By the end of the eighth century, the might, prestige, and spread of Islam, which had reached untrammelled heights of triumph across a vast swathe that sliced across the Middle East, North Africa, Portugal, Spain and was knocking on the doors of France, had reached its nadir in Al-Hind. This abysmal fate suffered by Islam continued for nearly two more centuries. Arab travelers of the tenth century record how this nadir was symbolized by two tiny principalities: Multan and Mansurah. And Multan itself was kept in Muslim hands with a simple, psychological trick: blackmail. The fearless Pratihara kings waged an unremitting war against the Arab ruler here to wrest the ancient, sacred city back into the Hindu fold. However, it was the selfsame and the much-reviled Aditya Budd, the Vigraha, that ironically saved the Arab ruler whose cowardly threat to the Pratiharas was simple: “go back or else I’ll smash this idol to pieces!” Perhaps Allah’s blessings were in short supply to this chieftain when compared to what he had bestowed upon Muhammad bin Qasim. Needless, the threat worked and Multan remained in Muslim hands. The interested reader is referred to Dr. S.L. Bhyrappa’s first historical novel, Saartha for extraordinary insights on this topic.
The late historian and scholar Dr. Ram Gopal Misra makes the following blunt but accurate observation about this state of affairs at Multan: