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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Colonial myths and battered narratives in Bharatiya history

Surrounded by landless, limitless vast expansions of ocean on three sides and crowned by the sky-dwarfing magnificence of the Himalayas in the north, is Bharat – the land of Aryas, the noble ones. It is in this land where the first steps of a new born human civilisation were set, where the rain of culture nurtured a many-splendored apogee of human achievement. This is the land, the longest continual civilisation of the world, where great men of high deed and gods have walked.

But among this tsunami of fame and glory, esteem and honour, standing in the corner are few rare figures of history – wounded by time, scarred by injustice – these are the figures who have been consistently demeaned and despised for deeds they never did. One of these figures is the powerful Raja of 12th century Bharat – Raja Jaichand – and the other is Rana Sanga – who is often blamed for inviting the barbarian Mughal invader Babur. But the truth, as often, is quite different, rather contrasting.

Maharaj Jaichand

“Jaichand Gaddar Tha” (Jaichand was a traitor) – most of us have surely heard this line, from mouths of larger than life politicians, famed celebrities or even from mere social media personalities. This sentence is almost unanimously repeated with jolts & joy by every person who perfectly fits into the great class of dim-witted or ignorant brains. These people have repeated the ‘Jaichand was a traitor’ line so often that it almost feels like the humming sound of an irritated bird trapped in a cage of dark ignorance.  And so it is the job of those standing with light to remove the darkness and open the cage.

Maharaj Jaichand – also spelled as Jaychandra – was the grandson of Govindchandra of Kannauj and son of Gāhadvala King Vijaychandra from queen Chandralekha. He was declared the crown prince of the Gāhadvala kingdom in 1168 CE and ten years later on the 6th tithi of the bright half of the month of Asadha in the year 1226 Vikram Samvat – which corresponds to Sunday, 21st June, 1178 CE – Jaichand became the king.

Raja Jaichand ruled over one of the richest territories in Bharat, of contemporary times, covering the vast expanse of lands making most of the present-day UP, upto river Son in the south-east, and nearly up to Patna and Gaya in the east. His rule was no less than any other king, of high prosperity and filled with pomp. The grandeur of his rule is documented profoundly in contemporary records.

According to Tāj-ul-Mā’athir, one such contemporary account, “Jayachandra prided himself on the number of his forces and elephants and had an army countless as the particles of sand.” The same is mentioned in Kāmil-ut-Tawārikh, which, throwing light on the military prowess of the Raja, says “The Hindu Prince had 700 elephants and his men were said to amount to a million, there were many nobles in his army.” Firistah’s account also refers to “a numerous army of horses, besides upward of 300 elephants which Jayachund Rye the prince of Kannauj and Banaras led.” One of the primary points these records so clearly illuminate was how considerable was the impression which the last king of the Gahadvala dynasty made on the invaders.

Roma Niyagi in her monumental work ‘History of Gahadavalas’ tells us that there is no evidence of conflict between Raja Jaichandra and Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan (stories were cooked up later).

Extract from Roma Niyogi’s book ‘History of Gahadavalas’

Now apart from the usual grandeur of kingdoms and revealing words of travelers, Raja Jaichand had been the performer of a rare noble feat, that no other king from history can boast of – building of a great Vaishnav temple in Ayodhya, whose evidence was later found in the debris of ‘Treta Ka Thakur’. As it’s apparent from the discovery of an inscription in the debris of the Treta ka Thakur temple – the same temple which was converted into a mosque by Aurangzeb – in Ayodhya by Alois Anton Führer:

“Inscription number XLIV is written in 20 incomplete lines on a white sandstone, broken off at either end and split into two parts in the middle. It is dated Samvat 1241 or CE 1184, in the time of Jaychandra of Kannauj, whose praises it records for erecting a Vaishnav temple, from whence this stone was originally bought and appropriated by Aurangzeb in building his masjid known as ‘Treta ka Thakur’. The original slab was discovered in the ruins of this masjid and is now in the Faizabad local museum”.

Undoubtedly, the biggest blot on Raja Jaichand’s historic character is the myth of him siding with Ghurid Muslim invading forces of Mohammad Ghori against the great Rajput King Prithviraj Chauhan. But tearing into the details of this long-standing myth leaves one with crystal-clear clarity that there is not a single piece of evidence, contemporaneous to Prithviraj, which says Jaichand joined the Ghurid forces against Pṛthvīrāja in the Battle of Tarain.

On the contemporary, early Mohemmadan sources of that time (12th-13th century) mention Jaichand bravely fighting Ghurids in Battle of Chandawar /Chandawal. Non-Marxist historians, from Roma Niyogi to RC Majumdar, all have pointed out the same lack of evidence behind the myth. There was no reason or motive for Raja Jaichand to enter into conflict with Prithviraj – ignoring the historically inaccurate yet grossly misquoted account from the mythical book ‘Prithviraj-Raso’.

Roma Niyogi in her ‘The History of the Gāhadvala Dynasty’ notes that “There is no reliable evidence of conflict between these two kings”. Same is echoed by RC Majumdar in ‘An Advanced History Of India’ that “There is no evidence, however, to believe that Jaichand invited Mohammad of Ghūr to invade India.”

Extract from historian RC Majumdar’s ‘An Advanced History Of India’

Moreover, Hammīra-Mahākāvya (composed around 1400 CE) doesn’t even mention the name Jaichand in the entire section dealing with Prithviraj and Mohammad Ghori. Even the Pṛthvīrāja Vijaya never talks of Jayachandra as an enemy of Pṛthvīrāja, leave alone arch enemy. In fact, both the kingdoms of Prithviraj and Jaichand, at no point (geographically) were sharing borders. Whereas the immediate neighbors i.e. Chalukyas are talked about frequently in Pṛthvīrāja Vijaya.

After the defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan in 1192 CE – his first defeat after a series of wins against the Army of Ghori, including a win in the previous year’s battle –  the barbarian invader turned his attention towards the Gahadvala dominion. And a battle was fought in the year 1194 CE, where Raja Jaichand died. Not what one would expect if the two had an alliance.

He died fighting a “Dharmyuddh”. He followed his Kshatriya Dharma very well. Great slaughter followed Ghori’s victory at Chandawar. 300 elephants were captured alive, the treasury was looted and nearly 1000 temples were destroyed and mosques were raised on their foundations. Hence, after knowing everything about Maharaj Jaichand, one could easily conclude that he was not a traitor.

Rana Sanga

Now to the second part of the mammoth myth, that of “Rana Sanga inviting Babur to India”. As much as this myth is popular, it’s is also preposterous.

Bayana Fort where Mughal forces were severely routed by Rajputs under Rana Sanga

Some basic questions which arise after hearing such bold – and unreliable, as we’ll later see – lies: How and why Rana Sanga was so assured that Babur would return to Kabul after defeating Ibrahim Lodi, the king against whom Babur was supposedly invited? How could he be so confident that Babur would defeat Lodi and that Lodi would not be able to defeat Babur?

Was Rana Sanga so weak that he needed Babur’s help? Even a basic reading of history makes it clear that this wasn’t the case. Rana Sanga was a fierce warrior, one of the most powerful rulers of his times, who not only valiantly fought Mughal forces but also battered and defeated the Lodi Army.  

So powerful was Rana’s assault on Muslims that a Lodi-era historian wrote ‘Sultan’s armies scattered, like dead leaves caught in a gale, in front of the Rajput cavalry charge’. James Tod says that eight thousand horses, seven Rajas of the highest rank, nine Raos, and one hundred and four chieftains bearing the titles of Rawal and Rawat with 500 war elephants followed him into the field. The princes of Marwar and Amber gave him homage and the Raos of Gwalior, Ajmer, Sikri, Raisen, Kalpi, Chanderi, Bundi, Gagraun, Rampura, and Abu served him as tributaries or held him as chief.

The Rajput cavalry charge at Bayana was so fierce that not a single Mughal soldier was ready to take up arms against the Rajputs in Khanwa, until Babur made all of them swear on the Quran.

Explaining about the administration and wars of Rana Sanga, James Tod further says he fought  eighteen pitched battles against the Kings of Delhi and Malwa, in two of which he was opposed by Ibrahim Lodi in person at Bakrol and Ghatoli. In the latter battle the imperial forces were badly defeated with great slaughter. Such brave a king and man like Rana Sanga would the last one to need an alliance with Babur. So the question arises, from where does this idea of Rana Sanga inviting Babur come from? It is from a source that is prone to heavy untruthfulness and dishonesty, a chronicle of a dishonest barbarian, the Baburnama.

Baburnama is the only source where Babur has written this. And there are more than enough reasons for one to not believe in Baburnama because –

1) Babur has lied many times in Baburnama, he said that he had only 12000 soldiers in Panipat, but according to history professors and researchers, that number must have been much higher.

2) No other Hindu/Muslim contemporary account mentions this.

3) Rana Sanga didn’t need any alliance (as has already been cleared above).

4) Babur has given details of other alliances but not of this one.

5) The Hindu record in this matter, the daily bulletin of Rana’s life, written everyday by the family priest of Rana is a reliable source and it says, “It was not Sanga who sent an envoy to Kabul to propose an alliance with Babur against their common foe, Ibrahim of Delhi, but the king of Kabul (Babur), who was anxious to have an ally of undoubted ability and strength during the course of his proposed expedition in an unknown country.”

Now let’s see how and why Babur entered Bharat. He writes in his autobiography – “as it was always in my heart to possess Hindustan and as these several countries had once been held by the Turks, I pictured them as my own and was resolved to get them into my hands whether peacefully or by force”.

The Sultan of Delhi, Ibrahim Lodi, was weak and unpopular, he had alienated his nobles and chiefs. Punjab, a normal fief of Delhi was held by governor Daulat Khan, who was practically independent. So were the governors of Sindh, Multan, Jaunpur and Bengal. The Rajput states had formed themselves into a confederacy under Rana Sanga. At that time Bharat was divided into numerous independent states without any strong central authority to hold them together. Babur was well aware of this state of affairs in Bharat.

Eminent Historian Jadunath Sarkar clearly mentions in his work the reasons why Daulat Khan invited Babur to Bharat

In 1523, Babur set out for Punjab to find that Ibrahim’s army had already defeated Daulat Khan who had invited him to invade Bharat in the hope of personal gain. Babur in turn defeated the Sultan’s army. Then, instead of making Daulat Khan the governor of Punjab, he appointed his own heir to the government of Punjab and gave Daulat Khan a small fief. Then he returned to Kabul in 1524. Next year he came with a bigger army to find Daulat Khan and Alim Khan, who had made an independent bid for power, and defeated them. Babur pardoned Daulat Khan, and many Afghan amirs along with their troops joined Babur. Ibrahim Lodi’s uncle, Alam Khan, asked for the help of Babur to dethrone Ibrahim Lodi.

The Battle of Panipat took place on 21 April 1526 in which Ibrahim Lodi was defeated and killed. Babur had intentions to stay in Bharat and when the Afghan chiefs realised this, they proclaimed Sultan Mohammad of Bihar as their king, while some wanted to place the brother of Ibrahim Lodi as their King. But Babur managed to sort out everything, sent a force under Humayun who drove away the rebel Afghan chiefs across the Ganga. But apart from the danger of Afghans, there was the greater danger, “The Rajputs “. 

A great coalition of Rajput chiefs had been formed under Raja Sangram Singh (Rana Sanga), of Mewar. He had lost one eye, one arm, and a leg, and his body bore more than 80 wounds received in battle. Hasan Mewati and Muhammad Lodi, these two Afghan chiefs also joined the Rajput alliance against Babur .

Babur declared that the war against the Rajputs was a jihad, an Islamic holy war. An advance force sent by Babur was destroyed by Rana Sanga’s army. Babur renounced wine drinking and inspired his soldiers to take vow on the Quran, fortified his camps with gun carriages, made preparations and then the battle took place at Khanua, on 16th March 1527. Rana Sanga was wounded, got unconscious, and was taken away from the battlefield by his followers. The Rajputs had to suffer a defeat due to lack of resources, and lack of better equipment. However the defeat didn’t affect Rana Sanga and he took a vow to never enter the fort of Chittor without achieving victory over Babur.

However Rana Sanga died in January 1528 and couldn’t fulfil his mission, but he never submitted to Babur. He fought with all his strength, and lived a life full of self respect. Rana Sanga was undoubtedly one of the best warriors of his time. Lack of resources and lack of advanced equipment and weapons led to his defeat. But Rana Sanga forever holds a special place in the history of Rajputs.

Hence it’s clear that Rana Sanga never invited Babur to attack Bharat. It was Daulat Khan who invited Babur.

The historian Gopinath Sharma in his monumental work ‘Mewar Ka Itihas’ lists down the reasons for lies spread by Babur in his memoir Baburnama.

It’s really shameful that instead of respecting these two great warriors, people call them ”traitors” without knowing the actual truth.

Maharaj Jaichand (Jaychandra) erected the Vaishnav temple at Ayodhya, was a great king of his time, and died fighting “Dharmyuddha” with Malecchas. Rana Sanga/Raja Sangram Singh was a great warrior of his time, never bowed his head down to Muslim invaders, fought with them with all his strength, and yet people blame him that he invited Babur to invade Bharat. These are misconceptions arising due to dishonest historiography by Marxist historians whose sole objective while writing was to somehow shift blame towards Hindus and glorify invaders. And till today the people under Marxist spell parrot the same lies. These are two mammoth myths created by Marxists and propagated by dishonest history readers that have battered the subject of history like none else.

-By Rohini Singh (a vivid learner of Indic stories and a history enthusiast)

Sources:

  1. History of Gahadawalas by Roma Niyogi
  2. Advanced History of India by RC Majumdar
  3. Mewar and Mughal Emperors by GN Sharma
  4. Military History of India by Jadunath Sarkar
  5. Kshatriya Itihas on Twitter : https://twitter.com/KshatriyaItihas/status/1335956374426013696
  6. Rajputcommunity.in Article : https://www.rajputcommunity.in/t/rajputs-defeat-specialists-1-3-fact-check-on-a-mainstream-fraud/499

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