Saturday, February 13, 2016

Prithviraj Chauhan

Rai Pithora, popularly known as Prithviraj Chauhan (1149-1192 CE), was the Rajput king of the Chauhan dynasty, who ruled the kingdoms of Ajmer and Delhi in the northern India during the latter half of the 12th century.

Prithviraj Chauhan was the 2nd last Hindu king to sit upon the throne of Delhi before the Hemu. He succeeded to the throne in 1179 CE at the age of 13 and ruled from the twin capitals of Ajmer and Delhi which he received from his maternal grandfather, Arkpal or Anangpal III of the Tomara dynasty in Delhi. His elopement in the 1175 with the Samyukta (sanyogita), the daughter of the Jai Chandra Rathod.

1st Battle of Tarain, 1191

In 1191, Shahabuddin Muhammad Ghori captured the fortress of Bhatinda in the East Punjab, leaving the garrison of 1200 men, which was located on the frontier of his domain. He marched to Bhatinda and met his enemy at the place called as Tarain near the ancient town of Thanesar. The Ghurid army initiated battle by attacking with the cavalry who launched arrows at the Rajput center. The army of Prithviraj counter- attacked from three sides and dominated the battle, pressuring the Ghurid army into the withdrawal. Prithviraj succeeded in stopping the Ghurid advance towards the Hindusism in the 1st battle of Tarain. Prithviraj did not pursue Ghori’s army not wanting to invade hostile territory or misjudging Ghori’s ambition, instead electing to retake the fortress of Bhatinda.

2nd Battle of Tarain, 1192

In the 1192, Ghori reassembled the force of 120,000 men and returned to challenge the Chauhan at the Second Battle of Tarain. When he reached Lahore, he sent his surrogate to demand surrender but Chauhan refused to comply. Chauhan then appealed to his fellow Rajput rulers and the aristocracy to come to his aid against Ghori.

Prithvi raj assembled the very large army with the aid of approx 150 Rajputs rulers and aristocrats. According to the Persian historian Firishta, it consists of 3,000 elephants, 300,000 horsemen and considerable infantry.  The force was larger than that of Ghori, the armies met in Tarain where the Ghori delivered an ultimatum to Chauhan that he convert to Islam or be defeated. Chauhan countered with an offer that Ghori should consider a ceasefire and to retreat with his army. Ghori decided to attack.

Ghori then divided his army into the five parts and attacked in early morning hours, sending waves of mounted archers. They retreated as the Chauhan elephant phalanx advanced Ghori deployed the 4 parts to attack the Rajput on four sides, keeping the fifth part of his army in reserve. The general Khande Rao of the Chauhan forces was killed. At the dusk, Ghori himself led the army of 12,000 heavily armoured horsemen to the centre of the Rajput line, which collapsed into the confusion. Chauhan attempted to escape but was captured. The Rajput army broke ranks and fled thereby conceding victory to Ghori. Chauhan was put to death.

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