Tale of Rao Jait Singh: Forgotten Rajput Victory over the Mughals in 1534

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Several historians have presented Indian rulers as inferior to foreign powers. From their perspective, the Indian Hindu rulers always face defeat after defeat at the hands of foreign powerhouses like Arabs, Turks, and even Europeans.

Rao Jait Singh of Bikaner
Rao Jait Singh was the successor of Rao Lunkaran

Due to these selective narratives which certainly lack objectivity the chivalry of our Hindu rulers had been sidelined. The victories forged by the great Rajputs, Maratha, Sikhs, and Vijayanagar rulers over the foreign menace had been long forgotten. Their spirited and heroic resistance to the foreign onslaught is yet to be told in brief.

If we delve closely and scrutinize the pages of Indian history we will gather ample evidence of Hindu heroism and their triumph over foreign invaders. In this article, we will shed light on one such heroism where a Rajput king whose audacious tale to this day waiting to be told forged a great victory for the Mughals.

This is the story of Rao Jait Singh the king of Bikaner who faced and defeated the Mughal army of Kamran the son of Babur and the governor of Kandahar and Kabul. Rao Jait Singh was born on 31 October 1489 and ruled from 1526 to 1542.

Flag of the Kingdom of Bikaner
Rai Jait Singh
Flag of the Kingdom of Bikaner

His period closely observed the establishment of the Mughal hegemony over Delhi. Things became bleak as the new regime of Delhi under the Mughals subdued every possible opponent and emerged as an unstoppable power due to their artillery and Ottoman style of warfare.  Babur who laid the foundation of the Mughal Empire established his supremacy over the kingdom of Sultan Ibrahim Lodi after the first battle of Panipat.

He later forged victory of the great Maharana Sanga of Mewar at Khanwa which confirmed his authority over Delhi and India. After the demise of Babur things became challenging for the Mughal. 

His successor i.e. Humayun ascended the throne of the Mughal Empire. The Mughal Empire after Babur was divided among his four sons namely, Humayun, Kamran, Askari, and Hindal. Humayun governed the territory of Delhi and Doab region, while Askari ruled Sambal, while Mewat and Kandhar were given to Hindal and Kamran.

While Humayun was busy establishing his authority his brother Kamran who was ruling the regions of Kabul and Kandhar attempted to extend his dominion. He took the Punjab region and declared it his territory which made the kingdom of Bikaner his neighbor.

By that time Kamran the son of Babur had made himself the master of regions like Lahore, Kabul, etc, and also succeeded in subjugating the famous Rajput fort of Bhatner around 1527 CE.  

Rise of Rao Jait Singh

Rao Jait Singh was the son and successor of the great Rao Lunkaran who is remembered as a bold and ambitious king in the history of Bikaner.  Rao Lunkaran who was betrayed by his own men attained martyrdom after killing around 21 soldiers of the Nawab of Narnaul in the fierce encounter.

His successor i.e. Rao Jait Singh wanted to avenge his father’s death from the traitor who had deserted their king in the heat of the battle. After his coronation around 1526 Jait Singh marched against Dronpur which was ruled by Rao Kalyanmal chief who betrayed his father.

Furthermore on the other hand the Mughals had established their supremacy over the north which made the position of the Bikaner kingdom precarious. As mentioned above after the subjugation of the Bhatner fort the Mughals under the leadership of Kamran targeted Bikaner.

The Bhatner fort held a prestigious position in the heart of Bikaner rulers for it was the fort ruled by the descendants of Rawat Kandhal who assisted Rao Bika the founder of Bikaner in establishing his kingdom. The Mughals demanded the surrender of Bikaner and the acknowledgment of Mughal supremacy over the kingdom.

However, the Rajput ruler of Bikaner had different plans. While the Mughals were demanding the surrender of Bikaner their king attacked the forces of the invader at night. On 26 October 1534, the night attack of the Rajput forces of Bikaner decimated the Mughals. The battle was so fierce that the Mughals even thought that the Rajputs were aided by some mystical powers.

The Mughals were so frightened that they even abandoned the royal umbrella of their leader i.e. of Kamran near the village of Chotriya. This major victory of the Rajputs over the Mughals exposes the false narratives that claim that the Rajputs never forged a victory over the Mughals.

Furthermore, there are many other instances of heroism shown by many Hindu rulers and brave hearts of India which emerged victorious over the foreign invaders. Rao Jait Singh’s vibrant victory over the Mughals reminds us that the land that stretches from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari is an adobe of the bravest warriors.        

Sources taken: The Royal Rajputs by Manoshi Bhattacharya

History of Bikaner by G.S.Ojha

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