Bharat Ek Khoj


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Rana Sanga, Ibrahim Lodhi and Babur
(Episode 31)

As Nehru observes, while Vijaynagar was flourishing in the south and the petty sultanates reigned in Delhi in the 14th and 15th centuries, there were individual strongholds of Orissa, Bengal and Awadh in the east, and Gujrat, Malwa and Rajasthan in the west. In the north, however, the Turkish, Afghan and Mughal conquests resulted in rapid development of India's contacts with central and Westran Asia. Babur a prince of the Timurind line, established himself on the throne of Delhi in 1526 and his frank dairy Babur-Nama remains a graphic guide to his tempestuous times in India.

Under Rna Kumbha of Mewar, the great plateau of capital Chittor was fortified. Drawing upon Jnmaes Tod's Annal and Antiquities of Rajasthan, the curtain opens on Mewar where the princes prothviraj, Jaimal and sangram Singha (later Rana Sanga), sons of King Raimal, are seen heading for a remote-dwelling Yogin to foretell their royal destiny. With the prophecy favouring Rana Sanga, the braggart Prithviraj eliminates Jaimal and attacks and injuries Rana Sanga. Prithviraj is banished from the kingdom, yielding the throne to Rana Sanga. Even with a single hand and a single leg, Rana Sanga is fiercely patriotic and contemplates power beyond Ibrahim Lodi in Delhi inviting Babur.

Babur on receiving the missive from Rana Sanga, launches his successful bid in 1525 with a highly mobile force and with the new gunpowder technology. There have breen terminal rivalries after the death of the powerful king Sikander Lodi, amidst his son and successor Ibrahim Lodi in Delhi and his sibling in Jaunpur. In 1526, Babur's army meets Ibrahim lodi's troops with the latter's advantage of 10:2 at Panipat and wins through a superior strategy by attacking on the two flanks as well as from behind, turning the enemy's bulk into his disadvantage.

Rana Sanga, who had encouraged Babur to invade, simply hoped for a Lodi rout and then a Mughal withdrawal, leaving the coast clear for his own ambitious. As the song of Guru Nanak conveys, Babur's final coming to India was a matter of moral degradation for India. He moves out to give battle, amidst unfavourable soothsaying, defection of forts and desertion of Indian recruits. He turns on the Rajputs, though much superior in number, at Khanua and has a fiercely-contested fight, relying, on semi-fortified arrangement of ditches and chained carts interspersed with artillery nad matchlock-men. According to Tod's Annals, defeat results from treachery, making Sanga retreat and leaving the mughals supreme in the heartland of Northindia.

After winning his spurs at panipat and khanua, Babur sends Humayun, his favourite eldest son and designated heir, to Afghanistan. When told that Humayun is ill, he offers his own life and takes to bed, never to get up again. He is buried in his favourite garden in Kabul.