Home Books & Authors Maharaja Dahir – Resurgence of Sindh – Part-II

Maharaja Dahir – Resurgence of Sindh – Part-II

Maharaja Dahir – Resurgence of Sindh – Part-II

The English translation of a novel ‘Maharaja Dahir’ authored by Kolkata-based renowned novelist Debasree Chakraborti in Bengali language. The novel has been translated by Rajesh Giri 

Every house in this city, including Pratap’s, has a huge underground room. In fact, this rugged land is occasionally visited by terrible sandstorms, which cause huge losses to cattle, crops and wealth. So everyone in this region understanding the threat, put their wealth in this basement.

That day also, before going to war, all the men of the city hide their camels, wealth and women in this cellar. Some of the abandoned camels, however, had to lie in the corner of the road, as there was no one to shelter them. The entrance to the underground basement is in the courtyard of Pratap’s house. They kept all the ornaments and wealth of Pratap’s house in this basement, he kept his two camels there and brought some thorn bushes for them. So that they face no problem staying there for several days.

Then he put some dry fruits and a few pots of water there and then made bed for two people by side to sleep on, his wife Shital was sitting some distance away watching Pratap. Pratap looked at her while working and said, “Want to say something?

Shital said calmly, “Is there any need to do all this?”

Pratap said while making the bed, “what do you think, me doing all this for you?”

Sheetal replied very simply, “yes, otherwise whom are you doing it for?”

Pratap laughed, he looked at his wife and said,” I have lost my father, my brothers in the epidemic, now there is no one left but me to protect this family. I don’t know if I can return from the war I am going to. It doesn’t matter if I don’t return, but it is my duty to protect the one growing in your womb.”

This poor newly blossomed maiden did not have the depth to understand Pratap, so she looked at her husband in surprise. Because it is taught in Jaath families like them that if a man does not return from the battlefield, it is a great honor for that soldier’s family. Within a few months of marriage, she became pregnant, but the love for her husband was not yet developed. And she is not that kind of girl to stay in this closed environment of the basement. So wasting no time she climbed up the stairs, following Shital, Pratap also came up and closed the opening of the underground cell with a huge square metal plate and covered it with sand, then he placed a cot on it and went inside the house.

On that day, Nagarpal organized a huge puja in the Shiva temple, after the puja, Nagarpal himself marked (applying tilak) the Jath heroes with sacred colored paste and prepared them for the war. Nagarpala usually don’t speak much, he stood on the temple floor with folded hands and made a call, “Har har Mahadev.”

The jaath warriors marched from the city by foot, chanting Har Har Mahadev in unison. At this time there were no women or children on the road or in the yard, because they were all kept in the basement before the men of their house went on for war.

Soldiers started falling down from their horses like dried leaves due to this sudden relentless attack

All the women in this village entered into the underground chamber as their husbands told them, but Sheetal’s character was quite different from other Jaath women, she preferred to do the opposite of what she was told. Before Pratap left, she herself adorned him and put ‘tika’ (sacred mark) on his forehead, thereafter when Pratap told her to enter the basement, she said that she feels uncomfortable staying in such a closed environment, she got suffocated. It may harm her child, if she realizes the danger, she will enter there by herself in time. While leaving,

Pratap bowed to his mother and said, “Mother, just watch that Sheetal does not go out of the house.”

That night they each wore ochre colored clothes and smeared ochre colored vermilion all over their bodies so that they could blend in with the terrain of that region. That night when the enemy force were advancing towards the city following the trail of the mountain pass suddenly then arrows started to shower from both side of the path. Soldiers started falling down from their horses like dried leaves due to this sudden relentless attack. This killed about half the army and those who were still alive, when they reached the desert through the pass shouting Allah Hu Akbar, they were surrounded on all sides by the roar of Har Har Maha Deva and again huge spears started to downpour heavily.

The Jath warriors pounced on those who were alive, and a fierce battle ensued between the two sides. But the Arab army was completely defeated by the valor of the Jaath army of Sindh Kikan. As the sun started to rise in the eastern sky, Harris ibn Murrah began to be surrounded by the Jat warriors of Sindh from all sides.

The Arab commander then finding out no other way cut his off head with his own sword and left for jannat.

On that day the Arabs were defeated by the bravery of the Jat soldiers of Sindh. Thus the first Arab invasion of Sindh was repulsed. But after the incident the Arabs became very vengeful. They could not accept this defeat, so they attacked Kikan again and again to avenge this defeat, but each time they were defeated. After about twenty years, the Arabs got their luck.

With the passage of time, there are many changes in the psyche of the people if kikan.

Raja Dahir - Bengali book
Maharaja Dahir – A novel authored by Debasree Chakraborti in Bengali language

Repeated victories in battle make them supremely overconfident. During these long twenty years the Arabs invaded many times, but their confidence in their own strength became so strong that they no longer hid their families in cellars during attacks, and even began to show off their wealth. Thus, the entrances to these dungeons were get lost gradually in the sand piles due to its no use. To avenge these twenty years of defeat, the Arabs prepared themselves again and again after each defeat by observing and rectifying the cause of their previous defeats.

They felt that the main reason for their defeat was the unity of the Jaaths of Sindh. If a crack can be created in this unity, then their victory is for sure.

Then the Arab businessman said, “You are very intelligent, that’s why you understand so easily. You have to teach our soldiers the language of Sindh province and all its customs. And you have to get married with my sister and must be taken her to your own country.”

At this time, a merchant named Surya from Kikan used to go to Arabia for trade. From Arabia he used to bring dates and dried fruits and traded in the Sindh. Once this businessman went to Arabia on his business, one of his businessman friend invited him to his house for dinner. Surya did not yet know how great a price the whole of Sindh would have to pay for this supper. That night something was mixed in Surya’s food which made Surya unconscious, after he became unconscious he was locked in a room. He wakes up in the next morning early to the screams of a woman, finding himself out that he is a drug dealer in Arabia and molested his friend’s sister while intoxicated. The entire family fell into a deep sleep after consuming the drug-laced food he brought, then he took advantage of the opportunity to execute the dirty deed. After listening to their words, Surya understood that he had fallen into the trap of the Arabs and there is no way out of it. He drugged the whole family of a woman and raped her —if this news spread across, his throat would be slit as the punishment for the rape and when this news would reach Kikan through other merchants, the society of his country would isolate his family. Because even if she is a daughter of the enemy country, their community considers women as goddesses.

Surya said, “Tell me what to do.”

Then the Arab businessman said, “You are very intelligent, that’s why you understand so easily. You have to teach our soldiers the language of Sindh province and all its customs. And you have to get married with my sister and must be taken her to your own country.”

Surya obliged and agreed to their proposal. This Arab girl is also accepted by his family as the wife of Surya, as day by day his business in Arabia become prosperous. Similarly several other Sindhi traders fell into their trap. In this way, in the long twenty years, completing all the rituals, usages and military tactics of the Jaaths, finally in 680 AD. They attacked Sindh. During this time every Jaaths were taught war tactics. So they were able to teach their secret tactics to the Arabs. This attack was very sudden. At first, large quantities of arms and ammunition were stockpiled in the houses of these merchants of Kikan. Their family members also had no doubt as they thought those are goods for trade. Then several Arab warriors took refuge in the houses as friends of these merchants. Then came that disastrous night.

After the completion of evening vesper at the Shiva temple in the center of the city, all the city dwellers had their dinner and went to sleep. That night assailants disguised as merchants came out and attacked and killed the city gatekeepers and opened the city gates. Several thousand assassins had been awaiting the night in the wilderness behind the mountains across the river. They knew when the people went asleep. At that time, they started to rush across the river, finding out the gates were opened several thousand Arab bandits entered the city and started killing. Many people did not even understand what was happening in their sleep. They started killing the men and children indiscriminately. There were also shown the way to the tribal village, in the darkness of night several thousand Arab bandits attacked that village. And the carnage continued until dawn. Then the women of tribal villages and kikans were tied around their waists with ropes and taken to Arabia to be turned into sex slaves. They looted the wealth of the Jaath families and took that wealth and women as booty. The Sindhu merchants who sheltered them, brought them under the umbrella of Islam. The Shiv temple in the middle of the city was demolished and ground to dust and the first mosque was built there in the land of Sindh and prayers were offered. Then they left leaving the city in the hands of their loyalists.

When the Arabs left the city, in the darkness of one night, a door was opened in the courtyard of a house at the end of the city, and through that door a young girl came out with a small baggage in her hand. Coming out, he stood in the middle of the courtyard for a while and looked around, there was a huge peepal tree on one side of their courtyard, and the desert wind was dancing around along with the leaves of that tree. She could see some glowing eyes on different sides of the courtyard. Everything can be seen clearly after being in the dark for a long time. She sees his two grandfathers, father and mother being devoured by a group of foxes.

Without waiting for long she came out of the house. The gates of the city were still open, carnivorous animals were feasting on the bodies of dead people all around. The gate is next to their house. She slowly moved forward to the unknown through the wilderness of desert with the small baggage in her hand. Her father had told her while hiding the in the cellar that if something wrong happened to them, she should keep this baggage carefully and run away to some other place from this city. That night her father sensed something that without any delay, he hid her in the cellar, he asked her mother too to hide with her daughter, but if she stayed in a closed place for a long time, she suffocated, so she did not want to go there. She had been kept in the dungeon once before. But that time her father himself came and took him away after two days. But this time when no one came after two days passed, then she left the room by herself. When her family was attacked, she was alert and heard everything, then when everything kept quiet, she mentally prepared herself. Her father used to say that Kshatriya (warrior class) girls should be prepared for all situations, a Kshatriya woman is the backbone of the family, the symbol of family’s value, respect, everything! Her father gave him this small baggage and said,” I have given the honor of Kikan to you.” Holding that honor in her chest, the girl slowly moved forward through the wilderness. Amidst of the dust in the desert breeze in that new moon night, a dark chapter in Kikan’s history begins. (Continues)

Click here for Part-I 


Debasree Chakraborti-1Debasree Chakraborti is a renowned novel writer of Bengali language. Based in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, she has done Master’s in Modern History from the Kolkata University, and authored some thirty books, mostly the novels, with historical perspective and themes. Her most recent novel is ‘Maharaja Dahir’ that covers the history of Sindh from 662, the year of first attack on Sindh by the Arab armies till date.     
Rajesh Giri - TranslatorRajesh Giri, born in Kolkata, had his early schooling from Kolkata and then from Medinipur—a village in Bengal. He graduated from Calcutta University with Physics and Maths and Master’s from Burdwan University in 2016. Now he is associated with Adhdhyaan educational institution teaching Physics. History enthusiastic Rajesh Giri is particularly interested in the ancient civilization of India and other regions like Egypt, Mesopotamia, and North America. He loves traveling.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here