Mughals in Paintings : Part 1

This post only explores the history of Mughal empire through a visual aesthetics of medieval era 

Mughal dynasty ruled India from 1526 to 1857. Mughals rulers have from turko_mongol ancestry. The first rule of the dynasty was Babur who defeated the Ibrahim of Lodhi Dynasty ,ruler of Delhi,  in the first battle of Panipat  in 1526 .

Painting of Babur

Painting of Babur

1 battle of panipat .Babur

1 battle of panipat .Babur

After the death of Babur his only son Humayun succeded him. He was overthrown by a brilliant military general Sher Shah Suri ,who tried to establish his own rule in India by defeated the emperor and forced him to take refuge in Persia . After the death of Sher Shah Humayun marched back to India and restored the monarchy



Humayun in exile

Humayun in exile

Humayun marched back to reclaim his throne

Humayun marched back to reclaim his throne

Humayun died shortly after his return to India leaving his son to sit on the throne of India at the young age of 13.Akbar tried to reconcile with the majority of the native population , who were Hindus, by abolishing Jizya (a tax on the non -Muslims) and taking steps to promote Hindus to the highest ranks of the government.Akbar launched a successful military campaign which resulted in the annexation of the various princely states with the Mughal Empire . In his reign Mughal foreign foreign relations improved with the other powers of the time.


Elephants were used as military weapon

Elephants were used as military weapon

Akbar 's army besieging a city with the help of Mughal artillery

Akbar ‘s army besieging a city with the help of Mughal artillery

Akbar receiving his son and heir

Akbar receiving his son and heir

Jahngir was an idealist and a hopeless romantic . His love with a courtesan is still considered to be an epic love story in subcontinent. He was liberal ruler who , like his father, carried on the policy of tolerance towards other communities.

Portrait of emperor Shah Jahan

Portrait of emperor Shah Jahan

Celebrations at the accession of Jahangir

Celebrations at the accession of Jahangir

Mughal Diplomacy : Jahangir & Abbas I of Persia

Mughal Diplomacy : Jahangir & Abbas I of Persia

His son, Shah Jahan followed in his footsteps and also became a great lover. He built the famous Taj mahal for his dead wife Mumtaz Mehal.


the court of Shah Jahan

the court of Shah Jahan


Textbook Version of the History of Pakistan

( This is satirical piece which explores the textbook version of the History of Pakistan )

The text book version of the history which is being taught in Pakistani schools conveniently leaves some facts out of the picture while emphasizing others.  As a student, I have been taught an education curriculum which starts from the ancient civilizations of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa whose sole purpose is to tell that we are very different from Ganges civilization. So Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa can also be point added to our long list of two nation ideology   Invasion of Sind, by young Muhammad Bin Qasim comes next, who conquered Sind to help a damsel in distress. Next comes in line the great Mehmood Ghaznavi who attacked India and the territories that now include Pakistan , 17 times to establish the reign of peace. Iqbal’s Favourite Ayyaz was Mehmood’s slave turned brother which was a very loyal subject. This tells us the lesson that being loyal as a slave can revive the good old days for us. the next chapter includes Dehli Sultans who were good and wise rulers who kept the majority of Indians who happen to be Hindus kept in line by using strict disciplinarian measures. Yes, they were also the great Muslims too.

The next chapter in our history and Pakistan studies books is about the Mughals. Mughals were great architects and lovers, if you don’t believe it just look at Taj Mahal , Red Fort and Shahi Qila Lahore and their harem  . First come Babur, who defeated his counterpart in the famous first battle of Panipat and established the noble and pious Mughal dynasty. Babur was succeeded by his son Humyun who was a weak ruler due to his love for trinity of evil women, luxury, and infidels. Akbar, God damn him, was not such a pious ruler. He tried to rule justly over both Hindus and Muslims which made many Muslims question his sanity. The topic of Jodha Akbar is not included in our history textbooks because it was an unholy matrimony and just a political alliance and not something worth of troubling our young minds with. Jahangir was a great lover, first he seduced Anar Kali by his princely charms then his love exploits include the marriage with Noor jahan . His son, Shah Jahan followed in his footsteps and also became a great lover. He built the famous Taj mahal for his dead wife and made a huge change in the architecture of tombs by first time introducing a new shape to bury the dead since the times of pyramids in ancient Egypt..There is some western propaganda about spending huge sums of money on a building but not on the welfare or education of the people which is a total lie. After making this wonder there was no left over money to spend on frivolities like welfare of the masses. Next came the true Muslim ruler, Aurangzeb, his first noble ordeal was to imprison his father and to kill his brother in the name of Islam. A few of his other achievements include the numerous assassination, unnecessary expansion of the Mughal Empire and emptying his treasury. He was the last great ruler of Mughal Empire and is considered a saint for his numerous atrocities.

Next mughal rulers were weak so therefore we only mention their weakness in our textbooks.

Invasion of Nadir Shah of Iran, expansion Maratha Empire and Sikh Intrusions to Delhi left mughal baffled .The central authority of the mugahls weakened, which led to the establishment of hundreds of the small and big princely states. In between all of this mayhem there was second and third battle of Panipat .Students particularly fell victim in remembering the name of belligerents and the dates.

The British period started from the establishment of East India Company. Once British paid taxes to Indians to trade, later they started collecting taxes form Indians for trade. “Company Bahudur” which translates into the brave company, perfected the golden rule of, “divide and rule”. In 1757 the British defeated the Nawab (Lord) of Bengal and gained the first foothold in India, which was due to the treachery of some army officers in his ranks. According to our textbooks, this was actually the wrath of God and not the combination of discipline and better technology of the British. Later a nuisance was created by Tipu Sultan, who was only succumb, by the British after their treacherous diplomatic alliances with the neighbor princely states which were later consumed by the colonial giant by using the same treatment. There is almost a consensus between the desi writers in India and Pakistan, which is itself a strange thing, that the British victories had nothing to do with their bravado or military genius of the British forces but were actually the result of monsoon. Pakistani textbooks mention nothing about his earlier defeats which lead to the final siege of his capital in which he was killed. You may wonder if he was doing so great then what went wrong which led to his eventual demise, but you are wrong in thinking because first of all a student is not to think but to remember . Second it is not the scope of the textbook to discuss the short comings of the Muslim rulers. Our textbook mention no Hindus or Sikhs in their freedom struggles against the colonialism .Once asked about this, one of the authors of a textbook said, on the condition of  keeping his name confidential that it is the duty Indian authors to promote their own heroes not ours and it can also tone down the hate between two sates which could be totally against the spirit of the books.

The war of independence of 1857 also commonly known as Indian mutiny culminated the struggle against the British tyranny .Books mention numerous reason for the starting of the war but fail to mention good reasons for the failure of revolt. Maybe it was due to new rules of engagement by the British in which elephants were kept out War Theater. Some authors claim that the war was lost before it even started because English forces cheated by using technology in an otherwise conventional warfare

Age of Discovery: The Two Nation Theory 1857-1940

The search for the two nation theory begins from this period of time. It is believed that the intelligentsia of newly founded Pakistan sat together after the independence and read each and every statement of the Muslims Hindu and British leadership alike to gather all the quotations for two nation theory which now boast the collection of 4 to 6 quotes.

Now I would like to mention a few short bibliographies of our forefathers being taught in our course books

Allama Iqbal

He was a great philosopher and poet .He wrote poetry in Urdu and Persian. His Urdu poetry is so difficult that some Pakistanis believe it to be some kind of Persian dialect. The main themes in his poetry include ego (Khudi), greatness of early generations of Muslims  and Gabriel his favorite buddy. He is also credited with one or two vague quotes about establishing a Muslim state in India.

Sir Syed Ahemd Khan

The old pictures of a man with huge beard are known to be of Syed Ahmed khan.His major contribution to the freedom struggle includes establishing a chain of few schools much like beacon house ,roots and APS but on much smaller scale. He told Muslims to get foreign education, learn English and obey English rule. Unlike the infamous Mir Jafar and Mir Sadiq who are still abused for colluding with British, he is considered a to be hero to work alongside the British. He was nobody in Delhi before the war broke out, after that he made something of himself. He was a prolific writer who publish everything that he had written along with some of other people’s work

An Essay on Quaid e Azam   (10/10)

Quaid e Azam was born as Muhammad Ali Jinnah on 25 December 1876. He was the son of Poonjah Jinah .He went to England to get higher education. He was married before his visit to abroad as it was the tradition in those days to save the young lads from getting into the trouble of falling in for “Gori Maims”. He came back and started practicing law. He was, is and will be the greatest lawyer to ever live on the face of earth. He joined Indian National Congress to pursue peace but was disappointed to see that Congress only wanted to free India from English rule. He also joined Muslim League, at that time it was known as All India Muslim League which has nothing to do with the Q League of today. Rattanbai fell in love with Quaid because he was the most handsome, good looking and the tallest man in the whole world .At this stage, he was further disappointed by the conditions in India. He went back to England to relax and chill. When he came back he envisioned a new country in a dream. In 1940 he announced that a new country for Muslims is in making .He worked day and night to make Pakistan. On August 14, 1947 Pakistan came to be, only due to the efforts of one man and little tiny bit help from AIML

After the independence of Pakistan he made a lot of speeches in which the speech of 11 August 1947 is of no importance to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. He also introduced a lot of new government organizations which went bad and rogue after the death of great Quaid except the chivalrous armed forces of Pakistan which have saved our country on numerous occasions. He died on 11 September 1948, maybe of some conspiracy either of western or domestic nature.

In the last I’ll be talking about the history of Pakistan


Muhammad Bin Qasim invaded Sind in 712. After that there is no mention of Sind in the history books before the birth of Quaid e Azam.


Islam spread through saints in this area who opted for Sufi poetry to spread their message. By the way, there is no mention that the famous saint patron of Lahore Data Gunj Bakkhsh came with army of Mehmood, the warlord of Ghazni. Lahore and Multan were and still are the major cities of Punjab. The next reference about Punjab comes as the birthplace Allama Iqbal. A few books mention some kind of Sikh era in Punjab but it is portrayed more of as fiction then as reality ,  so student don’t bother to inquire about it.


The first time we hear about KP is as a border dispute more commonly known as Durand Line. Formerly known as NWFP (North Western Frontier Province) , because of its geographical location it is believed by some to a frontier province in the north west of British India.


Sorry no record was found.


Kashmir was unlawfully bonded in a forceful marriage with India. Since the ancient times the valley of Jammu and Kashmir is the integral part of Pakistan. A same kind of claim is also put forward by India which is not the acceptable version in Pakistani textbooks.

History of Pakistan

From Quaid to trembling democracy 1948-1958

It is mentioned in every textbook that Pakistan is now the “promised land” of the “chosen people “after the fall Israelites from the eyes of Gods. Quaid was the philosopher king as mentioned by the Plato. After him, much like what happened after Aurangzeb, his successors fought with each other over the politics of Pakistan. It is said in some ancient chronicles of that time that angels help the first constitutional assembly of Pakistan to draft Objective Resolution as the pretext of the constitution. But the constitution of 1956 was not so fortunate; it died as an infant just two years after its birth.


  • Politicians are a treacherous race
  • Law making is a difficult time and taking process
  • Pakistan is no less then America as nobody in America knows who killed Kennedy, we Pakistani people also don’t know about the murderer of Liaqaut Ali Khan.
  • Bureaucracy is of no use.
  • Our foreign policy can be summarized as

We love China, China loves us back (strictly platonic love)

We hate India, India hates us back (divorced)

We love Muslim countries (bros before hos)

A for Allah, A for aid, A for America, A for Afghanistan

General Ayub

Pakistan army could not anymore be the mere spectator. General Ayub has the moral, legal, social, religious ……..  Responsibility to save Pakistan form clutches of the democratically elected corrupt politicians. General Ayaub was also the Mujahid e Awal in indo-pak war of 1965


Made one unit

Gave Pakistan a new constitution of 1962

Made new press laws to curb the freedom of speech

Pakistan was able to defeat enemy aggression of a much larger Indian army. Pakistani Armed forces were now in a position to recapture Delhi and reestablish the Muslim empire on Mughal grounds. According to few neutral sources this is a lie but our books clearly mention the golden rule of spotting a liar which states “who says you that you are a liar is actually a liar himself”,which says a lot.

General Yayha and peaceful fall of Bangladesh

There was a peaceful transition of power from a General Ayub to General Yayha. Pakistan had successfully developed and adapted an undemocratic form of government system. General Yahayha was a drunk and fool. He appointed military personnel as the governor general of Bengal colony.

A few clarifications

Pakistani armed forces are comprised of saints so the baseless allegations of rape and genocide against them are baseless

We were not defeated in Bangladesh by any standards to save the countless lives of enemy combatants in an unnecessary war, we voluntarily surrendered our arms (obviously it was western pressure if we would have fought we would have won the war. Note here the same principle of grammar composition is involved ,if ali would have studies ali would have passed the exams)

The Bolshevik Bhutto

Mr. Bhutto is considered to be of Pakistani origin and the only communist to own thousands of acres of land   .In his famous speech Mr Bhutto claimed to drink a little to avoid drinking human blood. This does not tell us anything about whether Mr. Bhutto was a vampire or not. Mr. Bhutto was the father of Benazir Bhutto, the future prime minister of Pakistan. He established the new democratic party/dynasty of Bhutto which has ruled intermittently with House of Nawaz /democratic part known as PMLN. He is also famous for hosting OIC meeting in Lahore. Some conspiracy loving historians say that the west could not see Muslim block so they …..(the text is missing due to the legal spying of NSA).

Mr. Bhutto himself conducted elections and made sure that free and fair election would only result in his victory. After angry protest against the rigging in the elections, So , once again to save the country army took over . Here the most famous dictum associated with history repeats itself is rejected.

By applying a logical principle

If Army takes over, elections are rigged (1970s)

Elections are rigged (2014)

Therefore, Army takes over (2015)

As it did not happen, hence we can reject the hypothesis

General Zia ul Haq

He is also known as the father of the extremism. His first act as the non-democratically elected ruler was to hang Mr. Bhutto. As per the military tradition of his predecessors he also conducted free and fair elections. He considered himself as the savior and avatar of some dead Muslim general. Despite not fighting any real war he is credited by some for defeating the USSR in Afghanistan , thus ending the cold war and bringing peace and prosperity to not only the Pakistan but to the whole world. He is also the jihadist per excellence to reinvent the concept of Jihad.He is the only Pakistani dictator to successfully export the two nation theory to Afghanistan

There are others in Pakistan who claims general Zia to be the anti-Christ. They blame the general to bring intolerance to otherwise an already intolerant society. Feminists and human right activists believe him to be incarnation Hitler

He is not related to the cricketers Inzama ul Haq and Misbah ul Haq.

The Westminster style of sporadic dynastical democracy was introduced in Pakistan in late 1980s. The order of the Succession is

Benazir Bhutto

The PPP government was dismissed after the charges of corruption

Nawaz Sharif

The PML government was dismissed after the charges of corruption

Benazir Bhutto

The PPP government was dismissed after the charges of corruption

Nawaz Sharif

The PML government was dismissed after the charges of corruption


Part 4 The Holy Wars , God Gain and Glory : Crusades

This article is the part of series about the conflicts between Europe and Asia since antiquity

  • Part 1 Greco-Roman world against Persia
  • Part 2 Arab Invasion of Europe ;  Al Andalus
  • Part 3 Christendom Strikes Back ; Reconquista
  • Part 4 The Holy wars ; Crusades
  • Part 5 The Mongol Horde
  • Part 6 Ottoman Intrusion
  • Part 7 Colonialism

Crusades were the military campaigns / migration of Eastern European nations to regain the control of “Holy Lands” motivated by the christian zeal and were sanctioned by the Catholic Church.Crusades spanned over a period of five centuries during the early middle ages.This was the revival of Eastern European powers after the the times of Roman Empire in which they wer e able to extend their dominion in  Middle East . The long lost Byzantine empire was the last Remanent of the glory of Rome . Byzantine guarded the western door of Europe for a Millennia first against the Persian empire and then against the Arab invasions of Rashidun and Omayyad period. During the late 900s Byzantine empire was unable to defend itself against the Muslim Seljuk Empire in Anatolin region , situated in modern day Turkey and looked towards their distant Catholic Brethren for help.

English: Byzantine empire before the Crusades ...

English: Byzantine empire before the Crusades Français : Empire byzantin à la veille des croisades (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Catholic Church at Vatican wanted to end the schism between the Eastern and Western branches of Christianity.The “pilgrim politics” for holy land also affected the clergy’s decision.Another factor was the new emerging “merchandise class ” of Europe which was looking for the new markets  The previous conquests of Iberian Peninsula by the Muslim forces left Europe vulnerable.But most importantly the spirit of expansion and adventurism fueled by  hatred and religious zeal were responsible for these military campaigns. The near east at the end of first thousand years was a battlefield in which sectarian schism of Muslim world played a major role. The central Abbasid dynasty was a mere puppet by now and switched sides depending on who was in power at that time.The ethnic divide in Muslim between Arabs , Persians ,Turks and Berbers of North Africa were involved in intermittent warfare for the supremacy in Islamic World  The Muslim world at that time was gradually moving towards decentralized state in which warlord one after another were able to carve out a dynasty which left the populace destitute weak and vulnerable to foreign invasions. Crusades was the name later given by historians to these wars .Muslim called their enemies as Franks whereas Christians called their enemies as Saracens. The First Crusade

  •  Council of Clermont

Byzantine emperor Alexius I Comnenus called upon the help of Catholic world in war against the Seljuk Empire .Pope Urban II urged the masses to raise arms against the “unjustly” occupation of “Holy Lands” and free them from the clutches of Saracens in “Council of Clermont “. 620px-Passages_d'outremer_Fr5594,_fol._19r,_Concile_de_Clermont An excerpt from the speech of Pope Urban 2 ‘s speech a the Council of Clermont ; source Wikipedia

“Let those who have been accustomed unjustly to wage private warfare against the faithful now go against the infidels and end with victory this war which should have been begun long ago. Let those who for a long time, have been robbers, now become knights. Let those who have been fighting against their brothers and relatives now fight in a proper way against the barbarians. Let those who have been serving as mercenaries for small pay now obtain the eternal reward. Let those who have been wearing themselves out in both body and soul now work for a double honor.”

  • People’s Crusade

Peter the Hermit was a saint who gathered a large sum of people to fight and took his army of peasants for Holy lands through Byzantine territory.The people were pillaged the cities in their way but were in the end permitted through the byzantine territory. People’s crusade was an epic failure their army after the first pitched battle was brutally defeated by the Seljuk army .


  • Princes’ Crusades

The main army composed of four main factions led by the legendary leaders Hugh of Vermandois, Godfrey, Raymond, and Bohemond approached Byzantium capitol Conatantinole in 1607. They vowed that they will restore the Holy Lands

740px-First.Crusade.MapThese army were provided military assistance by the Alexios and were reinforced by the remaining forces of people’s crusade.

  • Siege of Nicaea
  • Battle of Dorylaeum
  • Siege of Antioch

Antioch was an important city which surrendered to crusaders and was important in gaing control of Jerusalem

  • Siege of Jerusalem

The newly found long lost holy relics were great morale boosters in European camps .The Muslims in the city were unable to defend themselves against the foreign invasion and found no help of the Fatimid of Egypt.According to Muslim sources after the conquest of  Jerusalem Muslim population in the city was massacred in the process of ethnic cleansing to establish the new Christian State of Jerusalem .


  • Crusade of 1101

A few dukes of Christendom of who left crusade after the early difficulties and some who were inspired by the success of crusading campaigns in middle east left Europe for the nascent state of Jerusalem but were annihilated in Asia Minor by Seljuks .

The first crusade was probably the most successful campaign in all of the crusades.Crusaders were able to maintain few duchies in heart of Muslim land for next several centuries


The Second Crusade

Pope Eugene 3 announced second crusade after the fall county of Edessa. Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany marched towards east separately.

548px-SecondCrusade_EnThe combined German and Frankish army gathered in Antioch to attack Damascus a Syrian stronghold.Zangi’s two sons Saif ud Din Ghazi , the governor of Mosul and Noor ud Dim Muhammad , the overner of Aleppo hurried to reach Damascus to defend it against crusaders.The crusading army was unable to gain any materiel gains  in Middle East .


The only success of this crusade was the fall of Lisbon on western front after the three centuries of Muslim rule in 1147.


The Third Crusade ; The Kings Crusades

After the second crusade Zengi dynasty was able consolidate its power in Syria.Muslims were now able  to reconqure the Acre, Jaffa and most importantly the Jerusalem. After this came the staunch response of Christendom in the form of great army led by the stalwarts of Europe.

Saladin ; Sultan Salah ud Din Ayyubi 1174-93

Saladin has two aims one to unite the Islamic world  of Sunnite of Abbasids dynasty in Mesopotamia  and Shiite of Fatimid dynasty in Egypt and the second to drive out crusaders from Syria and Palestine.First he achieved with little difficulty and second he did by engulfing crusading states from Stria in north and Egypt from south.

The battle of Hittin was a turning point in crusades christian forces were defeated and Muslims recaptured Jerusalem on October 9, 1187 after a hundred year of christian rule.

Aged emperor of Germany Fredrick Barbarossa , the king of France , Philip Augutus , Richard the lion Hearted , King of England and Duke of Austria gathered the largest number of forces to attack the Muslim world.Although crusaders were able to reverse most of Saladin’s conquests but were unable to capture Jerusalem the most precious prize of  all.

\Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa was drowned while crossing the Saleph river the king drowned and most army went back disheartened at the death their liege

441px-Crusader_States_1190.svgRichard was able to capture the city of Acre even after a staunch resistance from Saladin.Richard was fairly successful in his campaign against Saladin’s forces .But the failure to capture Jerusalem caused another crusade.Both sides felt the results as unsatisfactory.But now the fate was sealed for christian middle east although the coastal states were able to maintain their presence for next few centuries  but were now no more threats to the Muslim world.


Fourth Crusade and Sack of Constantinople

This time a new route through Egypt was employed by the crusaders to attack Jerusalem now in Muslim hands but the goal of conquering Jerusalem turned into sack of Constantinople. The fourth crusade was the high point of eastern and western schism .The Byzantium capitol was although regained by the  Greeks after a half century but the they were never able to fully recover.


The Fifth Crusade

The goal was the same as always to acquire the holy lands.This time the army consisted of mostly German and Hungarian forces .Crusaders were able to acquire the guarantee of safe passage through Anatolian region controlled by Sultanate of Rum by allying them on their side.A two pronged war against Ayubids had a few successes in earlier period of the campaign but the march in Egypt was disastrous as the crusading force was decimated by the flood and surrendered to Muslims forces of Egypt.Capturing_Damiate

The Sixth Crusade

Frederick II,  the holy Roman Emperor and monarch Germany lay his claim to Kingdom of Jerusalem because of his marriage to its princess.Despite not being officially sanctioned by the Holy Roman Catholic Church Fredrick took his army Jerusalem and was able to capture the holy city . But the crusading army was not able to maintain control of the city for more than 15 years.This war showed European princely elite that individual nations can conquer orient .


The Seventh Crusade

Louis IX of France from 1248 to 1254 crusaded against the Islamic world though he was later proclaimed as saint by few but was utterly defeated by Ayyubid Sultanate in Egypt.1024px-Seventh_crusade

The Eighth Crusade

The French monarch  Louis IX attacked the Muslim possessions in Africa but the attack was a failure mainly due to the pandemic that left the French camp without its fighters . A truce was signed between the Muslim Ruler of Tunis and French monarch  Louis IX .


The Ninth Crusade

Muslim world was in a precarious situation in the middle of thierteenth century .The Mongol horde was able to capture  Baghdad and Egypt faced a challenge of both crusaders and mongols whereas the reconquista in Iberian peninsula was virtually completed.If Baibars the general of the slave dynasty of Mamluks would not have defeated the Mongols and Crusaders , the whole Muslim world from east to west would have been overrun by the non believers.


The last major crusade was actually the part of eighth crusade the English prince Edward I despite his few success was unable to have a lasting impact and ended in a truce .


The crusades were a gory episode of religious fanaticism in middle ages .Eastern Europe motivated by the “Papal Bulls” attacked Muslim middle east  .The Seljuk were in a constant war against the Byzantium and the crusading forces.Byzantium was unable to recover from the Muslim advance into Anatolia and the aid of their fellow Christian brothers turned into their ultimate doom.The Kingdom of Castille , Aragon ,Leon and Navarre were able to drive out the Moorish occupants from Iberia.the crusades saw feudal Europe eventually transforming into a amalgam of nation states.The papal authority saw it high point in crusades and commanded the hearts and swords of Eastern Europe.The minor sects in Europe were now finally finished as part of western crusades, but at the end of crusades its become evident that the Christendom is becoming more secular.Some might argue that the crusades were the precursors of modern day colonialism.


The Muslim world soon forgot the crusades and their memories faded away.Crusades were a result of the weakening of Arab hegemony in Islamic world . Arab world was unable to recover from the crusades and mongol invasion. This was the first low point of Islamic history as the second came during the colonialist era . But Muslims soon recover and the three great dynasties rose far away from the earlier power center  and these were Ottoman Empire of Anatolia and Eastern Europe , Mughal Empire in India and Safavid Empire in Persia.

The Ballad of East and West : Part 2 Islamic Invasion of Europe ; Al Andalus

This article is the part of series about the conflicts between Europe and Asia since antiquity

  • Part 1 Greco-Roman world against Persia
  • Part 2 Arab Invasion of Europe ;  Al Andalus
  • Part 3 Christendom Strikes Back ; Reconquista
  • Part 4 The Holy wars ; Crusades
  • Part 5 The Mongol Horde
  • Part 6 Ottoman Intrusion
  • Part 7 Colonialism

(all the portraits used in the article are under public domain)

Arab conquest of Spain 711-714

After capturing huge territorial gains in north Africa Arabs made Qayrowan , near Tunis ,their capital of eastern realm . The Berber tribes native to these lands resented the Muslim rule and drove out Hassan Bin Noman  , the appointed governor general of Maghreb by the Omayyad Empire.

At this moment Caliph Al-Walid1 appointed an ethnic Arab Musa Bin Nusayr the commander of the eastern possessions of Omayyad Empire.Musa was an able commander  who pacified the Berber rebellion and take the control over all the northern Africa till Morocco.

Omayyad empire

Omayyad Empire

The main cause of Spanish conquest were the growing ambitions of the Arab Empire was to stretch their rule to another continent .The casus belli of this war was apparently the mistreatment of Count Juliann’s daughter.Arabs were also aware about the despotic regime of the Roderic  and the succession feud after the Witiza’s death which has created problems for the last king sons.

Florinda lost her flower ,

The king was soon repentant

But Spain lay in thrall

Because of Roderick lust

Initially caliph was reluctant to invade a new continent so Musa , now the governor general of the Maghreb of Northern Africa sent Tarif to probe the situation of the unknown country in 710. The expedition was a success Tarif returned with a large booty.

The promise of riches inspired both the Arabs and Berber tribes to invade Spain.An ethnic Berber general Tariq was commissioned to invade the Visigoth Spain.Tariq’s troop landed on southern coast of Spain , the landing site later came to be known Gibraltar Jabl Al Tariq (The Rock of Tariq) or Gibraltar.Musa reinforced Tariq’s armada with another 5000 soldiers almost all Berbers.The Spanish king gathered a huge army variously estimated from 25000 to 100,000 strong.This was the most pivotal battle in the saga of conquest of Christian Spain by the Muslim horde.

Battle of Barbarate/Battel of Guadalete July 19-26,711


The famous speech of Tariq as reported by the Arab historians

“My men, wither can you flee? Behind you lie s the sea and the  we have burnt, while before you stand the ,strong in numbers .yet you possess something that your enemies do not ; courage and consistency. And you are present in this country poorer than orphans before a greedy guardian’s will be easy tot turn this on him if you will but risk death for one instance!”the battle lasted about a weak.Spanish army was strong in numbers but weak in moral. At a critical juncture in battle Witiza’s sons deserted the king Rodrigo and joined Count Julian, now on Muslim side. This turned the tide , Muslim army vanquished Spanish army  sure of the defeat Roderick fled the battle but was never seen after probably drowned crossing the nearby river Barbate.”


The tussle between the military commander Tariq and the governor general Musa paved the seeds of dissension amongst the Arab elite and fighting Berber faction which lasted throughout the Muslim reign in ins Spain and was probably the biggest reason behind the decline of Muslim Spain.

Tariq resumes advance , contrary to the wishes of his master who was  now envious of the successes of Tariq.Tariq divided his army into three wings and dispatched them against Malaga  on the Mediterranean coast, Cordoba on the west and other against Elvira in the south.

Conquest of Toledo; October 711

Musa joins the campaign

Musa gathered 18000 men, almost all the Arabs and landed at Tarifa near Algeciras in June,712.Musa was able to captured the cities of Medina Sidonia,Carmona and Seville in 712.Toledo, Saracus and Merida defied Arabs by putting stiff resistance against invaders but were eventually vanquished.

Conquest of south Spain.

Seville revolted but was recaptured by Musa’s son Abd al 713.Theodomir was a gothic count who was able to retain his army and lands after the battle of Barabarate but later on he sued for peace with Muslim forces ins pain.

Musa meets Tariq , 713

First time during the invasion both Musa and Tariq meet .Tariq defied his military commander’s orders to wait for him , Musa wanted to give him harsh punishment but spared him fearing a mutiny in the forces.

Conquest of North ; Pyreens to Galacia.

The nobles and the military  garrison were now starting to gather in the mountainous region  , to put an end to resistance Musa and Tariq both combined their forces .Tariq first subdued Guadalajara, later on the province of Saragossa signed the treaty with Moors. Tariq managed to conquer Barcelona. Musa was able to capture Gerona and Narbonne.

Musa wanted to invade France but the caliph called him to Damascus. it rounds up the first round of Arab invasion of eastern Europe of Iberian peninsula.

English: The Iberian Peninsula in 750. Español...

English: The Iberian Peninsula in 750. Español: La península ibérica en el año 750. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Omayyad Governorate of Muslim Spain

  • Abd al aziz, 714-716
  • As Samh
  • Abdur Rehman Al Ghafiqi 731-732

Arab Invasion and Defeat in France

Between the Frankish kingdom and Muslim lied three territories.

  • Septimania
  • Duchy of Aquitaine
  • Provence in southern Gaul

As-Samh subdues Septimania

Battle of Toulouse, May 721

The battle was disastrous defeat for the governorate of Spain as the appointed govern As-Samh was himself slain in this battle. After this a long civil war broke out between different Arab tribe and their compatriot Berbers.

After some time when order was restored in Muslim Spain another governor general Abdur Rahman invaded Aquitaine. Though initially successful in the pitched battles of Lyons, Besancon and Sens. now the  “Rois fainéant” ,i.e. do-nothing kings  of Merovingian dynasty stood against the Muslim Saracens  , as the French called them. But the real power lied in the hands of Charles who late assumed the title of Martel


Battle of Tours October 731

The battle ended in the decisive victory for the franks and they defeated the Muslim army and killed their commander. The results were enormous for the future history of Europe. After this never were Muslims able to command such an offensive against the Western Europe unless until the times of Ottoman Empire. Christendom was saved by the Saracens by the true son of Europe Charles Martel.


The next few governors were able to maintain their presence in southern France. The Berber revolt in North Africa and growing dissension against the Omayyad elite in Middle East left the governors unable to pursue further advance in Europe, from the Muslim perspective this was just another defeat on the ongoing battle saga to build an empire. Omayyad rule stretched from Spain to Indian Sind the huge distances made it difficult for the Arabs to rule.

Princely state of Spain under Omayyad rule

Abd Ar-Rhaman 1 757-788

After the fall of Omayyad dynasty in the heartland of Muslim world a young prince survived the massacre and made to western outposts of the Islamic empire .He rallied Arabs around him put an end to civil war in Muslim Spain and rule the Iberian  peninsula as a princely state independent of Muslim center first  time in the history.

A poem is attributed to him

I, and I alone, driven by consuming anger, bared a two edged sword,

Crossed the dessert and furrowed the sea , mastering waves and waste-land

I won a kingdom, gave it strength and built a mosque for prayer:

I rallied a disbanded army and peopled deserted cities.

Timeline of Omayyad rulers in Spain

Hisahm Bin Abd Ar –Rahman  788-796

Akam 1   796-822

Abd ar-Rahman 2   822-852

Muhammad 1 852-866

Munzir 886-888


The grand rebel Umar ibn Hufsan

Abd a Rahman 3  912-961

Abr ar –Rahamn 3 was the first ruler of Spain who formally seceded frpm the central lands of Muslim and established a formal kingdom of Muslim Spain.

Al Hakam 2 961-976

Hisham 2 and the Prime Minister Hajib al-Mansur 967 -1009

Al Mansur was an ambitious minister he not only subdued the rival Christian kingdoms with both his military prowess and cruelty, but he was also the virtual rule of emirate or kingdom of Muslim Spain. The unpopularity  of Al Mansur took the dynasty into a new low which caused the eventual fall of Omayyad Spain.


civil war and the collapse of the Omyyad dynasty


This was the end of the glorious period of the Muslim empire in Spain .Now the tide was turn in favor of Christian kingdom of Spain. The reconquista started in the new millennium which ended in 1492 after the capitulation of the last Muslim stronghold of Nasird duchy.

East India Company’s Raj

The first contact the Europeans made with the India was during the reign of legendary world conqueror Alexander the great who crossed Hindu Kush Mountain Range and fought to establish Greek supremacy in Northwestern India. He defeated Raja Porus after a hard fought battle but due to a mutiny his journey to further expand his empire into Indian continent fell short.



The discovery of America was actually due to the efforts of the European explorers to seek a new trade route towards India. Portuguese sailor Vasco da Gama became the first European to reach India. Initially European colonial empires of Portugal, Dutch empire  and later the French entered into the saga of capitulating India but British east India Company outmatched them all.

Condition of India at the advent of European Powers

At this time the Mughal empire has started to crumble after the death of the Aurangzeb Alammgir.War of succession between his son lead to slow decline of the central power in India.


The Sultan of Iran Nadir Shah attacked India in 1738 which resulted in disastrous Mughal defeat and capitulation of  proved that Delhi has lost and mughals are no longer the masters of India.

Shivaji was a charismatic leader of Maratha who was able gain huge territorial gains on the expense of Mughal empire in both North and South India.


Maratha were now the virtual rulers of India around the mid 1800s,but at the Third Battle of Paniput the Maratha force was decimated by the Afghan horde of Ahmed Shah Durrani.


The “split India” was divided into many belligerent states which fought each of them for supremacy but none of them was strong enough to take the control of whole subcontinent

Timeline of East India Company’s Exploits

1751 Robert Clive seizes Arcot



1757 Battle of Plassey Gain of Bengal

battle of palssey

1764: British defeat the weak Mughal Emperor at Battle of Buxar to become rulers of Bengal

1792 Cornwell defeats Tipu Sahab

sons of tipu 1792

1799 the the last stronghold of the Mysore’s Srirangapattinam is lost to Company Bahadur


1803 Second Anglo-Maratha and the Christian capture of Delhi


1809 treaty of Amritsar , marking the boundaries between Sikhs in Punjab and Britishers

1843 Conquest of Sind


1846 British dominion over Kashmir is established at the expense of Sikh kingdom

1849-1856 Second Anglo Sikh war

Annexation of punjab and NWFP(North West Frontier Provine) now KP Kyhber Pakhtunkhwa

The so called Mutiny of 1857

In Indian history war of independence is celebrated as an important milestone in the struggle against western imperialism. The war was fought by both Hindus and Muslims side by side which is itself a rare occurrence. The war started due to the mistreatment of Indian princely elite by the British east India Company. The situation was further aggravated when British officers commanded their soldiers to use tallow and lad-greased cartridges. A great number of aboriginal Sepoys deserted the service of foreign military commanders. The company outmaneuvered the native Indian resistance by superior military technology and modern military warfare mechanism.


1858 End of East India Rule

1858 The Raj

The Ballad of East and West : Part 1 Greco-Roman world against Persia

This article is the part of series about the conflicts between Europe and Asia since antiquity

  • Part 1 Greco-Roman world against Persia
  • Part 2 Arab Invasion of Europe ;  Al Andalus
  • Part 3 Christendom Strikes Back ; Reconquista
  • Part 4 The Holy wars ; Crusades
  • Part 5 The Mongol Horde
  • Part 6 Ottoman Intrusion
  • Part 7 Colonialism

(all the portraits used in the article are under public domain)

As Rudyard Kipling writes in his poem The Ballad of East and West;

Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!

Since the beginning of the time human beings have waged wars against their fellow men.The to great continents of Asia and Europe have always been in conflict since the antiquity. The real question is not what happened in the past but where to go from here.

In the truest sense of conquest Persia was the first inter continental empire.Since the very beginning Persian empire was in conflict with West (Greek world). Which was maybe the main reason behind the Alexander the Great’s conquest of Persia, Ancient Egypt and Northwest Ancient India

1 Greco-Persian Wars

Date 499-449 BC

Persian Invasion

1 greeko persian wars

2 Alexander the Great Invasion of Asia Minor ,Ancient Egypt , Persian Empire and Northwest Ancient India

Date 332-323BC

Battle of Issus marked the end of Achaemeind Empire

Alexander's Battle_of_Issus

New world order carved by Macedonian King Alexander the Great which influenced the culture of Asia in a significant way after the establishment subsequent Hellenistic empires.


3 After the Macedonian wars Roman Republic emerged as major power in Mediterranean basin.

for the next few centuries Rome was in a state of intermittent warfare with Persia

(A) Roman Republic Vs Parthia

Date 53 BC

Marcus Licinius Crassus invaded Parthia empire in which he was captured and killed suring battle of Carrhae


B) Roman empire vs Sassanid empire

date Second ,Third and Fourth century 

Ardashir 1 overthrew the Achaemeind dynasty and in struggled to regain Syrian territories which made him in direct contact with Roman empire.A roman statesman and general Alexander Severus was able to push back Persian empire’s advance.This inspired roman emperor Gordian iii to finally put an end to its western rival but the success was ephemeral as at the battle of Misiche he was killed.After this Roman Emperor Philip the Arab made peace settlement with his Persian counterpart handing over Armenia and Mesopotamia to Sassanids  . These long drawn battles were futile in securing any permanent gain for either Roman and Persian empires.

After the Germanic invasions of in 250s Rome was in a weakened state which prompted the Persian ruler Shahpur 1 to launch a successful campaign against Rome in which he was able to capture Emperor Valerian at the battle of Edessa.Shortly after Emperor Carus was able to capture the Persian capital Ctesiphon in a counter offense.


Julian’ campaign

Emperor Julian launched an ambitious campaign against Persia in 363 but after the initial success he exhausted his armies by advancing further into enemy territories and was later killed an ambush by Persian cavalry units.


Later on a peace agreement was signed by the two empires by effectively creating a buffer zone of Armenia and by ensuring the well marked borders in the reign .In 384 or 387, a definitive peace treaty was signed by Shapur III and Theodosius I.

The King’s Islam

After the death of the Prophet Muhammad, his followers established a system of electing the new leader chosen by selective electoral of leading companions and the people of the cities of Medina and Mecca. After the besiegement and murder of Uthman the third caliph by the young generation of Muqatila, Ali (R.A) was elected as the next caliph but a civil war broke out in Islamic world by abruptly ending the tradition of this early form of democracy. From the very beginning of the history of Islam few royal families have rules the Easter Realm of Islamic world.

Transition from the Neo Democratic Caliphate to Arab Monarchy

After the untimely demise of Ali bin Abi Talib. Muawyia swiftly captured the Islamic realm by outmaneuvering the heir of Ali. In popular orthodox view it was decided that after Muawyia Hassan the elder son of Ali will be the next caliph. But Hassan died in suspicious circumstances leaving only muawyia to rule. Muawyia appointed his son as the legal successor of caliphate after him

2nd civil war and establishment of Umayyad rule

Yezid was the only living son of Muawyia , after  death of his father he was made the next so called caliph. This was the first time in history when caliphate was bestowed to the son of former caliph. This caused a strong reaction in the masses egalitarian Arabs.Hussain bin Ali the next patriarch of the house of Ali was called by the military city of kufa to lead them in this precarious situation. Hussein was also the grandson of the prophet Mohammed (SAW).but Yedzid’s governor of Iraq foiled the attempt of Alide resistance by killing Hussein and all male members of his family .Another front of resistance was opened by the holy cities of Mecca and Medina lead by Ibn e Zubayr brothers. They were initially successful and captured vast amount area due to absence of power created by Yezid’s death.

Establishment of Omayyad’s rule

Another branch of the Omayyad’s family was come through in these difficult times. It was the house of Merwan. They end the schism by the brutal use of force .Omyyad’s made Damascus the new capital of Islam. Early Omyyad’s were able to established Arab hegemony and supremacy over the entire Islamic world.  Umayyad generals were able to conquer central Asia, northern Africa. Iberian peninsula, khurasan and Sind in India.

Omayyad established the dictatorial rule over the both Muslim and non Muslim population in the empire. Omayyad were big land owners and were the early feudal s in the Islamic world. War booty and slaves was another lucrative source of revenue for the empire.

House of Ali was able to gain sympathies of the general public .House of Abbas were able to put a whole system of resistance based on espionage and treachery. They were also able to win the sympathy of newly converted Muslims who were heavily taxed even after their conversion which was against the religious doctrine of Islamic jurisprudence. The third element was the Muslim feudal class of Persia who has newly acquired lands in the recently conquered area of Persian Empire. Abu Muslim commanded an army against the Umayyad governor of Khurasan and put an end to the rule of House of Omayyad