The western world often give themselves the credit for raising the voice for helping the refugee and humanitarian ideals. Almost every year several conferences along with large-scale seminars are conducted to promote and protect the rights of immigrants.
But is it working? The western world who started the slave trade during the medieval period is now presenting and promoting itself as the protector of human lives and beliefs. The ones who started the persecution of minorities are giving lectures on liberalism.
In this article, we’ll tell the story of a Rajput king who followed the code of Raj Dharma by granting asylum to a Mongol refugee and later waged war against the invading Turkish army of Alauddin Khilji in order to protect the immigrant.
Hammira Dev Chauhan
After the second battle of Tarain in which the great king Prithviraj Chauhan 3 was defeated by the Turkish invader Mohammad Ghori ,the northern part of the Indian subcontinent was captured by the Turks. This was the turning point in the history of India because for the first time an alien faith established its rule over Delhi. But the story of Chauhan and other Rajputs didn’t end here. Govindraj Chauhan who was the son of Prithviraj Chauhan shifted his kingdom to Ranthambore (in present-day Swai Madhopur district of Rajasthan) in 1194 CE.
Hammira Dev Chauhan (not to be confused with Rana Hammir Singh) was the son of Jaitra Singh (Jay Singh/Jay Simha) and Hira Devi. He was the direct descendant of the great Prithviraj Chauhan. His father i.e. Jaitra Singh had three sons in which Hammira was the youngest but instead of giving the throne to the elder son , Jaitra Singh crowned Hammira his successor. It is believed that during his reign i.e. from 1282-1301 Hammira had fought 17 battles in which he had lost only once. King Hammira due to his charismatic leadership established his dominance over Chittor, Malwa, and Abu.
Invasion from Jalauddin Khilji
In the year 1290 or somewhere in 1291, the Slave Dynasty was overthrown by the Khilji dynasty. The new sultan of the Khilji dynasty was Jalaluddin Khilji. He decided to invade the kingdom of Ranthambore in 1290 CE.
However, all dreams of subjugation went in vain as Hammira-the direct descendant of Prithviraj courageously repulsed the invasion. Jalauddin Khliji also tried to seige Ranthambore
Invasion from Alauddin Khilji
Alauddin Khilji (also known as Ali Gurushap) the nephew of Jalaluddin Khilji became the sultan of khilji dynasty in the year of 1296 CE. The new sultan was a strong follower of expansionist policy and soon he adopted the title of Sikander-e-Saini (second Alexander).
In the year of 1299 CE, Alauddin Khilji sent his Turko-Mongol army to invade the rich wealth of Gujrat under the leadership of Nusrat Khan, Ulug Khan, and Alp Khan. The invaders plundered the wealth of Gujarat, massacred the local population, and razed the temples to the ground. A huge amount was looted by the invaders.
After the invasion, when the army of invaders reached Jalore, some of the Mongol soldiers under Muhammad Shah and Kabhru staged a mutiny over the distribution of wealth captured during the campaign.
It is believed that the mutineers demanded a 20% share which was refused by Nusrat Khan and Ulug Khan. The mutiny was crushed and the Mongol leaders managed to escape. The mutineers reached Ranthambore and asked Hammira for asylum.
Note: Both the Mongol mutineers were part of the Gujarat campaign of the Khilji dynasty which resulted in the massacre and destruction of Hindu temples, it is ironical that the same people now asked for help from the Rajputs. Hammir followed the code of Raj Dharma and gave asylum to the Mongol mutineers.
The commander of the Khilji army i.e. Ulugh Khan sent his messengers to Ranthambore asking Hammira, to kill the rebels or send them back to him. He also threatened to wage war against the Rajputs in case of refusal of his terms but Hammira denied all the terms.
When Alauddin learned about Hammira’s reply , he decided to attack Ranthambore. In 1299, Alauddin sent his army under the leadership of Nusrat Khan and Ulug Khan for capturing Ranthambore. The turko mongol army of Khilji was able to reach Banas River.
To counter this move of the invaders, Hammira sent his Rajput army under Dharm Singh and Bhima Singh to crush the army of Delhi Sultanate. Dharm Singh and Bhima Singh were able to stop the invaders and inflicted crushing defeat over invaders. The invading army retreated and as a result, the Rajputs were able to capture much of their wealth.
But when the Rajput army was returning from the battle, Ulugh khan again decided to attack the Rajputs from behind and in this attack, Bhima Singh got martyred. The move of deception was not new from the perspective of the Turks.
Hammira was furious after hearing the martyrdom of Bhima Singh and blamed Dharm Singh for the death of Bhima Singh. Due to this he removed Dharm Singh from his position and imprisoned him. On the other hand, Alauddin decided to launch another invasion of Ranthambore under Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan.
Hearing this news Hammira sent his army under Ratipal, Viram, and Mohammad Shah (the Mongol mutineer). This time Delhi army ransacked every single Hindu territory that came in its place. The two armies then met at a mountain pass which is known as Hinduvatva. The Turks were crushed and their equipments were again captured by the Rajputs. Frustrate by this defeat the Sultan again sent his army this time with much more support.
The number of the Turks played a key role this time and due to this, they were able to capture Jhain, which is known as the Key to Ranthambore.
Note: The Khilji army renamed Jhain fort as Shah-i-Nau(new town).
Final Showdown and Seige of Ranthambore
The Khilji army then reached Ranthambore and encamped themselves near the fort walls. Initially, the invaders decided to offer terms to Hammira. These terms were:
- Hammir should give 40,000 gold coins (Mohurs), 4 elephants and Hammira’s daughter in marriage to Alauddin.
- Hammir should surrender the Mongol rebels
But the brave Rajput Hammira rejected these terms and replied that he would give 40,000 wounds to Alauddin’s body.
The Turks were shocked by this reply and immediately decided to attack the walls of the fort. They also decided to make a tunnel to enter inside the fort. During the engagement between the Turks and the Rajputs, Nusrat Khan gone too near the fort walls and was crushed by the rain of arrows.
Seeing the enemy commander dead, Hammira came out of the fort and smashed the vanguard of the Turkish army resulting in the defeat of Ulugh Khan. The Rajputs were able to break the morale of the invaders and it is believed that the invaders were focusing on retreat to Delhi.
The news of Nusrat Khan’s death reached Delhi and this enraged the Sultan. Furious from the successive defeats Alauddin decided to personally lead his army and reached Ranthambore. Soon after reaching Ranthambore, the Sultan decided to construct a PASHEB (an inclined mound built to fill the ditch). He then also used his tactics of deception as he had done before in many campaigns.
Alauddin sent his messengers to negotiate peace terms to Hammira. As a result of this offer the Rajput king i.e. Hammira sent his commander Ratipala and Ranmal for negotiation. Alauddin then convinced the two commanders and promised them that if they help him in capturing the fort of Ranthambore the sultan will give the entire kingdom to him as a gift.
The two Rajputs agreed and betrayed their king. When Ratipala returned to Ranthambore fort he led out their forces from the fort and joined Alauddin’s army. Due to the siege, the supply of the fort was blocked and there was a scarcity of food and water inside the fort. Furthermore, the construction of PASHEB was almost complete. Due to this and betrayal by his own men Hammira decided to fight till his last breath with his loyal Rajputs, while the women prepared for JAUHAR.
Hammira and other Rajputs then came out of the fort wearing Kesari Turban and fought till their last breath for protecting their Dharma. After the battle, Alauddin saw the Mongol mutineer laying wounded. Alauddin told him that he would spare his life if he surrenders to him. In return, the Mohammad Shah replied that he would kill Alauddin and appoint Hammira’s son as the new king of Ranthambore.
Hearing this Alauddin ordered Mohammad Shah to be trampled by an elephant. Furthermore, the two traitors were also killed.
Hammir Dev Chauhan sacrificed his entire kingdom for an immigrant. The tale of Hammira is still alive in folk songs of the Rajputs and is a lesson in helping refugees for the entire world.
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