Mahmood Ghaznavi’s character came into the limelight after the British defeat in Afghanistan. Suffering from Humiliation, Lord Ellen Borough issued an order in 1842 called “Proclamation of the Gates”. This order stated that British troops returning from Kabul should take back Gates erected at the grave of Mahmood Ghaznavi on their way to Gazni. These gates were said to be taken away after the plunder of Somnath.
Although there isn’t a single historic text which says Ghaznavi took the gates of Somnath temple to Afghanistan, this move by Lord Ellen was seen as a deceptive counter-attack of the British against their defeat in the First Afghan War. Secondly the British wanted to fuel Secretarian hatred amongst the People of India. Thirdly through journals and propaganda, Mahmood Ghaznavi and Afghans, in particular, were described as savage uncivilized people.
Many British historians took up the task of shaping Ghaznavi’s character as a plunderer amongst Muslims of the subcontinent which continues to date.
Through textbooks and research papers, Mahmood Ghaznavi’s image was made up into a devil which sadly no Muslim historian bothered to counter. Although by means of oral history, it was stated Ghaznavi came to India after Prophet Muhammad appeared in his dream and asked him to march eastward into the land of idol worshippers and destroy every idol on his path, not a single so-called Muslim scholar came forward and researched about this legend. It was Farkhi Sistani who claimed the idol in Somnath temple was called Manaat which was the same Manaat idol that was personally broken by Prophet Muhammad during his victory on Mecca after his entry into Kaba. It was believed that Manaat (also known as Izza in some legends) was shipped to coastal India by some Merchant.
As per Sistani, the campaign against idol-worshipping initiated by Prophet Muhammad reached its climax with Ghaznavi’s invasion of Somnath. Still with such mass narratives built against Ghaznavi, Centuries later he continues to be a Legendary figure amongst orthodox Muslims of the subcontinent.