Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji

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Ikhtiyār al-Dīn Muḥammad Bakhtiyār Khaljī also known as Malik Ghazi Ikhtiyar 'l-Din Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji or Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji or simply Bakhtiyar Khalji (died 1206), a military general of Qutb al-Din Aibak who conquered Bengal. His invasions are believed to have severely damaged the Buddhist establishments at Nalanda, Odantapuri, and Vikramashila.

The image, in the chapter on India in Hutchison's Story of the Nations edited by James Meston, depicts the Bakhtiyar Khalji's massacre of Buddhist monks in Bihar, India. Khaliji destroyed the Nalanda and Vikramshila universities during his raids across North Indian plains, massacring many Buddhist and Brahmin scholars.
Ruins of ancient Nalanda

Quotes[edit]

  • The Mussalman invaders sacked the Buddhist universities of Nalanda, Vikramshila, Jagaddala, Odantapuri to name only a few. They razed to the ground Buddhist monasteries with which the country was studded. The monks fled away in thousands to Nepal, Tibet and other places outside India. A very large number were killed outright by the Muslim commanders. How the Buddhist priesthood perished by the sword of the Muslim invaders has been recorded by the Muslim historians themselves. Summarizing the evidence relating to the slaughter of the Buddhist Monks perpetrated by the Musalman General in the course of his invasion of Bihar in 1197 AD, Mr. Vincent Smith says, "The Musalman General, who had already made his name a terror by repeated plundering expeditions in Bihar, seized the capital by a daring stroke... Great quantities of plunder were obtained, and the slaughter of the 'shaven headed Brahmans', that is to say the Buddhist monks, was so thoroughly completed, that when the victor sought for someone capable of explaining the contents of the books in the libraries of the monasteries, not a living man could be found who was able to read them. 'It was discovered,' we are told, 'that the whole of that fortress and city was a college, and in the Hindi tongue they call a college Bihar.' "Such was the slaughter of the Buddhist priesthood perpetrated by the Islamic invaders. The axe was struck at the very root. For by killing the Buddhist priesthood, Islam killed Buddhism. This was the greatest disaster that befell the religion of the Buddha in India....
    • B. R. Ambedkar, "The decline and fall of Buddhism," Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar: Writings and Speeches, Vol. III, Government of Maharashtra. 1987, p. 232-233
  • The fame of his bravery and news of his plundering raids spread abroad, attracting to his standard a body of Khalji warriors then found hanging about all over Hindustan. His exploits were reported to Qutbuddin Aibak, who sent him a robe of honour and appointed him to invade Bihar as the Sultan’s general in 1202 C.E.15 Ikhtiyaruddin Bakhtiyar Khalji conquered extensively in Bihar and Bengal but then died unhonoured and unsung.
    • Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 4
  • Khalji’s military exploits in the east also resulted in conversions to Islam. About the end of the twelfth or the beginning of the thirteenth century, he marched into Bihar and attacked the University centres of Nalanda, Vikramshila and Uddandapur, erecting a fortress at the site of Uddandapur or Odantapuri. The Buddhist monks in these places were massacred and the common people, deprived of their priests and teachers, turned some to Brahmanism and some to Islam. Buddhism did not die out immediately or completely in Bihar. But Bakhtiyar’s raid on Bihar did deliver a shattering blow to Buddhism and its lost followers were gained mainly by Islam.
    • Lal, K. S. (2012). Indian muslims: Who are they.
  • A free-lance adventurer, Muhammad Bakhtyar Khalji, was moving further east. In 1200 AD he sacked the undefended university town of Odantpuri in Bihar and massacred the Buddhist monks in the monasteries. In 1202 AD he took Nadiya by surprise. Badauni records in his Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh that “property and booty beyond computation fell into the hands of the Muslims and Muhammad Bakhtyar having destroyed the places of worship and idol temples of the infidels founded mosques and Khanqahs”.
    • Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh, quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (2001). The story of Islamic imperialism in India. ISBN 9788185990231 Ch. 6
  • “In short, Muhammad Bakhtiyar assumed the canopy, and had prayers read, and coin struck in his own name and founded mosques and Khãnkahs and colleges, in place of the temples of the heathens.”
    • About Ikhtiyãru’d-Dîn Muhammad Bakhtiyãr Khaljî (AD 1202-1206) Bengal The Tabqãt-i-Akbarî translated by B. De, Calcutta, 1973, Vol. I, p. 51. Tabqãt-i-Akharî by Nizamuddin Ahmad.
  • “Muhammad Bakhtiyar sweeping the town with the broom of devastation, completely demolished it, and making anew the city of Lakhnauti… his metropolis, ruled over Bengal… and strove to put in practice the ordinances of the Muhammadan religion… and for a period ruling over Bengal he engaged in demolishing the temples and building mosques.”
    • Ikhtiyãru’d-Dîn Muhammad Bakhtiyãr Khaljî (AD 1202-1206) Lakhnauti (Bengal) Riyãzu’s-Salãtîn: Riyuz-us-Salatin, translated into English by Abdus Salam, Delhi Reprint, 1976, pp. 63-64.
  • Mohammed Ghori had the Hindu temples of Ajmer demolished and ordered the construction of mosques and Quran schools on their ruins…He plundered Kanauj and Kashi and destroyed their temples... [While his generals] destroyed in passing the remaining Buddhist communities of Bihar and destroyed the universities of Nalanda.... Bakhtiar Khilji “established a Muslim capital in Lakhanauti (Gaur) on the Ganga and destroyed, in 1197, its basalt temples. In Odantpuri, in 1202, he massacred two thousand Buddhist monks....
    • Louis Frederic, L'Inde de l'Islam, p. 42-49, (quoted from: Decolonizing the Hindu Mind - By Koenraad Elst p. 328)
  • Hindu learning in general was suppressed since Hindu and Buddhist schools were attached to temples and monasteries. These were regularly destroyed from the very beginning and with them schools of learning. Qutbuddin Aibak razed the Sanskrit College of Vishaldeva at Ajmer and in its place built a mosque called Arhai din ka Jhonpra. In the east Ikhtiyauddin Bakhtiyar Khalji sacked the Buddhist university centres in Bihar like Odantapuri, Nalanda and Vikramshila between 1197-1202. ... Demolition of schools and temples was continued by most Muslim rulers right up to the time of Aurangzeb, both at the centre and in the provinces. Aurangzeb was one of the enthusiastic sort in this respect, although he was no exception.... I have resided in Delhi, Bhopal and Hyderabad (Deccan) for many years. In all these places I could hardly locate any temples left of the medieval period. Hindu learning was dependent on schools and Brahman teachers, and both were attached to temples mostly in urban areas. And all the three - schools, teachers and temples - were systematically destroyed.
    • Lal, K. S. (1999). Theory and practice of Muslim state in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 7

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