The Mughals’ helpers

March 28 2011

The Mughal conquerors of India reinforced their own scanty numbers with drafts of fellow Muslims from an Iranic [ie Perso-Turkish] World out of which they themselves had issued; and in their dearth of martial man-power they did not hesitate to accept recruits from among the barbarous Uzbegs who had driven Bābur out of Farghānah [into India] and the heretical qyzyl-bāshīs with whom he had allied himself, against his conscience, in a vain attempt to recover the Transoxanian heritage of his ancestor Timur from the Uzbeg invader. Yet even the most generous-handed sharing of the spoils of India with fellow Iranic Muslims enlisted at the eleventh hour did not give the Mughals the strength to complete the conquest of the peninsula, or even to hold securely what they had already won, against the obstinate resistance of the epigoni of earlier Muslim conquerors; and they found themselves constrained to sin against the spirit and tradition of Islam by enlisting the services of the infidel chivalry of their Rājpūt client states in their fratricidal wars against their True Believing rivals.

A Study of History, Vol VII, OUP, 1954

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