[PDF Notes] What were the Impacts of Mahmud’s Expeditions in India?

The repeated expeditions by Mahmud against India left a deep impact on the course of Indian History, even though it did not; lead to establishment of permanent Muslim Rule in India. The chief impact of his expeditions may be summed up as follows:

(1) Firstly, Mahmud carried the banner of Islam into the ‘Heart of India’ and treaded a path in which so many followed him. However, Prof. Habib accuses Mahmud of having rendered disservice to Islam and describes him as one of the worst-enemies of Islam.

He says, “The worst enemies of Islam had been its own fanatical followers of which Mahmud was one.” He showed to the philosophical Hindus the darker and the more tyrannical side of Islam and the Hindus, who would naturally judge a creed from the character of it followers, began to hate Islam for all times to come.

(2) Secondly, Mahmud successfully led almost seventeen expeditions against India and never faced any defeat. He thus exposed the weakness of the Rajputs and the defects of their social, political and military system. According to Al Beruni, “Mahmud utterly ruined the prosperity of the country and performed those wonderful exploits by which the Hindus became like the atoms of dust scattered in all directions.”

(3) Thirdly, Mahmud through him repeated expeditions contributed to the disunity of the country by further widening dissensions amongst the Indian Rulers.

(4) Fourthly, Mahmud deprived India of a considerable amount of wealth which he took with him to Ghazni in the shape of booty after every expedition. This deprived India of the riches which she had preserved for centuries and greatly contributed to the economic prosperity of Ghazni.

(5) Fifthly, Mahmud gave a serious blow to the progress of fine arts. He not only destroyed great temples of Mathura, Brindavan, Nagarcot, Somnath etc. Which were considered as outstanding specimens of architecture and sculpture, but also forced the Hindus to neglect art and literature by compelling them to devote their resources to military and warfare?

(6) Sixthly, Mahmud conquered and annexed Punjab and certain portions of Sindh and Multan to his empire. These territories continued to be ruled by his successors for over a century and a half till they were conquered by Mahammad Ghori.

(7) Seventh and finally, Mahmad paved the way for the founding of the Muslim empire in India. Through his constant raids from the Northern-Westers Regions he not only exposed the weakness of India, but also showed the way to the later Muslim leaders to invade India and establish Muslim empire.

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