As history proves, every adventurer faced hell when he tried to enter India down from the days of Alexander to what the Americans are seeing today in Afghanistan. Mongols were no exception to this, and sadly, the Indian case was not presented in this context as one of those few kingdoms which Mongols were not able to subjugate, come what may.

How badly, the west may argue them to be of no consequence in the greater context and that Indian attacks were mere border raids of plunder restricted due to the hot climate of the area, the fact remains that, Mongol armies, were either annihilated by the better cavalry of Delhi or even though victorious on field, were not able to take the cities and the overall expedition was a general failure. Slowly, the large scale invasion raids petered out into mere border raids for plunder.

An added note, Timur Lang who plundered India and Babur who settled in India are termed as Mongols to circumvent the Mongol losses in India. Timur was a Turk chieftain who rebelled against the Mongol overlords while Babur was just another of the Central Asian warlords like Mahmud of Ghazni who descended into India, but unlike others, he decided to settle. He may have traces of the blood of both Chenghiz Khan and Timur Lang, but Mongols had become irrelevant by then. What we know of the Mongols were the kingdoms like that of Crimea, which are but Mongol, just in name.

Below is a picture of the Mongol incursions into India. After this, there were some minor raids, but were never a serious threat.

 

Commander

 

Success of Invasion

1221

Chenghiz Khan

Mongols enter India chasing the Khwarezmshah Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu. The Khwarezmian army is destroyed at the Battle of Indus, the Shah escapes into India, the Mongols, not able to capture him.

Success

1221

Torbei Toqshin

Torbei Toqshin, together with two tumen of Mongol troops was ordered to cross Indus with two tumens to hunt for the fugitive king. Plunders Nandana, but gives up plundering the fort of Multan before turning back

Success

1235

 

Capture of Kashmir

Success

??

Pakchak

Raid of Peshawar

Success

1241-42

Tayir

Tayir killed when storming Lahore, Lahore butchered on fall

Success

1246-47

Sali

 

 

1254-5

Sali

The Kashmiris revolted in 1254-1255, and Möngke Khan, who became Great Khan in 1251, appointed his generals, Sali and Takudar, to replace the court and appointed the Buddhist master, Otochi, as darugachi of Kashmir. However, the Kashmiri king killed Otochi at Srinagar. Sali invaded Kashmir, killing the king, and put down the rebellion, after which the country remained subject to the Mongol Empire for many years.

Success

1257-58

Sali

The Delhi prince, Jalal al-Din Masud, traveled to the Mongol capital at Karakorum to seek the assistance of Möngke Khan in seizing the throne from his elder brother in 1248. When Möngke was crowned as Great Khan, Jalal al-Din Masud attended the ceremony and asked for help from Möngke. Möngke ordered Sali to assist him to recover his ancestral realm. Sali made successive attacks on Multan and Lahore. Sham al-Din Muhammad Kart, the client malik (ruling prince) of Herat, accompanied the Mongols. Jalal al-Din was installed as client ruler of Lahore, Kujah and Sodra. In 1257 the governor of Sindh offered his entire province to Hulagu Khan, Mongke’s brother, and sought Mongol protection from his overlord in Delhi. Hulagu led a strong force under Sali Bahadur into Sindh. In the winter of 1257 – beginning of 1258, Sali Noyan entered Sind in strength and dismantled the fortifications of Multan; his forces may also have invested the island fortress of Bakhkar on the Indus.

Success

1292

Abdullah

The 4000 advance guard under Ulghu defeated and captured, forced to convert to Islam

Failure

1297

Qadar

Zafar Khan defeats a Mongol Army near Jalandhar

Failure

1297

Saldi

Mongols under Saldi capture Siri near Delhi. Zafar Khan retakes it and captures 2000 Mongols.

Failure

1298

 

a mixed Turk-Mongol army from Delhi fought against the Rajput Kings. The Mongols quarreled with the Turk commander and killed his brother in an argument over the distribution of captured wealth. The wives and children of these Mongols were treated with ferocious cruelty and they escaped to the forts of the Rajputs. The Turks in turn had to fight with the Rajputs, who refused to give up the Mongols. At one of these forts, named Ranthambhor, two Mongol brothers Kehbru and Alaghu fought alongside the Rajput Rana Hammir Dev. Alaghu was captured by the Turks and was offered a high post in the Muslim army with his followers. Alaghu spurned the offer because after fighting alongside the highborn Hindu leader he was not willing to serve under the lowly Khaljis who were once the servants of the all-conquering Mongols.

 

1299-1300

Qutluq Khwaja

A Mongol army of 200000 under Qutlugh Khwaja invades India. This is the largest Mongol invasion force to India. After deliberation, Alla-ud-din Khilji orders Zafar Khan and Ulugh Khan attacked the Mongols. Zafar Khan falls, leading the advance guard against Targhi Beg, but Alla-ud-din Khilji ultimately wins. Legend has it that Zafar Khan created such great terror in the minds of the Mongols that whenever their horse refused to drink water, the Mongols would ask them if they had seen Zafar Khan.

Failure

1303

Targhi

An army of 12,000 under Targhi’s leadership moved to Delhi in a swift attack; many governors could not send their troops to Delhi in time. Alauddin Khilji was forced to retreat to Siri for about two months. The Mongols attacked and pillaged not only the surrounding areas, but Delhi itself. Alauddin Khilji continued to hold the fortress at Siri; Targhi withdrew the siege after a few months and left the area.

Success

1305

Targhi, Ali Beg. Tartaq

The main battle of this campaign was the Battle of Amroha fought on December 20 of 1305 between an army of the Delhi Sultanate of 30000, led by Malik Kafur and Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq, and a Mongol army of 30000-50000, led by Targhi. After a plunder, the returning Mongols were forced into the battle where the complete Mongol Army was annihilated along with Targhi, while the commanders Ali Beg and Tartaq are taken prisoners along with 9000 soldiers.

Failure

1306

Kebek

They crossed the Indus River near Multan and were moving towards the Himalayas, when Ghazi Malik, governor of Punjab, intercepted them. About 50,000 Mongols were made prisoners including one of their generals. Alauddin Khilji put them all to death and sold their wives and children as slaves.

Failure

1307-8

Iqbalmand, Tai Bu

Battle of Indus, Mongol Armies massacred

Failure

??

 

Alla-ud-din Khilji sent plundering armies under the veteran general Ghazi Malik to Kandhar, Ghazni and Kabul. These offensives effectively crippled the Mongol line of control leading to India.

Failure

1311

 

 After the Mongol commander Abachi tried to kill Kafur, Alauddin had him executed. Believing that thousands of Mongols who were captives and later converted into Islam in Delhi were conspiring to kill him, the Sultan ordered all Mongols arrested, and about 20,000 were reported to have been executed. The court of Delhi also executed emissaries of Oljeitu, the Ilkhan of Mongol Persia.

 

1320

Zulju

the Qaraunas under Zulju (Dulucha) entered Kashmir by the Jehlam Valley without meeting any serious resistance. The Kashmiri king, Suhadeva, tried to persuade Zulju to withdraw by paying a large ransom. After he failed to organize resistance, Suhadeva fled to Kishtwar, leaving the people of Kashmir to the mercy of Zulju. The Mongols burned the dwellings, massacred the men and made women and children slaves. Only refugees under Ramacandra, commander in chief of the king, in the fort of Lar remained safe. The invaders continued to pillage for eight months until the commencement of winter. When Zulju was departing via Brinal, he lost most of his men and prisoners due to a severe snowfall in Divasar district.

Failure

1327

Tarmashirin

In 1327 the Chagatai Mongols under Tarmashirin, who had sent envoys to Delhi to negotiate peace the previous year, sacked the frontier towns of Lamghan and Multan and besieged Delhi. The Tughlaq ruler paid a large ransom to spare his Sultanate from further ravages. Muhammad bin Tughluq asked the Ilkhan Abu Sa’id to form an alliance against Tarmashirin, who had invaded Khorasan, but an attack didn’t materialize

Success

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