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6 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
Islamic and Hindu kingdoms

The quest for centralized imperial rule
The Gupta dynasty was under severe pressure from nomadic invaders. From the mid-fourth to the mid-fifth century, its rulers resisted and managed to maintain order throughout most of the Indian subcontinent. In 451 CE, White Huns from central Asia invaded India and disrupted the Gupta administration. By the mid-sixth century, the state and the political authority collapsed and any effective political authority passed to the invaders, local allies of the Guptas, and independent regional power brokers. From the end of the Gupta dynasty until the sixteenth century, India was politically divided.
North India

Tension among regional kingdoms

Nomadic Turks became absorbed into Indian society
Northern and Southern India had different political views after the Gupta empire fell. Politics in the north were chaotic. Local states were constantly fighting for power and territory, and northern India was full of tension. Wars broke out.
Nomadic Turkish-speaking peoples from central Asia took advantage of the mess and forced their way into India by crossing the Khyber Pass. They mixed themselves into the caste system, causing even more disruption in northern India.
Harsha (reigned 606-648 C.E.) temporarily restored unified rule in north India
During the first half of the seventh century, King Harsha ascended the throne when he was only 16 years old and reigned from 606 to 648 CE. He wanted to revive imperial authority and temporarily restored unified rule in most of northern India. He led his army throughout northern India. His army consisted of twenty thousand cavalry, fifty thousand infantry, and five thousand war elephants. He extended his influence to several Himalayan states, and exchanged a series of embassies with his contemporary, Emperor Tang Taizong of China.

King Harsha was known for his piety, liberality, and scholarship. He built hospitals and provided his subjects with free medical care. According to Xuanzang, a Chinese pilgrim, King Harsha gave out resources for 75 days to half a million people.

Unfortunately, he wasn't able to restore unified rule permanently. He was assassinated and had no heir to continue his legacy. His empire disintegrated, and again northern India became a battleground because local rulers tried to enlarge their kingdoms.
Introduction of Islam to northern India

The Sind were conquered by Arab Muslims and passed to Abbasids
The Sind were conquered by Arab Muslims and passed to Abbasids
One of the ways that Islam was introduced to India is when Arab forces entered India during the mid-seventh century. With the nomads entering India and the fighting for power, northern India was introduced to Islam and Islamic states were established. They started out exploring, but instead conquered Sind in 711. By the middle of that century, Sind passed into the hands of the Abbasid caliphs until its collapse in 1258.
Muslim merchants formed small communities in all major cities of coastal India

Turkish migrants and Islam: Turks convert to Islam in tenth century

Some moved to Afghanistan and established an Islamic state

Mahmud of Ghazni, Turk leader in Afghanistan, made expeditions to northern India
The second way Islam was introduced to India was while conquerors were bringing Islam to Sind, Muslim merchants spread their faith to northern and southern Indian coasts. Muslims dominated trade and transportation networks between India and the west from the seventh through the fifteenth century. They formed small communities along the coast of India, where they played an important role in Indian business and commercial life.

The third way was when the Turks from central Asia migrated and invaded India. During the tenth century, Turkish groups became acquainted with Islam when they dealt with the Abbasid caliphate and converted.

Mahmud Ghanzi, the leader of the Turks in Afghanistan, was a patron of the arts who built Ghazni where he supported historians, mathematicians, and literary figures at his court. He was a determined and ruthless warrior who spent a lot of time in the field with his armies. Between 1001 and 1027 he took a part in seventeen raiding expeditions into India. He was less interested in conquering or ruling India than he was in the wealth stored in the temples. He demolished sites that were associated with Hinduism or Buddhism and established Islamic mosques or shrines on top of them.
The sultanate of Delhi (1206-1526 C.E.)

Mahmud's successors conquered north India, 1206

Established an Islamic state known as the sultanate of Delhi

Sultans' authority did not extend far beyond the capital at Delhi

Islam began to have a place in India
During the late twelfth century, Mahmud's successors conquered northern India and placed it under Islamic rule. By the next century, most of the Hindu kingdoms in northern India were conquered and the Islamic state, the sultanate of Delhi, was established.

During the fourteenth century, the sultans' army consisted of three hundred thousand, and they were the most prominent state in the Islamic world. Although they built mosques, shrines, and fortresses and were generous patrons in literature and the arts, the sultans' authority didn't go far beyond the Delhi. Their bureaucracy wasn't permanent. The sultans noticeably sponsored Islam and played a huge role in the establishment of Islam.