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0231 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 231 (Color Image)

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Sec. v]   LATER CHINESE RECORDS OF KHOTAN   181

According to this text, of which M. Grenard has published an exhaustive analysis in the paper already quoted, the struggle with the infidels of Khotan commenced during the reign of Hasan Boghra Khan 17. The latter corresponds to the historical Abu'l-Hasan Nasr, though the legend represents him as a son of Satok Boghra Khan, while his real relation was that of great-grandson 18. The ruler of Khotan, who in the legend usually figures under the title of ` Jagalu Khalkhalu of Machin', together with Chuqtah Rashid and Nuqtah Rashid, chiefs or ministers of the same country, attacked Kashgar and were only repulsed after a severe siege. In the pursuit which followed, `Ali Arslan Khan and other pious champions from Satok Boghra Khan's race were slain by the infidels. Yarkand was then converted by the strength of the sacred word and joined the cause of Islam. Subsequently, while Hasan Boghra Khan was warring in Western Turkestan to re-establish the Faith there, Kashgar fell off from Islam. The Sultan then sent his brother Qadr Khan to Mada'in to implore the help of the Four Imams, and hastened back himself to retake Kashgar. He vanquished the infidels under Chuqtah Rashid and pursued them to Yangi-Hisar, but was himself killed there by Nuqtah Rashid. At this juncture Yusuf Qadr Khan appeared at Kashgar, with a great host of pious warriors sent by the Imams. The infidels retreated to Khotan, wheré Yusuf Qadr Khan attacked them with forty thousand men. After a siege of twenty-four years the city was taken and Jagalu Khalkhalu killed. Yusuf Qadr Khan is then said to have reigned in peace. But the story of the Four Imams, which is reproduced as a supplement to the legend, relates a fresh rising of the infidels at Khotan, in the course of which those four saints suffered martyrdom. In the end Qadr Khan returned with an army and accomplished the definite subjection of Khotan.

Leaving aside all legendary details, we may safely assume with M. Grenard that the account given in the Tadhkirah indicates a long and difficult contest on the part of Hasan Boghra Khan (Abu'l-Hasan Nasr) with the Buddhist kingdom of Khotan. The Kashgar ruler had attained the throne in 993 A. D., and his struggle with Khotan was probably, as M. Grenard suggests, the cause why he delayed until 999 to assert by force his claims to the Trans-Oxus provinces of the Samanide empire which had long been awaiting disruption 19. The final conquest of Khotan, effected under Sultan Abu'l-Hasan's orders by his brother or cousin Yusuf Qadr Khan, may well have taken place immediately after the success obtained in Western Turkestan towards the year moo, the date actually indicated by the Tadhkirah of the Four Imams 20. In I007 Yusuf Qadr Khan assisted his kinsman with forces brought from the newly conquered parts of Eastern Turkestan in the disastrous battle fought against Mahmud of Ghazni near Balkh. It is on this occasion that his lordship over Khotan is distinctly mentioned by the Arab historians 21.

In the absence of all definite indications, we are reduced to conjecture as to the particular historical causes which seem to have made the extension of Turkish rule and of Islam over Khotan a specially arduous undertaking. It is possible that a war of conquest, commenced, no doubt, in the first instance mainly from dynastic motives 22, developed into a religious struggle in which Khotan may have received aid from its Buddhist neighbours on both the south and the east. Tibet itself, though no longer a well-organized aggressive power, may in face of a

of Ghazni about 996 (see Grenard, p. 55), claims to seek for glory alone in fighting the infidels. But the purely dynastic aims which guided this champion of Islam and his more famous ancestor Satok Boghra Khan in their policy of aggression have been well exposed by M. Grenard ; see loc. cit., pp. 41 sqq., 63.

17 See Grenard, loc. cit., pp. 12 sqq.

18 Compare Gre nard, loc. cit., p. 50. " See Grenard, loc. cit., p. 67.

20 See Grenard, loc. cit., p. 68.

21 Compare the texts of Al `Utbi and Ibn-al-Athir quoted by Grenard, loc. cit. p. 69.

Abu'l-Hasan Nair, in a letter addressed to Sabuktagin

Traditions of wars against Buddhist Khotan.

Historical data about conquest of Khotan.

Severity of struggle with Khotan.