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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Indian history unveiled ! ~ ever heard of 'battle of Khanwa' !!

 9 Nov 2019, is a landmark day ~ a Red lettered day ..   Supreme Court of India  quashed the lower court's judgement and ordered the 2.77 acre land to be handed over to a trust to build the Hindu temple.  The much-awaited verdict on the decades-long Ram-Janmabhoomi -Babri Masjid suit stands judicially resolved.  Ram Bakths are happy that a beautiful Mandir will come up exactly in the place of His birth ~ and in our lifetime, we would be able to have darshan of Ram Lalla at His Janmasthan.   

The other litigant too would not be too unhappy – they have been asked to vacate and provided a bigger place of 5 acres.  There have been some who had tried to project it as a great conflict in history – that of Ram vs Babar.  Sad that we read only history of Moghuls hailing Babar – here is something which I never read in school ! ~ but deeply recorded in history ! – sure, you know   Keoladeo National Park [better known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary]  in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, a famous avifauna sanctuary that hosts thousands of birds, especially during the winter season. Over 230 species of birds are known to be resident. It is also a major tourist centre with scores of ornithologists arriving here in the hibernal season.  It is  a man-made and man-managed wetland and one of the national parks of India. The reserve protects Bharatpur from frequent floods, provides grazing grounds for village cattle, and earlier was primarily used as a waterfowl hunting ground.  .. most of us never knew that this was the stage for a famous battle too - The Battle of Khanwa  !!   Bharatpur  was also an independent princely state during British rule  and that they  fought 13 back to back war with British and won all - even Queen Victoria signed a treaty favouring jats and declared Bharatpur a independent state.

In our school books, we read Battle of Panipat, dynasty founded by Babar, followed Humayun, Akbar to Aurangazeb .. .. here is something more of history -

Humayun, son of Babar born out of  Maham Begum, succeeded Babur as the second Mughal Emperor.  His other siblings were – Kamran, Askari, Hindal, Ahmad, Shahrukh, Barbul, Alwar & FaruQ – Mirzas. There were sisters too : Begum - Fakhr-un-Nissa, Aisan, Mehr Jahan, Masuma Sultan, Gulzar, Gulrukh, Gulbadan, Gulchera, Gulrang, .. .. .. all these before Babur died in Agra aged 47.  He was first buried in Agra later removed to Kabul.    Zahīr ud-Dīn Muhammad,  famously known as Babar was the  first Emperor of the Mughal dynasty.  He was a direct descendant of Emperor Timur (Tamerlane) from what is now Uzbekistan.

Babur was born in Andijan, in the Fergana Valley, in modern Uzbekistan. He was the eldest son of Umar Sheikh Mirza, governor of Fergana and great-great grandson of Timur. Babur ascended the throne of Fergana in its capital Akhsikent in 1494 at the age of twelve and faced rebellion. He conquered Samarkand two years later, only to lose Fergana soon after. In his attempt to reconquer Fergana, he lost control of Samarkand. In 1501, his attempt to recapture both the regions went in vain as he was defeated by Muhammad Shaybani Khan. In 1504, he conquered Kabul, which was under the rule of the infant heir of Ulugh Beg II. Babur formed a partnership with Safavid ruler Ismail I and reconquered parts of Turkistan, including Samarkand, only to again lose it and the other newly conquered lands to the Sheybanids.

After losing Samarkand for the third time, Babur turned his attention to India. At that time, the Indo-Gangetic Plain of the Indian subcontinent was ruled by Ibrahim Lodi of the Afghan Lodi dynasty, whereas Rajputana was ruled by a Hindu Rajput Confederacy, led by Rana Sanga of Mewar. Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodi at the First Battle of Panipat in 1526 and founded the Mughal empire. He faced opposition from Rana Sanga.  Rana prepared an army of Rajputs and Afghans to force Babur out of India, however the Rana was defeated in the Battle of Khanwa after which he was poisoned to death by his own men  !!

Babur is considered a national hero in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Many of his poems have also become popular folk songs. He wrote the Baburnama in Chaghatai Turkic which was translated into Persian during Akbar's reign.  Of his many battles, in our history books we read of that ‘First Battle of Panipat’, on 21 April 1526, fought between the invading forces of Babur and the Lodi Kingdom. It marked the beginning of the Mughal Empire and the end of the Delhi Sultanate. This was one of the earliest battles involving gunpowder firearms and field artillery in the Indian subcontinent which were introduced by Mughals in this battle.

Intense but lesser known (or lesser read !) war was – the  Battle of Khanwa,  fought near the village of Khanwa, in Bharatpur District of Rajasthan, on March 16, 1527. It was fought between the invading forces of the Babur and the Rajput forces led by Rana Sanga of Mewar.   The victory in the battle consolidated the new Mughal dynasty in India.

Rajput ruler Rana Sanga had sent an ambassador to Babur at Kabul, offering to join in Babur's attack on Sultan Ibrahim Lodi of Delhi. Sanga had offered to attack Agra while Babur would be attacking Delhi.  Babur agreed to Sanga and attacked Lodi. However, while Babur did attack Lodi and took over Delhi and Agra, Sanga made no move, apparently having changed his mind. Babur had resented this backsliding; in his autobiography, Babur accuses Rana Sanga of breach of agreement. Historian Satish Chandra speculates that Sanga may have imagined a long, drawn-struggle taking place between Babur and Lodi, following which he would be able to take control of the regions he coveted. Alternatively, writes Chandra, Sanga may have thought that in the event of a Mughal victory, Babur would withdraw from Delhi and Agra, like Timur, once he had seized the treasures of these cities. Once he realized that Babur intended to stay on in India, Sanga proceeded to build a grand coalition that would either force Babur out of India or confine him to Afghanistan.

On 30 Jan 1528 Rana Sanga died in Chittor, apparently poisoned by his own chiefs, who held his plans of renewing the fight with Babur to be suicidal. It is suggested that Rana was valiant but was defeated with the use of cannons which were much modern than the warfare the artillery of Rana.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
12th Nov. 2019.

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