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Mansura (Arabic: منصورہ‎) (Brahmanabad:ब्राह्मनाबाद) was the historic capital of the Arab empire in Sindh.


The city now lies in Western Pakistan and is usually known as Brahmanabad in Sindh, situated about 13 km south-east of Shahdadpur railway station, and 69 km north-east of Hyderabad.


In the Chachnama we find frequent mention of a chief Agham Lohana who was ruler of Brahmanabad with their two territories Lakha to the west of Lohana and Sama to the south of Lohana (Nerron) Narayankot Hyderabad, Sindh in the time of Chach 636 AD.

James Tod[1] writes that The warriors assembled under Visaladeva Chauhan against the Islam invader included the lord of Bamani abandoned Sind. The lord of Bamani," in other places called Bamunwasso, must apply to the ancient Brahmanabad or Dewal, on whose site the modern Tatta is built.


Sir H. M. Elliot[2] has provided following description:

[p.369]: In the time of the native dynasties which preceded the Arabs, the capital of Lower Sind was Bráhmanábád.

[The old name of the place, according to Bírúní, was Bahmanu or Bahmanwá. The Ashkálu-l Bílád calls it Bámíwán (p. 34), but Ibn Haukal gives the name as "Támírámán" according to Gilde-meister, and "Mámíwán" according to Major Anderson. Idrísí has Mírmán (p. 78), but this is obviously a blunder. In the Chach-náma, the name is written Báín-wáh, and in the Táríkh-i Táhiri, Páín-wáh. It is probably the Bhámbaráwáh of the Tuhfatu-l Kirám (p. 332). Captain McMurdo writes it Báhmana, and Briggs "Bamunwasy."1]

Under its immediate government were included Nírún, Debal, the country of the Lohánas, the Lákhas, and the Sammas, and the whole southern coast. Its position, therefore, was one of great importance, and as its ruin is comparatively modern, it is surprising that so much doubt should exist with respect to its locality.

Various positions have been assigned to Bráhmanábád. The Áyín-i Akbarí says the fort had 1400 bastions, and that "to this day there are considerable vestiges of this fortification;"2 but it is not said in what direction, or on which side of the river, it lay; but the mention of the bastions would seem to point out that Kalákot was probably indicated. In a passage in the Beg-Lár-náma, mention is made of "a place called Matáhila, near the fortress of Bráhmanábád, twenty kos distant from Nasrpúr" (MS. p. 80). Dr. Vincent says it was within four miles of Thatta, and corresponded with Pattala,3 concurring in this with D'Anville and Rennell.

Capt. McMurdo fixes it on the Púrán, afterwards called Lohána Daryá, but it is not quite plain what he means by the Lohána Daryá.4 He, at any rate, altogether repudiates Thatta and Kalákot, and we must look for his Bráhmanábád near Nasrpúr. "It was situated on the Lohána Daryá, at a short distance from where it separates from the Púrán." Again, "On or near the Púrán river, in what was subsequently

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[p.370]: called the Shahdadpúr Pergana. Báhmana was afterwards called Díbal Kángara."1 Dr. Burnes fixes it at Kalákot,* and so does Sir A. Burnes.2 Capt. Postans says Bhambúra, mentioning at the same time native tradition in favour of Khudábád, a little above Haidarábád.4

There seems no reason to conclude that the Bráhmanábád, or Bahmanábád, of which we are treating, was founded by the Persian king, Bahman, upon his invasion of Sind. His city is expressly said to have been built in the province of Budha,5 which never extended so far as the Indus. Nor is it probable that, had he built a city on the Indus, he would have done so on the eastern, rather than on the western, bank of that river. The fact is, that Bahmaná-bád is a mere abbreviated form of Bráhmanábád; and is still a very common mode of elision throughout Western India and the Dekhin, where Bráhman, in common parlance, is usually converted into Bahman.

Though the Chach-náma does not anywhere expressly point out where Bráhmanábád was situated, we are at any rate assured, from several passages, that it was on the eastern side of the Indus, and this alone is sufficient to show that the speculations which have been raised, respecting the identity of Kalákot and Thatta with that old capital, rest upon no solid foundation.

We may fairly consider, in general terms, that Bráhmanábád, after being intermediately succeeded by the Arab capital Mansúra, is now represented by the modern Haidarábád; and although it may not have been upon the identical spot occupied by the modern capital, it was at least within the island, or peninsula, formed by the Falailí and the main stream of the Indus, from which the former seems to have diverged in old days at a point higher than at present. Matárí, indeed, would seem to be the most probable site of the city, with reference to the quotation given above from the Beg-Lar-náma. To fix it higher up, as at Khudábád or Hála, would take it too far from Mansúra, which we have next to consider.

Biládurí tells us that old Bráhmanábád was about two parasangs distant from Mansúra, which, in the time of Muhammad Kásim, was

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[p.371]: occupied by a forest1 (p. 122). When we consider the space which is always covered by the sites of old Indian towns, from the straggling mode of their erection, we are authorized to conclude that a large portion of Bráhmanábád was included in Mansúra, and that, in point of fact, the two sites are identical. The position of Haida-rábád, upon a ridge of limestone hills about eighty feet high, must, from the first, have pointed out that site as a commanding one for a capital, and it has probably ever been thus occupied, by successive towns, from the first dawn of Sindian civilization. It is, indeed, on the site of Bráhmanábád that D'Anville would place the earlier Minagara, in which he is followed by Reinaud.2

The 'Ajáíbu-l Makhlúkát says that Nasrpúr was built on the site of Mansúra, and the same opinion is expressed by D'Anville,3 and accredited by the local information of Capt. McMurdo. Tieffen-thaler,4 Vincent,5 Rennell,6 Tod,7 and Gildemeister,8 misled by the mistake of Abú-l Fazl,* fix Mansúra at Bhakkar. M. Reinaud considers the testimony of Biládurí, Mas'údí, Istakhrí, Ibn Haukal, and Al Birúní to bear out D'Anville entirely in his position of Nasrpúr; but the mere fact that all the geographers agree in representing a branch of the Indus as flowing by Mansúra, is quite sufficient to dislodge Nasrpúr, which is twelve miles from the nearest point of the river.

Biládurí tells us that, after Hakim had built Mahfúza on the Indian side of the lake,-or body of water, whatever it may have been,10 -his successor 'Amrú built Mansúra on this (the western) side, and established it as the capital. M. Reinaud says, "Mahfúza was built in the neighbourhood of the capital (Bráhmanábád), on the other side of a lake fed by the waters of the Indus." I do not find on what authority this is stated. Mansúra was, indeed, two

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[p.372]: parasangs from Bráhmanábád, and M. Reinaud is right in stating that these two latter names were often used the one for the other,1 - for they are so combined and converted both by Ibn Haukal and Bírúní;2 but beyond the announcement that Mahfúza was on the eastern side of the bahaira (lake, marsh, or inundation of the Indus), and Mansúra on the western, we have nothing which indicates the true position of Mahfúza.

It appears to me that Mahfúza, and not Mansúra, is represented by Nasrpúr. Indeed, independent of the position with reference to the eastern and western side of the stream above mentioned, it is worthy of remark, that the meaning of the two names is the same- both signifying "the protected, the abode of refuge." The identity, or resemblance of name, therefore, would be as much in favour of Mahfúza as Mansúra.

Nasrpúr, which modern authorities universally spell as Násirpúr, was built, or rather re-constructed, on the river Sánkra, by Amír Nasr, who was detached by Sultán Fíroz Sháh for that purpose, with a thousand cavalry, in 751 A.H., 1350 A.D. Nasrpúr was subsequently the favourite residence of the Tarkháns, and was greatly embellished by them during their brief rule.3

It being shown above that Mansúra is nearly identical with Bráhmanábád, it remains to prove that both are not far distant from the modern capital of Haidarábád.

Among the reasons for considering Mansúra to be identical with Haidarábád, is the position assigned to it by Istakhri and Ibn Haukal, who describe it as being "a mile long and a mile broad, and surrounded by a branch of the Indus." This is the mode in which it is also described by Kazwíní. Notwithstanding this, it is laid down in the map of the Ashkálu-l Bilád.4 as being situated on the main stream. Istakhrí's map rightly locates it on the branch, but Ibn Haukals' map, as printed by Major Anderson,5 places it about midway between the two. The island, to be sure, is out of all proportion

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[p.373]: large, but its position necessarily identifies it with that which is formed by the Falailí and the Indus,-and the space which the town is represented to have occupied is exactly that which constitutes the limestone ridge on which Haidarábád is built.

The distances laid down also by Ibn Haukal are, with one exception sufficiently correct. Thus, from Mansúra to Debal is six days' journey, which is exact,-on the supposition that Debal, as elsewhere shown, is Karáchí. From Mansúra to Túrán is fifteen days' journey, which also agrees well enough with Haidarábád. From Mansúra to Kandábel (Gandáva) is eight days' journey, which also agrees very well.-"He who travels from Mansúra to Budha must go along the banks of the Indus as far as Sihwán,"-which shows Mansúra to be close on the Indus, as, indeed, it is elsewhere expressly declared to be, and not so far removed as Nasrpúr. From Mansúra to Cambay is twelve days' journey. Here the distances are long, but the desert must have made continuous travelling indispensable, as the halting places were necessarily reduced to the smallest possible number.

The widest departure from the ordinary distance is that between Mansúra and Multán, which is set down by Ibn Haukal at only twelve days' journey. This is very rapid, considering that about four hundred miles separate them, requiring an average of thirty-three miles a day. But though the average be high, it is certainly not beyond the means of conveyance where camels are abundant, as in Sind.

Bírúní lays down the distance at fifteen parasangs from Multán to Bhátí, another fifteen from Bhátí to Alor, and twenty from Alor to Mansúra-making the entire distance only fifty parasangs from Multán to Mansúra; while, at the same time, he gives it as thirty parasangs from Mansúra to Loharání Bandar (p. 61). There is here also a surprising abridgment of the former distance, which, may perhaps be accounted for by considering the frontier to be reckoned from in one instance, and the capital in the other. Still, such an error or inconsistency in a space so frequently traversed, is not easily accounted for, occurring as it does in two such trustworthy authorities as Ibn Haukal and Birúní; and it would have been satisfactory to find some more plausible solution. Mas'údí, with a much nearer approach to correctness, gives the distance as seventy-five

[p.374]: parasangs between Multán and Mansúra, and his statement may be considered a sufficient corrective of the other geographers (p. 24).

It may be proper to add, that none of these ancient places, mentioned in this and other Notes, have sites assigned to them in any modern maps. Burnes, Wieland, Vivien de St. Martin, Berghaus, Zimmermann, all reject them. D'Avezac enters some, but all erroneously, except Debal,-at least, according to the principles above enunciated. Even Kiepert, in his valuable Karte von Alt-Indien , Berlin, 1853, drawn up for the illustration of Professor Lassen's Indische Alterthumskunde, enters only Bráhmanábád; and that he places on the right bank of the presumed ancient course of the Sindhu, which he has laid down as flowing far to the eastward of the present Indus. As he has admitted other names more modern than these, he should not have ignored them all.

[Since the death of Sir H. Elliot the remains of a buried city, supposed to be the ancient Bráhmanábád, have been discovered and explored by Mr. A. F. Bellasis, of the Bombay Civil Service. The exact position of the ruins is stated to be forty-seven miles northeast of Haidarábád, and if their investigator is right in believing them to be the ruins of Bráhmanábád, the question of the position of that city is put at rest. The identification has presumption in its favour, though it has not yet been satisfactorily proved; and one circumstance is strongly against it:-Large numbers of coins were discovered among the ruins; but the great bulk of these were Muhammadan, and the few Hindu coins that were brought to light "seem to be casual contributions from other provinces, of no very marked uniformity or striking age." Were the ruins those of an old Hindu city, Hindu coins of a distinct character would probably have been found. The coins discovered were those of Mansúr bin Jamhúr, Abdu-r Rahmán, Muhammad 'Abdu-lláh and Umar (see supra, p. 127).*]

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External links


  1. James Tod: Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Volume II,Annals of Haravati,p.414-416
  2. The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians/Note (A).- Geographical,pp.369-

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