Bharat Ek Khoj

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Delhi Sultanat Part-lll
Padmavat & The Tughlak Dynasty

(Episode 26)

Nehru notes that the Rajput forces of Chittor became weakened in the early 14th century as a result of Afghan plundering and dominance. The legend of the Afghan Sultan's lust for the charming queen Padmavati of Chittor was a typical instance of morbid feudalism in operation, as recorded in Malik Mohammed Jyasi's 'Padmavat'.

The dramatic saga starts with the particular misbehaviour of Tantrik Raghav Chetan who was expelled by Rana Ratansen of Chittor. Dying for revenge, he appears in Alauddin's court and instigates him with tales of Padamvati's beauty-on less than a heavenly fairy's apart from the five other 'jewels' of Chittor like the hunter-tiger and peying bird. Ratan Singh rebuffs the usual messenger from the Sultan, demanding these assest, and the Chittor fort is laid siege upon by the mighty Afghan forces. When the Rana's army gets depleted, the Rajasthani folkdance 'Ghumar' is arranged as a morale-booster. In order to save the army's further shrinkage, Ratansen agrees to a compromise formula to meet the sultan and allow him to see the queen from a distance to satisfy his curiosity. After the proverbial Rajput hospitality is availed of and the queen is appropriately viewed, the unsuspecting Rana is ensnared into Afghan captivity and brought to Delhi as prisoner.

The entertainment in Aladdin's court is on with a Kathak danseuse performing Padhanat. Temptation of high reward bring the dancer incognito to Chittor, to coax the desperate queen to come to Delhi as a Yogin to rescue Ratansen. Gora and Badal, to faithful follower of Padmawati, save her from falling into the sultans trap, reach Delhi daringly free the Rana from bondage and away on a waiting horse.

Nehru moves onto Mohammad Bin Tughlaq who, too had spread his empire far and wide like Alauddin's. he ruled in the early 14th century and had along reign of 47 years. His son, Feroze Shah Tughlaq, one of the well-known Sultans of Delhi, had a Hindu mother and so did Ghyas-Ud-Din Tughlaq. As recorded by Nehru the Afghan ruler and their minions merged well with India. There dynasties become completely Indianised with their roots in this country, looking upon India as their homeland, and the rest of the world as foreign.

Nehru infers that it is wrong to talk about the muslim invasion as Islam did not invade India, it had come to India some centuries earlier. There was a Turkish invasion (Mahmud), an Afghan invasion, and then a Mughal invasion but the Afghan were from a border group, hardly stranger to India, and the period of their political dominance should be called the Indo-Afghan period.