Saturday, December 03, 2005

The question of resistance


The fact is that everybody resisted. But the resistance of the Rajput clans in Marwar and Mewar was successful and the tide of invasion was repulsed (the Sultanate of Nagaur was reduced to vassalage and practically extinguished by both these Rajput States). Not only that, this success led to state formation, which is proved by the coins and inscriptions left behind by the rulers of these kingdoms. Only a state that commanded military and economic power over a large area could strike its own coins (these would have to be acceptable as currency in the neighboring areas also).

Secondly, these powerful states became home to a large civilian population that lived in commercial towns like Pali, Merta, Udaipur and Bhilwara or in the capital cities like Bikaner, Jodhpur, and Jaipur. The Rajput rulers also built several temples and forts, which indicates not only their financial strength but also their military power. Only a militarily strong state could protect such temples and towns from being looted and occupied by foreigners.

The resistance within the Delhi Sultanate area covered the Rajput, Jat, Ahir, Gujjar, and other communities, which formed groups of villages (mandals) to improve their chances against the militarily superior Turks. This maintained a state of permanent hostilities within the Sultanate (as can be seen in the writings of the eyewitness Ibn-batuta) but it did not lead to state formation. Only when the Delhi Sultanate was weakened by the losses in Rajputana and South India did these mandals get a chance for independence. In this same category were the innumerable Rajput village-strongholds further east (UP-Bihar), which had a similar experience against the Sultanate of Jaunpur.

And what your “experts” of Jat History don’t realize is that all this resistance was closely linked together. Whenever the Muslim armies laid siege to a faraway Rajput fort, the military strength of the Delhi Sultanate was drained away for that purpose. This gave a chance to the villagers to rebel and withhold revenue, and fight off the small numbers of soldiers that were left behind in the Sultanate.