Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/134

This page needs to be proofread.

130 EARLY MUHAMMADAN CONQUERORS. Palegars (Polygars) of the Madras Presidency, and the Maharaja of Mysore. One of the blood-royal of Vijayanagar fled to Chandragiri, and founded a line which exercised a prerogative of its former sovereignty, by granting the site of Madras to the English in 1639. Another scion, claiming the same high descent, lingers to the present day near the ruins of Vijayanagar, and is known as the Raja of Anagundf, a feudatory of the Nizam of Haidarabad. The independence of the local Hindu Rajas in Southern India throughout the Muhammadan period is illustrated by the Manjarabad family, a line of petty Chiefs, which maintained its authority from 1397 to 1799. Independence of the Provinces. — Lower Bengal threw off the authority of Delhi in 1340. Its Muhammadan governor, Fakfr-ud-dfn, set up as sovereign, with his capital at Gaur, and stamped coin in his own name. A succession of twenty kings ruled Bengal until 1538, when it was temporarily annexed to the Mughal Empire of Delhi by Humayun. Bengal was finally incorporated into that empire by Akbar in 1576. The great Province of Gujarat in Western India had in like manner grown into an independent Muhammadan kingdom, which lasted for two centuries, from 1371 till conquered by Akbar in 1573. Malwa, which had also risen to be an independent State under its Muhammadan governors, was annexed by the King of Gujarat in 153 1. Even Jaunpur, including the territory of Benares, in the centre of the Gangetic valley, maintained its independence as a Musalman State for nearly a hundred years, from 1393 to 1478, during the disturbed rule of the Sayyids and the first Lodi at Delhi. Weakness of the early Delhi Empire. — The position of the early Muhammadan rulers of Delhi was a very difficult one. Successive Musalman hordes of Turks, Afghans, and Tar- tars swept down the passes, and wrested India from the preceding invaders of their own Muhammadan faith. The Delhi Empire was therefore beset by three perpetual dangers. First, new Muhammadan invasions from Central Asia ; second, rebellious Muhammadan generals or Governors within India ; third, the Hindu races whom the early Delhi kings neither conciliated nor crushed. It was reserved for Akbar the Great to remedy the