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

Maharaja Dahir – Resurgence of Sindh – Part-VIII

Maharaja Dahir – Resurgence of Sindh – Part-VIII

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

Debal Port and Aror in Sindh

Year 712 AD

Darkness, darkness and darkness all around. Nothing can be perceived in the vast stretch of the ocean except some tiny dots of lights floating on. Only water and water everywhere on this long tiring voyage. For a long time exposure to the briny smell of the sea waves, harsh salty air and a strange pungent stench of sea petrifies their body. Those who are sailed have no idea where they are heading forth. They don’t know how longer they have to go on like this. Whether they will be ever freed from this agony!

The only thing they know that where they are going, there is only desert after desert everywhere. But where they were born, where they grew up, was in the green meadows of lush nature, mesmerizing stream of springs creating thousand rainbows around, a pristine spiritual environment in the midst of tranquil nature. But they could not have imagined that this sudden change in life would push them into such darkness. Their days are now spent in tears and lamentations.

The only window in the room of ship where they were kept is like the doorway of all hope and faith. They keep their faces stuck onto the window with all optimistic hope. There is a strange earnestness in the air; here they can feel, a spiritual fervor, which unknowingly instils an unknown hope in their minds. Maybe God has arranged something good for them here.

Raja Dahir - Bengali bookThey are not anticipating something wrong at all. They look down through the window and find out those tiny dots of lights they saw have come closer with many numbers are actually small boats surrounding their ship. There is an iron anchor like thing attached to one end of a huge rope which they throw into the ship and the rope gets caught in, then they slowly climb up the ship. One by one from all sides they captured the ship. They thought the ship has been attacked by the pirates of Arabian Sea.

The leader added, “All of you are mother to us, we worship women as mother. We consider it as our duty to keep you safe.”

In no time, the passengers and the captives started screaming from all over the ship. The pirates enter the sailor’s quarter, killed the captain and took full control of the ship. In a few minutes they searched the entire ship and found hundreds of women who are made captive. Immediately they understood the whole matter and asked those captive women in their colloquial language, “Where are they coming from? What is the name of your native place?” But those poor women do not get anything nor did they tell due to language barrier. Then one of those pirates told that, “Seeing the flag it seems it has been sailing from Sinhala.” Hearing the word ‘Sinhala’ their motherland, all the women start to nod their head affirmatively with all hope to be saved. Among the warriors there is one who seems to be the leader of the team. He used sign language to convince them that they are not pirates, they have come over to rescue all of them. He also told that this ship was sailing to Arab as gift for the Caliph. There all of you are sold as concubines in the market of Middle East. He assures them that all of them will be sent back to their land Sinhala safely with all dignities. The leader added, “All of you are mother to us, we worship women as mother. We consider it as our duty to keep you safe.” Someone among the women wanted to know that where are they now.” The leader proudly told, “This is the land of great Sindh where our king is the epitome of character, of dignity and of justice Maharaja Dahir Sen. We are not directly associated with him but we follow his rule, his Dharma. To him all the women are the form of mother Kali whom he worships. He is the father of all the subjects in his kingdom and this is not the first time it is happening. The Arabs attacked this land many times, looted the villages and captured the women to sell them in the slave markets. They desecrated the dignity of our daughters. We can’t allow this disgrace to happen anymore.” Saying this he left the place to sail the ship on the Debal port.

The women burst into tears of joy and freedom. They never thought they would return to their mother land in this lifetime. They hail Maharaja Dahir again and again.

At that time there was trade with Debal and all over the world including Arab countries. A few Arab merchants present there saw a huge ship with Sinhala desh flag and  a green Islamic flag flattering on its mast, from which boxes of goods are being unloaded into boats in the sea at some distance from the port. This does not usually happen, as the ship approaching closer to the port everyone was trying to understand the situation. They did not have to wait long. They understood that the ship was going to Arab and suddenly get attacked by the pirates and captured and looted.

On that day, the women passengers of the ship were sent in a fort on the shore of the sea at Debal Nagar and from there after few days they are sent to Sinhala on a returning ship with their own army protection.

The news of the loot gradually spread throughout the Arab country through the dominoes of Arab merchants of the port of Debal, and the news reached the Caliph at Baghdad. Before this, many times the Arab armies attacked many places in Sindh but were defeated. Repeated invasions of Sindh cost the Caliph a lot of money, besides many soldiers died in the hostile conditions of Sindh. So the Caliph had no more desire to spend money on the fresh attack on Sindh. At this time Arab army was expanding towards Egypt, moreover there was no army being set up towards the Indus. Retraining was also a major problem. At this time, the Arab commander was Hajjaj who wanted to invade the Sindh, but he could not convince the Caliph in this regard. When the ship that is a gift for Caliph was reportedly looted and the slave women were freed, then a perfect opportunity comes to Hajjaj.

In the transition of time, various events continue to run parallel to one another, the actors of these events take their actions forward through different lines of thought. Some work tirelessly to strengthen their existence in the material world, while others move forward on the path of liberation from this mysterious cycle of life and death by wandering in the spiritual world. In this mysterious evolution of time, when the Arab commander Hajjaj is engrossed in his constant efforts to establish the flag of Arab in the country of Sindh, at that very moment, the picture of the mysterious chapter of the life of the Sindh King Maharaja Dahir opens on the stage of time. It seems as if a brightly scintillating aura appears through the thick layer of fog. On one side of the vast hills and rugged terrain of Aror, the capital of Sindh, lies the cave temple of Maa Kali.

In this stoic golden realm, there appears a huge opening. Through which a tall figure, dressed in white, of a venerable man is manifested. His whole physique is like the topography of Sindh. His snowy hair and beard looks like Mother Sindhu figuratively circulating through his body

The bells of the cave temple swayed by the desert wind heralding the arrival of an important character in history. The late orange hue of the setting sun getting reflected on the huge golden mountains to the north of this cave temple,  spread all over around, depicting an environment of serene renunciation in the nature.

In this stoic golden realm, there appears a huge opening. Through which a tall figure, dressed in white, of a venerable man is manifested. His whole physique is like the topography of Sindh. His snowy hair and beard looks like Mother Sindhu figuratively circulating through his body, his yellow tone and the sunken texture of his skin resembles the terrain of Sindhu. The land form of this country as if get reflected on his body. His deep eyes similar to a pristine lake contemplating his renunciation like a setting sun. This is Sindhu Desh Maharaja Dahir coming to the final phase of his life, standing as a trident between the earthly and the unearthly worlds. Every day at this time he returns from the Raj Sabha, takes a bath, wears a white silk dhoti and upper sash, and stands here trying to contemplate the philosophy of his life. On one side there is gross material life and the life of renunciation on the other, he stands in between these two. He feels as if reflection has come upon him from both sides of life. At this time he feels like Arjuna of Kurukshetra. As dispassion has arisen in him on one hand, similarly, on the other hand there is the influence of material qualities of the world, in this despondency there is no one to guide him like Lord Krishna, so he is disoriented.

After standing like this for some time, he rode his horse to the north of the Palace on the way to the Kalika temple. Sitting in front of the goddess in this cave-temple for a while removes all thoughts from the mind, so he sets out for this temple at sunset and after worshiping the goddess in the evening returns to the palace by night. There is a distinct joy in riding amidst the silent nature that surrounds these hills, north of Aror. Maharaja feels that there comes a stage in life when one must spend life completely spiritual. It is very necessary to live, otherwise it is not possible to get rid of the cycle of life and death. (Continues)

Click here for Part-I Part-IIPart-III Part-IV Part-V Part-VI , Part-VII


Debasree Chakraborti - authorDebasree 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.



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