Muslim Invaders in Orissa

Muslim Invaders in Orissa April 8, 2015

Orissa had its first brush with Muslim invaders during the reign of Eastern Gangas. There were two Muslim invasions which were repelled. These invasions were planned in Gauda or modem Bengal which had a Muslim Governor. Therefore, King Narasimhadev I, the builder of the temple at Konark, invaded Bengal in 1243 and defeated Governor Tughral Tughan Khan. He sacked Lakhnaur in Birbhum district in 1244. There were two more failed Muslim invasions between 1247 and 1255. It is said that attackers were attracted by stories of the availability of elephants in Orissa; they attacked continuously and returned with elephants. Tughral Khan, the Governor of Bengal, who had attacked in 1280, returned with a number of elephants. Firoz Shah invaded Orissa in 1360; when the King of Orissa ran away from Cuttack in fright. The Emperor sent word to him that he was not on a conquering expedition but on a hunting trip to get elephants, whereupon the King of Orissa presented him with twenty elephants as tribute and satisfied him.

The Hindu Rule: Its End
The period of strong and powerful rulers was followed by the usual internecine warfare. On the death of Prataprudra, his minister Govinda Vidyadhar killed his two sons and seized power in 1541 -42, thus founding the Bhoi dynasty. This dynasty did not last long and the period was marked by revolts by local chieftains, one of whom collaborated with the Bengal army to capture power. Another minister of the Bhoi dynasty, Mukundadev, who captured power in 1560, was the last independent Hindu king of Orissa. It was from his hands that the Turko-Afghans took over power in 1568.

The Mughal Empire in Orissa
Following the death of Sulaiman Kararani, Orissa became the theatre of conflict between the forces of the Mughal Emperor of Delhi and those of the Subahdar of Bengal. In 1573, Daud Khan, the son of Sulaiman threw off his allegiance to the Emperor and declared independence. The imperial forces under Munim Khan and Raja Todar Mai pursued him and he was defeated at Mughalmari in Midnapore district in 1573. Munim Khan accepted the surrender of Daud Khan who agreed to hold Orissa as a Chief under the Mughal Emperor. In the same year, Daud Khan revolted again and was killed by the Mughal forces which thereupon captured Orissa. But the Afghans were not quiet. They rose in frequent revolt. Tired of these intermittent outbreaks of rebellion the Governor of Bengal handed Orissa back to them with Kutlu Khan as Governor in 1584. The Afghan forces were finally exterminated by Sujaat Khan in 1612.

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