Thanesar

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Basawan. Battle of rival ascetics. Akbarnama, ca. 1590, V&A Museum.jpg

Thanesar (sometimes called Thaneswar and, archaically, Sthanishvara) is a historic town and an important Hindu pilgrimage centre on the banks of the Ghaggar river in the state of Haryana in northern India.

Quotes[edit]

  • Sultan Sikandar was yet a young boy when he heard about a tank in Thanesar which the Hindus regarded as sacred and went for bathing in it. He asked the theologians about the prescription of the Shari'ah on this subject. They replied that it was permitted to demolish the ancient temples and idol-houses of the infidels, but it was not proper for him to stop them from going to an ancient tank. Hearing this reply, the prince drew out his sword and thought of beheading the theologian concerned, saying that he (the theologian) was siding with the infidels...
    • About Sikandar Lodi and Thanesar. Tarikh-i-Khan Jahan Lodi, Translated from the Urdu version by Muhammad Bashir Husain, second edition, Lahore, 1986, pp. 172-179. In Goel S.R. Hindu Temples What Happened to them. Tarikh-i-Khan Jahani wa Makhzan-i-Afghani of Khwajah Niamatallah Harwi, translated into Urdu by Muhammad Bashir Husain, second edition, Lahore, 1986.
  • The chief of Tanesar was on this account obstinate in his infidelity and denial of Allah. So the Sultan marched against him with his valiant warriors, for the purpose of planting the standards of Islam and extirpating idolatry... The Sultan adopted the stratagem of ordering some of his troops to cross the river by two different fords, and to attack the enemy on both sides; and when they were all engaged in close conflict, he ordered another body of men to go up the bank of the stream, which was flowing through the pass with fearful impetuosity, and attack the enemy amongst the ravines, where they were posted in the greatest number. The battle raged fiercely, and about evening, after a vigorous attack on thepart of the Musulmans, the enemy fled, leaving their elephants, which were all driven into the camp of the Sultan, except one, which ran off and could not be found. The largest were reserved for the Sultan.
    The blood of the infidels flowed so copiously that the stream was discoloured, and people were unable to drink it. Had not night come on and concealed the traces of their flight, many more of the enemy would have been slain. The victory was gained by Allah's grace, who has established Islam forever as the best of religions, notwithstanding that idolators revolt against it. The Sultan returned with plunder which it is impossible to recount - Praise be to Allah, the protector of the world, for the honour he bestows upon Islam and Musulmans!...
    • Thanesar (Haryana). Elliot and Dowson, Vol. II : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. p. 40-41 Also quoted (in part) in Jain, Meenakshi (2011). The India they saw: Foreign accounts.
  • The Sultan now received information that there was a city in Hindustan called Thanessar, and there was a great temple there in which there was an idol called Jagarsom, whom the people of Hindustan worshipped. He collected a large force with the object of carrying on a religious war, and in the year AH 402 marched towards Thanessar. The son of Jaipal having received intelligence of this, sent an envoy and represented through him, that if the Sultan would relinquish this enterprise, he would send fifty elephants as tribute. The Sultan paid no heed to this offer, and when he reached Thanessar he found the city empty. The soldiers ravaged and plundered whatever they could lay hands upon, broke the idols and carried Jagarsom to Ghaznin. The Sultan ordered that the idol should the placed in front of the place of prayer, so that people would trample upon it.
    • The Tabqat-i-Akbari translated by B. De, Calcutta, 1973, Vol. I, p. 7
  • 'In the year AH 402 (AD 1011) he set out for Thanesar and Jaipal, the son of the former Jaipal, offered him a present of fifty elephants and much treasure. The Sultan, however, was not to be deterred from his purpose; so he refused to accept his present, and seeing Thanesar empty he sacked it and destroyed its idol temples, and took away to Ghaznin, the idol known as Chakarsum on account of which the Hindus had been ruined; and having placed it in his court, caused it to be trampled under foot by the people...From thence he went to Mathra (Mathura) which is a place of worship of the infidels and the birthplace of Kishan, the son of Basudev, whom the Hindus Worship as a divinity - where there are idol temples without number, and took it without any contest and razed it to the ground. Great wealth and booty fell into the hands of the Muslims, among the rest they broke up by the orders of the Sultan, a golden idol.
    • Muntakhabut-Tawarikh, translated into English by George S.A. Ranking, Patna Reprint 1973, Vol. I, p. 17-28
  • It is also related of this prince, that before his accession, when a crowd of Hindus had assembled in immense numbers at Kurkhet, he wished to go to Thanesar for the purpose of putting them all to death...
  • 'In the year AH 402 (AD 1011), Mahmood resolved on the conquest of Tahnesur [Thanesar (Haryana)], in the kingdom of Hindoostan. It had reached the ears of the king that Tahnesur was held in the same veneration by idolaters, as Mecca by the faithful; that they had there set up a number of idols, the principal of which they called Jugsom, pretending that it had existed ever since the creation. Mahmood having reached Punjab, required, according to the subsisting treaty with Anundpal, that his army should not be molested on its march through his country...'The Raja's brother, with two thousand horse was also sent to meet the army, and to deliver the following message:- "My brother is the subject and tributary of the King, but he begs permission to acquaint his Majesty, that Tahnesur is the principal place of worship of the inhabitants of the country: that if it is required by the religion of Mahmood to subvert the religion of others, he has already acquitted himself of that duty, in the destruction of the temple of Nagrakote. But if he should be pleased to alter his resolution regarding Tahnesur, Anundpal promises that the amount of the revenues of that country shall be annually paid to Mahmood; that a sum shall also be paid to reimburse him for the expense of his expedition, besides which, on his own part he will present him with fifty elephants, and jewels to a considerable amount." Mahmood replied, "The religion of the faithful inculcates the following tenet: That in proportion as the tenets of the prophet are diffused, and his followers exert themselves in the subversion of idolatry, so shall be their reward in heaven; that, therefore, it behoved him, with the assistance of God, to root out the worship of idols from the face of all India. How then should he spare Tahnesur?"...This answer was communicated to the Raja of Dehly, who, resolving to oppose the invaders, sent messengers throughout Hindoostan to acquaint the other rajas that Mahmood, without provocation, was marching with a vast army to destroy Tahnesur, now under his immediate protection. He observed, that if a barrier was not expeditiously raised against this roaring torrent, the country of Hindoostan would be soon overwhelmed, and that it behoved them to unite their forces at Tahnesur, to avert the impending calamity....
    • Tarikh-i-Firishta, translated by John Briggs under the title History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India, first published in 1829, New Delhi Reprint 1981, Vol. I, pp. 27-37.
  • In the expedition to Thaneshwar (1015), according to Farishtah, “the Muhammadan army brought to Ghaznin 200,000 captives, so that the capital (Ghaznin) looked like an Indian city, for every soldier of the army had several slaves and slave girls”.
    • Mahmud of Gahzni. Firishta, quoted in Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 10
  • One day he ordered that an expedition be sent to Thaneswar, (the tanks at) Kurkaksetra should be filled up with earth, and the land measured and allotted to pious people for their maintenance, He was such a great partisan of Islam in the days of his youth..... Sultan Sikandar led a very pious life Islam was regarded very highly in his reign. The infidels could not muster the courage to worship idols or bathe in the (sacred) streams. During his holy reign, idols were hidden underground. The stone (idol) of Nagarkot, which had misled the (whole) world, was brought and handed over to butchers so that they might weigh meat with it.
    • Kurukshetra (Haryana) , Nagarkot Kangra (Himachal Pradesh) . Tarikh-i-Shahi, by Ahmad Yadgar, in: Uttara Taimura Kalina Bharata, Persian texts translated into Hindi by S.A.A. Rizvi, 2 Volumes, Aligarh, 1958-59. p. 322-331 ff Vol I, In Goel, S.R. Hindu Temples - What happened to them
  • The city of Taneshar is highly venerated by Hindus. The idol of that place is called Cakrasvamin, i.e. the owner of the cakra, a weapon which we have already described. It is of bronze, and is nearly the size of a man. It is now lying in the hippodrome in Ghazna, together with the Lord of Somanath, which is a representation of the penis of Mahadeva, called Linga.
    • E.C. Sachau (tr.), Alberuni's India, New Delhi Reprint, 1983 p. 117.
  • The linga he raised was the stone of Somnath, for soma means the moon and natha means master, so that the whole word means master of the moon. The image was destroyed by the Prince Mahmud, may God be merciful to him! - AH 416. He ordered the upper part to be broken and the remainder to be transported to his residence, Ghaznin, with all its coverings and trappings of gold, jewels, and embroidered garments. Part of it has been thrown into the hippodrome of the town, together with the Cakrasvamin, an idol of bronze, that had been brought from Taneshar. Another part of the idol from Somanath lies before the door of the mosque of Ghaznin, on which people rub their feet to clean them from dirt and wet.
    • E.C. Sachau (tr.), Alberuni's India, New Delhi Reprint, 1983

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