Great debate: Was Raja Dahir a son of Sindh?

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May 25, 2020

It is generally believed that in the beginning of the 8th Century, Muslims entered India with the invasion of Muhammad bin Qasim, a young Arab general. In 712 AD, he besieged Debal and then occupied other towns in his attack to punish Sindh’s ruler Raja Dahir for not fighting off pirates who had looted some Arab dhows. It is said that Muhammad bin Qasim defeated Raja Dahir.
SAMAA TV ran a feature package on a debate that has erupted social media. The video feature stated the questions people were asking. These were its words:
“This year, as with every year, a crisis of identity has arisen,” said the presenter. “People were told that Sindh’s real son of the soil was Raja Dahir, who was killed while fighting a war for the right to self-determination.”
It went on to say that on social media Muhammad bin Qasim was being presented as a cruel man and an invader. A long debate has broken out. “People have even said when Punjab can make a commemorative statue for Ranjit Singh why can’t Sindh have one for Raja Dahir.”
In the Chachnama, an ancient book, it says that Raja Dahir married his own sister. He did this because of the edict of an astrologer or najoomi or fortune teller. Raja Dahir was his father’s younger son. And so, the elder son should have actually been the real ruler of Sindh. Upon the najoomi’s recommendation Raja Dahir took the crown from his brother. And he did not even take part in his last rites. “Can someone with such a character be Sindh’s hero?”
The Chachnama says that Raja Dahir was a Brahmin and the Aryans came from Central Asia to conquer India. And so, how can Raja Dahir be a son of Sindh?
The television package was based on the Chachnama, which was a 13th century Persian text rumoured to deal with the conquest of Hindustan by Muhammad bin Qasim. The text was translated in 1900 by Mirza Kalich Beg, known as the first Sindhi novelist. Since then scholars and historians and readers have used this text to try to comment on the arrival of Arab rulers in Sindh.
Debates on history often upset people and the discussions grow heated on social media. In the interest of learning more about what you think, SAMAA Digital would like to open up the forum to you, our reader, to ask your opinion on this particular debate. Our platform is a space where opposing opinions are welcome. We only request that you adhere to norms of polite speech.
Please leave a comment below. All comments will be moderated. Kindly add any links to references or books that you believe have increased your understanding of this part of Sindh’s history. Comments can be left anonymously, but it is always more credible if you post with your name and a small description of yourself, especially if you are an academic or historian.

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