Sunday, February 11, 2007

Hammir Dev Chauhan

Hammir Dev Chauhan

Prithviraj Chauhan's descendant, Hammir Dev Chauhan ruled Ranasthambpur (Ranthambore).

Ranthambore fort of Hada Chauhan dynasty

Jalore was ruled by another branch of Chauhans, the Songaras. Ala ud din Khilji usurped Delhi from his father-in-law, Jalal-ud-din Khilji, by killing him in cold blood. In 1299 Ala ud din's mongol general Ulugh Khan sought to quell Hindu resistance in Gujarat and besieged Junagadh and sacked the temple at Somnath. Ulugh Khan had broken the Shivalinga of Somnath and was carrying it back to Delhi. Kanhad Dev Songara, ruler of Jalore, attacked and defeated Ulugh Khan. His son Biramdeo and Jaitra Deora were the generals who commandeered Kanhad Dev's army. They captured the fragments of the Shivalinga. Kanhad had the Shivalinga washed in Gangajal and had the fragments placed at various Shiva temples around Jalore.

One of Ala ud din's generals was a neo-Muslim, Muhammad Shah, who had helped Kanhad Dev. This general later went and stayed with Hammir Deo in Ranthambore. Ala ud din wanted him dead, and asked Hammir to hand him over. Hammir replied that he knows how to draw his sword, and anyone who has taken shelter in his fort would not be turned over. Hammir did not consider Khilji king of India. Ala ud din attacked Ranthambore in 1299, but his armies consisting of 80,000 cavalry, led by generals Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan, were badly defeated. Nusrat Khan was killed by rajputs in this campaign.

Khilji finally came himself in 1301 A.D., and there was a long siege. Hammir was very well prepared. When the fort did not fall after repeated bloody skirmishes Khilji, tired of living in an insect infested swamp for seven months (land outside Ranasthambpur fort is marshy), resorted to diplomacy.

Marshy Battle Field below Ranthambore Fort.

Hammir was very suspicious but he heeded to his councilors who told him that sword is not always the best recourse. Ratipal and Ranmal, who were close confidants of Hammir, were sent to the Khilji camp. Ranmal's father was hung by Hammir for treachery and his property was confiscated. Ranmal earned the trust of Hammir by being brave in battles that Hammir fought but perfidy was in his blood. Khilji bribed these two generals of Hammir's army and consequently Ranthambore fell.

Cenotaph of Hammir Dev Chauhan at Ranthambore Fort.

Every Rajput and Indian takes pride in reciting the couplet extolling the bravery and uprightness of Hammir:
िसंह-सवन सत्पुरुष-वचन कदलन फलत इक बार।
ितिरया-तेल हम्मीर-हठ चढे न दूजी बार॥

(English translation:)
A lioness gives birth to a cub only once; once alone is the word of a good man given; once only does a plantain bear fruit; a woman is anointed only once with oil for marriage; and once alone did Hammira give his irrevocable promise.
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Rohit Bisht said...

nice article,infact there were 2 neo muslim generals of allauddin named as muhmmadshah & kehabru who took shelter in hammir's amnesty.

Rohit Bisht said...
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