How Ghauri missile got its name

By Tahir Imran Khan

As we drive from Rawalpindi to Jhelum on GT Road, just before Mandra, a road on the right leads towards Chakwal. On the left a narrow road connects several villages with GT Road. At the turning a small board guides to the tomb of Shahab-ud-Deen Ghauri. This tomb was constructed recently by Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, the famous nuclear scientist of Pakistan. The place is worth visiting, the access is easy. Just 13 kilometers off the main road and marked with direction boards throughout.

Muizuddin Mohammad Bin Sam, popularly known as Shahab-ud-Deen Ghauri was the pioneer to establish Islamic Empire in India. He became the ruler of Ghazni in 1173. Having established at Ghazni, he turned his attention to the fertile plains of the sub-continent.

Initially, Ghauri attacked Multan captured the city and appointed his own governor. From Multan he proceeded to Uch and captured it in 1178, Ghauri led an expedition against Anhiliwara, capital of Gujrat where he faced defeat. Soon he found it impossible to conquer India through Sindh and Multan. He thought of conquering Punjab, which was the key to Hindustan. In 1179, he invaded Peshawar and captured it. He then attacked Sialkot and occupied it and used it as a base for next expeditions especially against Khusrau Malik, the last ruler of Ghaznavid dynasty. After a few years of war, Khusrau Malik was captured and imprisoned in Ghaur. The Punjab was then annexed to his empire and the Ghaznavid rule in west part of the area, which is included in Pakistan, came to an end.

After the fall of Ghaznavids, Ghauri had to face the resistance of the Rajputs. Prithvi Raj Chuhan ruler of Delhi also started to worry after rapid success of Ghauri and decided to fight against Ghauri. He made grand preparations and gathered a large army. According to famous historian, Ferishta, Prithvi Raj included 200,000 horses, 300 elephants in his army and marched against the Ghauri chief. In 1191 both armies met in the field of Tarain, near Thanesawar. A battle was fought in which the Ghauri's army faced a defeat.

Muhammad Ghauri did not lose heart and started to organize a strong army again and invaded India in 1192. He, with a force of 120,000 cavalry, reached a place near Tarain and encamped there.

This time Prithvi Raj appealed to Rajput princess to join him to fight against the Muslim invader. About 150 Rajput princes offered their help and gathered for a great war. An army alongwith 500,000 horses and 3000 elephants has been described in history for this event.

Ghauri, after facing defeat last time, adopted a new strategy for this battle. He divided his army into four divisions and ordered one division to engage the Rajputs at one time while the others were ordered to take rest. The battle started in the hisric field of Tarain. Rajputs fought bravely but the Ghauri's new tactics proved too strong for them. The army of Prithvi Raj failed to resist Ghauri's attacks. Smelling a defeat, Prithvi Raj tried to escape from the battlefield but was captured and put to death.

After defeating major rajahs of the area the sub-continent was peaceful but conditions in Punjab were not satisfactory. In this region Khokhars used to rebel. So Ghauri once again came to this region to punish them. He arrived at Jhelum with a small army and defeated Khokhars with the help of Qutab-ud-Deen. In this fight most of the main chiefs of Khokhars were killed. After this victory Sultan Shahab-ud-Deen Ghauri appointed Qutab-ud-Deen Aibak as the head of Islamic Empire of India and headed back to Ghazni.

While returning he made a stop at Dhamik, a small village near Jhelum. On 15 March 1206 (3rd of Shaban A.H.) he was praying in his tents a few raiders (Khokhars?) entered his tent and assassinated him alongwith his three guards. The murder killed him so brutally that there were 22 wounds on his body. Some historians say that after defeat by Ghauri, some of the Khokhars joined Ghauri's army in disguise and attacked him, which proved fatal.

We find several statements by historians but all agreed that he was assassinated at Dhamik along with his three guards. Some books say that his body was taken over to Afghanistan after his martyrdom.

Few years ago, it was announced by Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, that he is renovating the mausoleum of Shahab-ud-Deen Ghauri, which is in very poor conditions. It was said that there was a grave at Dhamik with a 'Kotba' on which his name and date of birth were mentioned. The three other graves nearby are supposedly the graves of his three guards who were also murdered with him.

When Ghauri missile was made it was named in response of Indian Prithvi missile. As Prithvi Raj was defeated by Ghauri, the name was given to commemorate that victory.

The dome of the tomb has been decorated with glasswork, and a huge chandelier enhances the beauty of the hall. Some artistically designed tile work and beautiful calligraphy also adds grace to the building.

In the center of the hall there is the grave of Shahab-ud-Deen Ghauri. Outside the main building there are three graves under a shelter and a small library/museum is under completion, which contains a painting of Shahab-ud-Deen Ghauri's image.

Outside the courtyard of the tomb, there is a small mosque with a minaret, which has been named after Shahab-ud-Deen.

Apart from this issue the newly constructed building of the tomb is a piece of art and dedication. The white building with a touch of Mughal Architecture elegantly stands on a place, which gives a commanding view of the area.