History Optional Paper-1 Solution – 1995: Q.1 (d)

Q.1 (d) Write a short essay on: ” Historical significance of the advent of the Arabs in India.”


The Arab invaded India by conquering Sindh in 712-14. The compaign was led by Muhammad bin Qasim. He landed at Debal near the mouth of the Indus river and advanced upto Multan. After overthrowing local ruler Dahir,  Arab rule was established.

Historical significance of the advent of the Arabs in India

Political significance

Politically the advent was of little significance because the Arab rule was limited to a small area and continued only for a brief period.  So it did not affect the general political conditions in northern India.

Some of the administrative policies of the Arab rulers in Sindh influenced the policies of later rules of Medieval India, for example: imposition of Jizya on non-muslims.

Economic significance

Economically, Arabs enriched the region. They primoted methods of desert cultivation, camel breeding, leather tanning and manufacturing.

Arabs developed international trade, introduced new currency, promoted urban life and institutions related to it.

Social significance

Arab rule in Sindh led to the spread of Islam in that area which brough demographic changes.

Cultural significance

Arabs enriched the Sindhi language and developed its script. They also assimilated Indian influence in astronomy, mathematics, philosophy, medicine and literature. Several Indian texts on these subjects were translated from Sanskrit into Arabic. For example: Surya Siddhanta, Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita, Panchatantra etc were translated in Arabic.

Cultural contacts proved more enduring than political control. Even after Arab lost Sindh, cultural links wete maintained by the Abbasid Caliphs and later rulers of India like Pratihara of Western India. Such contacts paved the way for a more fruitful interaction in the succeeding period, for example the work of Alberuni, who wrote Kitab al-Hind which can be considered as the outcome of continued cultural interactions.

It can be concluded that the real significance of Arab advent was in cultural sphere which laid the foundation for Indo-Islamic culture.


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