Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Poignant story of brave Rajput king Hamit Dev and Alauddin Khilji



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. 

Seventeen kilometers from Sawaimadhopur stands a majestic fort, with stately walls, reverberating the glorious, and eventful  history of the Rajput  warriors and their bravery and guts. Ranathambhor's historical  structure of sublime beauty brings into focus  and enthrals us with  stories of great legends such as Hamir Dev, the brave king, known for his valor, wisdom and character.

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
Having no other recourse, Muhammad Shah approached Hamir Dev for protection and safety. The valiant Rajput was very much moved by his humble pleading and helplessness  and agreed to  shelter him. Upon hearing this, Alauddin  was  furious  and he  immediately attacked the fort of Ranathambore. The armies of Alauddin and Hamir Dev met in a battle on the banks of river Banas. The Rajputs had the initial victory. However, because of the personal feud between the Prime Minister and the Senapati (General-in-charge of the army), Hamir Dev's army was in disarray and lost the coordination.  Alauddin reorganized his forces and made a  fresh  attack on the fort. Some dishonest, unscrupulous officers of Hamir Dev, with Bhoj Dev became whistle blowers  and supplied, secret information about the fort. The war continued without any results. Having found the fort walls too strong to blow it with gunpowder, Alauddin sent a word to Hamir Dev, saying that in case he was ready to hand over Muhammad Shah to him, he would go back to Delhi. Hamir Dev, being noble and  self-respecting, disagreed to make such an  ignominious compromise. He replied: ''When the Rajputs  promise  to protect someone, they even will give  their lives for his safety''. 

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.

Ref:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alauddin_Khilji

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranthambore_Fort