Friday, June 17, 2011

Mongolia | Chingis Rides West | Catastrophe at Otrār

The governor of Otrār was a man named Inalchuq, the nephew of the Khwarezmshah’s mother, Turkān-Khātün. Perhaps because of his close relations with the Shah’s family he had been granted the lofty title of Gāyer Khan. Although accounts maintain that all 450 of the traders sponsored by the Mongols were Muslims, a Hindu merchant from India had also managed to attach himself to the caravan. This man had met Inalchuq previously, before he had become the Gāyer Khan and the governor of Otrār, and apparently he had not been impressed. Now this Indian merchant, who was in Juvaini’s words, “rendered proud by reason of the power and might of his own Khan [Chingis]”, addressed his old acquaintance in a condescending manner, calling him by his common name of Inalchuq instead of by his title. The proud governor was infuriated by the Indian’s haughty, patronizing behaviour, and Juvaini insinuates that he used this incident as a pretext to put the entire trade mission under house arrest and confiscate their merchandize. Other sources say nothing about the Indian merchant and say simply that Gāyer Khan coveted their merchandize and soon concocted an excuse to seize it. He decided that the merchants were in fact spies and then fired off a letter to the Khwarezmshah in which he accused them of engaging in espionage . . . Continued.