How Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji conquered Bengal?
Who was Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji?
Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji (d. 1206) was the commander of the rulers of the Ghurid Sultanate. He took part in the conquest of India by the Ghurids, the first military campaign of Muslim rulers on the Indian Peninsula. Muhammad’s army went to the eastern territories of northern India, to Bihar and Bengal, where Bangladesh is now located. It was Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji who ensured the eradication of idolatrous cults in the homeland of Buddha and the establishment of the true faith there. On the lands of Bihar and Bengal Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji created the governorship of the Delhi Sultanate and himself became its first governor.
Served Muhammad Ghori
Muhammad Bakhtiyar came from the commoners of the Turkic tribe of Khalj who settled in the south of Afghanistan. One might say that Muhammad Bakhtiyar was an example of Lombroso’s theory according to which a person’s appearance determines his character (in particular, a villain always has corresponding physical disabilities). Muhammad Bakhtiyar was short, hunched over, with long arms hanging down to his knees and an unpleasant face. At the same time, he was distinguished by his firmness of character and ruthlessness to people. These qualities were useful to him when he entered the service of the Ghurid sultans. He made a career at the Sultan’s court and was appointed “Minister of Internal Affairs” of Sultan Muhammad Ghori.
When the sultan decided to begin the conquest of India, Muhammad Bakhtiyar gathered a detachment and went to the location of the commander of the Ghurid expeditionary force Qutbaddin Aibak. But Aibak refused to take on Muhammad Bakhtiyar’s detachment. That being the case, Muhammad decided to act ob his own. Moving along the Himalayas, he passed the theater of operations on which Aibak’s force was engaged and struck at Bihar and Bengal located far to the east. Bihar was conquered in 1200. By that time Qutbaddin Aibak had settled in Lahore subjugating the western regions of North India. The news of the capture of Bihar was received by him with enthusiasm.
He gave Muhammad Bakhtiyar reinforcements so that the latter could continue his attack on Bengal. At the end of 1203, at the head of a detachment of 18 horsemen, leaving behind the main forces of his army, Muhammad Bakhtiyar broke into the capital of Bengal, the city of Gaur, and took possession of it as a result of a lightning-speed surprise attack. Qutbaddin Aibak appointed Bakhtiyar governor of Bengal.
Destruction of Buddhist Temples
Bakhtiyar waged a decisive struggle against the idolatrous religions of Bengal. This task was not easy since Bihar and Bengal were the birthplace of Buddha where he had lived and preached a thousand years before the arrival of the Messenger of Allah, the Last Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. Bakhtiyar razed Buddhist monasteries and temples to the ground and built mosques in their place. The entire population of Bengal was converted to the Muslim faith. Later the poets of Bangladesh will glorify Bakhtiyar as a courageous ruler who brought the light of true faith to the land of Bangladesh.
At the end of his reign, Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji conducted an unsuccessful campaign against Tibet after returning from which he was killed by one of his associates as a result of a power struggle. The name of Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji remained in history as the name of a courageous fighter for the cause of Islam and the man who made Bangladesh a Muslim country.