Jalaluddin Khalji led an expedition to Ranthambhor in 1291 AD. On the way he destroyed Hindu temples at Jhain. The broken idols were sent to Delhi to be spread before the gates of the Jama Masjid. His nephew Alauddin led an expedition to Vidisha in 1292 AD. According to Badauni, Alauddin “brought much booty to the Sultan and the idol which was the object of worship of the Hindus, he caused to be cast in front of the Badaun gate to be trampled upon by the people. The services of Alauddin were highly appreciated, the jagir of Oudh also was added to his other estates.”
Alauddin became Sultan in 1296 AD after murdering his uncle and father-in-law, Jalaluddin. In 1298 AD he equipped an expedition to Gujarat under his generals Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan. In an earlier chapter I have already quoted Tãrîkh-I-Wassãf on the “achievements” of this expedition. The invaders plundered the ports of Surat and Cambay. The temple of Somnath, which had been rebuilt by the Hindus, was plundered and the idol taken to Delhi for being trodden upon by the Muslims. The whole region was subjected to fire and sword, and Hindus were slaughtered en masse. Kamala Devi, the queen of Gujarat, was captured along with the royal treasury, brought to Delhi and forced into Alauddin’s harem. The doings of the Malik Naib during his expedition to South India in 1310-1311 AD have already been described.
Muslim power again suffered a setback after the death of Alauddin Khalji in 1316 AD. But it was soon revived by the Tughlaqs. By now most of the famous temples over the length and breadth of the Islamic empire in India had been demolished, except in Orissa and Rajasthan which had retained their independence. By now most of the rich treasuries had been plundered and shared between the Islamic state and its swordsmen. Firuz Shah Tughlaq led an expedition to Orissa in 1360 AD. He destroyed the temple of Jagannath at Puri, and desecrated many other Hindu shrines. According to Sîrat-i-Fîrûz Shãhî which he himself wrote or dictated, “Allah who is the only true God and has no other emanation, endowed the king of Islãm with the strength to destroy this ancient shrine on the eastern sea-coast and to plunge it into the sea, and after its destruction he ordered the image of Jagannãth to be perforated, and disgraced it by casting it down on the ground. They dug out other idols which were worshipped by the polytheists in the kingdom of Jãjnagar and overthrew them as they did the image of Jagannãth, for being laid in front of the mosques along the path of the Sunnis and the way of themusallis (Muslim congregation for namãz) and stretched them in front of the portals of every mosque, so that the body and sides of the images might be trampled at the time of ascent and descent, entrance and exit, by the shoes on the feet of the Muslims.”
After the sack of the temples in Orissa, Firuz Shah Tughlaq attacked an island on the sea-coast where “nearly 100,000 men of Jãjnagar had taken refuge with their women, children, kinsmen and relations”. The swordsmen of Islam turned “the island into a basin of blood by the massacre of the unbelievers”. A worse fate overtook the Hindu women. Sîrat-i-Fîrûz Shãhî records: “Women with babies and pregnant ladies were haltered, manacled, fettered and enchained, and pressed as slaves into service in the house of every soldier.”
Still more horrible scenes were enacted by Firuz Shah Tughlaq at Nagarkot (Kangra) where he sacked the shrine of Jvalamukhi. Firishta records that the Sultan “broke the idols of Jvãlãmukhî, mixed their fragments with the flesh of cows and hung them in nosebags round the necks of Brahmins. He sent the principal idol as trophy to Medina.”
The climax came during the invasion of Timur in 1399 AD. He starts by quoting the Quran in his Tuzk-i-Timûrî: “O Prophet, make war upon the infidels and unbelievers, and treat them severely.” He continues: “My great object in invading Hindustan had been to wage a religious war against the infidel Hindus… [so that] the army of Islam might gain something by plundering the wealth and valuables of the Hindus.”
To start with he stormed the fort of Kator on the border of Kashmir. He ordered his soldiers “to kill all the men, to make prisoners of women and children, and to plunder and lay waste all their property”. Next, he “directed towers to be built on the mountain of the skulls of those obstinate unbelievers”. Soon after, he laid siege to Bhatnir defended by Rajputs. They surrendered after some fight, and were pardoned. But Islam did not bind Timur to keep his word given to the “unbelievers”. His Tuzk-i-Timûrî records: “In a short space of time all the people in the fort were put to the sword, and in the course of one hour the heads of 10,000 infidels were cut off. The sword of Islam was washed in the blood of the infidels, and all the goods and effects, the treasure and the grain which for many a long year had been stored in the fort became the spoil of my soldiers. They set fire to the houses and reduced them to ashes, and they razed the buildings and the fort to the ground.”
At Sarsuti, the next city to be sacked, “all these infidel Hindus were slain, their wives and children were made prisoners and their property and goods became the spoil of the victors”. Timur was now moving through Haryana, the land of the Jats. He directed his soldiers to “plunder and destroy and kill every one whom they met”. And so the soldiers “plundered every village, killed the men, and carried a number of Hindu prisoners, both male and female”. Loni which was captured before he arrived at Delhi was predominantly a Hindu town. But some Muslim inhabitants were also taken prisoners. Timur ordered that “the Musulman prisoners should be separated and saved, but the infidels should all be despatched to hell with the proselytising sword”.
By now Timur had captured 100,000 Hindus. As he prepared for battle against the Tughlaq army after crossing the Yamuna, his Amirs advised him “that on the great day of battle these 100,000 prisoners could not be left with the baggage, and that it would be entirely opposed to the rules of war to set these idolators and enemies of Islam at liberty”. Therefore, “no other course remained but that of making them all food for the sword”. Tuzk-i-Timûrî continues: “I proclaimed throughout the camp that every man who had infidel prisoners should put them to death, and whoever neglected to do so should himself be executed and his property given to the informer. When this order became known to the ghãzîs of Islam, they drew their swords and put their prisoners to death. One hundred thousand infidels, impious idolators, were on that day slain. Maulana Nasiruddin Umar, a counsellor and man of learning, who, in all his life, had never killed a sparrow, now, in execution of my order, slew with his sword fifteen idolatrous Hindus, who were his captives.”
The Tughlaq army was defeated in the battle that ensued next day. Timur entered Delhi and learnt that a “great number of Hindus with their wives and children, and goods and valuables, had come into the city from all the country round”. He directed his soldiers to seize these Hindus and their property.Tuzk-i-Timûrî concludes: “Many of them (Hindus) drew their swords and resisted… The flames of strife were thus lighted and spread through the whole city from Jahãnpanah and Siri to Old Delhi, burning up all it reached. The Hindus set fire to their houses with their own hands, burned their wives and children in them and rushed into the fight and were killed… On that day, Thursday, and all the night of Friday, nearly 15,000 Turks were engaged in slaying, plundering and destroying. When morning broke on Friday, all my army… went off to the city and thought of nothing but killing, plundering and making prisoners… The following day, Saturday the 17th, all passed in the same way, and the spoil was so great that each man secured from fifty to a hundred prisoners, men, women, and children. There was no man who took less than twenty. The other booty was immense in rubies, diamonds, garnets, pearls, and other gems and jewels; ashrafis, tankas of gold and silver of the celebrated Alãi coinage: vessels of gold and silver; and brocades and silks of great value. Gold and silver ornaments of Hindu women were obtained in such quantities as to exceed all account. Excepting the quarter of the Saiyids, theulama and the other Musulmãns, the whole city was sacked.”