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The Rai Dynasty was the ruling dynasty of Sindh from c. 489 - 632. The Rais were one of the Middle kingdoms of India and patrons of Buddhism even though they also established a huge temple of Shiva in present-day Sukkur, derived from original Shankar, close to their capital in Al-ror.[1] This is consistent with the historical accounts from the times of Emperor Ashoka and Harsha because Indian monarchs never sponsored a state religion and usually patronized more than one faith. The influence of the Rai state exdended from Kashmir and Kannauj in the east, Makran and Debal (Karachi) port in the west, Surat port in south, Kandahar, Sistan, Suleyman, Ferdan and Kikanan hills in the north.


Sources of Information

B. D. Mirchandani writes, "Our knowledge of the Rai dynasty, which is not a great deal, is derived entirely from three Muslim chronicles of Sind."[2] For the history of the RaI and Brahman dynasties we are, therefore, almost entirely dependent on the Muslim chronicles, especially the Chachanama.[3]

The history of the Rai and that of their usurpers the Brahman dynasties are entirely based upon Muslim chronicles such as the Chach Nama, thereby dating them to about the 5th century.[4] They arise in the time period of shifting political scene with the wane of the Sassanid influence in the wake of the Hepthalite (White Hun/Huna) invasions, and with the rulers issuing silver coins bearing their likeness by the 7th century.[4]


The Rai dynasty is recorded as ruling lower Sind, from their capital Aror upon the banks of the Indus River for a period spanning 144 years.[4][5] They are not noted as being foreigners or Huna and it is likely that the Huna advances did not penetrate towards lower Sind.[4]

Chronology of Rai rulers of Sindh

Wink reports on the possibility of the corruption of the Sanskrit names and renders them as related in parenthesis in the following chronology of the Rai rulers of Sindh:[4]
Rai Dynasty (c. 489 - 632)

  • Rai Diwaji (Devaditya)
He was a powerful chief who forged alliances and extended his rule east of Makran and west of Kashmir and Kannauj, south to the port of Surat and north to Kandahar.[6]
  • Rai Sahiras (Shri Harsha)
  • Rai Sahasi (Sinhasena)
  • Rai Sahiras II
Died battling the King of Nimroz.[7]
  • Rai Sahasi II

The rule of Rai Sahasi II

Rai Meharsan second had a war with Nimruz of Fars in which he was killed due to injury of an arrow in his throat. After him Rai Sahasi second became the king. He ordered the appointed four Governors (Maliks) in his kingdom to protect the interests of the country and the people, to look after the repairs of the (State) buildings, and to keep the feudal assignees and estate-holders happy. In his whole dominion, there was not a single refractory or rebellious head who perversely opposed the measures passed by him or (transgressed) the boundaries fixed by him. Owing to his excellent policy and majestic dignity, Rai Sáhasi brought the kingdom under his firm control. The subjects and original residents of the country enjoyed much respect, and lived a happy life.

He had a wazir, by name chamberlain Rám. Rám was well acquainted with the various departments of knowledge. Once, when the chamberlain Ram, the Brahman wazir, had come to his office, a Brahman named Chach, son of Selaij, came to visit him to pay respects to the chamberlain Ram . The wazir was impressed by the talents of Chach and appointed him assistant. In a short time, he became prominent in the correspondence department of the Council.

Once Sahasi Rai second fell ill. Some letters from the district of Siwistan having arrived, the Secretary Rám was called. But he had not yet come to the Council office. The minister sent his munshi (book-keeper) Chach for this purpose. The wisdom of Chach of Alor influenced the king and he appointed Chach to look after the palace as Assistant Secretary. This way he got free entry into the palace. After the death of Ram, Rai Sáhasi called Chach to himself and conferred on him the office of Chamberlain and Secretary.

In 644, after Conquering Persian Empire, Rashidun army entered makran and defeated the army of Raja Sahasi Rai II in a decisive Battle of Rasil, and annexed Makran and eastern Balochistan. Caliph Umar (634-644) however for the time being, disapproved of any incursion beyond the Indus river and ordered his commander to consolidate their position west of indus.[8]. During the reign of Caliph Uthman ibn Affan (644-656) Muslims captured Qanzabil, a main military garrison of Rai dynasty in northern Sindh and until 662, when during Ummayad Caliphate it was retaken by Rai kingdom, it served as eastern most garrison town of Rashidun army.

End of the Rai Dynasty

Chach is reported in the Chachnama to have developed a relationship with the Queen (Rani) Suhanadi and conspiring with her to kill the Raja Sahsi Rai II. At any rate, upon the death of the Raja he then married the queen and became the ruler of Sindh ending the rule of the Rai dynasty and starting a line of Brahmin rulership. The apparent treacheary of Chach caused the brother-in-law of Sahasi Rai and ruler of Chittor, the Rana Maharath, to assault Sindh unsuccessfully. Chach killed Rana Maharath by conspiracy in samvat 689 (632 AD).

See also


  1. ^ Thakur Deshraj, Jat Itihas (Hindi), Maharaja Suraj Mal Smarak Shiksha Sansthan, Delhi, 1934, 2nd edition 1992
  2. ^ Glimpses of Ancient Sind By B. D. Mirchandani
  3. ^ P. 152 Al-Hind, the Making of the Indo-Islamic World By André Wink
  4. ^ a b c d e Wink pg.152
  5. ^ The Indus has moved its banks since.
  6. ^ Elliot. pg. 405
  7. ^ Khusru Naushirwan and Khusru Parvis have both been postulated however it more likely that it was a governor of Fars. Elliot. pg. 405
  8. ^


  • Thakur Deshraj: Jat Itihas, Delhi, 1934
  • The Chach-nama. English translation by Mirza Kalichbeg Fredunbeg. Delhi Reprint, 1979.
  • Wink, Andre, Al Hind the Making of the Indo Islamic World, Brill Academic Publishers, Jan 1, 1996, ISBN 90-04-09249-8 pg.
  • Elliot, Henry Miers, The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians. The Muhammadan Period. Volume 1, Adamant Media Corporation, ISBN 0-543-94726-2

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