Hun Shahis

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The weakening of the Gupta rule saw the fresh intake of invaders like those of the Hunas or Sweta Hunas (White Huns) who invaded Iran and then India. They were warlike destructively led by ruthless chieftains like Toramana and Mihirakula (Mehr Gul) who lived on the borders of China. A Gupta Emperor by the name Narendragupta is said to have checked the initial Hun invasions led by the Huna Cheiftain Toramana. But the later invasions led by his son Mihirakula, devastated North India and weakened the Gupta Empire.

According to the Chinese writers, the Huns first appeared on the Oxus in the beginning of the fifth century AC. The real founder of the Ephthalite greatness in this region was Uti, son of Tatan, who received a Chinese princess in marriage and gave his own sister to the emperor of China. He carried on a nine years’ war with Yezdgerd II of Iran from 443 to 451 AC and eventually forced him to retire to his own dominions south of the Oxus. Henceforth, the Huns became very powerful. They crossed Hindukush, occupied the Kabul valley and Gandhara, and invaded the Gupta Empire. In about 445 AC Skanda Gupta stemmed the tide of the Hun eruption, nonetheless, on the Iranian side they met with greater success. In 484 AC their king Akhschounwar defeated and killed Piroz, the sassanian ruler. This success raised the power of the Huns to the greatest height, and towards the close of the 5th century they ruled over a vast empire with their capital at Balkh. This dominance of the Huns in Central Asia did not last long. When the Western Turks became powerful in the middle of 6th century AC the Sassanian king Anushirwan of Iran, made an alliance with them against the Huns. The allies defeated the Huns and killed their king sometime between 573 and 567 AC.

Meanwhile the Huns had established themselves in Gandhara. The last pan-Indian Hindu Kingdom was that of Emperor Harsha Vardhana who successfully defeated the Huns and established a large kingdom over most of North India. But he was unable to bring the entire country under his rule.

This article was last updated on Monday, Jan 03, 2005