Ever Heard of Jhain? This is what Jalal-ud-din Khalji did to it

Ever Heard of Jhain? This is what Jalal-ud-din Khalji did to it

This is the little-known story of a Jhain, a prosperous town in medieval Rajasthan, heartlessly obliterated by Jalal-ud-din Khalji. Now it is known as the Chhan village.

THE GOLD-STANDARD ISLAMIC BIGOT Ala-ud-din Khalji’s substantial career of sweeping conquests, plunder and temple destructions have eclipsed the equally sordid record of his uncle cum father-in-law Jalal-ud-din. Fate placed Jalal-ud-din on the throne of Delhi at a very late age in life. Yet, he was every inch a devout Islamist who on numerous occasions lamented that he could not properly oppress the “rice-eating” Hindus and was forced to permit them to carry on their ”filthy idolatrous practices.” 

During the seven years that he ruled from Delhi, Jalal-ud-din launched less than ten wars against various infidel Hindu kingdoms. One such notable campaign was his march to “punish” the infidel Hammiradeva of Ranasthambhapura. The selfsame Hammira, one of the celebrated heroes in Hindu history. 

On March 22, 1291 Jalal-ud-din frontally led a massive troop from Delhi and marched towards Ranasthambhapura. His expedition was a colossal failure but the collateral damage it inflicted on Hindus was truly appalling. One of the sites that suffered extensive destruction was a small town named Jhain in the vicinity of Ranasthambhapura. 

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Ever Heard of Jhain? This is what Jalal-ud-din Khalji did to it

A SHORT STRAIGHT LINE FROM SAWAI MADHOPUR that abruptly cuts right and then slopes down along a serpentine south-west path before cutting right again, culminates its descent in the obscure village now known as Chhan. It is one of those innumerable and unremembered towns in the long historical geography of India now flung into near-permanent oblivion. It is a geographical skeleton still awaiting our full rediscovery. Thirty-five kilometres from Sawai Madhopur.


The site of several battles lasting more than a century. The home of a former royal granary.

Jalal-ud-din and his army of Islamic warriors initially began their foray by indulging in an unrestrained slaughter of innocent and unarmed infidels in the surroundings of Jhain. This macabre success emboldened Jalal-ud-din Khalji to launch a determined raid to capture the town itself.

As a pilot mission, he sent a unit of archers under the leadership of Karri Bahadur to the hilly ravines of Jhain. A troop of five hundred Hindu warriors who spotted the Turushkas launched a severe offensive. The skirmish left casualties on both sides. Jalal-ud-din’s soldiers employed a vile device to up the ante: they used poisoned arrows which claimed seventy Hindu dead bodies and forty wounded warriors. Although reinforcements arrived, the Hindu side wisely elected to retreat into the oblivion of the hills sensing that there was more to this Mleccha archery unit. The sultan’s unit likewise returned to camp and reported the incident to Jalal-ud-din.

The aged but battle-hardened sultan intuitively knew that Jhain was now primed to receive the message of Islam, which he would deliver through sword and fire. He formed a troop of a thousand men, dividing it among Malik Khurram Ariz Malik, the chief Karibak, Malik Katlagh-tigin, Azam Mubarak, Ahmad Sarjandar, Mahmud Sarjandar, the chief huntsman Ahmad, Anku and Abaji Akhurbeg. 

The army of Islam left the next morning, advancing at full speed to within two parsangs of Jhain, and entered a narrow pass in the hills.

The news spread like wildfire in Jhain, and Hammiradeva immediately dispatched his fearsome general, Gurdan Saini, an experienced warrior who had in the past helped wrest several territories in Malwa and Gujarat for his master. The engagement was intense and evenly matched but Saini met a heroic death, and his fleeing men were slaughtered and those who were captured were tortured, converted and enslaved.

The Hindu chieftain of Jhain and what survived of the defeated army decamped to the bowels of the Ranastambhapura mountains.

Jalal-ud-din’s victorious troops returned to the sultan’s camp loaded with booty. Among other items, they piled before him a large amount of jewellery, precious metals, armour, swords, horses and the heads of the infidels they had chopped off. Then they presented a “string of Rawats with their hands bound” and reduced to abject humiliation, which the infidel fully deserved. The old sultan, now in the advanced stages of his Islamic piety was naturally overjoyed and not only allowed his holy warriors to retain all this booty but distributed gold and robes of honour from his own kitty. 

“The Sultan Made a Hell of Paradise!”

THREE DAYS LATER, Jalal-ud-din Khalji personally entered Jhain and found that it was an extraordinarily lovely city. Like any other infidel city, it was suffused with rich, ornate and large temples bedecked with exquisite sculptures, carvings, and ornamented with elaborate gold and silver work. At noon, he barged into the Raja’s dazzling palace and forcibly occupied his private apartments. The whole spectacle that he witnessed in Jhain took his breath away. Amir Khusrau gives us a flavour of its beauty:

…[the Sultan] admired the exquisite colours and carving on the stone, on which the figures were so beautifully cut, that they could not be exceeded in wax. The plaster was so beautifully made, that it reflected the image of the person looking at it, and the mortar was mixed with sandal. The woodwork was all of aloe-wood.

Hell rained upon Jhain the next day.

Jalal-ud-din took an elaborate tour of the infidel temples once again, admired their splendour, elegance and artistry, and in the true tradition of Mahmud of Ghazni, Muhammad Ghori, Qutub-ud-din Aibak, Iltutmish and Balban, ordered their wholesale vandalism. It is difficult to match the naked violence of Amir Khusrau’s graphic exultation of the all-encompassing rape of Jhain:

"Next day the sultan went again to the temples, and ordered their destruction, as well as that of the fort, and set fire to the palace, and thus made a hell of paradise. The foundations of Jhain were so destroyed, that the army of the sultan was enriched by the discovery of burnt treasures, and so much gold was laden upon elephants, that who could tell its amount? This enormous wealth made rich men of beggars, for in every ruin a treasure had been found. While the soldiers sought every opportunity of plundering, the sultan was engaged in burning the temples, and destroying the idols. There were two bronze images of Brahma, each of which weighed more than a thousand maans. These were broken into pieces, and the fragments distributed amongst the officers, with orders to throw them down at the gates of the Masjid on their return to Delhi." [Emphasis added]

The chronicler Abdul Isami, a later contemporary of Jalal-ud-din, supplements this horrifying episode with even more ghastly details. Fully aware that these infidel idols seized and shattered during the rape of Jhain were the objects of great veneration for the filthy Hindus, Jalalud-din Khalji ordered them to be permanently hammered into the threshold of the Jama Masjid in Delhi so that Muslims would trample upon them when they went for Namaz. But the accursed idols were far too numerous for the threshold of just one mosque to contain. And so, the remaining idols were scattered around the Badaun Gate in Delhi, “in order that the passers-by should walk over them. In that passage, the Hindu idols should always be trampled upon by all, high and low.” Isami concludes the heartless account: “after some years I saw that these idols were so trampled upon in that passage that they were completely defaced, and each was reduced to dust.”

Jhain never recovered from this. 

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