Timur essay

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Timur


Timur (also Amir Timur, Emir Timur, Tamerlane) was born in 1336 in Shahrisabz near Samarqand. He belonged to the Barlas Turkish clan which ruled over the town of Keech and it surrounding area. In course of a fight he got wounded in his leg and after that he limped for the rest of his life and came to be called Timur the lame. The Europeans corrupted the name into Tamerlane.

Timur rose from a humble position to be the ruler of a vast empire comprising Transoxiana, part of Turkistan, whole of Afghanistan, Persia, Syria, Qurdistan and the major part of Asia Minor. Towards the end of his career he decided to lead an expedition against India.

‘As a matter of fact, he combined in himself the savage ferocity of Chinghiz Khan and the fanaticism of Sultan Mahmud”. There is difference of opinion about the expedition sent under Timur’s grandson Pir Mahammad. According to some writers, Timur sent an advance guard of his army under his grandson Pir Muhammad in 1398, himself starting from Samarqand the same year after some time. But according to others before Timur had launched his expedition he received information that his grandson Pir Muhammad, governor of Kabul, Qandahar, Ghanzni and the neighboring regions, had already sent an expedition against India which crossed the river Sindhu, captured Uch and besieged Multan. Timur starting either in March or April, 1398 reached Afghanistan.

Timur readily proceeded against Kator, a place between Kashmir and Kabul. The fort of Kator deserted by the people was razed to the ground and the houses in the city were all burnt to ashes. The people who took refuge on the hills were pursued, defeated and many of them were put to death.

Timur crossed the river Sindhu in September in 1398, crossed Jhelum and Ravi besieged Talamba seventy five miles to the north-east of Multan. Here he was informed that Pir Muhammad had captured Multan. Now the two armies under Pir Muhammad and Timur joined and proceeded via Pak Patan, Dipalpur, Bhatner, Sirsa, Kaithal plundering and burning the country and massacring the people on the way.

Timur now reached to vicinity of Delhi. Sultan Nasir-ud-din Muhammad Tughluq and his Prime Minister Mallu Iqbal came out to oppose Timur. In the battle that followed (December 17, 1398) Sultan Nasir-ud-din was defeated. The Delhi army comprised forty thousand infantry, ten thousand cavalry and hundred and twenty elephants. But it fell easily before the invading army of Timur. The Sultan fled to Gujarat and the prime minister to Bulandshahr.

On December 18, 1398 Timur occupied Delhi where the citizens led by the ulemas waited on the conqueror and begged quarter. Although Timur is said to have agreed to spare the citizens, the oppressive conduct of the soldiers of Timur left no alternative before the Delhi citizens but to stand in defense. But, they were all defeated.

Timur took immense booty and there was not a single soldier who did not become rich overnight and did not possess at least twenty slaves. Timur picked the master artisans of Delhi and sent them to Samarqand for building his famous Friday Mosque.

For fifteen days Timur stayed in Delhi and left Delhi on January 1, 1399 for Samarqand. He had no desire to rule over Delhi. He passed via Firozabad and reaching Meerut stormed it. Near Hardwar he was opposed by two Hindu armies whom Timur had to defeat before resuming his journey. He then plundered Kangra and Jammu. Before leaving India, Timur appointed Khizir Khan the expelled governor of Multan, Lahore and Dipalpur to run the government of the bordering area.

Timur recrossed Indus on March 19, 1399.

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