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Prithviraj Chauhan
Prithvi Raj Chauhan (Edited).jpg
Statue of Prithviraj Chauhan at Ajmer
Born 1149
Died 1192 (aged 43)
Nationality Indian
Other names Prithvi Raj III
Known for 12th-century king of Ajmer and Delhi

Prithvi Raj III, commonly known as Prithviraj Chauhan (1149–1192 CE), was a king of the rajput Chauhan dynasty, who ruled the kingdoms of Ajmer and Delhi in northern India during the latter half of the 12th century.

Prithviraj Chauhan belonged to the Rajput Chauhan clan and was the last independent Hindu king, before Hemu, to sit upon the throne of Delhi. He succeeded to the throne in 1169 CE at the age of 20, and ruled from the twin capitals of Ajmer and Delhi which he received from his maternal grandfather, Arkpal or Anangpal III of the rajput Tomara dynasty in Delhi. He controlled much of present-day Rajasthan and Haryana, and unified the Rajputs against Turkic invasions. His elopement in 1175 with Samyukta (Sanyogita), the daughter of Jai Chandra Rathod, the Gahadvala king of Kannauj, is a popular romantic tale in India, and is one of the subjects of the Prithviraj Raso, an epic poem composed by Chauhan's court poet and friend, Chand Bardai.

Chauhan defeated Shahabuddin Muhammad Ghori in the First Battle of Tarain in 1191. Ghauri attacked for a second time the following year, whereupon Chauhan was defeated, captured at the Second Battle of Tarain (1192) and executed.

Biography[edit]

Prithviraj Chauhan's succession was not secure since the death of Vigraha Raja in 1165. Prithviraj re-consolidated control over the Chauhan kingdom and conquered several neighbouring kingdoms, making the Chauhan kingdom the dominant kingdom in northern India. He campaigned against the Chandela Rajputs of Bundelkhand. His kingdom included much of present-day northwest India including Rajasthan, Haryana, parts of Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab. The princely state of Nabha had close relations with Chauhan.

Coin minted in Ajmer of Prithivi Raj Chauhan of Ajmer/Delhi, circa 1179–1192 CE.
Obv: Rider bearing lance on caparisoned horse facing right. Devnagari legends: Sri Pr/Thvi Raja Deva
Rev: Recumbent bull facing left, trishula on bull's rump. Devnagari legends: Asavari/Sri Samanta Deva

Lineage[edit]

"File-Turning point of Indian History

Anangpal Tomar II, the king of Delhi, had two daughters, Roopsundari and Kamaladevi. Roopsundari was married to Vijaypal, king of Kannauj, and had a son named Jai Chandra. Jai Chandra's daughter was named Samyukta. Kamaladevi was married to Someshwar Chauhan, the king of Ajmer, and had a son, Prithviraj, and a daughter, Pratha. Prithviraj married Samyukta, and Pratha was married to Samar Singh, Maharana of Chittor. His uncle Kanha Chauhan's daughter was married to Raja Pajawan of Amber.

Early battles[edit]

The battle against Bhimdev Solanki of Gujarat[edit]

Bhimdev I was the ruler of Patan, Gujarat. Prior to this battle, Chauhan had killed many of Bhimdev's generals. During this battle Bhimdev's son, Vanraj Solanki, was seen as a real danger due to his military tactics. A general who served Someshwar had betrayed Prithviraj and had joined Bhimdev. He had given information to Bhimdev and had poisoned Chauhan's army, which was reduced to 300 men. Bhimdev's first round of combat was to send 500 soldiers to finish off Chauhan's army. When this failed, Bhimdev sent 1,000 soldiers to attack in the middle of the night. On the final day, Bhimdev himself clashed with Chauhan's sword and was defeated.

The battle against Mahoba[edit]

Some soldiers from Delhi were injured in Digvijay and decided to stop at the Mahoba royal gardens to ask for help. The Guards there told the soldiers that they had insulted the Mahoba king Parmar by stepping into his garden and attacked and killed the men. Chauhan learned of this and declared war on Mahoba. During the battle the Mahoban army was split into three different sections. One was led by the Prince of Mahoba, while the other two were led by the brothers Alha and Udal. Chauhan defeated the sections under Udal and the Prince of Mahoba. Udal had injured Pundir, a friend and general of Chauhan, in combat. Udal was killed by Chauhan, who was badly injured and could hardly move. Prithviraj and Sanjham Rai, who was also badly injured, fell down a nearby hill and were left to be eaten by vultures. Sanjham Rai, in an attempt to save his friend Chauhan, allowed the birds to feed on him and not on Prithviraj. Chauhan was saved by Sanjham Rai, who died a slow death. Alha, commander of the third section, had seen Chauhan fall. Alha was stopped from killing Chauhan by his guru, who explained that Alha only wanted to kill to avenge his brother Udal, and not for the welfare of the Mahoba State. When help arrived from another friend, Chand Bardai, Chauhan became unconscious. He woke in a hut in front of an alchemist, and was shocked and grieved to learn of the death of his friend.

Chauhan recovered from this battle and continued his conquests winning one kingdom after another.

  • One of Chauhan's minor battles was against King Raichand. King Raichand and some of the other neighbouring kings had seen Chauhan's injury. At a time when they knew he could not fight, they attacked. The generals and close friends of Chauhan guarded him. Some villagers also came to help fight off Raichand, who was killed in this battle.
  • Chauhan had claimed victory over forces in mountains, taking over the Kukada kingdom. He continued to take over kingdoms, extending his dominion in all four directions. His army continued these tactics for over four years.
  • The last battle of his victory march was against the king of Dariyagargh. Chauhan won the battle and decided to return to Delhi to celebrate his victory.

First Battle of Tarain, 1191[edit]

In 1191, Mu'izz al-Din captured the fortress of Bhatinda in East Punjab, leaving a garrison of 1200 men, which was located on the frontier of Prithiviraj Chauhan's domains.[1] Prithviraj marched to Bhatinda and met his enemy at a place called Tarain (also called Taraori) near the ancient town of Thanesar. The Ghurid army initiates battle by attacking with cavalry who launch arrows at the Rajput center. The forces of Prithviraj counter-attack from three sides and dominate the battle, pressuring the Ghurid army into a withdrawal. Meanwhile, Mu'izz al-Din is wounded in personal combat with Prithviraj's brother, Govind Tai.[2] Prithviraj succeeded in stopping the Ghurid advance towards Hindustan in the first battle of Tarain. He did not pursue Ghori's army either not wanting to invade hostile territory or misjudging Ghori's ambition,[3] instead electing to retake the fortress of Bhatinda.[4]

Second Battle of Tarain, 1192[edit]

The last stand of Rajputs against Muhammadans in 1192 A.D

In 1192, Ghori reassembled an army of 120,000 men and returned to challenge Chauhan at the Second Battle of Tarain. When he reached Lahore, he sent his envoy 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.[5]

Chauhan assembled a very large army with the aid of approximately 150 Rajput rulers and aristocrats. According to the Persian historian Firishta, it consisted of 3,000 elephants, 300,000 horsemen, and considerable infantry. The army was larger than that of Ghori. The armies met in Tarain, where Ghori delivered an ultimatum to Chauhan that he convert to Islam or be defeated. Chauhan countered with an offer that Ghori should consider a truce and be allowed to retreat with his army. Ghori decided to attack.[6]

Ghori divided his troops into five parts and attacked in the early morning hours, sending waves of mounted archers. They retreated as the Chauhan elephant phalanx advanced. Ghori deployed four parts to attack the Rajputs on four sides, keeping a fifth part of his army in reserve. General Khande Rao of the Chauhan forces was killed. At dusk, Ghori himself led a force of 12,000 heavily armored horsemen to the centre of the Rajput line, which collapsed into confusion. Chauhan attempted to escape but was captured. The Rajput army broke ranks and fled, thereby conceding victory to Ghori.[7] Chauhan was put to death.[8]

Legacy[edit]

Even today Afghans vent their anger by stabbing on the grave of Chauhan because according to them Prithviraj had killed Ghori.[9][10] Sher Singh Rana, a member of Rajput community, visited Afghanistan to trace grave of Prithviraj Chauhan, he dug Chauhan's "grave" and collected sand from it. This incident created sensation in Indian news and public media – as he said he did it to get back India's pride & respect.[11][12]

Folklore[edit]

In traditional Folklore namely Prithviraj Raso by Chand Bardai, the death of Mu'izz was caused by Prithviraj with the help of Chadravardai and afterwards they killed each other [13] but which is not borne out by historical documents.[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East, Vol. I, (ABC-CLIO, 2010), 263.
  2. ^ A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East, Vol. I, 263.
  3. ^ Satish Chandra, Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals (1206-1526), (Har-Anand Publications, 2006), 25.
  4. ^ A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East, Vol. I, 263.
  5. ^ Chandra, Satish. Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals-Delhi Sultanat (1206-1526). 
  6. ^ Chandra, Satish. Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals. p. 22. 
  7. ^ Chandra, Satish. Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals. pp. 22–26. 
  8. ^ Barua, Pradeep (2005). The State at War in South Asia. University of Nebraska Press. p. 29. ISBN 9780803213449. 
  9. ^ ‘Prithviraj grave in Afghanistan’(Archived), (Original)
  10. ^ Prithviraj Chauhan relics transfer sought
  11. ^ Leander Paes Ashmit Patel & Ritupurna Sengupta Part Of Film 'The End Of Bandit Queen'
  12. ^ Phoolan murder accused held again
  13. ^ Prithviraj, a valorous hero par excellence, has been depicted in the lofty style which has been a source of inspiration to and influence on the North-Indian people. Krishnadatt Paliwal (1988) "Epic (Hindi)" In Datta, Amaresh (1988) The Encyclopaedia Of Indian Literature: Volume Two: Devraj to Jyoti, Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, India, page 1178, ISBN 81-260-1194-7
  14. ^ Kaviraj Syamaldas (1886) "The Antiquity, Authenticity and Genuineness of the epic called the Prithviraj Rasa and commonly ascribed to Chand Bardai" Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. 55, pt.1,

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prithviraj_Chauhan — Please support Wikipedia.
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56 news items

 
IBNLive (blog)
Mon, 21 Apr 2014 20:27:17 -0700

Kadam had denounced Manmohan Singh and Prithviraj Chauhan as shameless. April 22, 2014, 10:18 am: DMK chief Karunanidhi will be in Chennai today while Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan will campaign in Mumbai. April 22, 2014, 10:14 ...

The Indian Republic

The Indian Republic
Mon, 21 Apr 2014 03:18:45 -0700

I can't wait to tell our President, Prithviraj Chauhan, about this.” Opposition parties have had mixed reactions to this announcement. The Aam Aadmi Party wished they could perform well in as many as two seats, leave alone two states. Narendra Modi ...

Economic Times

Economic Times
Sun, 20 Apr 2014 14:17:27 -0700

"Our leader Azmi had initiated talks with Prithviraj Chauhan and we wanted to contest in some seats with the Congress NCP in order to keep the Shiv Sena-BJP away. However, the Congress did not pay any heed to our request, so it was decided to contest ...

The New Indian Express

The New Indian Express
Sat, 19 Apr 2014 17:43:49 -0700

So, what happened on that Koffee With Karan episode where she said Prithviraj Chauhan was India's PM? “Arre I just got flustered and the wrong name slipped out. Everyone around me also pulled my leg about that when the episode aired. But if you see my ...

Emirates 24/7

Emirates 24/7
Mon, 14 Apr 2014 20:33:01 -0700

During the buzzer round, Karan asked who is the President of India to which Varun Dhawan asnwered 'Manmohan Singh' (the Prime Minister) and Alia asnwered 'Prithviraj Chauhan' (a state Chief Minister). And Alia is a serial offender. Ones proving her GK ...

India Today

India Today
Fri, 18 Apr 2014 21:07:30 -0700

In a telling incident in the book, the man the PM brought into the PMO - Prithviraj Chauhan - when asked to comment on the electoral win in 2009 - commended Singh and Sonia Gandhi but spun the sentence around to attribute it to Rahul Gandhi. This went ...

Daily Mail

Daily Mail
Fri, 18 Apr 2014 15:11:24 -0700

In a telling incident in the book, the man the PM brought into the PMO – Prithviraj Chauhan – when asked to comment on the electoral win in 2009 – commended Singh and Sonia Gandhi but spun the sentence around to attribute it to Rahul Gandhi. This went ...

Calcutta Telegraph

Calcutta Telegraph
Tue, 15 Apr 2014 14:00:00 -0700

India's pluralism can perhaps boast of no greater symbol than the shrine to Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, standing in the city of Prithviraj Chauhan, the last Hindu king to rule Delhi before Muhammad of Ghori's conquest of India. While Pilot's ...
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