Mahmud was far more a warrior than a man of faith and like many other conquerors he used and exploited the name of religion for his conquests. India was to him just a place from which he could carry off treasure and material to his homeland... Mahmud was anxious to make his own city of Ghazni rival the great cities of central and western Asia and he carried off from India large number of artisans and master builders. Building interested him and he was much impressed by the city of Mathura.. About this he wrote; 'There are here a thousand edifices as firm as the faith of the faithful; nor is it likely that this city has attained its present condition but at the expense of many millions of dinars, nor could such another be constructed under a period of 200 years."
The Discovery of India, Javaharlal Nehru, page 235
The book by our very first prime minister is titled the "Discovery" of India. The book has discovered, rather invented, so many new things about India like this one quoted above! Mahmud Ghazni becomes a lover of art; Ghazni forgets his religion; Ghazni, the marauder of our ancestors, is just short of being called a holy man!
Chacha Nehru ji, agreed that his holiness Ghazni was enthralled by the magnificence of the city of Mathura and its Shri Krishna Temple. But one's discovery should not stop at only this.
- What did this lover of art and architecture do to Mathura's splendid buildings Mr. Nehru?
- What did this warrior more than man of faith do to the Shri Krishna Temple, a place of worship for the non-believers in his faith?
- What 'treasure and material' he carried back home and what did he do with it?
Nehru ji is most probably 'discovering' this love of art of Ghazni from Tarikh Yamini by Abunasar Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Al Jabbaaral Utbi (attempting to remember this name might be injurious to health), commonly known as Al Utbi; an aide of Ghazni himself. Al Utbi, in the same paragraph where he describes Mathura and its temple, goes onto elicit Ghazni's next command to his men:
The Sultan gave orders that all the temples should be burnt with naphtha and fire and levelled with the ground.
Tarikh Yamini, Elliot & Dawson, Vol III, page 45
There flows the river of Love for Art and Admiration for Architecture direct from the heart of (somebody's) His Holiness Mahmud Ghazni.....
Then, what about Ghazni's love for non-believers in his faith? He was anyway not much a man of faith, isn't it? Lets see:
After cleansing 'Hind' from idol worship, the Sultan built mosques for the believers at those places. Then, in 1013 AD, he raided Hind again so as to punish the idolators.
Tarikh Yamini, Elliot & Dawson, Vol III, page 37
To do justice to Ghazni, his beliefs and actions, one needs to 'discover' him thoroughly. Mere presenting a rosy picture will not suffice.