under the onslaught of the Arab Jihad. Their syncretic religion easily accommodated his Turko-Mongol pantheon, as is, and impressed him with their cosmology and astrology. The Kha’Khan became a convert to Manichaeism and made it his state religion. He underwent a profound change like Ashoka and gave up eating meat, drinking alcohol and even banned diary products. His peaceful ways and enlightened reign brought great prosperity to Central Asia, but at home in Mongolia the ban on alcohol was not all well received. There were several complaints from the shocked pastoral peoples, unused to a life without the traditional Kumiss. The Kha’Khan’s cousin, Tun Baga Tarkhan, gained confidence of the disgruntled chiefs of the Uighur army who were disturbed by the injunction to lay down their arms. In 779 as the Kha’Khan was raptly hearing a lecture on Manichaeism in his pavilion, Alp Qutulugh led a large force of rebels who beheaded the Kha’Khan, his relatives and close followers. However, the transition was not smooth, Tun Baga faced several rebellions throughout his reign. He tried to divert the Uighur attention outwards through an invasion of Pei-ting where the Chinese general Yang Hsi-Ku was killed, and subsequently they seized Kucha. They also raided the West and grabbed the territory of the Qarluqs. Then a Uighur army led by their general El Ugesi invaded their feudatories, the White-clothed Turks (survivors of the Blue Turk tribe) and tried to annex their territory. At this point the White-clothed Turks took the help of the Tibetans and formed a firm front against the charging Uighur cavalry. The Uighurs simultaneously faced with rebellion in Mongolia and a counter-attack by the Qarluqs on their Western flank. This resulted in a massive victory for the Tibetans who advanced unstopped to take the city of Khotan. Tun Baga died in 789 leaving the Uighurs shaken on all fronts. They elected the royal Bulmish Quelug Bilge as the grand Kha’Khan and his valiant son Qut Bulmish Alp Bilge as the commander of the army. He restored order in the Uighur realm by restoring Manichaeism and adapting it to fit the tastes of the Mongolian population. He also advocated tolerance of other religious streams. The Indian ambassadors to his court obtained sanctions to construct temples in the vicinity of Khotan that had a large number of Indian vaishyas. A temple of Rudra was constructed in Dandan-uliq and temples to Indra and Buddha Vairochana in Balawaste. Wooden slabs from the former with images of Rudra and Uma survive to this date. He, however, strengthened the army and advocated the return of very aggressive military activity. He first pounded the Qarluq Turks and drove them away from his western flank.

Then in autumn of 791 sent his son to conquer the Tibetans. Seeing the massive Tibetan army of around 150,000 marching into central Asia, the Uighur prince first decided to draw them into an ambush. The Tibetans formed an alliance with the Qarluq and attacked the western Chinese city of Ling Chow. The Uighurs clamped down on them after they entered the city and slaughtered their army and took away their cattle (mainly Yaks). The Tibetans survivors were sold in the Chinese markets. The Uighur Tegin then went on to attack Pei Ting in December 791 and captured the Tibetan commander Rgyal Sum. In 792, prince Qut Bulmish led an Uighur cavalry of 50,000 to invade Tibet. The Tibetans sought the aid of the Qarluqs again, but they were beaten badly. Tens of thousands of Tibetans and Qarluqs were encircled by the Uighur archers and were nearly entirely exterminated. Then the Uighurs invaded the Tibetan-held city of Qocho and captured it easily defeating the Tibetans yet again. The Tibetans did not give up and tried to counter-attack by sending an invasive force against Kucha, but the Uighur Kha’Khan led his archers to spectacular win against them. The Tibetans tried to flee to the fort of Aqsu but here the Uighur Tegin ambushed them and the Tibetan army was massacred to man in the battle that ensued. With that the Tibetan aspirations in central Asia were smothered. Bulmish Quelug Bilge died in 795 and was succeeded till 808 by a series of his brothers. In 808 his son, the commander of the Uighur army and the hero of many battles, ascended the throne under the full dynastic name Ai Tengrida Qut Bulmish Alp Bilge Kha’Khan. He was hailed as the “celestial Kha’Khan” and led the Uighurs to their military successes. His deeds were celebrated in the stone inscriptions on the west bank of the Orkhon River in central Mongolia in Old Altaic, Middle Iranian and Chinese. He inaugurated his reign with a plundering invasion of Tibet and followed it up with the seizure of the cities of Kan Chow and Liang Chow west of the Yellow River of China. The Kha’Khan also made the Chinese Emperor build Manichaeist temples in China and threatened action in the event of their persecution. The Kha’Khan had the Iranian script formalized for the Uighur dialect and introduced the printing press in his domains. Thus, the once illiterate nomadic Altaic tribesmen made great strides in producing a range of documents on various religious and secular topics. Amidst these, a text of particular interest is an illustrated one for the worship of the Indian deities, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, Kumara and Ganapati, suggesting their incorporation into the local religion. There are also a number of illustrated texts with the Jataka tales.

In 813 the Kha’Khan led several conquering expeditions south of the Gobi Desert and across the west to TokMak near the Issyk Kul Lake. It was at this point that the news reached the Kha’Khan the Arabs were savagely persecuting the Manichaeist, and killing or converting them forcibly to Islam. At the same time he also noted that subjugated Qarluq and Tibetans were trying to make common cause. So in 820 Qut Bulmish decided to conduct a massive campaign to simultaneously destroy the Qarluqs and the Arabs. Moslems were executed in the Uighur realm in retaliation, and the horses were fattened over autumn in Mongolia in preparation for the great westward thrust. An Uighur cavalry of about 100,000 organized in 10 tuemens set out from Ordu Balig in a vast crescent-shaped formation sweeping across the steppes. The Uighurs first crossed the longitude of the Issykul through a southern route and fell upon the Qarluq army and their Tibetan auxiliaries. The Qarluqs tried to pin the Uighurs down against a tributary of the Syr Darya, but the Uighurs dallied and resorted to a diversionary tactic by sending a smaller force to draw the Qarluq Turks away. The Qarluqs and a Tibetan cavalry of about 50,000 made some crucial tactical errors and found themselves encircled by the Uighurs. Seeing the Qarluq center being stretched, Qut Bulmish pressed with a cavalry charge armed with maces, spears and sabers. Using lassoes they dragged down the Qarluqs and slaughtered them by attacking them at close quarters. The Tibetans were brought down by the Uighur archers and the survivors fled in all directions. The Uighurs then dallied to distract the Arab holy warriors in Ferghana and Ushrusana. In spring of 821, The Uighur Kha’Khan forded the Syr Darya and attacked the first Arab army led by Ahmed b. Assad. The Arabs fell prey to the usual feigned retreat trick and were annihilated by the Uighurs. The Uighurs restored the property of the Manichaeists and looted the Arab treasuries. Then the Uighur army appeared to move further west but suddenly turned north to cross the Sughda River and seized Ushrusana. Here, the Ghazis under Yahya b. Assad declared a jihad on the Uighurs but were crushed by the latter and retreated in total chaos. Having raided the Arab cities thoroughly the Uighur Kha’Khan returned to Mongolia, rich in booty. After having raised the Uighurs to the greatest glory Qut Bulmish, the celestial Kha’Khan died. He was succeeded by Kuen Ulugh Bilge Kha’Khan who consolidated his father’s gains by strengthening frontiers and signing a peace pact with the Chinese through marriage alliance and keeping up the hostilities with the Arabs.

During the reign of this successor Alp Kuelug Kha’Khan in 839 there was heavy snow and famine triggering popular discontent in the Uighur regime. The Kirghiz who had been subjugated by the Uighurs were the worst affected. The Uighurs stoked the flames with their savage handling of the Kirghiz rebellion. The Kirghiz lord declared himself a Kha’Khan. After a sacrifice and a feast he took an oath to exterminate the Uighurs as revenge for their great Kirghiz campaign of 758 in which a Kirghiz army of 50000 had been massacred. The Kirghiz started assembling a large army between the Ob and the Yennesei, when a disgruntled Uighur general defected to the Kirghiz and provided crucial information for an invasion of the Uighur heartland. In 840 the great Kirghiz army of around 80,000 horsemen invaded Ordu Baligh, and it is remarkable the great Uighur war-machine collapsed so completely against it. It was overwhelmed by the Kirghiz and is said to have “drowned in blood”. Alp Kuelug Kha’Khan fought relentlessly till the very end and after his horse was killed he was captured and beheaded. His grand golden tent was looted and ripped apart, and Ordu Baligh was razed to ground. The Kirghiz then seized all other Uighur cities in Mongolia and burnt them down completely. A Chinese observer noted: “The Uighurs were blown away all over the barbarian land”. Some fled towards the Qarluq lands they had captured, but were killed by the Qarluqs. Others fled to Tibet, where the Tibetans long seeking revenge captured them and handed back to the Kirghiz. The 13 elite clans fled to China and were arrested or driven back. All the Manichaeist temples in China were demolished and the priests executed. Other groups fled to Agni, Kucha and Qocho and some of them were overwhelmed and assimilated by the Moslems. The surviving Uighurs finally rallied back and established 3 Uighur principalities: 1) The Kanchow Uighur kingdom 2) Qara Khanid kingdom 3) the Qara Khoja Kingdom and the. The first of these was destroyed by the Tibetan tribes of Tangut and Xia-Xia during their expansion into central Asia in the 1100s. The Qara Khanids were a mixed group that included the Qarluq Turks and was converted to Islam in the 10th century. The Mongols of the Qara Kitai Empire destroyed the Qara Khanid kingdom during their great conflict with the Islamic west. The last of these the Qara Khoja were Mahayana Buddhists and continued the cultural renaissance of the Uighurs, producing several works of arts and medicine. They became vassals of Chingiz Khan and his successors and were important officials of the Mongol empire. Finally in 1397, Khizr Khawaja and Timur-I-lang declared a Jihad on them, and extirpated the Qara Khoja Uighur kingdom.

In terms of cultural achievements the Uighurs were the most advanced of the peoples of Mongolia. Their unique urban-nomadic civilization, in many ways resembled the early Indo-Iranian states, that were founded millennia earlier, and they were again poised like the Blue Turks to take Turkic civilization to new levels. But they fell to the vicissitudes of the steppes and the Kirghiz promptly returned Mongolia to its old nomadic pastoralism. However, the survivors, of this last great group of literate of Altaic peoples of the early Middle Ages, lived on and passed their script and skills in government to Mongolic tribes of the Khitan and those of Chingiz Kha’Khan, and contributed to their spectacular success.

The death of Chingiz Kha’Khan

On the New moon day in August in 1227 AD the greatest of the military leaders of all times Chingiz Ka’Khan died. Born Temujin, and elected Ka’Khan- the khan of the khans in 1206, destroyed in a span of 21 years the hegemony of China and Islam, two of the most dangerous powers in human history. This was very often done by waging war on both the fronts, something which, even superpowers like the United States today cannot really sustain if it were pitted against these same powers. Furthermore, this rise of Chingiz should be placed in the background of his immediate ancestors like Yessugai, Kabul and Kutula who while noted for their valor had no more an impact on the Central Asian history than any of the other khans who came and went. The other turko-mongol expansions such as the Huns of Motun-Tegin, the Uighurs of Mei-Yu and Tu-chüh of Kül-tegin and Qapaghan khan were nowhere near Chingiz Khan in the organizational effort or result of their campaigns.

Chingiz died in final campaign on the Northern Chinese empire of the Tangut and the Xia-Xia. The Tangut had failed to pay heed to the Khan’s message to them to send forces to aid him in the great battle against Mohammed Khwarazim Shah. But seeing the Khan caught up in the fierce battles with Temur Malik in the sack of Samarkand, the two Chinese empires of the Chin and the Tangut became increasingly hostile to the Mongols. They thought the Khan might never return from West. The Tangut who were of Tibetan descent with the aid of the Chin were seeking to conquer Tibet that Chingiz had sacked by sending his general Arslan Khan. Chingiz watching these movements in the East sent his great general Muqali against the Chinese Empires. Muqali and his son Boru cut of the communication between the Chin and the Tangut and started and routed the Chin armies in the battles of Shan Si and Pe chi li. In 1223 Muqali passed away and Chin reestablished ties with Tangut and were trying to recapture their lost empire. Chingiz sent Boru against the remnants of the Chin and himself set out against the Tangut after returning from the West in 1226. Li Hien the Tangut emperor tried to take the returning Mongol army from the north in the city of Ling Chau. However Chingiz waging a blitzkreig got there before Li Hien and sacked the city and destroyed it. Then he took on the Tangut army and completely destroyed. Chronicles say there were no survivors of this Mongol assault. He chased the reserve forces of the Tangut army southwards sacking the cities of Si Ning, Lin Tao and Shen Si and erased them of the face of the earth. He destroyed the reserve army of the Tangut of around 90,000 men in the winter of that year and conquered the whole Tangut empire and laid siege to its capital. Li Hien promised to surrender in a month. Pleased with this Chingiz retreated to the Mountains of Liu Pan to spend the hot summer. Here while hunting an Ibex the Khan fell from horse and fell seriously ill in the aftermath of the fall. Knowing that his end had come, he called his men around him and gave them his last lecture. He laid out for his sons and generals the grand schemes of the future world conquest that was to encompass the rest of China destroying all its empires, the Muslims of Arabia and the Russians, the Hungarians and the Poles. Then he called for an arrow and picking it up with his ebbing strength broke it. Then he called for his quiver and asked his sons and grandsons to break it but they failed. This he said illustrated the importance of unity. The he bestowed his empire on his second son Ogodai saying that his temperment was best suited for reigning the Mongols and added that his grandson the wise Kublai would be a great ruler one day. Having said this we are told that he asked his old friend and scribe Kiluken to take care of his wife Bortai, to be faithful to his sons Ogodai and Tolui an record his mysterious last words:

“A jade stone is truely without crust, polished dagger has no dirt on it, a man born to life is not deathless, he must go without home, without a resting placing. The glory of a deed is in its completion. Firm and unbending is he who keeps a plighted word faithfully. Follow not the will of another and good will of many will be yours. It is clear I must depart from you all. The words of the boy Kublai are very weighty, his words you shall note. He shall adorn my throne some day”. With this on the New moon day that was August 18th of 1227 the Khan expired.

His corpse was raised in a cart with 4 horses and was surrounded on all sides on horse by his wife, sons, grandsons and generals, Ogodai, Tolui, Batu, Shibhan, Kublai, Hulegu, Guyuk, Subedai and Kiluken and they marched from the Tangut empire towards the  Kentai Khan mountains in upper Mongolia. I reproduce below the funeral chant composed by Kiluken as they marched which was found on a parchment in a Mongolian monastery:

“In the times gone thou swept like falcon before us; today a car bears thee on as it rumbles; O thou my khan!

Hast thou indeed left us, wives and children and the Quriltai of thy empire, O thou my khan!

Sweeping forward as a golden eagle on its prey did thou lead us in strife, but now thou hast stumbled, and art down like a colt broken in its charge, O thou my khan!

O Lion of the great god Tengri, Boddhisatva on Earth, numerous clans of thy Mongol nation are wailing for thee.

The rivers, thy birth land all seem are waiting for thee, thy commanders Bogorju and Muqali are waiting for thee. O thou my Khan!

Thy standard of Yak tails, thy drums and trumpets and thy golden house are waiting for thee, O thou my Khan.”

Reaching Kentei Khan, they dug a huge grave near a large conifer tree which had greatly pleased Chingiz in his life time. He was interned with enormous amount of wealth and the place was totally leveled and there was not a stone to tell where the greatest character of medieval history lay.

The Tangut emperor failed to surrender as promised and the Mongols in a bloody offering to their dead leader, obliterated the entire Tangut capital to the last man emperor and all.

On Gotras

>What happened to the Gotra’s of those people who left the
>Indian Homeland(OIT)?

OIT or AIT the gotra concept can be traced back probably to the
proto-indoeuropean era. The concept of the gens and phratia are the
gotra equivalents amidsts the romans and greeks. The
buddo-communist Kosambhi erroneously argues that the gotra names are
totemic symbols of the respective tribes. This is plain wrong because
most names can be traced back to historical authors of the R^igvedic
period. The gotra originally was and to this date is a patriarchial
hereditary unit and was established for exogamous marriage purposes.
Some of the gotras can be traced even amidst the early Iranians. The
spitama was clearly the gotra of zarathustra who may have shared
pravaras with a branch of the bhArgavas. From the Avesta we can infer
that the other gotra shared by the Indians and the Iranians was that
of the gotamas. However following the separation of the Iranians there
appear to have been genesis of new Iranian specific gotras even as
the Indian specific shunakas arose. The avesta mentions a clan athwya
that appears in the R^ig as the Aptya that one may interpret as a now
extinct gotra of the bhArgavas. While bhArgavas and some angirasa
clans may even be traced back to the to the PIE period the remaining
clans amidst the druhyu and the anu clear were different from those
amidst the Indians and their names do not survive in entirity due to
the destruction of their cultures.

But gotra like systems were clearly attested in the later day
descendents of the Tocharians: the kushANas. These had an exogamous
clan structure with 5 dominant clans at the time of the invasion of
India of which that of kujala khadphises became dominant. Further the
Secret history of the Mongols of Chingiz Kha’khan describes a very
remarkable parallel of the gotra system in their clan structure. Thus
for those who favor the AIT the gotra-like system may even go back to
the Eurasian common heritage. The Secret history is a must read for
any one comparing AIT and OIT because it provides some excellent
material to compare and contrast the Indo-Aryan culture with.

> The possibility of the Spatima gotra sharing pravaras with the
> Bhargavas.
> *** How do you conclude that? You could be right, but what is the
> basis>

One of the aspects of the early Indo-Iranian Gotra system was to name
the clan after a prominent hymn composer of R^ishi who figured in the
ancestory. The bhArgavas to this date remember their eponymous
ancestors atharvAn or bhrR^igu and utter their names before
performance of the vishasahi vrata or the new moon rite or the rite of
dIksha. In the fravashi yasht that is sort of a combination of
a purusha sUktaM-like hymn and pitR^i-medha hymns of the Iranians it
is mentioned in mathra 84 that ZarathushTra the performer of yazna of
the clan of the Spitama was born of Athravan. This clearly suggests
his origin in the bhArgava line. I should acknowledge here that
Talageri too makes this point in his new book. However, his actual
pravaras may have differed from those of the numerous Indian
bhArgavas. As the pitar ca maitravaruNi paryAya of the Atharva veda
ShaunakaS:4.29 the avesta also list many ancestor who might have
figured in their pravaras. include: Spitama, Thrimithwant, Daevo-tbhis
and Takhma in the zarathushtrian line.

> Secret history of the Mongols of Changez Khan, concept of gotra
> system exists.
> Would you mind providing the author, publisher, ISBN. Seems to be an
> interesting book.

Formally a gotra-like system can be defined as a patrilinear descent
system wherein the clan gets its name after a prominent male member
and this clan acts exgamously in matters of mating. Certain male
members are quasi-venerated by the descendents. In this definition the
mongol system was gotra-like though not the same as the Indian one
because there is no evidence for Hymn composition meaning anything to
the mongols or some other steppe people with similar systems. The
mongols used the word Orda and the four sons of chingiz founding the 4
khanates may be compared to the founding of the pancha janaH.

Secret history: See translation of Cleaves. Al juvainy in urduized
Hindi (painful for me) is also an option.
Importantly the Indo-Aryan gotra system had little to do with
educational/ teaching purposes. See that paippalada’s students did not
change to his gotra (prashna U) nor did paippalada change his to
become an AV Shakakrit. Its main use was and is in marriage and

Sidenote: Shri Sitaram Goel suggested that there can be only one form of
nationalism for Indians and that is Hindu Nationalism. He pointed to
an important issue: People like the RSS have an undue attachment to
the piece of land called bhArata. It is not the piece of land that
lends the Hindus their identity but it is their culture. Hence their
primary affliation should be to their culture and not just the land.
It is this affiliation to the culture that still keeps the
Austronesians of Bali still tied to their religion. A corollary to
this is that the AIT should really not be damaging to the Hindu
Nationalist position. Hence there need not be a taboo amidst true
Hindus and they should address the AIT issue quite unemotionally and
objectively. The rightful resentment against the inimical Indologists
should be directed against them rather blindly against a theory. The
AIT itself may be wrong or right but that should be decided quite
independently of the assault on the Aryophobes. While we (true
Indians) must take all steps to destroy the communist ideology that
has corrupted large swathes of the Indian masses and threatens the
Hindu identity we need something to replace it. This replacement is
the unadultrated Hindu dharma that is open to informed interpretation
rather than a diluted or distorted version of it. If we do away with
AIT with a serious discussion just because it was favored by our
communist foes then we are not really not instilling the questioning
spirit that pervaded the Hindus in their heydays. I would like to
know if Hindu nationalism can survive independent of the OIT.

Origin of the Khalji’s and Lal’s work

The important aspect of Lal’s work is his careful analysis and profound grasp on
Indian aspects of Islamic history. By
reading his works and placing them next to the following: Dick Eaton, Sanjay
Subramanian and Rom Thapar one can see
that he scores over these fellows in truthfulness to the sources. I would place
him in the same bracket as KAN Shastri
and RC Majumdar. J. Sircar is a good historian too, but I find his obsequious
attitude towards our erstwhile white masters
to be a bit too much. One important point to consider is the origin of the
The famous historians Elliot and Dowson state that Khaljis were a hyopthetical
tribe. Barani states that when Jalal-ud-din
seized power from the Mamluq chiefs Aitmar Kachhan and Aitmar Surkha the power
passed from the ruling Turks to that
of another ‘race’. Now Marxist historians like C.Lakshmi have taught in their
classrooms that the Khaljis were Indian
Moslems and they were a ruling class of Indians following Islam. The Habibs seem
to present such a view albeit in a very
nuanced way and blame all the atrocities not on the ideology of Islam but on the
natural Turkish rapacity and lack of
aesthetics. Lal also falls prey in part to such discussions but he does not
hide the truth at all.

Lal conclusively demonstrates that Khaljis were Turks. He plays his card well by
pointing to the most important source on
the matter: the Tarikh-i-Fakhruddin. Here F gives a detailed account of the
Altaic tribes of central Asia circa 1206 AD and
shows the Khalji’s to be a part of this assemblage. See:
There were pagan Khaljis, like Chingiz Kha’Khan’s general Arslan Khalji, who led
the Tibetan operations of the Mongol
army. But in the West Islam was enforced on some Khalji clans and it was this
Islamic group that entered India along
with other Turkic clans of Afghanistan. Prior to this they formed alliances with
the QanQali Turks to conquer Herat and
then participated in the Ghor-Ghazni wars on the side of the Ghoris.

Regarding the Turkish rapacity: Yes steppe people have some rapacity but they
are not at all un-aesthetic. These same
Turks including tribes like Khalji were pagans or Buddhists before and were not
averse to art. Even in India they always
praised the beauty of hindu temples before breaking them in their Islamic zeal.
They erected mosques of considerable
architectural splendor- so they were not incapable of admiring art. While much
of their rule did not differ much from that of
the Taliban- the brutality of their torture and executions in public and prisons
is unimaginable., they had a great liking for
music that eventually played a role in North Indian music. They even had Hindu
and female musicians at their court. So
we may safely conclude that the principle cause of the Turkish violence towards
the Hindus was only due to the ideology
of their religion.

Sidenote: Turks always tended to retain some of their ancestral tendencies before being
smothered by Islam. In the original altaic
society women held a high status. Il-Tut-mish retained a lot of his original
Turkish instinct. Notice his name! So naturally
Razzia inherited some of this. Even in Alla-ud-din’s court there were Turkish
female musicians. So Razzia’s unusual rise
should be viewed in purely Turkic light and not at al conflated with Islam. She
is best compared with Orghana Khatun
rather than with a burqa called Mulla woman.

The struggle against the Khan Toqtamish

The land North of the Syr Darya delta and the Little Aral Sea was the domain of the White Horde Khanate. In 1373 the powerful Urus Khan, a descendent of Chingiz Khan, through his eldest son Jöchi, was crowned ruler of the Horde. He was sixth in line from Orda the son of Jöchi and the brother of Batu. His nephew Toqtamish was in conflict with him and fled to Samarqand to seek aid from Timur-i-lang in 1376. Timur was delighted beyond words to have a descendent of Chingiz as a client and gifted him the territory around the cities of Utrar, Sabran and Sighnakhi, which his ancestor Jöchi had conquered in course of the westward thrust of the Kha’Khan. Toqtamish was attacked twice in his new ulus by Urus Khan, beaten badly and driven to Samarqand. However, Timur-i-lang reinstated him on each occasion. In 1377 Urus Khan demanded the extradition of Toqtamish and threatened to attack Timur-i-lang if he failed to do so. Timur routed Urus in battle on Syr Darya and drove him back to the steppes. Urus then sent his son Qutlugh Buga to slay Toqtamish. Qutlugh scored a major victory, but even as he closed in on Toqtamish, the latter’s personal guard shot Qutlugh through his throat and he fell dead. Urus too died shortly after that defeat and the White Horde passed in to his next son, Toqtaqiya. Toqtaqiya continued the war on his cousin Toqtamish and defeated him and drove him from Sabran. Shortly thereafter Toqtaqiya passed away and his brother Timur-Maliq ascended the throne. He too invaded the domain of Toqtamish again and routed him. However, Timur-i-lang with his troops reinstated him again as the supreme Mongol Khan at Sighnakhi in mid-1377. After this string of crushing defeats, suddenly, the weak Toqtamish’s military talents blossomed. By the end of 1377 he had fattened his horses and gathered a large horde of Mongols. At the height of the severe winter in early 1378, when Timur-Maliq was penned in by the snow near Qara-Tal (shore of the little Aral), Toqtamish marched with his cavalry across the frigid steppes and fell upon the former. Timur-Maliq was killed in the encounter and Toqtamish scored a massive victory. He ascended the throne as the supreme Khan of the White Horde with the sprinkling of Qumis before the 9 Yak tailed banner of the Mongols.

Shortly after this, he built his cavalry over the coming spring and marched on Mamai Khan, the ruler of the Golden horde or the Russian Khanate. He forded the Volga and passing south of Moscow crushed the Russian army sent by Dimitri. Toqtamish then advanced towards the north of the Black Sea and near the Sea of Azov smashed the army of Mamai Khan, killed him, and seized the Golden horde in 1380. He set his capital at Sarai on the lower Volga, where he held a Quriltai to mark his re-unification of the great Ulus of Jöchi from Khazakhstan to the gates of Kiev. Toqtamish Khan was acknowledged as the greatest ruler of his times and was said to be renowned for his justice amidst the Mongols. He then decided to relieve the great conquests of Russia by his ancestors like Orda, Berke and Batu. Accordingly, he assembled a mighty cavalry force in 1382 to invade Christian Russia and conquer Moscow. After the Russian Grand Duke Dimitri’s victory in 1380 against Mamai Khan after a long drawn, fierce battle at Kulikovo, the Russians had taken the Mongol threat lightly. This was to cost the Russians dearly as they were completely unprepared for the invasion of Toqtamish. Toqtamish Khan attacked the cities of Vladimir and Suzdal, and destroyed the them completely. In August of 1382, he suddenly besieged Moscow, and routed the Russian army at the outskirts of the city. The Mongols then fell upon the city with utmost savagery, slaughtered all the inhabitants of the city and looted it completely. Then the buildings were demolished and Moscow was burnt down completely. The swarming Mongol armies next uprooted the city of Yuriel in a campaign conducted at the height of winter and then “turned the city of Mozhaisk into grassland”. Numerous other Russian towns were looted and destroyed. Muscovy was returned to another 100 years of Mongol yoke. Toqtamish then sent a reconnaissance force northwards check out the Lithuanians and destroy them if they were easy targets.

The pagan King of Lithuania, Kestutis, who had just relieved himself of the Christians on one flank, saw the danger of the approaching Mongols and took preemptive action by defeating the reconnaissance picket that was advancing towards him. Enraged at this, Toqtamish marched on towards Poltava up to which the Lithuanians had advanced. The Mongol army inflicted a crushing blow on the Lithuanians and forced their the way deep into Lithuanian home territory. This rout of the Lithuanians contributed to their eventual submergence under Christianity. Toqtamish then threatened the Polish ruler with an invasion and forced him to pay up a heavy annual tribute and accept the titular overlordship of the Mongols.

These grand successes led Toqtamish into believing that he might be able to relive the deeds of Chingiz Kha’Khan himself. Accordingly, he tried to seize Azerbaijan and choosing the winter of 1385-86 he secured the Shirvan route to attack Tabriz. A mighty Mongol invasionary force beat the army of Ahmed Jelair and seized Tabriz from the Sultan. After looting Tabriz and other provinces in Azerbaijan the Khan returned to the steppes. At this point Sultan Jelair came back, but Timur-i-lang annexed Azerbaijan promptly to his kingdom. This immediately sparked off a conflict between Toqtamish and his former ally Timur. Timur advanced to Qarabakh and stationed himself there in the winter of 1386-87, when Toqtamish took the Derbent pass through the Caucasus Mountains to directly reach Timur in his winter station. Timur sent a force to ford the Kura River, which flows into the Caspian, and take on the Mongol Khan. But this army was crushed by Toqtamish and Timur risked encirclement. However, Timur’s son Miranshah Mirza charged ahead with massive reinforcement and fought the Mongol army with great fury. After a long drawn fight with no clear results Toqtamish decided to drawn back into the steppes. Timur sent a letter to the Khan addressing him as his son and asked him to behave himself.

The Khan however, ignored these letters and decided to seize the domains of Timur himself. Later in 1387 as Timur was subjugating Iran, Toqtamish crossed Utrar and invaded the heart of Timur’s realm in Transoxiana. Timur’s son Umar Sheikh Mirza rushed to fight off the Khan but was routed in the battle and encircled. However, Umar Sheikh barely escaped with life as the Mongol guard delayed its final assault. Toqtamish then started plundering Timur’s domains by razing down cities in Transoxiana. He attacked Timur’s center of gravity by bombarding Bukhara with ballistas and devastated the city of Qarshi in southern Uzbekistan, close to Timur’s capital, Samarqand. The final boundary of his conquests are supposed to have been marked by Amu Darya River between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. Alarmed at this Timur returned rapidly from Iran to save his home front with a large force of about 80,000 horsemen. Seeing the larger army of Timur, Toqtamish withdrew and in late 1388 launched a surprise from the East attack on Transoxiana by taking Khozend to the south of Tashkent. The Khan had expected the winter to pin down Timur, but on the contrary the unexpectedly heavy snow and cold that winter forced Toqtamish himself to retreat to the steps. Timur realized that if had to truly be the lord of Central Asia he first needed to defeat the Mongol Khan and annex his territory. Without this he could not pursue any conquests in the Middle East or India either. Thus the ultimate showdown between the two mighty Mongol potentates wishing to relive Chingiz was inevitable. Toqtamish assembled an army of 75000 horsemen, but Timur assembled over a 100,000 in Samarqand, and held a grand review of his divisions in 1391. He then set out to Tashkent with his grand army to invade and conquer Mogholistan. Realizing the might of Timur’s horde, Toqtamish tried to buy peace. His ambassadors reached Timur in Tashkent and gave him gifts of horses and falcons. Timur received a falcon on his wrist and then returned it to the Khan’s ambassadors without uttering a word. It was clear that the war was on. Toqtamish realizing that he possessed a smaller army decided to retreat and draw Timur into an ambush in Siberia over a period of months. He realized that Timur would run out of food in the Taiga and then he could fall upon Timur and destroy him. For 4 months the Toqtamish drew Timur from Tashkent deeper and deeper into the steppes. River after River was forded but Timur could not make contact with the Khan. Around May as the cold abated Timur held a grand review of troops to raise their moral and organized a giant hunt for food. But time was running out, and Timur was taken into the cold , unfamiliar empty territory around the Tobol river by the Mongol retreat tactic. Here he sent out patrols in all directions, one of whom captured a straggler of the Khan’s army. This gave him the information that the Khan was in Ural region, near Samara (Kuibyshev) on the River Volga. Timur rapidly moved there and trapped the army of Toqtamish between his army and the Volga. On June 9th 1391 a battle of immense ferocity was fought by the two Central Asian armies. The Khan’s army was arrange his army as south facing crescent, while the Timurid army was arranged symmetrically with 3 separate divisions on either side of a central division where Timur was stationed with his principle amirs. The Khan charged through the left divisions of the Timurid ranks and wrought much havoc forcing them to retreat. When, Timur to inspire his troops personally led a counter attack with his division on Toqtamish’s stretching line to the center. Timur’s amirs took the field and thrashed the Khan’s army. Toqtamish’s men panicked and were slaughtered in large numbers on the bank of the Volga, after much fierce fighting. Some fled to the island on the Volga, but were pursued by Timur’s patrol and put to death. However, Toqtamish managed to escape with a part of his army intact. This part was the seat of the Empire of Jöchi, and Timur took great pleasure by ascending the throne of the great Mongol Khans. The most beautiful women of the Orda were captured and distributed amidst Timur’s Amirs and he kept the best for himself. In their company the horde of Timur celebrated their victory by heavy drinking and feasting for 26 days. He placed a descendent of Urus Khan, Timur Qutlugh, as the puppet Khan of the Golden Horde. Timur then returned to Samarqand after sacking Aktyubinsk. Another puppet Khan called Idiqu and Timur Qutlugh parceled the Golden horde and retreated to lead a nomadic life on the steppes.

Soon Toqtamish showed great energy to recover a part of his horde and formed an alliance with the Mamluq sultan of Egypt, Barquq, against Timur. Toqtamish then crossed the Derbent pass and tried to seize Shirvan from Timur in 1394, when Timur forced him to retreat after a swift campaign. In spring of 1395 Timur decided to destroy the Golden horde. He decided the take the Caucasus road and destroy capitals of the Orda. He rejected the Khan’s offer for peace and took Toqtamish in a frontal attack on April 15, 1395 on the banks of the Terek river. In the fierce battle which followed Timur was surrounded by a picket of Mongols who showered arrows on him, but Timur returned the volley and kept them at bay till his arrows were exhausted. He then fought with his spear and shield, warding of the darts hurled at him. But one attacker broke his spear with a blow from an axe and nearly killed him. But, he drew his sword and with great skill fending the arrows raining on him, cut down his attackers and broke through their cordon. His feats in the thick of battle at the age of 61 inspired his troops to fight with great fury and destroy Toqtamish’s army again. Toqtamish barely escaped with life and fled to Kazan before Timur’s vanguard could take him. The Golden horde was thoroughly looted and large quantities of rubies, furs, gold, silver, slaves and girls of great beauty were seized by Timur. He then raided the provinces of Muscovy similarly collecting booty. Timur then advanced to mouth of the Don and attacked the Venetian Christian trading colony of Azov. He fell of upon the Christians to wage a Jihad and destroyed their churches, shops, banks and the whole infrastructure set up by the Mongol Khans for trade with Europe. What remained was handed over to the Moslems. He then advanced to the Caucasus and devastated the Alyani, a surviving Indo-Iranian people, smoking them out of forests and gorges in this region. The he marched to the mouth of the Volga and attacked Sarai in winter of 1395-96. He took the city after a brief siege and decimated it with utmost ferocity. The inhabitants were driven out of the city into the appalling cold, and then their hands and legs were cut off and left to die. Russian archaeologists have recovered the skeletal remains of these victims of Timur’s atrocities. Timur satisfied with the conquests returned to Persia to continue his wars there. Toqtamish made yet another attempt to revive himself by seizing Crimea in late 1397. Then, he was beaten in the tripartite struggle with his cousins, the puppet Khans Idiqu and Timur Qutlugh and fled to his old enemies the Lithuanians. The pagan lord of Lithuania, Vitautas tried to support him, but was beaten by Timur Qutlugh on the behalf of Timur-i-lang. Finally, in 1405 Toqtamish when made a final attempt to recover the Golden Horde, he was captured by his cousin, Khan Shadibeq brother of Timur Qutlugh, in course of a battle in Siberia and suffocated him to death.

The Mongol conquest of Myanmar

In 1044, rAja aniruddha the chief of the Mramma tribe was brought to the fold of the sangha by the brAhmaNa paNDita, dharmadarshi from bhAratavarsha. He ascended the throne in Pagan and Sanskritized it as arimardanapura. He first moved against the Mon kingdom of Thaton and conquered it after a 3 month war. Next he annexed the city of Shrikshetra of the Pyu who were the other dominant force in Myanmar and carried away the bauddha relics from the city. Next he advanced against the North Arakan and conquered it after a swift campaign. The Shan tribes were then subdued and their chiefdoms were invested. aniruddha next marched into Yunnan with a large army and ousted the Thais in a keenly contested battle. With this he had completed the conquest of Myanmar and crowned himself as rAjAdhirAja. This increased prestige allowed him to gain a kshatriya princess from India. He formed an alliance with the Simhalas against the Cholas, but was crushed in a naval battle by the Chola navy. In 1077, he was succeed by his half-Indian son tribhuvanAditya dharmarAja, who Indianized Myanmar further by settling Buddhists and Hindus from India. He was involved in a tripartite struggle with the Cholas from South India and the Chinese, however, he finally formed a alliance with the former by marrying a Chola princess. The Chinese tried to interfere in Myanmar by setting up their agents in south Arakan, but tribhuvanAditya conducted a successful campaign against them and succeeded in maintaining the unity of Myanmar. He made a trip to India to renovate buddha gayA and was great builder who raised the might Myanmar to its pinnacle. The impetus of the aniruddhan dynasty lasted 1270 keeping Myanmar intact and very much in the Indian cultural sphere. However, its last ruler, Narasimhapati, who boasted of impregnating a new woman every day and eating 365 curries, had neglected the threats from his surroundings.

On his deathbed Chingiz Kha’Khan had laid out the vast lines of action that his successors were to follow. One these include the conquest of Myanmar. The two small Chinese states in Yunnan, namely Lai Liu and Yung Chang had been made vassals of Myanmar by tribhuvanAditya and remained so till the reign of Narasimhapati. Kublai Kha’Khan sent his greatest generals, Baghatur Uriangkhadai, son of Subedai, of one of the greatest warriors of Chingiz, to annex these territories. Uriangkhadai was assisted by an advance raiding party under the Mongol warrior Soegetue Noyan, and an auxiliary force led two Chechnyan generals Ali Haiya and Nassireddin. Soegetue’s advance force seized Lai Liu and Yung Chang and beheaded its rulers. Then he sent a messenger to Narasimhapati to humbly surrender to the Mongols and hand over his kingdom to Kublai Kha’Khan. Proud over his strength the Burman king refused and declared his intentions to seize back the provinces of Yunnan. Then Soegetue made a move with Nasser towards Myanmar from Yunnan in the North West. This drew the Burman army in that direction, as Uriangkhadai marched in from the North and seized the relatively undefended Northern Mynamar through a swift campaign and moved in to occupy Bhamo. The conquest of Bhamo opened the path to the Iravati (Ayerayawaddy) valley and gave them a straight route to arimardanapura (Pagan). Uriang then secured a forest in the vicinity of Bhamo and planned his attack on the Burman interior. Shaken by move Narasimhapati sent a force of 60,000 men to take on Uriang. Of this around 10000 made the elite Burman cavalry and the frontline was made of a large elephant force with archers borne on howdas. Uriang led a charge but his horses seeing the elephants fled in terror and for some minutes the Mongols failed to check the beasts under them. This made the Burmans bolder and they advanced forward boldly. However, Uriang noticed that the elephants lacked armor and ordered his men to dismount and shower arrows on the elephants. The Mongol archers, with strong armor and being able to hit targets with their iron-tipped arrows from a much greater distance than the Burmans who only shot bone arrows, held the upper hand in such a confrontation. The elephants wounded all over by the arrows fled backwards into the forest and their howdas broke and sent the archers crashing down. With the elephants out of the way the Mongols remounted and covered the Burmans with swarms of arrows. When they were weakened, Uriang led a direct charge with the cavalry to cut the poorly armored Burmans to pieces with their swords and axes. The Mongols captured 200 elephants in the campaign and incorporated them as draught beasts. Having destroyed the Burman army, Uriang marched along to the Iravati valley to conquer the entire northern Burma but did not move further due to their horses not standing the oppressive heat.

In winter of 1283 Kublai Kha’Khan sent his general Siankur Noyan to slay Narasimhapati and put and end to the Burman kingdom once and for all. A fierce Mongol army with spread through the Iravati valley to destroy all the major Burman cities and grind down the Burma economy. A division of engineers of the Mongol army appeared near the city of Katha on the Iravati and set up huge engines hurl enormous stone missiles on it. In November of that year the assault began with Mongols hurling a hail of ballistas crushing everything in the city that they fell on. The Burmans having never encountered anything of this kind gave up all hopes of defense and fled in terror. Narasihapati sent a strong Burman fleet on the Iravati to relieve his northern defense from the Mongols. However, Sianchur sent his cavalry and infantry on either side of Iravati river to hurl storms of stone ballistas and fireworks on the Burman fleet. Several of their barges were sunk and the river was said to be reddened by their blood. Narasimhapati fearing a total route fled his capital. However, the Mongols paused their campaign against Myanmar to move east and devastate the mahArAjas of Thailand and Indo-China who were bravely defending their independence. In this context the valiant struggle of mahArAja indravarman the 4th of Cambodia, with his guerrilla troops, was particularly noteworthy.

Once this flank clearing operation was done with the Mongols decided to trap Myanmar in a pincer grip, in 1287. One Mongol army under Sianchur advanced from the north, which had already been conquered, while Uriangkhadai marched from the east to intersect at Pagan. First the Mongol raiding parties destroyed major cities and blockaded the ports of Myanmar to cause an economic paralysis. This resulted in the total breakdown of the central authority of the aniruddhan dynasty and local tribal rebellions of the Shan tribes broke out. The chaos prevented any concerted action by the Burman army which splintered up rapidly. At this point the two Mongol generals marched straight on arimardanapura (Pagan) to deliver the coup de grace, even as Narasimhapati was assassinated by agents of the Mongols. The ramshackle Burman army led by the general Ramya was overwhelmed by the Mongol armies and butchered completely. He made his final stand in Pagan, which was besieged by the Mongol generals and assaulted with trebuchets which hurled rocks over a ton on the fortifications. When the cities defenses were broken the Mongol army stormed it and massacred the population and burnt it down. With that the conquest of Myanmar had been achieved and it became a vassal of the Mongols. Kublai Kha’khan was pleased with his generals and rewarded them richly for the great task. Puppet agents from the Shan tribe were placed for administrative purposes in the captured territory. An important consequence of this event was that Burma moved out of the Indian sphere of influence and was appended to the Mongol (to be inherited by the Chinese) sphere. This was especially so because it also corresponded to a low-point in India’s history: its fall under Moslem occupation was underway. The other important issue with the Mongol invasion of Burma was the devastation of its economy, that never allowed its unity to recover completely to the pre-Mongol period.

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