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Fall of Debul (Near modern Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan):


Makran, was an autonomous princely state of both British India and Pakistan, which ceased to exist in 1955.
It was located in the extreme southwest of Pakistan, an area occupied by the districts of Gwadar, Kech and Panjgur.
The state did not include the enclave of Gwadar which was under Omani rule until 1958 .
On17 March 1948, Makran acceded to Pakistan and on 3 October 1952 it joined Kalat, Kharan and Las Bela to form the Baluchistan States Union.
The state was dissolved on 14 October 1955 when most regions of the western wing of Pakistan were merged to form the province of West Pakistan.
When that province was dissolved in 1970, the territory of the former state of Makran was organised as Makran District and later Makran Division of the province of Baluchistan (later changed to Balochistan).
Muhammad, with 6000 Syrian horse, the flower of the armies of the Caliphs,a camel corps of equal strength, and a baggage train of 3000 camels, marched by way of Shiraz and through Mekran towards Sind, crossing the frontier at Annan, probably not far from the modern Darbeji.
On his way through Mekran he had been joined by more troops and the Arabs appeared before Debul, then a seaport situated about twenty-four miles to the south-west of the modern town of Tatta, in the autumn of 711.
His artillery, which included a great balista known as “the Bride”, worked by five hundred men, had been sent by sea to meet him.
The town was protected by strong stone fortifications and contained a great idol temple, from which it took its name. The siege had continued for some time when a Brahman deserted from the temple and informed Muhammad that the garrison consisted of 4000 Rajputs and that 3000 shaven Brahmans served the temple.
It was impossible, he said, to take the place by storm, for the Brahmans had prepared a talisman and placed it at the base of the staff of the great red flag which flew from the steeple of the temple.
Muhammad ordered Jawiyyah, his chief artillerist, to shorten the foot of “the Bride”, thus lowering her trajectory, and to make the flagstaff his mark. The third stone struck it, shattered its base, and broke the talisman.
The garrison, though much disheartened by the destruction of their palladium, made a sortie, but were repulsed, and the Arabs, planting their ladders, swarmed over the walls.
The Brahmans and other inhabitants were invited to accept Islam, and on their refusing their wives and children were enslaved and all males of the age of seventeen and upwards were put to the sword.
The carnage lasted for three days and Muhammad laid out a Muslim quarter, built a mosque, and placed a garrison of 4000 in the town. The legal fifth of the spoil and seventy-five damsels were sent to Hajjaj, and the rest of the plunder was divided among the army.
Dahir attempted to make light of the fall of Debul, saying that it was a place inhabited by mean people and traders, and as Muhammad advanced towards Nerun, about seventy-five miles to the north-east and near the modern Haidarabad (Hyderabad), ordered his son Jai Singh to leave that fort, placing a priest in charge of it, and to join him in the strong fortress of Brahmanabad.
The Arabs, after seven days’ march, arrived before Nerun early in 712, and the priest left in charge of the place surrendered it to Muhammad, who, placing a Muslim governor there marched to Sehwan, about eighty miles to the north-west.
This town, populated chiefly by priests and traders, who were anxious to submit at once to the invaders, was held by Bajhra, son of Chandra and cousin of Dahir, who upbraided the inhabitants for their pusillanimity and prepared, with the troops at his disposal, to defend the place, but after a week’s siege lost heart, fled by the north gate of the city, crossed the Kumbh, which then flowed more than ten miles to the east of Sehwan, and took refuge with the Jats of Budhiya, whose raja was Kaka, son of Kotal, and whose capital was at Sisam, on the bank of the Kumbh.
The inhabitants of Sehwan then surrendered the town to Muhammad, who granted them their lives on condition of their remaining loyal and paying the poll-tax leviable from non-Muslims.
Sir William Muir has observed that the conquest of Sind marks a new stage in Muhammadan policy. The Islamic law divides misbelievers into two classes, “the People of the Book”, that is Christians and Jews, as the possessors of inspired Scriptures, and idolaters.
The first, when conquered, are granted, by the authority of the Koran, their lives, and may not lawfully be molested in any way, even in the practice of the rites of their creeds, so long as they loyally accept the rule of their conquerors and pay the jizya or poll-tax, but a rigid interpretation of the Koran, subsequently modified by commentators and legislators, allows to idolaters only the choice between Islam and death.
In India Muhammad granted the amnesty to idolaters, and in many cases left their temples standing and permitted their worship.
At Debul he had behaved as an orthodox Muslim, but his subsequent policy was toleration except when he met with obstinate resistance or his troops suffered serious losses.
Thus we find the zealous Hajjaj remonstrating with the young soldier for doing the Lord’s work negligently and Muhammad consulting his cousin on the degree of toleration permissible.
His campaign in Sind was not a holy war, waged for the propagation of the faith, but a mere war of conquest, and it was undoubtedly politic in the leader of a few thousand Arabs to refrain from a course which might have roused swarms of idolaters against him.
From Sehwan he marched to Sisam on the Kumbh, defeated the Jats, who attacked his camp by night, and captured their stronghold in two days. Bajhra, Dahir’s cousin, and his principal followers were slain, but Kaksa submitted, and afterwards joined the Muslims.
In accordance with orders received from Hajjaj, Muhammad returned towards Nerun, there to make preparations for the passage of the Mihran, the main stream of the Indus, which then flowed some distance to the east of Nirfmun and between it and his objective, the strong fortress of Brahmanabad, where Dahir was prepared to oppose his further advance into the country.
He halted on the western bank of the river, opposite to a fortress called Baghrur by the Arab chroniclers, but was delayed there for some months by scurvy, which broke out among his troops, by a malady which carried off a large number of his horses, and by the impossibility of obtaining boats.
Hajjaj sent him sage advice as to the best means of effecting the passage of the river and, what was more to the purpose, two thousand horses and a supply of vinegar for his suffering troops.
This last was transported in a concentrated form. Cotton was saturated in it and dried and the operation was repeated until the cotton would hold no more; the essence could then be extracted by the simple process of soaking the cotton in water.
In June, 712, Muhammad crossed the river with his troops without serious opposition from the Hindus.