PRITHVI RAJ CHAUHAN – THE LAST HINDU EMPEROR OF INDIA
Prithvi Raj Chouhan was the last Hindu Emperor of India. He asended the throne of Chouhan dynasty in 1177 at the age of I1. According to late Dr. Dashrath Sharma Prithvi Raj was born when stars were favourable. Still he had to face unfavourable situations throughout his reign which ended in 1192 after his defeat at the hands of Mohammed Ghori in the second battle of Tarain. But Dr. Dashrath Sharma’s prediction about the greatness of Prithvi Raj is justified in recent years by politicians who like old Charans Bhats are constantly culogising his achievements in war & peace through the plateforms of temples of learning The throne which Prithivi Raj ascended was not bed of roses. His father Someshwar was murdered and during his minority the council of regency was beaded by his mother Karpuri Devi, Just after his accession he had to proceed against his kinsman Nagarjun who raised revolt with the aim of replacing child Prithvi Raj. According to Jaynak’s Prithvi Raj Vijay Epic revolt was subdued in early months of 1178 A.D. Achievement in War Just after the revolt of Nagarjun the Chauhans of Ajmer were threatened with the invasion of Mohammed Ghori The foreign invador marched against Gujrat, took route to Ajmer via Lodrava town in the territory of Bhatis of Jaisalmer, After defeating the Bhatis, Ghorni fought a battle at Khichund in present Tehsil of Phalodi against Parasar Chirain who was killed in action “The Prithvi Raj Vijay mentions that the activities of the army of Ghori were like Rahu to the kingdom of Prithyi Raj. But this work does not mention about any engagement betwoen the two This shows that the army of Ghori had passed through the western boarders of the Chauhan Kingdonm and carried depredations only.
Thereafter Prithvi Raj had to fight against his immediate neighbours the Bhandancs whose territory comprised of present Alwar district plus some parts of Haryana. He defeated them and as a result of his victory in the battle of Narena he successfully annexed their territory.
Next war which he fought was against the Chandals of Mahoba They got help from Jaychand of Kannauj, still the combind aries of Parmardin Chandal & Jaichand were defeated. This fact is mcntioned in the Prabandh Chintamani by Mertunga.
The Chalukyas of Gujrat were the awoed enemdies of Chauhans of Sapadlaksh. Upto Bhinmal the Chalukyas aimed at extension of their kingdom in North-West direction of Rajasthan. Bhimdev II of Gujrat was responsible for the murder of Someshwar, father of Prithvi Raj, His feudatory was Dharavarsh of Abu. It is stated by modern biographer of Prithvi Raj that, “Dharavarsh fought against Prithvi Raj in the area round about Nagor and Phalodi.” in 1184 .
Delhi came into the hands of Visaldeo Vigraharaj Chauhan in 1163, Since than the Tomar rulers of Delhi remained feudatory chiefs of the Chouhans of Ajmer & it remained under their possession till. Muslims conquered it.
Prithvi Raj and Jaichand of Kannauj were two indomitable politicnl rivals & their enimical relations ultimately resulted in the downfall of their kingdoms & establishment of Turkish Sultanate in Delli. Besides their political rivalry the abduction of Sanyogita by Prithiv Raj from the Swayamber brought about deep animosity between the two houses. Both had assumed titles of Dal Pangul, ie., master of stupondous forces. I examined historicity of Sanyogita in my book survey of Rajasthan which was first published in 1972. Then I arrived at the conclusion that on the basis of negative evidence one should not reject popular legend accepted by generations. The Prithivi Raj Raso has narrated it in first person & we should have reliance on it.
Kingdom of Bhandanak comprised of portion of Western Rajasthan & Haryana. Prithvi Raj defeated the Chandals & Galhadwals He forced the Chalukyas of Gujrat to restrict themselves & cease hostile activities on the westem boarder. “In this way Prithvi Raj had within his control Sapadiaksh Uppermal, Bikampur. Phalodi, Ranthambhor. Chatsu, Delhi, Ajmer, Hansi & ajoining parts of present Uttar Pradesh many chiefs who acknowledged his siizerainty paid tributes to hira Thun. Drithyi Raj I1l was the last great Hindu Emperor, who was master of vast kingdom in north-western India”
Prithvi Raj and Mohammed Ghori Mohd.
Prithvi Raj and Mohammed Ghori Mohd. Ghori invaded india with the object of establishing Turkish sultanate in India. His army had skirmishes with forces of Prithvi Raj Chouhans posted on frontier of his kingdom The local chicfs successfully resisted raids by the Muslim soldiers. The soldicrs of Ghor’s amy raided the chouhan kingdom from the diroction of Multan, Various inseriptions recovered from Pokaran, Nagor and other places inform us that Muslim crusaders were beaten back by the Chouhan forces The bardıc Chronicles also metnion may skirmishes between the two parties before the first battle of Tarain. It appears that Persian Chroniclers avoided previous engagements numbering about 20 to avoid metnion of defeat of Muslims at the hands of Chouhans., However, the two battles of Tarain have been described by authors of Jami-Ul-Hakikat and Taj- ul-Masir. They authors of both works came in the army of Qutubuddin Aibek & lived in the city of Ajmer.
First Battle of Tarain
First of all we should locate the exact geographical situation of Tarain which has baffled earlier historians-both local & outsiders- including late Dr. Dashrath Sarma, the celebrated author of Early Chouhan Dynasties and Rajasthan through the ages, Vol. I According to him Tarain was knwon as Sarhind in the Thirteenth Century. Thanks to my friend Professor G S.L. Devera who determined the actual position of the place in a research paper written in 1995, According to him the place existed between Karnal & Thaneshwar, 14 miles cast of Present Thaneshwar, where a small lake name Tajuwade was and on the banks of this lake was situated Tarain. Thus the place was situated in Hanumangarh district near prescnt Suratgarh. It sents Mohd. Ghori marched from Lahore which was under the possession of Khusran Malik since 1186. From this base of operation Mohd. Ghori proceeded to the fortress of Tabarhinda, captured it & handed over to Zia-uddin Tulak with garison
Attack was launched by the Chouhan army. According to Persian chronicler Firishta Ghori’s army consisted of 20.000 Cavalry &t 3000 elephants. Minhaj Siraj has written that the whole of Ranas of Hindustan vere along with the Raj Kolah Govindraj, the feudatory Chicf of Deihi who retriyed attack on the ammy of Sultan Ghori. He could not sustain the severe wound on horseback & fell on the ground. Accroding to Minhas-
Siraj the Sultan was recovered from the battle field by a Khilje youth. He further writes that Sultan had fainted due to loss of blood & most of the followes of Sultan had already fled from the battle field, The Rajputs pursued the fugitive army of the Sultan for about 40 miles Thus Prithvi Raj had eamed un precedented glory. Accoridng to Hammir Mahakabya Mohd. Ghori seriously felt his defeat. He started making necessary preparations for revenge. He took help from Chief of Ghathka country i e. Jammu. If Prithvi Raj Raso is to be believed Jaichand was hand in glove with Mohd. Ghori. Most of the ministers of Prithvi Rai also turned traitor & instigated Mohd. Ghori for attack.
Before the battle Mohd. Ghori, according to author of Taj-ul- Masir, sent his enissary Kiban-Ul-Mulk to Prithvi Raj with the massage that (i) he should embrace Islam (i1) accept the Sultan as his Suzerain. In 1176 also Mohd. Ghori had sent on envoy to the court of Prithyi Raj. ne Chouhan ruler had rejected the offer, though he was not cxpecting ielp from other Rajput powers, when both the armies were face to face in the battle field of Tarain efforts were made for mutual conciliation, Prithivi Raj hoped against hopes that letter sent by him to Mohd. Ghorni had positive effect & he would return back to his country. On the other hand Ghori bluffed Prithvi Raj by burning bonc fire to show him that he was not keen at contest. But In early morning when soldiers of Prithvi Raj had gone for morning abulations, Ghori attacked opposite army. Prithvi Raj & his soldiers were taken abeck, He was himself fast asleep in his tent, Naturally his army was routed in the first charge, Govind Raj, the ruler of Delhi, was slain. Prithvi Raj was taken prisoner in the neighbouring village of Sirsa. After his victory the Sultan marched in the direction of Ajmer. There the captive Rajput ruler was put to death. According to Taj-Ul-Masir and Prabandh Chintamami, “The Sultan had an intention to release Prithyi Raj & grant him amnesty, But when be came to know about his fecling of abhorence towards Muslims, supported by a painting in the palaces of Prithvi Raj depicting the Muslim soldiers being killed by the pigs, Mohd. Ghori changed his idea & ordered to kil Rai Pithora. “Still scholars on the basis of a coin bearing names of Prithvi Raj and Mohd. Bin Sam, hold that Prithvi Raj had served the Sultan as his subordinate for a few days.
The Prithvi Raj Raso has given romantic account of the end oi Prithvi Raj at Ghazni. No doubt Prithvi Raj was superb archer, but e was not taken to Ghazni on the other handle was brought to his capital