The Rai Empire – Extents of Empire
The Rai Dynasty ruled over Sindh for a period of nearly 202 years. This Dynasty was in power in 489 AD – 690 AD and covered an area of over 600,000 square miles. The Empire extended from Kashmir in the East, Makran and Debal port (Karachi) in the West, Surat port in the South, and the Kandahar, Sistan, Suleyman, Ferdan and Kikanan hills in the North.
The Rai Empire – The Kingship
Rai Diwa Ji (Devaditya) was the first and a powerful chief of Rai Dynasty who forged alliances and extended his rule from Makran to Kashmir and from Karachi to Kandahar. His reign was followed by Rai Sahiras (Shri Harsha) and Rai Sahasi (Sinhasena). Rai Sahiras II was the second last ruler of the Rai Dynasty and patronized Hinduism as well Buddhism around 610 AD. He was killed in a battle with King Nimroz of Fars and was succeeded by his son, Raja Sahasi, the last Rai ruler of Sindh.
The Rai Empire – Administration
Rai Sahasi II was a very powerful ruler of the Rai Dynasty. To manage his affairs he had appointed four Governors (Maliks). Each of the governors was assigned different tasks, like, to protect the interests of the people and kingdom, to facilitate repairs of state buildings and to manage feudal assignees and estate-holders. Rai Sahasi II had good control over his kingdom and subjects and there was no one to oppose his activities and state boundaries.
The Rai Empire – Plot against the King and Decline
Rai Sáhasi was assisted by a knowledgeable Brahman Minister, Ram. Chach was the assistant to Ram and with his talent became assistant secretary to Rai Sahasi. Rani Suhanadi, wife of Rai Sáhasi conspired with Chach and killed Raja Sáhasi II. Rani Suhanadi then married Chach and became the queen. Chach crowned himself ruler of Sindh as there was no direct heir to the kingdom and started Brahmin ruler-ship. Chach ruled from 632-700 AD for about 68 years.
Not much is known about this dynasty and entire information is based on the Muslim chronicles, especially the Chacha-nama and Shahnama. According to these two chronicles, the Rai Emperors resisted invasions of Muslims from north-west subcontinent. The numerous battles was the cause of decline of Rai Dynasty. Though some historians believe that during the Muslim invasion Rai dynasty moved towards Himalayan Mountains.
The Rai Empire – Religion
The rulers of Rai Dynasty patronized both the religion, Hinduism as well as Buddhism. This is evidenced by the ruins and the description of that era in the Muslim chronicles. Rai Dynasty Emperors established a temple of Shiva located in present-day Sukkur, close to their capital of Al-ror, on the banks of the Indus River.
By : Anupama Verma