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History of the Subcontinent

The History of the Subcontinent has been marked with many significant
events.Amongthesearemanywarsandbattles.Somewerefoughtbetweenkingdoms
andsomebetweenmodernnations.Theseeventsincluded: MuhammadbinQasim's
InvasionofSind,FirstBattleofPanipat,SecondBattleofPanipat,BattleofPlassey,
ThirdBattleofPanipat,PakistanIndia1 stWar,PakistanIndia2ndWar,Pakistan
India3rdWar,PakistanIndiaWarofSIACHEN,andthePakistanIndiaWarof
KARGIL

The rise of Islam in India began with the conquest of Sind, one of the
provinces of the present day Pakistan and also one of the oldest Indus Valley
civilizations,bytheArabs.AmongtheMuslims,thefirsttoconquertheterritoriesof
IndiaweretheArabs.They,byspreadingIslam,attainedtheirpoliticalandreligious
unityinIndia.TheconquestofSindwassuccessfulafteranumberofattempts.Itwas
undertheleadershipofMohammadbinQasim,thatSind,thenapartofIndiaalong
the Indus River(now inPakistan) was conquered.MuhammadbinQasimwas an
UmayyadgeneralwhoconqueredtheSindhandPunjabregionsataveryyoungageof
17.Eventoday,Sindinvasionisconsideredasoneoftheworld'shistoricmarvelsasit
ledtothespreadofIslaminSouthAsiaandtheMuslimcommunitiesinIndia.Today,
Sindisgiventhenickname"BabeIslam",themeaningofwhichis"TheGatewayof
Islam".

ThefoundationofArabdominationinSindin712A.D.wastheresultofa
numberofeffortstoenterIndia.Infact,MuhammadbinQasim'sexplorationtoIndia
was actually thethird attempt. After the deathofProphet Muhammad, theArabs

History of the Subcontinent


conqueredPersiaandHeratandformedalargeempire.Aftertheseconquests,their
attention was towards India. During that time, there were commercial trade
connectionsbetweenIndiaandArabiaandthemerchantsofArabswerefamiliarwith
theseacoasttothewestofIndia.OneprimefactorthatledArabstoinvadeIndian
territorieswasthevastwealthofIndia.Plus,theyalsowantedtospreadIslamin
India.Moreover,inordertoformanIslamicempire,theArabsalsofollowedapolicy
ofconquest,thattooverysystematically.TheimmediatecauseofIndia'sinvasionwas
whensomeSindipiratesplunderedsomeArabshipsnearthecoastofDebal.Studies
showthatthekingofCeylonehadsentpreciousgiftstoKhalifaofBaghdadandto
Hajaj,theGovernorofIraqontheseships.Asaresult,Hajajwantedcompensation
fromKingDahirofSind,whichherefusedoutrightly,ashehadnocontroloverthe
pirates. Thus, started the first military expedition against king Dahir, under
Ubaidullah,whichfailed.Thesecondinvasionalsofailedandthistimeitwasunder
Budail. In the third attempt, Hajaj entrusted the responsibility to his soninlaw
MuhammadbinQasim,withapowerfularmytoattackDahir.Hearrivedatthecoast
in712A.D.andwassuccessfulindefeatingandkillingDahirandthus,Debalwas
occupied.AfterDahir'sdeath,hiswifeQueenRaniBaifoughtagainsttheArabs.She
wasalsodefeatedandsheperformedtheritesofJauhartosaveherhonour.Inthe
meantime, MohammadbinQasim kept on capturing all the neighboring towns of
DebalsuchasNirun,Rewar,Brahmanbad,AlorandMultanandSindasawhole.
Duringtheseconquests,QasimwasallofasuddenrecalledbytheKhalifaandby
makinghimavictimofpartypoliticswasputtodeath.Itissaidthathadhebeen
alive,hewouldhaveconqueredtheentireSouthAsianregion.Afterconqueringthe
Punjabregion(whichtodayisdividedbetweennorthernIndiaandPakistan),Babur

History of the Subcontinent


droveontowardDelhi.EarlyonthemorningofApril21,1526,hisarmymetthe
Delhisultan'satPanipat,nowinHaryanaState,about90kilometersnorthofDelhi.
Usinghistulughmaformation,BaburtrappedtheLodiarmyinapinchermotion.He
thenusedhiscannonstogreateffect;theDelhiwarelephantshadneverheardsucha
loudandterriblenoise,andthespookedanimalsturnedaroundandranthroughtheir
ownlines,crushingLodi'ssoldiersastheyran.Despitetheseadvantages,thebattle
was a close contest given the Delhi Sultanate's overwhelming numerical
superiority.Asthebloodyencounterdraggedontowardmidday,however,moreand
moreofLodi'ssoldiersdefectedtoBabur'sside.Finally,thetyrannicalsultanofDelhi
wasabandonedbyhissurvivingofficers,andlefttodieonthebattlefieldfromhis
wounds.TheMughalupstartfromKabulhadprevailed.

ThesecondbattleofPanipatwasfoughtbetweentheforcesofSamratHem
ChandraVikramaditya,whowasalsocalledHemu,theHindukingwhowasruling
NorthIndiafromDelhiandthearmyofJalauddinMuhhamadAkbaronNovember
5th1556.ThiswasaverysignificantwarnotonlyforAkbarbutalsoforhisgenerals
KhanZaman1andBairamKhan.OnJanuary24th1556,EmperorHumayundiedand
wassucceededbyhissonAkbaratKalanaur,whowasonly13yearsoldatthattime.
At the time Akbar took over the throne the Mughal rule was confined to Kabul,
Kandhar, parts of Delhi and Punjab. Akbar was campaigning in Kabul with his
guardian Bairam Khan. Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya was a Hinduking in
DelhiandbelongedtoRewari,inpresentdayHaryana.Hehadearlieronbeenan
advisortoSherShahSurisson,IslamShahfrom15451553andhadwon22warsas
primeministerandchiefifarmyofIslamShahfrom15531556toextinguishAfghan

History of the Subcontinent


rebellionagainsttheSurregime. AtthetimeofHumayunsdeathinJanuary1556,
HemuhadjustcrushedarebellioninBengal,killingtheBengalrulerMuhammad
Shahinwar.Afterthis,HemumadehisintentionofwinningDelhiforhimselfknown
tohiscommanders;thenbeganaseriesofwarsinNorthernIndiawhichHemuwon.
WhenHemuattackedAgra,Akbarscommandersfledwithoutafightandasaresult
ofthis,largeareasofEtawah,KalpiandAgraprovincescomprisingofpresentday
BiharandUttarPradeshcameunderHemuscontrol.AttheGwaliorFort,Hemu
amalgamatedhisarmybyrecruitingmoreHindusandthenmovedtowardsDelhiand
stationedhisforcedoutsidethecityatTuglaqabad.

Though it was more of a skirmish than abattle, the British victory under
RobertCliveatPlasseyinBengalwasacrucialeventinthehistoryofIndia.The
young Nawab of Bengal, Sirajaddaula, had taken Calcutta from the East India
CompanywithahugearmyinJune1756,whenthenotoriousBlackHoleepisode
occurred.ItwasnotuntilAugustthatthenewsreachedtheCompanyinMadrasand
notuntilOctoberthatClive,nowthirtytwoyearsold,leftforCalcuttaattheheadof
amixedEuropeanIndianforceofsome2,500men.HedroveSirajsarmyoutearlyin
January1757.

AfterAurangzebsdeathin1707thegreatMughalempirehadenteredaphase
ofterminaldeclineandtheMarathapowerwasontheascendancy.WhenPersian
rulerNadirShaheasilyinvadedIndiain1739anyremainingillusionofthecontinued
domination of Mughal power was shattered, and India entered a period of great
instability.SomestatesthatwereformerlypartoftheMughalempiredeclaredtheir

History of the Subcontinent


independence.Otherscontinuedtopaylipservicetotheseatofimperialpowerwhile
followingpoliciesthatwereincreasinglyindependent.Amongthoserebellingagainst
theempiretheMarathas,whohadevenchallengedMughalemperorAurangzebs
authority,capturedalargeswatheofterritoryincentralandnorthIndia.
ThedeathofAlamgirin1707isgenerallyregardedasthebeginningofthe
gradualdecline,andultimatelyfall,oftheonceextensive,prosperousandpowerful
MughalEmpire.Althoughittooknearly150yearsbeforetheHouseofBaburfinally
disappearedfromthescene,thecracksthathadappearedatAlamgirsdeathwidened.
HissonMuazzam,whoruledfrom1707to1712,succeededAurangzebAlamgir.He
tookforhimselfthetitleofBahadurShah.Heruledforfiveyearsandmomentarily
revivedtheMughalEmpire.ButtheMarhattaspowerincreasedandtheybecamethe
unchallenged rulers of Deccan. In the province of Punjab, the Sikhs under Guru
GovindSinghbecameaforcetoreckonwith.Oneofthereasonsthatpowercenters
keptspringingupoutsideDelhiwasthefrequentchangeinthesuccessionofEmpires.
Nearly17kingswerecrownedduringtheperiodspanningfrom1707to1857.

Kashmir, in NW India, in 1947 when Muslim subjects revolted and were


supportedbyPakistanitroops.TheHindurulerappealedtoIndiaforaid,agreeingto
cedethestatetoIndiainreturn.Indiamovedquicklytoconsolidateitspositionin
Kashmir,pushingPakistan's"volunteers"back.ConflictsalsoaroseinthePunjaband
inBengal.TheundeclaredwarinKashmircontinueduntilJan.1,1949,whenatruce
wasarrangedthroughUNmediation;negotiationsbetweenIndiaandPakistanbegan
andlasteduntil1954withoutresolvingtheKashmirproblem.Pakistancontrolledpart

History of the Subcontinent


ofthearea,Azad(Free)Kashmir,whileIndiaheldmostoftheterritory,whichit
annexedin1957.

Thedisputeoverthis regionoriginatedintheprocessofdecolonizationin
SouthAsia.WhentheBritishcolonyofIndiagaineditsindependencein1947,itwas
partitioned into two separate entities: the secular nation of India and the
predominantly Muslim nation of Pakistan. Pakistan was composed of two
noncontiguous regions, East Pakistan and West Pakistan, separated by Indian
territory. The state of Jammu and Kashmir, which had a predominantly Muslim
populationbutaHinduleader,sharedborderswithbothIndiaandWestPakistan.The
argumentoverwhichnationwouldincorporatethestateledtothefirstIndiaPakistan
Warin194748andendedwithUNmediation.JammuandKashmir,alsoknownas
IndianKashmirorjustKashmir,joinedtheRepublicofIndia,butthePakistani
GovernmentcontinuedtobelievethatthemajorityMuslimstaterightfullybelonged
toPakistan.

ThethirdwarbetweenIndiaandPakistantookplacebetweenNovember22
(whentheIndian'sbeganprovidingactiveartillerysupporttotheseperatists)andDec
17,1971.TheoriginsofthethirdIndoPakistaniconflict(1971)weredifferentfrom
thepreviousconflicts.ThePakistanifailuretoaccommodatedemandsforautonomy
in East Pakistan in 1970 led to secessionist demands in 1971. In March 1971,
Pakistan's armed forces launched a fierce campaign to suppress the resistance
movementthathademergedbutencounteredunexpectedmassdefectionsamongEast

History of the Subcontinent


Pakistani soldiers and police. The Pakistani forces regrouped and reasserted their
authorityovermostofEastPakistanbyMay.

Thevastmajorityoftheestimated2,700IndianandPakistanitroopdeaths
havenotbeenduetocombatbutavalanches,exposureandaltitudesicknesscausedby
thethin,oxygendepletedair."It'sbeenashockingwasteofmenandmoney",saysa
formerseniorIndianarmyofficerandSiachenveteran."Astruggleoftwobaldmen
over a comb" is the verdict of Stephen Cohen, a US specialist on South Asia,
dismissing the Siachen as "not militarily important". This would perhaps be
comfortingifthetwocombatantsdidnotbothhavenuclearweapons.Surroundedby
photographsandmemorabiliaofhisclimbingexploits,ColKumar,nowinhis80s,
saysthestrugglewas

The1999KargilWartookplacebetweenMay8,whenPakistaniforcesand
KashmirimilitantsweredetectedatoptheKargilridgesandJuly14whenbothsides
hadessentiallyceasedtheirmilitaryoperations.Itisbelievedthattheplanningforthe
operation,byPakistan,mayhaveoccurredaboutasearlyastheautumnof1998.The
springandsummerincursionofPakistanbackedarmedforcesintoterritoryonthe
IndiansideofthelineofcontrolaroundKargilinthestateofJammuandKashmirand
theIndianmilitarycampaigntorepeltheintrusionleft524Indiansoldiersdeadand
1,363 wounded, according to December 1 statistics by Defense Minister George
Fernandes.EarlierGovernmentfiguresstatedthat696Pakistanisoldierswerekilled.
A senior Pakistani police official estimated that approximately 40 civilians were
killedonthePakistanisideofthelineofcontrol.By30June1999Indianforceswere

History of the Subcontinent


preparedforamajorhighaltitudeoffensiveagainstPakistanipostsalongtheborder
inthedisputedKashmirregion.OvertheprevioussixweeksIndiahadmovedfive
infantrydivisions,fiveindependentbrigadesand44battalionsofparamilitarytroops
toKashmir.ThetotalIndiantroopstrengthintheregionhadreached730,000.The
buildupincludedthedeploymentofaround60frontlineaircraft.

ThroughouthistorymanyeventshaveoccurredinthehistoryoftheIndian
Subcontinent. Numerous wars have been fought. These include: Muhammad bin
Qasim'sInvasionofSind,FirstBattleofPanipat,SecondBattleofPanipat,Battleof
Plassey,ThirdBattleofPanipat,PakistanIndia1 stWar,PakistanIndia2ndWar,
PakistanIndia3rdWar,PakistanIndiaWarofSIACHEN,andthePakistanIndia
WarofKARGIL