|Ranthambore Fort, women commiting en.wikipedia. org|
Above image: The Rajput women committing Sati-Jauhar (self-immolation ) in the Ranthambore Fort, Rajasthan after Khilji's victory to avoid insults and be confined the harem.
The Rajput kings of India were known for their bravery, wisdom and character. Once they were in the battle ground, they would fight tooth and nail till the last drop of their blood fell on the ground. They always would follow certain norms pertaining to war. They would not stab a warrior on the back and claim easy victory. The assumption was that only cowards would do such lowly job. To the Rajputs, killing a man from his back was an ignominious act. Likewise, to them, words or promises are important and ought to be kept at any cost. Going back on one's words means it is a degrading, despicable act. No way the Rajput warriors will compromise on their character and valor under any circumstances. In those days, the honorable Rajput women, upon hearing the death of their husbands in the battle, would rather die by getting into their husband's pyre than be disgraced by Muslim rulers who would expect them to be their concubines and subject them to torture.
|Gates of Ranthambore fort climber-explorer.blogspot.com|
|Ranathambore Fort, Rajasthan.www.ijdreamvacation.com|
The story of Hamir Dev Chauhan brings out the legacy of Rajputs - daring warriors to whom patriotism is more important than their own lives. Hamir Dev Chauhan, who belonged to the Chauhan dynasty, was a descendant of Prithviraj Chauhan who enjoys a respectable place in the Indian history. Being an Agnivanshi Rajput, Hamir ruled over Ranathambore from 1282 to 1301. During his 12 years' reign, Hamir Dev fought 17 battles and won 13 of them. He annexed Malwa, Abu and Mandalgarh and thus extended his kingdom to a large extend. Delhi Sultan, Jalal-ud-din-Firuz Khilji, was unhappy about the growing stature of the Rajput king. Jalaluddin attacked Ranathambhor and had it under siege for several years. However, he had to return to Delhi unsuccessful and disappointed.
In those days among the Muslim rulers, patriarchal killings were common. One day Jalaluddin was assassinated by his nephew Alauddin Khilji (the Khilji dynasty), reigning from 1296 to 1316 and later he crowned himself as the new Sultan of Delhi. In this well-planned coup one Muhammad Shah was very helpful to Khilji and obviously he developed close rapport with the ruler. Even he was allowed to enter the exclusive quarters of the 'Harem' at his beck and call. Being a man of charming personality, he developed intimate relationship with the inmates.
Chimna, a vivacious woman of beauty was one of Alauddin's begums, but Alauddin did not care and never gave her not even one fourth of attention as other begums of the harem had received from him. Alauddin, over a period of time, earned her ire inadvertently, Being a passionate woman, as she was, in Md. Shah she not only saw a valiant soldier but also a man who could match her temperament. Attracted by the trappings of a rich royal living, the vindictive Begam, in cahoots with Md. Shah, conspired to kill Alauddin so that Shah would become a ruler and she, the queen. Luck was in favor of Alauddin and he scented the conspiracy well before hand. To escape the rage of Alaluddin, Muhammad Shah had to flee from Delhi along with his brother. No one in the neighboring kingdoms gave him asylum and risked the wrath of Alauddin Khilji, who wielded enormous power.
|Alauddin Khilji (the Khilji dynasty), reigning from 1296 to 1316 en.wikipedia. org|
As Alauddin's army was powerful and strong, Muhammad Shah understood the predicament of Hamir Dev and asked him to hand him over to Alauddin rather than fight such a useless war and suffer such an enormous loss of lives and resources.
Alauddin put a complete siege on the Ranathambhor fort (a long siege in 1301); Bhoj Dev and his informers kept on supplying him information on the food of water situation inside the fort. At last, Alauddin came out victorious. The female members of the Rajput kingdom committed ''Jauhar'' (Sati) and gave up lives on the live pyre. Hamir Dev, along with his Rajput soldiers decided to perform ''Shaka'' that is the fight unto death.
After the victory, Alauddin entered the fort. Wounded Muhammad Shah was brought to him. "What is your last desire?" asked Alauddin. "To kill you and place Hamir's son on the throne of Ranathambhor", replied Muhammad Shah. Then he took out his dagger and committed suicide.
Alauddin, now, turned to Bhoj Dev and his other informers - squealers. Their faces were bright with joy to receive the long awaited reward from the Sultan. On the contrary, Alauddin yelled, "Shave of the heads of these traitors. They have not been loyal to their own king".
Before winking one's eye, the heads of all his accomplices rolled on the ground. Alauddin's laughter reverberated and ricocheted within the walls of the fort. After Khilji, as fate had it, the fort once again came under the rule of the great Rajput rulers to whom ''fairness in fighting a battle and keeping a promise to a person at any coat are just like two eyes''.
As for whistle blowers, their final resting place is the Hades or the Greeks' concept of Tartarus, a deep, gloomy part of Hades used as a dungeon of torment and suffering.