How Muhammad Ghori & Prithvi Raj Chauhan Are Still Alive With Indian, Pakistani Military Doctrine?

Long after the death of two great rulers – Prithvi Raj Chauhan and Muhammad Ghori, India and Pakistan, as a part of their defence and military strategy have maintained the legacies of the rulers.

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India and Pakistan, arch-rivals since the partition of 1947, have fought several wars either for territory or glory. Pakistan that set out to be an Islamic nation has been accused by New Delhi of sponsoring terror activities in India.

India, on the other hand, claims to have never made a provocative attack but merely has retaliated against the attacks launched from the other side of the border. While there has been a continuous criticism of the strategy employed by both the countries, EurAsian Times looks back at a time of similar situations, identical strategies and the outcome of it.

The time that dates back to the 12th century when the celebrated ruler of the Chauhan dynasty, Prithvi Raj Chauhan controlled the territories of the present-day Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan along with some parts of Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Around the same era, in the region of Ghazni, a new ruler assumed power; the one the historians believe laid the foundation of the Islamic invasion in the Indian subcontinent – Muhammad Ghori.

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Muhammad Ghori, the Sultan of the Ghurid Empire, between the duration of 1173-1206AD, reigned over the region of modern-day Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Iran, and Northern India.

In 1191, passing through the Kyber Pass, Ghori set out to invade Indian subcontinent by first capturing a fort in Bhatinda that belonged to Prithvi Raj Chauhan. Upon learning about it, the Rajput king set out with his army of 200,000 horses and 3,000 elephants to lock horns with the Muslim ruler who was accompanied by 1200 horses.

This became the first battle of Tarain; the one which saw one of the first Muslim invasion. Despite gauging the might of the Rajput army, Ghori decided to fight that saw a humiliating defeat of his army and him being severely injured.

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While the Ghori’s army retreated and carried the wounded Ghori back, Prithvi Raj Chauhan, instead of pursuing them, let them escape. This is quite famously referred to as the Prithvi Raj Chauhan syndrome often associated with the defence strategies incorporated by India.

The Ghori army returned with a massive force and fulfilled the invasion during the second battle of Tarain by taking over the Chauhan dynasty which marked the death of Prithvi Raj Chauhan. Many historians believe it to be the blunder that opened doors for Muslim invasion in India.

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India’s stance on Pakistan has never been aggressive. Though it has continued to prioritize peace in the conflicted region of Jammu and Kashmir, India is often accused by its own countrymen of not being able to launch a scathing attack on Pakistan that has time and again encouraged cross-border terrorism. Several repeated attacks later, India has resiliently shown its willingness to open dialogue with Pakistan; the last of which happened 5 years ago.

Many experts believe that, like Prithvi Raj Chauhan, if India continues to be easy on Pakistan and underestimates it, it could well be on its way of self-destruction.

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With Pakistan naming its missiles after the Turkish rulers who invaded India, religion and history is more central to the conflict than ever before. Among the Pakistani missiles, some of the noteworthy ones, that not only carry the name but also a clear ideology of its rulers, are the Ghaznavi/Hatf-III (named after Muhammad Ghazni), Ghauri-1/Hatf-V and Ghauri-2/Hatf-VA (named after Muhammad Ghori) and Babur (named after Babur).

A Pakistani frigate is called Alamgir is named after the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb is known for his military skill. Another missile is named after the Ahmad Shah Abdali which is also called Hatf-II. Hatf in Arabic means “vengeance” and was a title conferred to Muhammad Bin Qasim’s lance. The Two Pakistani tanks, Al-Khalid and Al-Zarrar, is named after the commanders who served under Bin Qasim.

There aren’t examples of Indian military names that express or propagate an ideology of a Hindu ruler but one could find the symbolism in the names such as “Agni”, “Prithvi” and “Akash” that merely represents the elements of the world.

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The symbolism from Pakistan seems clear that the Islamic state is intrinsically linked to the Islamic dynasties that invaded India and by naming its missiles after them and the target of which is India, Pakistan is pushing the undercurrent of the religious war further.

India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arguably been the most aggressive Indian government in dealing with Pakistan. With Surgical Strikes and the revocation of Article 370 in Kashmir, India under Modi is showing signs to move away from the Prithvi Raj Chauhan Syndrome.

Akarsh Havanur: Views Personel