If the entire ninth century in India was named after anyone, it was Emperor Mihir Bhoj. He not only stopped the Muslim invaders of Arabia but also played a big role in reuniting India. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath covers the statue of Mihir Bhoj on the occasion of his birth anniversary on 22 September 2021 in Dadri district Ghaziabad. It has to be noted that there is a lot of disparity between Gujjar and Gujjar. But due to political gains, it was thrown out. Since then the debate has started on whether Mihir Bhoj was a Gurjar emperor or a Rajput emperor?
Organized groups of the Rajput community alleged that it was a conspiracy to destroy their heritage. The activists of these highly active organizations have recorded this as tampering with their heritage. Many of them are also angry with the BJP. Ahead of the unveiling of the statue of Mihir Bhoj, this outrage came out openly on the streets after posters referred to him as ‘Gurjar Samrat’. Assembly elections are also due in Uttar Pradesh, in which case this issue has become even more sensitive.
In this article, we will talk about what the historical facts say behind describing Mihir Bhoj, who adorned the throne in the name of ‘Adivaraha’ as Rajput. Contemporary history has something about it or not. We will talk about Shiv Bhakt Mihir Bhoj, who was described by Arab travelers as ‘the greatest enemy of Islam in India’, what evidence exists of his being a Kshatriya, and on what basis Rajput organizations are expressing outrage.
Kshatriya history is full of glory and they have repeatedly dusted off Islamic invaders who tried to enter India from the Rajasthan side. The Mewar Empire, located just a short distance from Delhi, has been a tribute to the clan. The numerous Jauhars in Chittor is one of the numerous sacrifices made by the Kshatriya community for the country. Maharana Pratap is revered by the entire Hindu society. The soil of Haldighati is sacred to us.
The difference between ‘Gurjar’ and ‘Gujar’: region or caste?
Now coming to Emperor Mihir Bhoj and ‘Rajput History’. In opposition to the description of Mihir Bhoj as ‘Gurjar Emperor’, some historians say that on interpreting the word ‘Gurjar’, we come to know that this word was used for a particular area and for the residents of that area. That is when people in communities like Suthar, Jain, and Brahmin were also called Gurjars. The Gaekwads of Baroda, despite being Marathas, was called ‘Gurjar Naresh’.
Senior journalist Sanjeev Singh in a TOI article has also explained the difference between ‘Gurjar’ and ‘Gujjar’. According to him, the word ‘Gurjar’ first finds its description in ‘Harshacharitra’, which was composed by the king poet Baan of Emperor Harshavardhana. This is about 640 AD. In this, there is mention of King Prabhakarvardhana’s conquests in the Indus, Malwa, Gandhara, and Gurjar territories. An inscription from the time of Pulakesi II is also found at Aihole in Karnataka.
It is written in this inscription of 634 AD that the king had launched a conquest in the Gurjara region. When a traveler named Hiuen Tsang came to India, he wrote in his memoirs that in the sixth-seventh century an area named Gurjar was ruled by the Rajputs of the Chavda dynasty. The Maratha rulers of Baroda were called ‘Gurjar Naresh’ because earlier their land used to be the same. Jain Muni Udyotna Suri has also mentioned the word ‘Gurjar’.
In ‘Kuvalayamala’, he has used an adjective for the people of Gurjar, Sindh, and Malwa from the name of their region. Also in the communities, he has used the word ‘Gujjar’ along with Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Bhils, etc. An inscription dated 1172 AD mentions ‘Gurjara Brahmin’ Satyananda, who belonged to the Krishnatreya gotra. This inscription belongs to the time of Yadav king Krishna. Sanjeev Kumar explains on these grounds that ‘Gurjar’ was a region, not a caste.
In the 12th century book ‘Kumarpalprabandha’ of the time of Chalukya king Kumarapala Solanki, 36 groups of the Kshatriya community have been mentioned, in which there are no ‘Gujjars’. In Gujarat, there is a mention of places named ‘Gurjadharritri’ and ‘Gurjaratrikdeshe’. There is no mention of ‘Gurjar’ even in Rajatarangini, the biggest book in the history of Kashmir, while their population there is one million. Gujjars are also mentioned in Brahmins, Kshatriyas, and Jains, but they did not belong to the Gurjar community, nor did they speak the Gojiri language.
Similarly, it can be argued that many big personalities of the 20th century were part of ‘Gurjara Sabha’. KM Munshi was a Gurjar Brahmin who got the Somnath temple renovated. The ‘Gurjar Sabha’ was formed to advance the identity of the Gujarati language and the Gurjar region, part of which was even Mahatma Gandhi and Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Jinnah had also said that every Gujjar on earth is proud of Gandhi.
Pratihar Rajputs: Their descendants still exist today
Even today the Kshatriya society of the ‘Pratihara’ dynasty exists. It is believed that Bhinmal, Ujjain, and Kannauj were ruled by their ancestors. It is also being said that only some areas of Rajasthan and Gujarat were called ‘Gurjardesh’ and not the whole of India. ‘Gurjar’ has also been used to mean ‘Gujarati’ or ‘one who resides in Gurjardesh’. The Gallaka inscription states that Nagabhatta had defeated the Gurjars, who were still invincible.
On the basis of these arguments, the question can be asked when Bagbhatta was a ‘Gurjar’, how did he defeat the ‘Gurjars’? Mihir Bhoj was born in the lineage of Nagabhatta. It is said that only after conquering ‘Gurjardesh’, Nagabhatta was called ‘Gurjareshwar’. The fact about Kanalpal, the commander of Mihir Bhoj, can also be given that he was not a ‘Gurjar’, because even today Parmar Rajputs live in Garhwal, belonging to this society.
Although there should not be a fight of ‘Gurjar vs Rajput’ and it has no meaning, it is natural for a community to be outraged if its identity or the identity of its ancestors is taken away. This is what Rajput organizations say. He says that there was no problem if Mihir Bhoj was also called ‘Hindu Emperor’ instead of ‘Gurjar Samrat’. Now let’s see where this controversy goes.
Who was Emperor Mihir Bhoj?
The reign of Mihir Bhoj, who ruled from 836 AD to 885 AD, lasted 49 years. During these 5 decades, a large part of the Indian sub-continent flourished under his guidance. His empire extended from Multan to Gurjarpur in West Bengal and from Kashmir to Karnataka. This was the time when the Islamic fundamentalists of Arabia started expanding their empire and their eyes were on India beyond the Indus.
He made Kannauj his capital and used to rule from there. The subjects were happy under the rule of Mihir Bhoj, who brought many policies to promote agriculture and trade. Kannauj was such a prosperous city that apart from 7 forts there were 10 thousand temples. In his kingdom full of wealth and wealth, trade was done with gold and silver coins. The criminals were given proper punishment.
Even Suleiman, the Arab traveler of that era, has mentioned and praised him in his book. Suleiman has written how the army of Emperor Mihir Bhoj included a large number of camels, elephants, and horses. He has written in ‘Silsila-ut-Tarika’ that even thieves and bandits did not live in the reign of Mihir Bhoj. Their borders were adjacent to the Rashtrakutas in the south and the Pala dynasty in Bengal, as well as Islamic rulers in Multan.
The historian of Baghdad, Al Masoodi, who visited India in 915 AD, has also written in a book called ‘Mirajul-Jahab’ that the forces of Mihir Bhoj are very powerful and mighty. He has written that in the number of lakhs this army is spread in all four directions. Born in 873 AD, the story of Mihir Bhoja is also mentioned in the ‘Prabhas Khand’ of Skanda Purana. Kalhan, the state poet of Kashmir, has also mentioned his valor in his book ‘Raj Tarangini’.