Maharana Pratap (1540 – 1597) and his chetak

Pratap Singh (9th May 1540 – 29 January 1597) popularly known as Maharana Pratap the ruler of Mewar, present day Rajasthan. He was the eldest son of Maharani Jaiwanta Bai and Udai Singh II. He belonged to the Sisodia clan of Rajputs. Maharana Pratap Singh is widely regarded as a fearless warrior and ingenious strategist, who successfully fought the Mughals and safeguarded his people until his death. He was succeeded by his eldest son Amar Singh I.

Accession: In 1568 during the reign of Rana Udai Singh II Chittorgarh Fort was conquered by the Mughal emperor Akbar after the third Jauhar at Chittor. However, Udai Singh and the royal family of Mewar had left before the fort was captured and moved to the foothills of the Aravalli Range where Udai Singh had already founded the city of Udaipur in 1559. Rani Dheer Bai wanted her son Jagmal to succeed Udai Singh but the seniors in the royal court preferred Pratap, as the eldest son, to be their king. The desire of the nobles prevailed.

 

Hemu Vikramaditya - last hindu emperor of India


Hemu ( also known as Hemu Vikramaditya and Hemchandra Vikramaditya) was a Hindu emperor of North India during the 16th century CE, a period when the Mughals and Afghans were vying for power in the region. Born into a humble family, Hemu rose to become Chief of the Army and Prime Minister to Adil Shah Suri of the Sur Dynasty. He fought Afghan rebels across North India from the Punjab to Bengal and the Mughal forces of Akbar and Humayun in Agra and Delhi, winning 22 consecutive battles. Hemu acceded to the throne of Delhi on 7 October 1556 after defeating Akbar's Mughal forces in the Battle of Delhi in the Tughlakabad area in Delhi, and became the de facto king assuming the title of Vikramaditya that had been adopted by many Hindu kings since Vedic times. He re-established native Hindu rule in North India, after over 350 years of Turkic and Mughal rule.

Early life: Contemporary accounts of Hemu's early life are fragmentary, due to his humble background, and often biased, because they were written by Mughal historians such as Bada'uni and Abu'l-Fazl who were employed by Hemu's rival, Akbar. Modern historians differ on his family's ancestral home and caste, and the place and year of his birth. What is generally accepted is that he was born in a Hindu family of limited means, and that he spent his childhood in the town of Rewari, in the Mewat region, south-west of Delhi.

 

Third Battle of Panipat in 1761 between Ahmad Shah Durrani and Sadashiv Rao Bhau

The third Battle of Panipat was one of the famous battles of India History. This battle took place on 14th January 1761 AD between the Afghan commander Ahmad Shah Durrani also known as Ahmed Shah Abdali of Durrani Empire and the Maratha general Sadashiv Rao Bhau at Panipat of Hariyana. The Maratha Empire became very prominent after the death of Aurangazeb. In September 1759, Ahmed Shah Abdali proceeded to India with his large army. Ahmed Shah's army reached Karnal in December without much defense from the opposition. Ahmad Shah formed allies with two Muslim powers of India, one with Shuja-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Oudh and the other one was Najib Ud Daulah of Rohilla Afghans of the Doab. The Maratha tried to get support from Rajputs, Sikhs and Jats. Most of the kings of Jat, Sikh and Rajput kingdoms did not support the Marathas as they had earlier sour relationship with Marathas.

Sadashiv Rao Bhau was appointed as the Supreme Commander of the Maratha force. The Holkar , Scindia and Gaikwad of Marathas assisted the Sadashiv Rao Bhau. Malhar Rao Holkar, Vishwas Rao, Jankoji Scindia, Mahadji Shindia, Govind Pant Bundela, Damaji Gaikwad were among the main commanders of the Maratha force. The Jat ruler Suraj Mal provided assistance to the Maratha soldiers.

In October 1760, the force of Ahmad Shah Durrani reached Panipat and camped there to execute the assault against the Maratha Empire. The Maratha army also proceeded with the large army and camped near to Panipat and was waiting for the final moment. Both sides tried to cut off the food supply of the other camp. By end of December 1760, the Marathas ran out of food due to heavy obstruction of their food supply by the Durrani force.

The War: In Jan 1761 AD, it became difficult for the Maratha force to continue their stay due to insufficient food supply. On 14th Jan 1761 AD, Maratha force left their camp before dawn and proceeded to attack the Afghan camp. The two forces came on face to face confrontation and the large forces of the both sided continued their battle until evening. It is believed that around 125,000 troops took part in this battle. The battle continued for several days. Ahmad Shah Durrani defeated the Maratha force led by Sadashiv Rao Bhau. It is believed by many historians that total of 60,000 to 70,000 troops from both sides were killed in this battle. After this battle, the expansion of Maratha Empire in North stopped for few years. It took almost 10 years for Peshwa Madhavrao to revive the domination of Marathas.

Battle of Plassey in 1757 between Siraj ud-Daulah and Robert Clive

The Battle of Plassey was a decisive victory of the British East India Company over the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies on 23 June 1757. The battle consolidated the Company's presence in Bengal, which later expanded to cover much of India over the next hundred years.

The battle took place at Palashi (english version: Plassey) on the banks of the Bhagirathi River, about 150 kilometres (93 mi) north of Calcutta and south of Murshidabad, then capital of Bengal (now in Nadia district in West Bengal). The belligerents were Nawab Siraj-ud-daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal, and the British East India Company. Siraj-ud-daulah had become the Nawab of Bengal the year before, and he ordered the English to stop the extension of their fortification. Robert Clive bribed Mir Jafar , the commander in chief of the nawab's army, and also promised him to make him Nawab of Bengal. He defeated the Nawab at Plassey in 1757 and captured Calcutta.

The battle was preceded by the attack on British-controlled Calcutta by Nawab Siraj-ud-daulah and the Black Hole incident. The British sent reinforcements under Colonel Robert Clive and Admiral Charles Watson from Madras to Bengal and recaptured Calcutta. Clive then seized the initiative to capture the French fort of Chandernagar. Tensions and suspicions between Siraj-ud-daulah and the British culminated in the Battle of Plassey. The battle was waged during the Seven Years' War (1756–63), and, in a mirror of their European rivalry, the French East India Company (La Compagnie des Indes Orientales) sent a small contingent to fight against the British. Siraj-ud-Daulah had a numerically superior force and made his stand at Plassey. Siraj-ud-Daulah's army with 18,000 soldiers was defeated by 3,000 soldiers of Col. Robert Clive, owing to the flight of Siraj-ud-daulah from the battlefield and the inactivity of the conspirators. The battle was ended in 40 minutes.

The Battle of Plassey is widely regarded as the turning point of Indian history that laid the foundation of British rule in India. After few days Siraj ud-Daulah was captured by Mir Jafar's soldiers. On 12thJuly 1757 AD, he was executed by the order of Mir Miran, son of Mir Jafar.

Nadir Shah invasion on India in 1739


Emperor Nadir Shah, the Shah of Persia (1736–47) and the founder of the Afsharid dynasty of Persia, invaded the Mughal Empire, eventually attacking Delhi in March 1739. In 1738, he proceeded to invade India with a large army of 55,000. He entered India through Hindu Kush mountains and advanced his force towards Indus river. His army had easily defeated the Mughals at the battle at Karnal and would eventually capture the Mughal capital in the aftermath of the battle.

Battle of Karnal: On 13thFebruary 1739, Mughal army of Muhammad Shah confronted the Nadir army at the Battle of Karnal. Mughal army couldn't stand in front of Nadir's large army. Nadir smashed the Mughals army. Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah surrendered to Nadir.

Massacre in Delhi: Nadir Shah entered Delhi in March 1739 and he ordered his troop to carry out general massacre in the city. His army raided Delhi performed massive massacre. Thousands of civilians were killed mercilessly by Nadir's army. Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah begged for mercy and he surrendered the Mughal's treasury to Nadir. Peacock Throne and Koh-i-noor diamond were also handed over to Nadir. Nadir returned to Iran with huge belongings of valuable assets of Mughal Empire.

Battle of Pratapgadis 1659 between Shivaji and Afzal Khan

The Battle of Pratapgadis regarded as one of his most important battles fought by Shivaji Maharaj. It had a major significance and vast contribution in the formation of great Maratha Empire. On 10thNovember 1659 AD, Shivaji Maharaj fought this major battle against Afzal Khan, a general of Sultan Adil Shahi of Bijapur at the Battle of Pratapgad near Satara of Maharashtra. The Adilshahi force had a large army, 3 times of Maratha troops. The Maratha Army demonstrated a brilliant war tactics and defeated the large Adilshahi forces. In this battle, Shivaji was assisted by Kanhoji Jedhe, Maral, Ramoji Dhamale, Silimkar and Bandal. Netaji Palkar commanded the cavalry of Shivaji .

Outcome: The Marathas defeated the large Adilshahi army, although Maratha had a smaller troop. It was a very significant victory for Shivaji Maharaj against a powerful opponent. Around five thousand Adilshahi soldiers were killed and many were injured. Maratha army also lost many of their soldiers. Maratha army captured the weapons, horses, other valuable assets which helped Shivaji Maharaj to strengthen the Maratha army. This victory boosted his moral and helped to envisage for a larger Empire. This victory transformed Shivaji Maharaj to a legendary leader among the people.

The Vijayanagara Empire and Its Socio-Economic-Cultural conditions

Vijaynagra _empire_map_Srikrishnadeva_raya
Vijayanagara empire
The Vijayanagara Empire, an important South Indian empire was founded by Harihara Raya I and his brother Bukka Raya I. The capital of the empire was Vijayanagara, present days Hampi in Karnataka. The empire ruled from 1336 AD to 1646 AD although the power of the empire declined after the Battle of Talikota in 1565 AD.
Vijayanagara Empire was ruled by maily four important dynasties. They were
1.Sangama Dynasty: It was the first dynasty of Vijayanagara Empire and Harihara Raya I( 1336-1356 AD) was the first ruler of the dynasty. Some of the rulers of the dynasty were: Bukka Raya, Virupaksha Raya, Deva Raya, Ramachandra Raya, Mallikarjuna Raya and Praudha Raya.

2.Saluva Dynasty: It was the first dynasty of Vijayanagara Empire and Narasimhadeva Raya (1485 AD to 1491 AD) first ruler of Saluva Dynasty of Vijayanagara Empire. He was succeeded by his son Thimma Bhupala. Narasimha Raya II was the last ruler of Saluva Dynasty succeeded his father Thimma Bhupala.

Krishna Deva Raya (1509 – 1530) - also known as Andhra Bhoja

Srikrishnadeva_statue_vijaynagara_empire_tuluva_dynastyKrishna Deva Raya (1509 – 1530): The Tuluva dynasty was founded by Vira Narasimha. The greatest of the Vijayanagar rulers, Krishna Deva Raya belonged to the Tuluva dynasty. He possessed great military ability. His imposing personality was accompanied by high intellectual quality. His first task was to check the invading Bahmani forces. By that time the Bahmani kingdom was replaced by Deccan Sultanates. The Muslim armies were decisively defeated in the battle of Diwani by Krishna Deva Raya. Then he invaded Raichur Doab which had resulted in the confrontation with the Sultan of Bijapur, Ismail Adil Shah. But, Krishna Deva Raya defeated him and captured the city of Raichur in 1520. From there he marched on Bidar and captured it.

The Marathas (1649-1748) : Shivaji and Peshwas

Early Life: Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was the most powerful emperor of Maratha Empire. He was very intelligent, brave and a powerful ruler. He was the founder of the powerful Maratha Empire. On 19thFebruary 1630 AD, Shivaji was born in Shivneri hill-fort in Pune of Maharashtra. His mother Jijabai was an intelligent and far sighted lady and his father Shahaji Bhosle was a Maratha general who served alongside of Malik Ambar and defended Deccan region against the Mughals. Jijabai is often regarded as the master or the guru of Shivaji Maharaj.

Jijabai was a religious lady and she was a devotee of Lord Shiva. She kept the name of her son after His name. Shivaji was born and brought up in a religious environment. In his childhood, Shivaji studied two great Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. These two epics influenced his life in greater extent and made a great impression on him. When Shivaji was 12 years of old, he was taken to Bangalore for his formal training along-with his stepbrother Ekoji I.

In 1640 AD, he married Saibai of the well known Nimbalkar family. Soyarabai was the second queen of Shivaji Maharaj. Putalabai, Laxmibai and Kashibai were the other queens of Shivaji Maharaj.

Starting Phase of the Great Leader: In 1645 AD, Shivaji took the control of Torna Fort from Bijapuri commander Inayat Khan. While Shivaji was 17, he captured two more forts in Pune and established the complete control on Pune. In 1659, he defeated Adilshahi general Afzal Khan. In 1664, Shivaji attacked Surat, the important trading city of Mughal and gained a vast treasury. In 1665 AD, Shivaji lost to Aurangzeb's General Jai Singh and signed the treaty of Purander and lost many of his forts to Mughals. In 1666, Shivaji was invited to the court of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and he was arrested there. Shivaji escaped from Mughal's confinement very smartly. In 1674 AD, he adopted the title of "Chhatrapati" and founded the powerful Maratha Empire. Shivaji Maharaj is known as the "father of the Maratha Nation" .

Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj - founder of Maratha Empire




Early Life: Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was the most powerful emperor of Maratha Empire. He was very intelligent, brave and a powerful ruler. He was the founder of the powerful Maratha Empire. On 19th February 1630 AD, Shivaji was born in Shivneri hill-fort in Pune of Maharashtra. His mother Jijabai was an intelligent and far sighted lady and his father Shahaji Bhosle was a Maratha general who served alongside of Malik Ambar and defended Deccan region against the Mughals. Jijabai is often regarded as the master or the guru of Shivaji Maharaj.

Jijabai was a religious lady and she was a devotee of Lord Shiva. She kept the name of her son after His name. Shivaji was born and brought up in a religious environment. In his childhood, Shivaji studied two great Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. These two epics influenced his life in greater extent and made a great impression on him. When Shivaji was 12 years of old, he was taken to Bangalore for his formal training along-with his stepbrother Ekoji I.

Socio - economic - architectural developments under Mughal dynasty

Economic and Social Life
The Mughal period saw important social and economic developments. During this period, many European travelers and traders came to India and their accounts contain a mine of information about the socio-economic conditions of India. In general, they described the wealth and prosperity of India and also the luxurious life of the aristocratic classes. On the other side, they also mentioned the poverty and sufferings of the ordinary people such as peasants and artisans.

Mughal Nobility: The nobles of the Mughal period formed a privileged class. Most of them were foreigners such as Turks and Afghans. But there was tussle between them throughout this period. However, many of them settled down in India and made it their permanent home. They readily assimilated themselves into the Indian society and culture.

Kohinoor (mountain of light) of India