The history of Rajputana is eulogised through its
ballads which sing the praises of its legendary warriors, heroes
such as Prithviraj Chauhan, Rana Sanga, Hemu, and Rana Pratap.
They were known for their courage, their chivalrous
ways and their Rajput pride. They were amongst the early Hindu kings
to have resisted the Islamic onslaught from Central Asia,
Afghanistan and the Middle East.
Prithviraj Chauhan of Ajmer
Prithviraj Chauhan was the Rajput ruler of Ajmer
and Delhi. He inherited his kingdom from his maternal grandfather, a
Senna king who ruled from Bengal. His love story with Princess Sanyogita
and his battles with his in-laws (Jaichand) are a part of legend. However,
he gained glory as a king who who repulsed several attacks by Muhammed
Ghori of Afghanistan. Ghori was even captured in the first battle but
magnanimously set free by Prithviraj.
Ghori repaid the debt by attacking Delhi the
following year with a larger army. This time Prithviraj was
defeated, captured, tortured and killed (after he refused to convert
to Islam). Prithviraj proved to be the last Hindu ruler of Delhi,
which then became a Islamic sultanate.
Rana Sanga of Mewar
Rana Sanga (otherwise known as Sangram Singh) was
another great king who extended the boundaries of his kingdom. He
had lost his eye in combat, and he wore many a scar that he had
received in innumerable battles with pride.
However, his reign marked the entry of the Mughal,
Babar, into India. Sanga was one of the many kings who invited the
Mughal invader to attack the Afghan sultanate of Delhi. Sanga
was under the impression that Babar would loot the Afghan kingdom
and return back to his country. This proved to be a serious
error of judgement as Babar decided to stay on. Sanga then attacked
the Mughals, but Babar was able to defeat him in battle and
establish Mughal rule in the sub-continent.
Then there was Hemu (otherwise known as Samrat Hemchandra
Vikramaditya). He started his life as the army commander of the
forces of Adil Shah Suri. Following the death of the Mughal Emperor
Humayun, he went on to become sultan of Delhi, albeit for a very
short time. He was a victor of twenty-two battles and a king of practically
the entire Gangetic plain.
However, Akbar, the young son of the Mughal Emperor
Humayun, returned to reclaim Delhi. Although he was twice defeated in
battle, on the third occasion a stray arrow struck Hemu and he fell unconscious
on the battlefield. His army thought that he had been killed and they fled
the battlefield in panic. It was then that a young Akbar decapitated the
fallen Hemu with his sword and claimed victory.
Prithviraj Chauhan was the Rajput ruler of Delhi before the
arrival of the Muslim sultanate