Tuesday, January 13, 2015

109. Bakhtyar Khalji and Mech (Megh)

The information that Ali Mech(Meg), who was converted to Islam, was Bakhtyar’s principle guide in the so-called Tibbet-expedition and that after the disastrous retreat and recrossing of the mighty river, most likely the Brahmaputra. The Mech(Megh) tribes had assisted Bakhtyar for a safe return to Devikot are indeed pregnant with significance. It highlights on the one hand that the Mech(Megh) tribe was an important political and social element in the reign at the time as the other tribe namely the Koch were. On the other hand, the nvading army was not considered by the Mech(Megh) as prejudicial to their political and social interest. That many of them had accepted Islam without being compelled to do so suggest that (1) conversion was not always forcefully done; and that (2) conversion was not induced by Hindu caste opprobrium. Minhaj Uddin us Siraj appeared to be particularly interested in describing military strategies. If one goes along the line of narration, given by Minhaj Uddin us Siraj, it appears that Bakhtyar Khalji had used both military powers and strategic deception to conquer Nadia. The strongest point in his attack was the element of surprise which he fruitfully employed to outwit Lakshman Sen, the ruler of Bengal. It was perhaps with the same strategy of speed and surprise that he intended to conduct his so-called Tibettian expedition. He might have overlooked in his over enthusiasm the difficulties of the terrain. Though the Bakhtyar Khalji’s objective was to conquer Tibet and on that score Minhaj Uddin us Siraj might have faithfully recorded it but what is doubtful is identification of the place where Bakhtyar Khalji could have gone.

International Journal for Historical Studies, 5(1) October 2013

History of Bengal as Reflected in the Tabaqat-i-Nasiri of Minhaj Uddin us Siraj

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