India’s recent military success over China in reclaiming strategic posts like the Black Top and Finger 4 by pushing the latter back has given cause to all proud Indians to rejoice even in the midst of the ensuing Covid pandemic and a gloomy global economic scenario. India’s victory has led most to draw parallels between Prime Minister Modi and the mighty 7th Century Hindu king of Kashmir Lalitaditya or Muktapida as most nationalists are stating that they are happy with India’s Lalitaditya strategy of taking the battle to the enemy territory, which they had done in the past too, with the surgical strikes on Pakistan, rather than the Prithviraj Chauhan strategy of forgiving the enemy, to be later beaten by him.

Lalitaditya Muktapida – An Introduction

The name, Lalitaditya or Muktapida may be totally unfamiliar to a vast majority of Indians, this despite the fact that Lalitaditya might as well have been the mightiest ruler of India, reigning over the largest of the territories- stretching from Kashmir to Central Asia and from Uzbekistan to Sunderbans in Bengal. He was perhaps the only ruler who made Akhand Bharat a reality, also extending the territory of Bharat to the neighbouring countries and beyond. His tale would defy the belief of most of the intellectuals of our country that India as a nation or as an entity did not exist before the British colonized us. For obvious reasons his life, times and military escapades were quietly brushed under the carpet by our Leftist Lutyens historians, who, with the vile intent of demeaning the Hindus, never wanted India to learn about the might and valour of a Hindu king, who not only stalled any invasion attempt but also had the courage to march into their territory and occupy it. These historians have all along glorified and glamourized the Islamic invaders and plunderers, making the Hindu rulers appear meek and insignificant, who gave in easily to them. This not only demoralized Hindus for generations to come, making them suffer from low self esteem and low in confidence but also got them infested with Stockholm syndrome, wherein, they started believing that their invaders/tormentors, be it the Islamic rulers or the British and other European colonial powers had an overbearing effect on them and were destined to be their lords and protectors, being more powerful than them. This has caused great harm to the Hindu mindset for years thereafter, with debilitating effects on our progress and cultural ethos. It’s time for us to learn about the great Hindu rulers who were mightier than the invaders who should be our role models.

Lalitaditya was the most powerful ruler of the Karkota dynasty of Kashmir. The 12th century chronicler, Kalhana characterizes Lalitaditya as world conqueror in his ‘Rajtarangini’. He ruled for 37 years from 724 to 761 CE. His rule is considered a golden age in Kashmir where art, architecture and learning flourished. Due to his conquests, scholars have called him Alexander of Kashmir. Kalhan’s ‘Rajtarangini’ states that the Karkota dynasty was founded by king Durlabhvardana in 625 CE. Lalitaditya was the 5th ruler. Durlabhvardan was an officer in the Gondadiya kingdom, whose last ruler was Baladitya. Pleased with his loyal service, Baladitya gave his daughter Anangalekha in marriage to Durlabhvardan, despite his non royal lineage. His one son Durlabhaka aka Pratapaditya married Narendraprabha and subsequently gave birth to three sons, of which Lalitaditya was the youngest. His two elder brothers were Chandrapida aka Vajraditya and Tarapida aka Udayaditya who ruled Kashmir before him. His aim was to expand his kingdom throughout the world. He was epitome courage and valour.  After years of training and hard work, he was able to fight for months, even years without sweat.

Laliataditya’s Indian Conquests

According to renowned historian, R. C. Majumdar’s ‘Ancient India’,  Lalitaditya first faced Yashovarman, who was the successor of the famous ruler of the Pushyabhuti dynasty, Harshavardana. He attached Yashovarman’s kingdom, Antarvedi, whose capital was Kanyakubja (Modern day Kanauj in UP) located between the Yamuna river and the Kalika river, and compelled him to sign a peace treaty after a long and intense war famously known as “The Treaty of Yashovarman and Lalitaditya “. After consolidating power in Kanyakubja, Lalitaditya proceeded to the East reaching Kalinga (modern day Odisha) and Gauda (Bengal).  After that he set out towards the Vindhyas where he met the Karnata queen, Ratta or Bhavangana of the Rashtrakut dynasty. She had constructed obstacle free roads over the Vindhya mountains and was as powerful as Goddess Vindyabasini (Maa Durga). But a powerful ruler like her, too, bowed to Lalitaditya. From then on, Lalitaditya marched on triumphant from the seven Konkans to Dwarka to Avanti, all the way into Punjab and Afghanistan, establishing his rule over all of the Indian territory. According to some folk tales, Bappa Rawal, the famous warrior from Mewar was not only a close friend of Lalitaditya but also participated in some of his famous victories against the foreign invaders and may have died during Lalitaditya’s Central Asia campaign.

Lalitaditya and his relation with the Chinese

Following his victories in the South, Lalitaditya now focussed on the North again and attacked Ladakh as well as other western provinces, which were under the rule of the Tibetans and liberated them. This was the time when Muhammed Bin Qasim had invaded Multan in 712 AD and the Arabic invaders had wanted the entire India to be subjugated under the Islamic fold. Victory over the Arabs was, by no means, easy. Lalitaditya came into contact with the Tang dynasty of China, who were at their peak during the 7th century AD. He was successful in making the Tang dynasty his ally in his fight against the Arabs and Tibetans. Lalitaditya recruited a number of Chinese mercenaries and strategists in his army which gave him an edge over his contemporary rulers. With the help of the Tangs, Lalitaditya was successful in defeating the Tibetans and extended their rule over modern day Bangladesh and Ahom (modern day Assam) and other North Eastern States of India. His exploits are mentioned in the famous book ‘Xing Tang Shu’ which is well known for documenting the history of the Tang dynasty of China as he extended his conquest even upto China.  Iranian scholar, Alberuni, in his treatise, ‘Tarikh-I-Hind’ mentions that the Kashmiris celebrated the second of Chaitra as his victory over the Tibetans.

Lalitaditya and his victory over the Arabs and Turks

Soon after, Junaid, the Arab governor of Sind attacked Kashmir on the orders of caliph Hisham. After the death of Prophet Muhammad, four major Caliphates were established. Ummayad was the second of the caliphate with it’s capital at Damascus, Syria. The Arabs had established their rule over Sindh with Muhammad Bin Qasim and the region was thoroughly plundered. It was plundered and looted and then eyed Kashmir which was a prosperous region. Lalitaditya defeated Junaid and the Arab army so badly that they didnot attack Kashmir till he was alive. This is mentioned in ‘Fatenama Sindh’.

Lalitaditya went on to defeat the invading Tukharas (the Turks of Turkmenistan and Tochran from Badakstan), Bhutas (from Baltistan and Tibet) and Dardas (Darius). He also won over Central Asia which comprises modern day countries like Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, South Kyrgyzstan and southwest Kazakshtan. After that he invaded Turkistan through Kabul and defeated Momin of Bukhara 4 times and killing him the 5th time.  According to Alberuni , a Kashmiri king, Muthai, defeated Momin, the governor of Uzbekistan. Muthai was none other than Muktapida. His presence discouraged the Muslim kingdoms from attacking Kashmir. He also scored a victory over the Hindukush-Pamir region. He expanded his territories consequently to the Caspian Sea and went on to the Karakorum mountain ranges. He was so furious with the Arabs that he would send back prisoners of war with half their heads shaven. From Tibet in the North to Dwarka and the seas of Odisha in the south, from Bengal in the East to Central Asia in the West, Lalitaditya’s empire had been established with supreme might. His forces reached Aranyaka kingdom (Persia) , now known as Iran.

Lalitaditya as a patron of Science, Arts and Architecture

Lalitaditya was not only a great warrior but also was a benevolent ruler and a great patron of science, arts and architecture who left behind the memoirs of his reign through marvellous works of architecture. Kashmir has always been a great seat of Hindu learning, research, science and Hindu architecture and Lalitaditya also promoted all Hindu arts and sciences. He built great temples, the most significant being  the Martanda Sun Temple which is now in ruins. He built many schools and learning centres in Kashmir that were destroyed after Islamic invasions. Like thousands of other temples, the Sun temple was also destroyed by orders of Islamic ruler of Kashmir, Sikander Butshikan. He established several towns including a new capital at Parihaspur, although he also maintained the dynasty’s traditional capital at Srinagar.

Why the Islamists stayed away from India for 300 years even after Lalitaditya’s reign

Hindu kings never destroyed the culture of the lands they conquered. When Indian kings fought with each other, they maintained certain principles of was mentioned in their sashtras. This is in sharp contrast to the  Islamic or other invaders destroyed the culture and civilization of the land they conquered and did not follow any principles of war. They murdered innocents, burnt crops, raped women, took them as slaves and forcefully converted them to Islam. Defeat to these invaders meant total annihilation of the native culture. Lalitaditya always kept this in mind when he successfully resisted the Islamic invasion. The first Islamic invasion since the capture of Multan by Muhammed Bin Qasim in 712, happened only after a long gap of 300 years when Mahmud of Ghazni invaded India between 1020-1025 AD. The Darbari historians would love to believe and also love to convince you that it was due to the downfall of the Ummayad Caliphate. But the real reason for the same was that a Hindu ruler who, not only defeated such Arabic and Turkish invaders at home as well as  their very own backyard, but struck such terror in their hearts that nobody dared to set their eyes on India for centuries- the mighty king Lalitaditya Muktapida.

Why our Leftist Historians chose to forget Lalitaditya

Lalitaditya’s tales of might and valour were never told by our own historians. On the contrary, we had to rely on the validation of Kalhan’s ‘Rajtarangini’ by a foreigner, German art historian, Hermann Goetz to be confirmed about the conquests and creativity of Lalitaditya. The reasons for suppressing the story of Lalitaditya by the Leftist Lutyens historians were many :

  1. Lalitaditya was the first Hindu ruler of India who had curved out a vast empire stretching across the whole of the Indian subcontinent upto Central Asia, thus making it evident that ‘Akhand Bharat’ was a reality in the ancient times too. This belies the Leftists’ concept that, before the British, India as a united entity never existed.
  2. Lalitaditya’s empire was bigger than that of the mightiest of the Mughal rulers. Yet, he never plundered the territories captured by him, nor did he destroy the art, culture or ethnicity of those regions, unlike the Islamic and the other foreign invaders, which made the latter appear  brutal and evil compared to him, a Hindu king. This again is contrary to the Leftist historians’ glorification of the Islamic invaders as rulers who established welfare states, taking good care of their citizens and at the same time promoting art and culture.
  3. The might and power of Lalitaditya would surely have inspired generations of Hindus  suffering from low esteem and an overbearing belief that they are and traditionally have been weaker than the Islamists as well as foreigners, thus giving in easily to them. History has primarily taught us about Hindu kings who were defeated in war most of the time. Lalitaditya’s story and that of many other unsung Hindu rulers prove that it was otherwise. This is something which the leftists did not want as their aim was always to make the Hindus appear inferior and weak to demoralize the present generation and attract them towards the other, ‘visibly more powerful’ faiths.
  4. Lalitaditya’s glorious reign proved to the world that Kashmir, the land of Rishi Kashyap, was and has always been an integral part of India, besides being the centre of excellence in science, art, literature and architecture. Hence the claim of the naysayers , that Kashmir was never an integral part of India, even to this day, despite the abrogation of Article 370, is negated once the history of Lalitaditya is known.

Lalitaditya’s glorious reign proved to the world that Kashmir, the land of Rishi Kashyap, was and has always been an integral part of India, besides being the centre of excellence in science, art, literature and architecture. Hence the claim of the naysayers , that Kashmir was never an integral part of India, even to this day, despite the abrogation of Article 370, is negated once the history of Lalitaditya is known.

A nation never prospers if it does not recognize it’s roots, i.e it’s history. It is time for India, which had well forgotten her glorious past to not only reclaim it but also be inspired by it for an equally glorious and prosperous future following the footsteps of our mighty ancestors like Lalitaditya akin to our current military exploits, for which we are drawing parallels with his conquests.

References : i) Video by Atul Mishra of ‘The Frustrated Indian’

ii) Video by Shyam Shaw

iii) Wikepdeia on Lalitaditya

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King Lalitaditya Muktapida

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