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

Maharaja Dahir – Resurgence of Sindh – Part-XLII

Maharaja Dahir – Resurgence of Sindh – Part-XLII

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

Pakistan and Baghdad

Year 2021 and 715 AD  

It is a long cumbersome drive from Lahore to Aror. Sabirbhai said it would take around eight to nine hours to reach there. I have to admit the guy has strength and gut; how can a man drive continuously like this without sleeping all night; there is no sign of strain on his eyes at all.

But Dr. Iqbal does not want to spend this long eight hours only by sleeping or talking to Sabirbhai. The mission ‘Maharaja Dahirsen’ is now on the way to the completion. Panchajanya is getting frustrated being in Dr. Iqbal’s identity. He has to finish this job soon and return home. Moreover, Mithila!! On reaching India he will first contact Mithila. During this long eight hour period he also has to finish the diary of Dahir’s daughter Surya Devi. Dr. Iqbal started reading the rest of this diary.

Surya Devi wrote, “That night a huge ship came and docked on the seashore. In that dark of the night nothing could be seen around; they proceeded towards the ship with the light of burning torches; sometime before the ship arrived, several boats came and waited on the shore. We had no idea who or what had been brought in these huge boats. I felt at that moment how terrible life can be. We were made to stand some distance away in shackles; first the boatmen were taken aboard, then we were to proceed towards the ship. We waded through knee-deep water and mud and boarded the ship. They didn’t do anything to me and Parimal, but the rest of our sisters and even Sheetal— they are kicked continuously to the ship. That night it was very dark inside the ship, so nothing could be seen around. When the ship went into the middle of the ocean, there started terrible shaking, we were never used to with this; our father always protected us with his shelter of love, compassion. Even a single scratch didn’t hit us until today. What a fate that led us to such terrible consequence. I and Parimal became mentally much contemplated, but some of our fellow passengers began lamenting. After a while vomiting started; the passengers continued to vomit as they swayed in the sea. I understood from their voices that they were all women. Next morning at sunrise I discovered my cousin Sundari in that ship. Sundari burst into tears when she saw me. I pulled her close to me and sat in a corner of the ship. Just as our father used to pull us into his bosom and make us forget all our sorrows with caress and care, I continued to bestow Sundari my utmost affection and love. I was the eldest sister; father always told me, I am elder and elder sister should be loving and caring like mother. After crying for a while Sundari said, “That night the army under the leadership of Ma Rani Bai fought fiercely. Mother and other princesses also continued to fight. But the defense no longer lasted. It was not possible for them to fight with such a huge number of troops; the biggest thing is that they had foals among the Sindh army; they started to massacre indiscriminately in no time.” After the defeat, all those who were inside the fort were captured and brought out shackled, Sundari and several young women among our relatives were first captured and brought out. Maa Rani Bai says that she wants to perform the last puja ritual inside this fort with her companions. When the puja will be done they will come out; this much time they have to consider. When the others like Sundari came to know of Ma Rani Bai’s intention, they realized what was going to happen inside the castle, as Maa Rani Bai had said that if they are defeated, they will become Sati. When others expressed their desire to participate in Maa Rani Bai’s special puja, they are not allowed inside. Before Sati, women have to bath together and put on new clothes and organize a special puja. Inside the fort, a huge room was prepared to make sacrificial altar in advance, a special mantra had to be chanted before lighting the fire. When the chanting began we could hear it from outside, this secret worship was held in a room inside the women’s bath, so the Arab soldiers could not enter that place. If they had found this massive amount of combustibles upon entering, this incident would not have happened. When the mothers started reciting mantras, the cows inside the fort were brutally butchered by the Arab soldiers just before the puja. The blood from the bodies of the cow-mothers flowed from inside the fort and ran over the feet of Sundari and others outside, symbolizing terrible sins and omen. As the cows writhe on the ground inside the fort in agony, the conch sounds, the sound of the hooves creates a terrible jerk, then a strong pungent smell of smoke comes out, and in a few moments black smoke begins to billow out of the fort. Deceiving the Arab soldiers our Mothers become Sati.”

After that, except for the princesses of our royal family, the rest were sent to Arabia in chains on foot, and Sundari and others were sent to this ship.

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

On that ship there was an Arab soldier named Abdullah. When Sundari fell sick from crying, one day Abdullah brought a hakim and examined her. Sometimes Abdullah secretly keep providing good food and drinks. I could sense that Abdullah had developed a weakness for Sundari. Initially Sundari objected, but I asked her to take those food and drink that Abdullah had brought. Thus one day we reached a port in Arabia. When we got there, before we got off the ship, the Arabs were saying something about our father, then laughing at our father while carrying something in a small box. Abdullah came to pick us up. I asked Abdullah in my own language that what was kept in that box. After standing for a while keeping his head down, he pointed to our father’s name, signifying that the box contained the head of our father– Dahir Sen, which was being brought as a present to the Khalifa. Hearing this, my body felt numb, our father had been with us in this ship for so long, but none of us could know it. I understood that the head of the Sindhupati Maharaja Dahir was brought with his daughters who are considered as the symbol of his family’s honor – that implies all the honor of the country of Sindh would be handed over to the Caliph, who would then shatter the honor into the ground as he pleased. At that moment I also started preparing mentally.”

“The intervening events after that are nothing significant to write about. We were taken from that port to Baghdad. On arriving at Bagdad we were taken to a court, which I understood from the conversation of the Arabs that we were being taken to the court of the Caliph. Everything in this court is different from our father’s court. The surrounding walls are made of white marble stone, with gold, silver, and various kinds of jewels in them, and many things are written in Arabic. I didn’t not understand what is written. In front there was an old man dressed in white sitting on a silver throne. The white hair, the white beard of the old man and the overwhelming whiteness of the surrounding environment seem to be very peaceful; seems to be arrived in a heavenly realm. It goes without saying that this old man is the caliph. All those who attended the meeting were dressed in white, each of them had a chanting rosary in their hands. Each of them looks like a saint. We stood in front of them in a row. After coming to Arab, I learned that at that moment we were presented as booty in front of them.”

Then the box was brought into the meeting. As soon as the box was brought, Sundari cried; I pulled her close to me and comforted her, as soon as the box was opened, a stench spread all around, suddenly the hell hidden inside this apparently peaceful heavenly environment came out in front of us. When the head of our father was handed over to the Caliph, he turned father’s face towards everyone, and immediately there was a jubilation of victory in the hall. The Khalifa threw father’s head on the ground and placed his left foot on it, looking at us with a smile on his face and saying, “All the princesses of Sindh are standing here, share them as you wish. But leave these three for me.”

‘Those three’ meant me, Parimal and Sundari. As soon as Sundari was indicated, Abdullah bowed his head down and stood in front of Sundari and said, “My lord, my sincere request, I have accepted this princess as my begum in my heart, if you allow me, I want to do Nikah with her.” The Caliph made no reply to his request; he only said, “They are tired from the toils of the long journey, now rest, and then let them be presented to my service.” Saying this, he lowered his feet from our father’s head and stood up. Then he left the meeting. I don’t know what happened to my father’s head thereafter. When the meeting ended, Abdullah looked helplessly at Sundari. I vowed at that moment that no matter what, I would unite their hands’ Abdullah, even though he was from an Arab country, would be able to respect my sister. Otherwise, she will be the concubine of this old caliph; then after the caliph’s death, the other filthy demons will tear her apart. When the Caliph left, the old men, dressed in white robes with chanting garlands in their hands, stood up and started coming towards us, with a strange kind of benevolence in their eyes. It seems as if a saint is coming forward to show us the direction of light. Chanting the rosaries, they pointed at our sisters and Sheetal to indicate who would take whom with them. They understood that there is no point in protesting, here they are sex slaves; they have no choice but to accept all the orders of their masters. They glanced at me as they left, then bowed their heads and walked away, one last hope was there in their gaze. Sheetal hugged me as she left, then a guard started to drag her by her braid. I knew this bidding was the last goodbye; as far as they went on, I grew stronger inside; we were taken in the opposite direction to where they had gone. We were ushered into a luxurious room of white marble stone. We were treated with great care and hospitality there. Our physical care continues with such hospitality. I don’t know how long days are passing by like this. Sometimes women from Sindh were captured and used to bring to the Caliph. Many of those who were being brought on foot died on the way as they could not bear the extreme labor of the long journey, and those who reached Baghdad were sold in the markets of Baghdad.” (Continues) 

Click here for Part-I Part-IIPart-III Part-IV Part-V Part-VI Part-VIIPart-VIII Part-IX Part-XPart-XIPart-XIIPart-XIII Part-XIV Part-XV Part-XVIPart-XVIIPart-XVIII Part-XIXPart-XXPart-XXI Part-XXIIPart-XXIII Part-XXIV Part-XXV Part-XXVIPart-XXVIIPart-XXVIIIPart-XXIXPart-XXX , Part-XXXI, Part-XXXIIPart-XXXIII Part-XXXIV Part-XXXV Part-XXXVI Part-XXXVII Part-XXXVIIIPart-XXXIXPart-XL , #Part-XLI 


Debasree ChakarbortiDebasree 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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