Settlements of the Muslims in Bengal


This article describes the history of Bengal in a simple way to understand by everyone. The main topic of discussion is the settlement of muslims in Bengal. The causes of Bakhtyar's success over Lakshmansena require a careful consideration to arrive at a reasonable conclusion.

Evidence of military bankruptcy of the Bengalis


The sack of Nadia by Bakhtyar Khalji has been held by many as a glaring evidence of military bankruptcy of the Bengalees as a race. It is true that Nadia was taken by a surprise raid but such occurrence is not altogether unknown in history. Such thing had happened in Bengal on many occasions. "It is curious", writes R,C. Majumdar, "that while the sack of Nadia is quoted as an evidence of the military inefficiency of the Bengalees, it is forgotten that for nearly 100 years after the rest of northern India had been conquered by the Muslim Turks, the people of a part of Bengal maintained their independence as a result of bitter fighting with the Muslim forces in course of which they also claimed occasional victories. This struggle for over a century against numerous odds by the people of a part of Bengal against the mighty Muslim power, must be regarded as a remarkable feat of bravery and military skill"41. It would be reasonable to suppose that "Bengal fell after resistance and not as ignominiously as depicted in the account of the Tabaqat-i Nasiri."

Bengal fell into the hands of the Turks


It has been asserted by some that with the fall of Nadia, Bengal as a whole fell into the hands of the Turks. But this does not seem to be correct. Lakshmansena and his descendants established themselves at Vikrampur and ruled for nearly half a century in Eastern Bengal continuing their resistance to the Muslims as Minhaj himself admits in one place that his (Lakshmansena's) sons are to this day rulers in the territory of Bengal. As a matter of fact, Bakhtyar did not stay in Nadia for any longer time and he left it practically unconsolidated after collecting booty. Neither did he venture to garrison his troops there. And this proves that Bengal was still a far cry for him. Of course, it is to be admitted as a contemporary Sanskrit work, the 'Karika' of Hari Misra states that Keshava Sena, son of Lakshmansena always lived in terror of the 'Yavanas'. Before leaving Nadia, Bakhtyar set up an outpost at Lakhnor in Birbhum to keep watch on both the Senas at Vikrampur and the Orissans at Mandaran and also to safeguard the line of communications that passed through Rajmahal passes.

Settlements of the Muslims in Bengal


The causes of Bakhtyar's success over Lakshmansena require a careful consideration to arrive at a reasonable conclusion. The Bhadrakalpadruma of Kulacharya Jnanasri has referred to some sort of collusion between Bakhtyar and the monks of the Buddhist Viharas of Bihar. The Buddhist Acharya writes, "There is literary evidence of Muslim saints and orders flourished in Bengal in the pre Bakhtiyar epoch. The Karnatas of the South must have been long acquainted with the Arzib-Muslim maritime expansion and they themselves were a maritime power. So with the establishment of their (meaning the Sena rulers of Bengal) dynasty, the settlements of the Muslims in Bengal increased.

Apparently the Buddhist monasteries were at this time full of internal dissensions and some monks were so bitter in their jealousies that they went to the length of waiting in deputation on the Turkish invaders aid conquerors of Upper India and inviting them to bring ruin upon their own monastic universities and their country. The special association of this monkish deputation with the reign of Lakshmansena suggests that it was Lakshmansena who wanted to break the power of the Buddhist church in Magadha and to strengthen his own dynastic power by sowing and fostering dissensions amongst the Magadhan monks and encouraging the malcontents to seek Muslim help which he foolishly hoped to profit by their genera! ruin. Somewhat similar situation favored the coming of the Muslims into Mekran, Sind and Afghanistan."

This statement about a collusion between the Buddhist monks and Turkish invaders and the role of Lakshmansena in such sordid game cannot be accepted as to be true unless corroborated by reliable sources. It cannot be doubted that Lakshmansena was a great patron of Brahmanical religion to the great irritation of the Buddhists of Bihar. Lakshmansena was not un ware of the gradual advance of the Turks upon the eastern provinces. Hence under the prevailing tense situation, Lakshmansena could not be expected to be so un-diplomatic as to bring ruin upon himself by inciting the rebel Buddhist monks to invite Bhakhtyar Khalji. Moreover, the political and military power of Lakshmansena was not so bankrupt as that of King Dahir of Sind who fell an easy prey to the revenge of the oppressed Buddhists of Sind.


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