Raja Dahir, Last Hindu King Of Present Day Pakistan and First Islamic conquest of Indian Subcontinent by Arabs

Raja Dahir (Sindhi: راجا ڏاھر Sanskrit: राजा दाहिर Urdu: راجہ داہر, 661–712 CE) was the last Hindu ruler of Sindh and parts of the Punjab in modern day Pakistan.He was a Pushkarna Brahmin king, son of Chach of Aror, who ascended the throne after the death of his uncle, Chandar. Eight years later, Dahir’s kingdom was invaded by Ramal at Kannauj. After initial losses, the enemy advanced on Aror and he allied himself with Alafi, an Arab. Alafi and his warriors (who were exiled from the Umayyad caliphate) were recruited; they led Dahir’s armies in repelling the invading forces, remaining as valued members of Dahir’s court. In a later war with the caliphate, however, Alafi served as a military advisor but refused to take an active part in the campaign; as a result, he later obtained a pardon from the caliph.

The primary reason for the expedition by the governor of Basra, Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, against Raja Dahir was a pirate raid off the coast of Debal resulting in gifts to the caliph from the king of Serendib (modern Sri Lanka) being stolen.[4] The chronicles reported that when he heard about the matter, Hajjaj wrote a letter to Dahir and launched a military expedition when no resolution could be reached. Other reasons for the Umayyad interest in a foothold in the Makran, Balochistan and Sindh regions were the participation of Sindhi armies with the Persians in battles (such as those at Nahawand, Salasal and Qādisiyyah) and granting refuge to fleeing rebel chieftains.

Hajjaj’s campaign was launched under the aegis of Muhammad bin Qasim. In 711 CE, bin Qasim attacked Debal and on the orders of Al-Hajjaj.Other than this instance, the policy was generally one of enlisting and co-opting support from defectors and defeated lords and forces. From Debal, bin Qasim moved on to Nerun for supplies; the city’s Buddhist governor had acknowledged it as a tributary state of the Caliphate after the first campaign and capitulated to bin Qasim.

The rule by successors of the Rai Dynasty as characterized by persecution of Buddhists, Jats and Meds from the time of Chach; a prophecy of Raja Dahir’s fall encouraged defections to bin Qasim’s army. Sociologist U.T. Thakur suggested a more complex dynamic: Hinduism (the religion of the dominant castes), Buddhism (the religion of the lower castes) and high Buddhists were descended from Bactrian migrants. The king was a Brahmin, and the majority of his advisers were from his family. The ruler of Alor (a Jat) professed Buddhism. Nonetheless, there was a sense of “ideological dualism” between them; Thakur considered this the inherent weakness exploited by the Arabs when they invaded the region.

By enlisting the support of local tribes (such as the Jats, Meds and Bhuttos) and Buddhist rulers,Muhammad bin Qasim defeated Dahir and captured his eastern territories for the Umayyad Caliphate.Dahir then tried to prevent Qasim from crossing the Indus River, moving his forces to its eastern banks. Eventually, however, Qasim crossed and defeated the forces led by Jaisiah (Dahir’s son) at Jitor. Qasim fought Dahir at Raor (near modern Nawabshah) in 712 CE, killing him; Dahir’s wife immolated herself (with other women in her household) in accordance with the Hindu tradition of Jauhar.

Muhammad bin Qasim demise is attributed to the daughters of King Dahir who had been taken captive during the campaign. Upon capture they had been sent on as presents to the Khalifa for his harem. The account relates that they then tricked the Khalifa into believing that Muhammad bin Qasim had violated them before sending them on and as a result of this subterfuge, Muhammad bin Qasim was wrapped and stitched in oxen hides, and returned to Syria, which resulted in his death en route from suffocation. This narrative attributes their motive for this subterfuge to securing vengeance for their father’s death. Upon discovering this subterfuge, the Khalifa is recorded to have been filled with remorse and ordered the sisters buried alive in a wall.

The period of Qasim’s rule has been called by U.T. Thakkur “the darkest period in Sind history”, with the records speaking of massive forced conversions, temple destruction, slaughters and genocides; the people of Sindh, described as inherently pacifist due to their Hindu/Buddhist religious inclinations, had to adjust to the conditions of “barbarian inroad”.Secondly as for the treatment of women the invaders were nothing less than tyrants,when sind was finally conquered by Qasim he enslaved many women of sind, his noblemans harem was filled with enslaved women and so was his noblemans, They looted and plundered sind. A historian madani confirms that when Dahir’s severed head was presented to Hajjaj, a courtier sang: “we have conquered Sindh after enormous trouble. Betrayed is Dahir by Mohammed Bin Qasim’s masterly strategy. Rejoice, the evil doers are disgraced. Their wealth has been brought away . They are now solitary and brittle as eggs and their women, fair and fragrant as musk-deer, are now asleep in our harems.”

Bawarij the famous sailors at that time embraced Islam and became known as Sindhi Sailors; they became famous due to their skills in navigation, geography and languages.Due to this Islam started propagating to South East Asia along with Arab Sailors/Merchants.


One thought on “Raja Dahir, Last Hindu King Of Present Day Pakistan and First Islamic conquest of Indian Subcontinent by Arabs

  • August 7, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    Buddhists , were unhappy to be governed by a hindu ( and a Brahmin ) and they took active part in inviting a non hindu person and join hands with muslims to defeat King Dahir.

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