Indiahhhh——RICHEST country in the world (Part 4)

By S Swaminathan, University of London

Please note this is the 4th part in a series. To read the pior parts click the links below:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Mohmed of Gazni’s Thirst for Gold
Mohmed of Gazni invaded India 17 times just to plunder all the temples in North India. He came to know about the fabulous wealth of Hindu temples in Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat and targeted them. During each invasion he massacred several thousand people and took tonnes of gold and silver ornaments from the temples. Historians say that when he entered Mathura, birth place of Lord Krishna, there was no resistance. It was a cake walk for him. He took all the property of the temple.
If one could make a list of all that Mohmed of Gazni plundered from the temples, he would definitely find a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the greatest plunderer in the world. He will put the Spanish plunderers of Inca and Maya gold to shame. The most famous plunder of Mohmed of Gazni was of Somnath Shiva temple in Gujarat. It had an incredible amount of wealth. The Shiva linga was covered with kilos of gold and gems. He broke the linga after taking all the jewellery. He got only 20 million Dinars from Somnath temple. The founder of Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan Sri K M Munshi has described it in detail in his book about Somnath. These events took place between 1,000 AD and 1,026 AD. Historians estimate that he took three billion dinars from India. Afgan people lined the streets of the city of Gazni just to see the booty. As a side note – a Dinar is a gold coin. Different weights were used during different times but normally a dinar was four grams.
Rajaraja’s gold donations
Rajaraja was one of the famous Chola kings who ruled Chola country from 985 AD. He built the famous Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur. There are over 85 inscriptions of Rajaraja in the temple detailing his donations to the temple. He donated enormous gold coins to run the temple. He also donated a lot of gem studded golden jewellery to the gods and goddesses. It is estimated that he donated 4,000 Kazanju (8,000 grams) of gold. Rajaraja and his family members had donated 66 bronze idols to the temple. The inscriptions describe all the diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires, pearls and gold with precise measurements. He also donated huge golden vessels. Dr R Nagaswamy, famous archaeologist and historian, has given a detailed account of all these inscriptions in his book about the temple. The antiquities had a value well beyond that of the gold itself. The current location of these items is unknown; they were all lost during the last one thousand years.
Malikafur and gold
Malikafur was the general of The Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khilji. When Malikafur invaded Madurai and Srirangam he plundered hundreds of places and took thousands of kilos of gold to Delhi. Madurai was under Sultanate rule for 48 years in the thirteenth century and the Madurai temple was closed for 48 years. The gold plundered by Muslim invaders slowly went out of the country when the Delhi sultans lost power. Kampanna Udayar was the General sent by the Vijayanagar Emperor to conquer Madurai from the sultans. His wife Gangadevi accompanied him and gave vivd reports of what her husband saw in Madurai, much like a news paper reporter. All her reports were in Sanskrit poetry in the book called Madura Vijayam.
Women were very well educated in those days. She not only had the courage to follow her husband’s army, but also had written a beautiful running commentary of the war eight hundred years ago in Sanskrit. I have the copy of Madura Vijayam with me in London.
There’s more coming! In the following parts you will read about:

  • Why Roman writers were angry about Tamil Nadu’s exports two thousand years ago
  • How many Roman gold coins were unearthed in India
  • The largest gold coin of Shajahan
  • The Tirupati Temple Gold reserve
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