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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)

Achaemenid empire at its greatest extent
Catchment of Helmand River

Ghazni is an ancient town in Afghanistan. The Ghazni city or town serves as the capital of Ghazni Province. It is linked by a highway with Kandahar to the southwest, Kabul to the northeast, Gardez and Khost to the east.

Origin of name

Raja Gaj founded Ghazni, On Sunday, the 3d of Bysāk, the spring season (Vasant), the Rohini Nikhitra, and Samvat Dharmaraja (Yudhishthira) 3008 (=93 BC), Raja Gaj seated on the throne of Ghazni. [1]

Variants of name

Jat clan



Ram Sarup Joon[2] writes that...The Bhatti Rajputs are a branch of Madrak Jat gotra and are named after Bhatti Rao, son of Gaj, ruler of Gajni. The Bhatti Raja of Jaisalmer later converted to Rajput.

Maharaja Gaj founded the Ghazni city of Afghanistan. Gajrania gotra is found in jats who are descendants of Raja Gaj.[3]

Maharaja Gaj was killed in war with Mughals. Maharaja Gaj had sent his son Shalivahan to India before war with Mughals. The present Maharawal of Jaisalmer is descecdant of Maharaja Gaj. Mahraja Jaisalmer later on joined Rajput Federation.

Gajni, or Gaini, was another capital, whence the last prince, Siladitya (who was slain), and his family, were expelled by Parthian invaders in the sixth century. [4]

James Todd[5] writes... The Yadu was the most illustrious of all the tribes of Ind, and became the patronymic of the descendants of Budha, progenitor of the Lunar (Indu) race. Yudhishthira and Baladeva, on the death of Krishna and their expulsion from Delhi and Dwaraka, the last stronghold of their power, retired by Multan across the Indus. The two first are abandoned by

[p.102]: tradition ; but the sons of Krishna, who accompanied them after an intermediate halt in the further Duab1 of the five rivers, eventually left the Indus behind, and passed into Zabulistan,2 founded Gajni, and peopled these countries even to Samarkand......

1 [The capital of Sambos was Sindimana, perhaps the modern Sihwan (Smith, EHI, 101).]
2 [This is very doubtful.]

Visit by Xuanzang in 644 AD

Alexander Cunningham[6] writes about 3. Arachosia or Ghazni : The Chinese pilgrim Xuan Zang places the country of Tsau-ku-ta at 500 li, or 83 miles, to the south of Huphina or Kophene, and to the north-wept of Falana, or Banu. The valley of the Lo-mo-in-tu river, which is mentioned as producing assafoetida, is readily identified with the Helmand by prefixing the syllable Ho to the Chinese transcript. The kingdom is said to have been 7000 li, or 1166 miles, in circuit, which cannot be far from the truth, as it most probably included the whole of south-western Afghanistan with the exception of Kandahar, which at that time, from the story of the begging-pot of Buddha already noted, would appear to have belonged to Persia.

This district possessed two capitals, called Ho-si-na and Ho-sa-lo. The first has been identified by M. de St. Martin with Ghazni, which is quite satisfactory ; but his suggestion that the other may be connected with Hazara is, I think, very doubtful. Hazara is the name of a district, and not of a town ; and its application

[p.40]: to this part of the country is said by the people themselves not to be older than the time of Janghez Khan.[7] I would, therefore, identify it with Guzar or Guzaristan, which is the chief town on the Helmand at the present day ; and with the Ozola of Ptolemy, which he places in the north-west of Arachosia, or in the very same position as Guzaristan.

The name of Tsaukuta still remains to be explained. The identifications just made show that it corresponds exactly with the Arachosia of classical writers, which is the Arokhaj and Rokhaj of the Arab geographers.

The latter form is also found in Arrian's ' Periplus of the Erythraean Sea ' as Pαχούσοιoi. It was, therefore, not unusual both before and after the time of Hwen Thsang to drop the initial syllable of the name. The original form was the Sanskrit Saraswati, which in Zend became Haraqaiti, and in Greek 'Apaχωτός', all of which agree in the last two syllables with the Chinese Tsaukuta. The first Chinese syllable Tsau must, therelore, correspond with the Ra of the other forms. This change may, perhaps, be explained by a peculiarity of the Turki language, which frequently changes the letter r into a soft z or sh, as the Turki words dengiz, "sea," and okuz, " ox," are the same as the Hungarian tengar and okur.[8] On the Indo-Scythian coins, also, we find the Turki names of Kanishka, Huvishka, and Kushana changed to Kanerke, Hoverke, and Korano in Greek. It seems possible, therefore, that the initial syllable Tsau of the Chinese transcript may be only the peculiar Turki pronunciation of the Indian Ra, which would naturally have come into use with the

[p.41]: occupation of the country by the Turki tribe of Tochari, about the beginning of the Christian era.

In the seventh century the king of Ghazni, who was a Buddhist, was descended from a long line of ancestors. Both the alphabet and the language of the "people are said to have been different from those of other countries ; and as Hwen Thsang was acquainted with both the Indian and Turki languages, I infer that the speech of the people of Ghazni was most probably Pushtu. If so, the people must have been Afghans ; but, unfortunately, we have no other clue to guide us in settling this very interesting point, unless, indeed, the name of 0-po-kien, a place to the south-east of Ghazni, may be identified with Afghan, a point which will be discussed hereafter.

Of Guzaristan, on the Helmand, I am not able to give any further information, as that part of the country has not yet been visited by any European. Ghazni itself is too well known to require any particular description, but I may note that it must have been in a very flourishing condition in the seventh century, as Hwen Thsang estimates its circuit at 30 li, or 5 miles. At the present day the circuit of the walled town is not more than one mile and a quarter. Vigne calls it an irregular pentagon, with sides varying from 200 to 400 yards in length, strengthened by numerous towers. He adds,[9] that "the Afghans boast much of the strength of the walls and fortifications of Ghazni." But Ghazni has always been famous in the East as a place of strength and security ; and for this very reason it received its name of Gaza, an old Persian term for a " treasury." It is described in some

[p.42]: crabbed lines of the ' Dionysiaca' of Nonnus, who lived about A.D. 500, and also in the ' Bassarica' of Dionysius, who lived not later than A.D. 300. Both of them refer pointedly to its impregnability. Dionysius calls it, —

<greek> " As stern in war as if "twas made of brass,"

and Nonnus says,* " They fortified, with a net-like enclosure of interlacing works, Gazos, an immoveable bulwark of Ares, and never has any armed enemy breached its compact foundations." These early notices of this famous place suggest the possibility that the Gazaka of Ptolemy may have been misplaced amongst the Paropamisadae to the north of Kabul, instead of to the south of it. But as Stephanus of Byzantium, who quotes the ' Bassarica ' of Dionysius as his authority for this Indian town, <greek>, takes no notice of the Indian Gazaka, I conclude that he must have looked upon it as a different place.

Migration of Yadus

James Tod[10] writes that the tide of Yadu migration during the lapse of thirty centuries, traces them, from Indraprastha, Surapura, Mathura, Prayaga, Dwarica, Jadu Ka Dang (the mountains of Jud), Behera, Ghazni in Zabulistan ; and again refluent into India, at Salivahanpura or Salpura in the Punjab. Tannot, Derawal, Lodorva in the desert, and finally Jaisalmer, founded in S. 1212, or A.D. 1156.

राजा गज द्वारा ग़ज़नी की स्थापना

ग़ज़नी - अफ़गानिस्तान की प्राचीन राजधानी ग़ज़नी है जो कि अपभ्रंश है गजनी का। इस नगर को श्रीकृष्ण जी के वंशज राजा गज ने बनवाया था (टॉड राजस्थान)। जब राजा गज की यादव सेना का युद्ध असुरों की सेना से हो रहा था और असुर सेना अपना बल बढ़ा रही थी तो इस दशा में एक किला बनाने की आवश्यकता पड़ी। तब राजा गज ने अपने मंत्रियों की सलाह से उत्तरी पहाड़ों के मध्य एक किला बनवाया तथा उसका नाम गजनी रखा। संवत् धर्मराज (युधिष्ठिर) 3008, रोहिणी नक्षत्र, वसन्त ऋतु, वैसाख बदी तीज, रविवार को राजा गज, गजनी के सिंहासन पर आसीन हुआ और यदुवंशियों के नाम को कायम रखा। (टॉड राजस्थान, पृष्ठ 1057, 1059) (पृ० 40)।

नोट - 1. आज युधिष्ठिरी संवत् 5088 है जो कि ईस्वी सन् से 3100 वर्ष पहले चालू हुआ था तथा राजा गज, गजनी के राजसिंहासन पर ईस्वी सन् से 1020 वर्ष पहले आसीन हुआ था। 2. श्रीकृष्ण जी के वंशज राजा गज एवं उसके वीर सैनिक जाट थे।[11]

राजा गज - इन्होंने सबसे पहले अफगानिस्तान में गजनी राज की स्थापना की तथा गजनी के पास बुद्ध का एक बड़ा विश्व प्रसिद्ध ऐतिहासिक स्तूप बनवाया था जिसे सन् 2001 में सभी विरोधों के बावजूद तालिबानियों ने डायनामाइट से उड़वा दिया। राजा गज के वंशज राजा बालन्द ने इस्लाम धर्म अपनाया। इसके बाद वहां के सभी जाट मुस्लिम धर्मी हो गए और इन जाटों ने चंगताई नामक मुगलवंश की स्थापना की। [12]

ठाकुर देशराज[13] ने लिखा है .... यदुवंश में एक गज हुआ है। जैन पुराणों के अनुसार गज कृष्ण का ही पुत्र था। उसके साथियों ने गजनी को आबाद किया। भाटी, गढ़वाल, कुहाड़, मान, दलाल वगैरह जाटों के कई खानदान गढ गजनी से लौटे हुए हैं।

Mahmud of Ghazni

Yamīn ad-Dawlah Abul-Qāṣim Maḥmūd Ibn Sebüktegīn, more commonly known as Mahmud of Ghazni (2 October 971 – 30 April 1030), was the most prominent ruler of the Ghaznavid Empire. In the name of Islam, he conquered the eastern Iranian lands and the northwestern Indian subcontinent from 997 to his death in 1030. Mahmud turned the former provincial city of Ghazna into the wealthy capital of an extensive empire which covered most of today's Afghanistan, eastern Iran, Pakistan and northwestern India.

Mahmud was born in 971 AD in the town of Ghazna in Medieval Khorasan (in what is now south-eastern Afghanistan). His father, Abu Mansur Sabuktigin, was a Turkic slave-soldier of the Samanid Emirs of Bukhara. His mother was the daughter of a Persian aristocrat from Zabulistan.[14]

Mahmud took over his father's kingdom in 998 after defeating and capturing Ismail at the Battle of Ghazni.[15] He then set out west from Ghazni to take the Kandahar region followed by Bost (Lashkar Gah), where he turned it into a militarized city.

In 1001, Mahmud initiated the first of numerous invasion of northern India. On 28 November, his army fought and defeated Jayapala's army at Peshawar.

In 1002, Mahmud invaded Sistan, dethroned Khalaf I, last of the Saffarid amirs, and ended the Saffarid dynasty.[16] From there he decided to focus on Hindustan to the southeast, particularly the highly fertile lands of the Punjab region since south eastern Khorasan (where he was from) was mostly mountains,dry deserts and the fertile lands had been poorly harvested and gone to waste during the reign of the previous rulers. It should be noted that Punjab was well known for its mangos, oranges, bananas and other tropical fruits that Khorasan lacked and instead was famous for pomegranates and watermelons. It suggests that this has been the main reason for the Ghaznavids invading India because the fruit as well as rice, sugar, wheat, and other products exported to the Middle East and Central Asia generated more income than anything else for the rulers.

Mahmud's first campaign to the south was against the Ismaili Fatimid Kingdom at Multan in a bid to curry political favor and recognition with the Abbassid Caliphate; he also engaged with the Fatimids elsewhere. At this point, Raja Jayapala of the Kabul Shahi dynasty attempted to gain revenge for an earlier military defeat at the hands of Mahmud's father, who had controlled Ghazni in the late 980s and had cost Jayapala extensive territory. His son Anandapala succeeded him and continued the struggle to avenge his father's suicide. He assembled a powerful confederacy which faced defeat as his elephant turned back from the battle in a crucial moment, turning the tide into Mahmud's favor once more at Lahore in 1008 bringing Mahmud into control of the Hindu Shahi dominions of Updhanpura.

Ghaznavid campaigns in South Asia:

Following the defeat of the Rajput Confederacy, after deciding to retaliate for their combined resistance, Mahmud then set out on regular expeditions against them, leaving the conquered kingdoms in the hands of Hindu vassals annexing only the Punjab region.[17] He also vowed to raid India every year.

The Indian kingdoms of Nagarkot, Thanesar, Kannauj, Gwalior, and Ujjain were all conquered and left in the hands of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist Kings as vassal states and he was pragmatic enough not to shirk making alliances and enlisting local peoples into his armies at all ranks.

Destroying them would destroy the will power of the Hindus attacking the Empire since Mahmud never kept a permanent presence in the subcontinent; Nagarkot, Thanesar, Mathura, Kannauj, Kalinjar and Somnath were all thus raided. Mahmud's armies stripped the temples of their wealth and then destroyed them at, Maheshwar, Jwalamukhi, Narunkot and Dwarka.


  1. James Tod: Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Volume II, Annals of Jaisalmer, p.200
  2. Ram Sarup Joon: History of the Jats/ChapterVIII,p. 136
  3. Jat Samaj, Agra : March 1998
  4. James Todd, Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Volume I,: Chapter 7 Catalogue of the Thirty Six Royal Races, pp.100
  5. James Todd Annals/Chapter 7 Catalogue of the Thirty Six Royal Races,p.101-102
  6. The Ancient Geography of India/Kabul,pp. 39-42
  7. 'Ayin Akbari,' ii. 163.
  8. Prichard, ' Physical History of Mankind,' iv. 403.
  9. ' Ghazni,' p. 122.
  10. James Tod: Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Volume II, Annals of Jaisalmer, p.194-195
  11. Jat History Dalip Singh Ahlawat/Chapter IV (Page 337-338)
  12. Asli Lutere Koun/Part-I,p.59-60
  13. Thakur Deshraj: Jat Itihas (Utpatti Aur Gaurav Khand)/Navam Parichhed,pp.150
  14. Mahmud bin Sebuktigin, C. E. Bosworth, The Encyclopedia of Islam, Vol. VI, Ed. C. E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, B. Lewis and C. Pellat, (E.J.Brill, 1991), 65.
  15. Lal, Vinay (8 2009). "Mahmud of Ghazni". MANAS.
  16. C.E. Bosworth, The Ghaznavids 994–1040, (Edinburgh University Press, 1963), 89.
  17. P. M. ( Peter Malcolm) Holt, Bernard Lewis, The Cambridge History of Islam, Cambridge University Press, (1977), ISBN 0-521-29137-2 pg 3–4.

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