History and Battles of Rajasthan

History and Battles of Rajasthan

 

 

Ancient era

The ancient civilised history of Rajasthan goes back to 5,000 years ago when in the present day districts of Jhunjhunu and Sikar, along with other areas of jaipur district bordering south Haryana, which formed the part of Vedic state of Brahmavarta along with districts of Mahendragarh and Rewari in Haryana, that Vedic seers started composing Vedic scriptures, which form part of Sanatan Dharma, the base of present day Hinduism. Revered Saraswati and Drishadwati rivers formed the then Brahmavarta state. Drishadwati river is identified as the Vedic Drishadwati by Bhargava. Parts of Rajasthan may have been occupied by the Indus Valley Civilization (Harappans). Excavations at Kalibanga in northern Rajasthan around 1998 revealed the existence of human settlements of Harappan times on the banks of a river that dried up later, which some people believe to be the Saraswati, archaeologists hope the Saraswati will unlock mysteries of the past. Rajasthan’s geographic position in India has caused it to be affected by the expansionist efforts of various empires. It was a part of the Maurya Empire around 321-184 BCE.

The north-western region of India, which incorporates Rajasthan, remained in early history for the most part independent from the great empires consolidating their hold onthe subcontinent. Buddhism failed to make substantial inroads here; the Mauryan Empire (321-184 BC), whose most renowned emperor Ashoka converted to Buddhism in262 BC, had minimal impact in Rajasthan. However, there are Buddhist caves and stupas (Buddhist shrines) at Jhalawar, in southern Rajasthan. Ancient Hindu scriptural epics make reference to sites in present day Rajasthan. The holy pilgrimage site of Pushkar is mentioned in both the Mahabharata and Ramayma.

The Ahar culture, also known as the Banas culture is a Chalcolithic archaeological culture on the banks of Ahar River of southeastern Rajasthan state in India, lasting from c. 3000 to 1500 BCE, contemporary and adjacent to the Indus Valley Civilization. Situated along the Banas and Berach Rivers, as well as the Ahar River, the Ahar-Banas people were exploiting the copper ores of the Aravalli Range to make axes and other artefacts. They were sustained on a number of crops, including wheat and barley.

Medieval period

Prithviraj Chauhan defeated the invading Muhammad Ghori in the First Battle of Tarain in 1191 and in fifteen further battles before himself being defeated when he was betrayed by one of his own.

After the defeat of Chauhan around 1200, a part of Rajasthan came under Muslim rulers. The principal centers of their powers were Nagaur and Ajmer. Ranthambhor was also under their suzerainty. At the beginning of the 13th century, the most prominent and powerful state of Rajasthan was Mewar. The Rajputs resisted the Muslim incursions into India, although a number of Rajput kingdoms eventually became subservient to the Delhi Sultanate. Mewar led others in resistance to Muslim rule: Rana Sanga united the various Rajput clans and fought against the foreign powers in India. Rana Sanga defeated the Afghan Lodi Empire of Delhi and crushed the Turkic Sultanates of Malwa and Gujarat. Rana Sanga was later defeated at Khanwa aginst the Mughal Empire because of treachery from the Tomar king Silhadi.

Akbar arranged matrimonial alliances to gain the trust of Rajput rulers. He himself married the Rajput princess Jodha Bai, the daughter of the Maharaja of Amer. He also granted high offices to a large number of Rajput princes and this maintained very cordial relations with them. Before long, these actions caused many previously hostile Rajputs to be his friends, and many of them surrendered their kingdoms to him. Rulers like Raja Maan Singh of Amer were trusted allies. However, some Rajput rulers were not ready to accept Akbar’s dominance and preferred to remain independent. One such ruler was Raja Uday Singh of Mewar, who founded the city of Udaipur. He never accepted Akbar’s supremacy and was at constant war with him. Akbar forcefully seized Chittor, his capital. After his death, this struggle was continued by his son – Rana Pratap. He fought a terrible battle with Akbar at the Haldighat pass where he was defeated and wounded. Since then Rana Pratap remained in recluse for 12 years and attacked the Mughal ruler from time to time. He fought valiantly throughout his life never ceded his independence to the Mughal ruler.

 

Maratha empire

Since the early 1700s, the Maratha Empire began expanding northwards, led by Peshwa Baji Rao I of Pune. This expansion finally brought the newly founded Hindu Maratha Empire in contact with the Rajputs. Rajasthan saw many invasions by the Marathas, under military leadership History and Battles of Rajasthanof Holkars and Scindhias. Most of Rajputana passed under the control of the Maratha Empire and continued to pay tribute to Pune till the British East India Company replaced the Marathas as paramount rulers.

 

British Rajasthan

The arrival of the British East India Company in the region led to the administrative designation of some geographically, culturally, economically and historically diverse areas, which had never shared a common political identity, under the name of the Rajputana Agency. This was a significant identifier, being modified later to Rajputana Province and lasting until the renaming to Rajasthan in 1949. The Company officially recognised various entities, although sources disagree concerning the details, and also included Ajmer-Merwara, which was the only area under direct British control. Of these various areas, Marwar and Jaipur were the most significant in the early 19th-century, although it was Mewar that gained particular attention from James Tod, a Company employee who was enamoured of Rajputana and wrote extensively, if often uncritically, of the people, history and geography of the Agency as a whole. Alliances were formed between the Company and these various princely and chiefly entities in the early 19th century, accepting British sovereignty in return for local autonomy and protection from the Marathas. Following the Mughal tradition and more importantly due to its strategic location Ajmer became a province of British India, while the autonomous Rajput states, the Muslim state Tonk (princely state), and the Jat states Bharatpur, [Dholpur] were organized into the Rajputana Agency. In 1817-18, the British Government concluded treaties of alliance with almost all the states of Rajputana. Thus began the British rule over Rajasthan, then called Rajputana.

 

Battles of Rajasthan

 

 

 

 

Against the Sultanate’s of Dehli, Gujarat and Malwa

  • Battle of Ranthambore (1290)– Jalaluddin Firuz Khalji attacked Hammir deo because of his rising power. Jalaludin’s forces were defeated by Hammir.
  • Siege of Jaisalmer (1294-1295)– Alauddin Khalji commanded the Khilji army under Jalaluddin Firuz Khalji and plundered Jaisalmer after a siege that lasted for a year. For some years afterwards Jaisalmer remained abandoned before the surviving Bhati’s reoccupied it.
  • Siege of Ranthombore (1301)– Hammiradeva defeated Alauddin Khalji’s generals Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan; later, Alauddin defeated Hammiradeva.
  • Siege of Chittor (1303)– Alauddin Khalji defeated Rawal Ratan Singh (Rani Padmini and other ladies committed Jauhar)
  • Siege of Siwana (1308)– Malik Kamaluddin a general of Alauddin Khalji defeated Sheetal deo.
  • Battle of Jalore (1310–11)– Alauddin Khalji defeated Kanhad deo after a long and bloody war.
  • Battle of Chittor (1321)– Rana Hammir Singh defeated the Tughlaq dynasty and recovered Mewar.
  • Battle of Singoli (1336)– Rana Hammir Singh defeated Muhammad bin Tughluq and annexed Ajmer, Ranthambhore, Nagor and Shivapuri. The Tughlaq dynasty was forced to pay 5,000,000 Tankas for the safe passage of their sultan.
  • Battle of Mandalgarh and Banas (1442-1446)– A series of battles that took place between Mahmud Khalji of Malwa and Rana Kumbha of Mewar. bloodied by these engagements the Sultan did not attack Mewar for another ten years.
  • Battle of Nagaur (1456)– Rana Kumbha defeated the combined armies of Shams Khan (sultan of Nagaur) and Qutbuddin (Sultan of Gujarat) and captured Nagaur, Kasili, Khandela and shakambhari.
  • Battle of Peepar (1492)– Rao Satal defeated Gudhla Khan an Afghan general and rescued 140 maidens that had been captured. Rao Satal himself died that night of the wounds received in the battle.
  • Battle of Khatoli (1517)– Rana Sanga defeated Ibrahim Lodhi.
  • Battle of Dholpur (1519)– Rana Sanga defeated Ibrahim Lodhi.
  • Battle of Gagron (1519)– Rana Sanga defeated Mahmud Khalji of Malwa.
  • Invasion of Mewar (1520)– Sultan Muzaffar Shah II sent an army under Malik Ayaz but failed and retreated to Gujarat.
  • Battle of Sammel (1544)– Sher Shah Suri’s Pyrrhic victory against the army of Jaita and Kumpa.
  • Battle of Harmada (1557)– Maldeo Rathore defeated Udai Singh II and captured Merta.

 

Against the Mughal Empire

 

  • Battle of Ajmer (1559)– Akbar’s general Qasim Khan annexed Ajmer from Maldeo Rathore.
  • Battle of Merta(1562) – Akbar with the help of Rajas from Bikaner and Amer defeated Rao Chandra Sen and advanced towards Jodhpur.
  • First Mughal Invasion of Marwar (1562-1583)– Akbar invaded Marwar and occupied Jodhpur. The ruler Rao Chandra Sen continued his struggle until his death in 1581 after which Marwar submitted to Mughal rule in 1583.
  • Siege of Chittorgarh (1567)– Emperor Akbar defeated Rao Jaimal and Patta (Udai Singh II escaped with his family to Udaipur)
  • Siege of Ranthambore (1568)– A successful siege by Mughal Emperor Akbar causes the Rajput leader Rao Surjan Hada to surrender Ranthambore Fort.
  • Battle of Haldighati (1576)– Man Singh (the commander of Akbar) defeated Maharana Pratap.
  • Battle of Dewair (1582)– Maharana Pratap attacked a Mughal stronghold this resulted in the flight of the Mughal soldiers and the closing of all the 36 Mughal posts in Mewar.
  • Battle of Dewar (1606)– Fought in a valley 40 km from Kumbalgarh. Rana Amar Singh defeated and killed Sultan Khan, the Mughal prince Muhammad Parviz fled from the battlefield with his commander Asaf Khan.
  • Second Mughal Invasion of Marwar (1679-1707)– Auranzeb took Marwar under his direct control after the death of Maharaja Jaswant Singh. The Rathore army under Durgadas Rathore carried out a relentless struggle against the occupying forces. In 1707 after the death of Aurangzeb, Durgadas defeated the local Mughal force and reoccupied Jodhpur and their lost territories.
  • Battle of Udaipur (1680)– Aurangzeb attacked Mewar and plundered Udaipur, the citizens were safely escorted to the aravalli hills by Rana Raj Singh but 63 temples in and around Udaipur were plundered and many villages were burned down by Aurangzebs general Taj Khan. The Mughal army was eventually starved out of Mewar because of the scorched earth techniques and guerrilla warfare used by the Rana. Aurangzeb after a failed campaign left Mewar to his son Akbar and retreated to Ajmer.
  • Battle of Aravalli hills (1680)– In the second half of 1680, after several months of such setbacks, Aurangzeb decided on an all-out offensive. Niccolao Manucci, an Italian gunner in the Mughal army, says: “for this campaign, Aurangzeb put in pledge the whole of his kingdom.” Three separate armies, under Aurangzeb’s sons Akbar, Azam and Muazzam, penetrated the Aravalli hills from different directions. However, their artillery lost its effectiveness while being dragged around the rugged hills and both Azam and Muazzam were defeated by the Rajputs under Durgadas Rathore and Rana Raj Singh.
  • Battle of Jodhpur (1707)– Durgadas Rathore took advantage of the disturbances following the death of Aurangzeb in 1707 to seize Jodhpur and eventually evict the occupying Mughal force out of Marwar.
  • Battle of Amer (January 1708)– Bahadur Shah I marched with a large army and annexed Amer without a war.
  • Battle of Merta (February 1708)– Bahadur Shah I’s general Mihrab Khan defeated Ajit Singh of Marwar and once again occupied Jodhpur.
  • Rajput Rebellion (September 1708)– The three Rajput Raja’s of Amber, Udaipur and Jodhpur made a joint resistance to the Mughals. The Rajputs first expelled the commandants of Jodhpur and Bayana and recovered Amer by a night attack. They next killed Sayyid Hussain Khan Barha, the commandant of Mewat and many other officers. Bahadur Shah I, then in the Deccan was forced to patch up a truce with the Rajput Rajas.

 

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