Babur from Uzbek
Under the great Kapilendradeva, the Gajapatis of Odisha became mightier than even the empire of Vijayanagara. He defeated the Sultanate of Jaunpur and the Bahamanis in Gulbarga. He also later crushed the Bahamanis in successive campaigns in Bidar.
The struggle of the Sisodia dynasty of Mewar that had commenced with the efforts of Maharana Hammir continued with the great Maharana Kumbha annexing the Sultanate of Nagaur. Rana Kumbha even defeated the Sultanates of Gujarat and Malwa. He constructed the famous Vijay Stambh to commemorate these victories.
Sanga of Mewar defeated the Sultanates of Malwa, Gujarat and Delhi too. His empire extended up to the boundaries of Delhi itself after he defeated Sultan Ibrahim Lodi at the battles of Dholpur and Khatoli. Following these battles, Rana Sanga became the most powerful king in North India.
Krishnadevaraya was described by Babur as the greatest king of Hindustan at that time.
Rana Sanga was all set to march to Delhi to depose Ibrahim Lodi and crown himself as the ruler of Delhi but just then there came a twist in the tale.
Babur, an Uzbek descendant of the Turco–Mongol warlord Tamerlane who had invaded and destroyed Delhi over a century ago, invaded India with a large army and conquered large parts of the North-West with relative ease. Babur had come with a plan to stay in India unlike his ancestor Tamerlane who merely wanted to plunder the riches of India.
Babur had been invited to conquer India by Islamic nobles in the court of the Delhi Sultanate. These nobles were dissatisfied with the rule of the Lodi dynasty. The Mughals clashed with the Sultanate armies at Panipat where Ibrahim Lodi was killed. Rana Sanga decided to challenge Babur for the throne of Hindustan.
Sanga managed to defeat Babur in the battle of Bayana. Rana Sanga later formed a mighty confederacy consisting of Rajputs and Afghans to fight Babur. However, he was defeated at the Battle of Khanwa primarily because of the betrayal of his own relative Silhadi, who defected to the Mughals with around thirty thousand soldiers at the eleventh hour. The Mughals made towers of skulls of the Rajputs killed at Khanwa. Babur became the undisputed master of North India after this victory.
“For Islam’s sake, I wandered in the wilds,
Prepared for war with pagans and Hindus,
Resolved myself to meet the martyr’s death,
Thanks be to Allah! A Ghazi I became.”, wrote Babur in his memoirs (Baburnama).
When Babur was beginning to settle in India, Krishnadevaraya was ruling Vijayanagara. He was also described by Babur as the greatest king of Hindustan at that time. Krishnadevaraya was a great patron of Hinduism in addition to being a great military leader. He annihilated the power of the Bahamani Sultanate. Krishnadevaraya’s most famous military victory came at the famous battle of Raichur where he decimated the Sultanate of Bijapur.
The poet Thimanna had this to say on the great Krishnadevaraya- “O Krishnaraya, you Man-Lion. You destroyed the Turks from far away with just your great name’s power. Oh Lord of the elephant king, just from seeing you the multitude of elephants ran away in horror.”
The Vijayanagara empire suffered a calamitous defeat at the hands of the combined armies of the Deccan Sultanates at Talikota in 1565. After this battle, the entire city of Vijayanagara was burned down along with all its temples, libraries, houses etc. A battle that was being won suddenly turned around after Aliya Rama Raya was betrayed and captured by some of his Muslim bodyguards. Rama Raya was offered the choice to convert to Islam but he refused and instead chanted “Narayana Krishna Bhagavant” following which he was beheaded.
Venkatapati Deva Raya put up a brave fight to protect Dharma in the south and could postpone the end of the empire.
However, a few decades after the battle of Talikota, Venkatapati Deva Raya who became the ruler of Vijayanagara, successfully resisted the invasions of the Sultanates of Golconda and Bijapur. From the new capital of Penokonda (as the old capital was completely destroyed and beyond recovery), Venkatapati Deva Raya completely turned the fortunes of this once mighty empire around and refused to bow down to the Deccan Sultanates. The Vijayanagara empire formally came to an end only a while after his death although it’s power had been reduced following the disaster at Talikota, however, Venkatapati Deva Raya put up a brave fight to protect Dharma in the south and could postpone the end of the empire.
Maldeo Rathore was praised by Ferishta who called him the most potent king of Hindustan. He fought valiantly but lost against Sher Shah Suri in the famous Battle of Sammel. However, he recovered the territories that he had lost to Suri in around a year.
To be continued…