Invaders and Infidels
When Qutub-ud-din Aibak died in a polo game 1210, he had left behind a rickety, fledgling Muslim kingdom in Delhi. For the next eighty-odd years, its fortunes swayed wildly, witnessing a record twelve kings. It was a period of incessant palace coups and serial political murders. The death of Balban extinguishes the so-called Muslim Slave dynasty and with it ends the shortlived Turkic Muslim imperialism. It also heralds the ascent of the Afghanistan-based Khaljis, classed as “low-born.” A straight line connects the origin of the Khaljis with the military airport built by the US in Zabul in 2006. By this time, Hindu political power in northern India is in total disarray with no unifying leader who has the vision to combat and expel the alien oppressor lodged in Delhi. No Hindu ruler exploits the repeated openings and vulnerabilities provided by internecine Sultanate warfare. Book 2 of Invaders and Infidels traces the unlikely rise of Jalal-ud-din Khalji as an illsuited monarch and ends with the maiden Islamic raid of Devagiri, the gateway to southern India. The incident will have far-reaching consequences for the history of India for the next six hundred years. It is a heady tale of a period rife with bloody intrigues, aggressive campaigns of Islamic expansionism, heroic wars of Hindu resistance and squandered chances for civilizational reclamation. The narrative in this book is marked by a flair of vivid historical storytelling, juxtaposing the oscillating fortunes of both Islamic conquests and the ensuing Hindu responses. It unearths a slew of eye-opening and forgotten details about the socio-political and economic life of the era whose impact is visible even today. Written in a fast-paced and engaging style, Book 2 of Invaders and Infidels is a riveting read of a critical juncture in the history of early Muslim rule of India.