‘This Hindu Sahiya dynasty is now extinct, and of the whole house there is no longer the slightest remnant in existence. We must say that, in all their grandeur, they never slackened in the ardent desire of doing that which is good and right, that they were men of noble sentiment and noble bearing.’
People and their acts of bravery are often lost to the annals of history. But what of mighty lineages? Generations of kings and the lands and people they fought for? What of kings who fought against their own people?
The Hindu Sahi kings, to whom honour and pride were more important than their own survival, fought a near 150 year rear-guard action as they continued to be pushed east from Kabul, their original homeland, changing their capitals and defending themselves from their own countrymen.
The last of their house had the misfortune of confronting the juggernaut that was Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni. Where obedience to the Sultan would have allowed their house to endure, their honour would have them confront him over and over.
But who were they?
This book tries to piece together their story from the limited sources that are available from an age where historical sources were few and, in the case of the Sahis, mostly from the point of view of their enemies.
This is the story of a dynasty that represented a resurgent Hindu faith in a land that was long dominated by Buddhism but also coincided with the arrival of the Muslims.
Changez Saleem Jan has a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics. Since then, he has mostly worked in the banking industry from 1994 onwards in Pakistan and Singapore, apart from a brief stint as a lecturer in Economics at the Aitchison College in Lahore.
Changez is not a trained historian but his passion for the history of the subcontinent stems from his family—his great-grandfather was Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (also known as the Frontier Gandhi), who played a key role in the Indian freedom movement, alongside several other leaders. Changez’s grandfather was Muhammad Yahya Jan, Minister of Education for the North West Frontier Province from 1946–1947, and his younger brother was Muhammad Yunus, a member of the Indian Foreign Service who is responsible for establishing the famous Pragati Maidan, the hub for large exhibitions and conventions, in New Delhi.