Jambudveep's Blog

January 14, 2013

Vijayangar Chapter 6: The Great war of Liberation

As seen in the previous chapters the low point in the history of India came in the 1320’s. Long standing dynasties such as the Kakatiya’s of Warangal, the Seuna Yadavas of Devagiri,the Pandya rulers of Madurai were overthrown or extinguished by the Islamic war machine. The only Hindu kingdom left standing in South India was the Hoysala kingdom of Karnataka led by Veera Ballala III.

The just and equitable rule of the Hindu kings was replaced by an oppressive and merciless administration. The land was parcelled out to various Amirs, Maliks and Muslim jehadi’s from around the world. These parasites sucked the blood of the common people and destroyed the traditional way of life. The terrible sufferings of the people are illustrated in the Madhuravijayam and the Vilasa grant of Prolaya Nayaka. Temples fell into disuse and the old system of endowments was discontinued in favour of extorting money from the people. With the disappearance of the agraharas the Vedic system of learning was strangulated.

But the typhoon of Hindu revival in the South was coming…

 

6. The Eleven year war of Liberation (1325-1336 CE)

Map of War of Liberation

Fig. 6.1 Map of the war of Liberation

No sooner had the dust settled on the Tughlaq invasions that the Hindus of South India mounted a ferocious counter offensive. Out of the ashes of the fallen kingdoms arose a confederacy of Hindu chiefs, each determined to drive the Turuksha’s into the ground. The table below give the names and brief details of the prominent Hindu leaders of this great war of liberation.

Name of Hindu King/Chief Brief Description Area of Operations Year active from
Veera Ballala III Hoysala ruler of  Karnataka Karnataka, extending upto river Ponniyan in Tamil Nadu 1324-1342
Prolaya Nayaka (Musunuri family) One of the chief Nayaka of the erstwhile Kakatiya kings. Coastal Andhra with headquarters at Rekapalli 1325-1333
Kapaya Mayaka (Musunuri family) Cousin of Proalaya Nayaka and leader of confederacy of 75 Nayaka’s. Coastal Andhra,western Andhra and Telangana 1325-1367
Prolaya Vema Reddi Powerful Nayaka and founder of the  Reddi kingdom of Kondavidu. Region around Kondavidu in Andhra. Initial base at Addanki. 1325-1353
Chalukya Somadeva, Chalukya prince and ancestor of the Aravidu emperors of Vijayanagar Western Andhra with base at Kurnool. 1325- ?
Ariyseti Annamantri Surviving general of the erstwhile Kakatiya kingdom. Coastal Andhra 1325-?
Kolani Prataparudradeva Surviving general of the erstwhile Kakatiya kingdom. Coastal Andhra 1325-?
Racherla Singama Nayaka, Founder of the Velama kingdom of Rachakonda. Telangana 1325-1361
Ekramnath Sambuvararaya Ruler of Rajgambhira rajyam Headquarters at Kanchipuram. Kingdom comprised of  North Arcot district in Tamil Nadu and parts of Chittor district in Andhra Pradesh. 1325- ?

                 Table  6‑0‑1 The Main Leaders of the War of Independence

 

The below table gives the main opponents of the Hindus in the Deccan and the south:

The Hindu Confederacy Their Tughlaq Opponents
1.Veera Ballala III2.Kapaya Nayaka and 75 Nayakas’s

3.Prolaya Nayaka

4.Somadeva

5.Ekramanth Sambuvararaya

6.Prolaya Vema Reddi

7.Racherla Singama Nayaka

8.Kolani Prataparudradeva

9.Ariyseti Annamantri

1. Mohammed Tughlaq, Sultan of Delhi.2. Malik Muhammad, governor of Kampili.

3. Malik Maqbul,governor of the Warangal division of Telanagana.

4. Shihab Sultani, governor of the Bidar division of Telangana.

5. Qutlugh Khan, governor of Devagiri (1335-1342).

6. Jalal-ud-din Ahsan Shah,kotwal of Madura

Table 6‑2  The chief opponents from the Hindu and the Muslim side.

6.1 The war of liberation in Karnataka

In Karnataka the core area around Mysore right upto Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu was in the hands of Veera Ballala III. By 1328 CE, he was back in action and directing operations against the Muslim garrisons ensconced in Tamil Nadu. In 1327 CE, the situation was made serious by Muhammad Tughlaq shifting his capital to Devagiri from Delhi. This put enormous Muslim armies dangerously close to the Hoysala capital of Dvarasamudra.

To check the danger emanating from the north, Veera Ballala entrusted the task of defending the Northern frontier of the Hoysala kingdom to the five Sangama brothers of which Harihara and Bukkaraya are the most famous.The Sangama brothers who were Mahamandaleswara’s (Provincial governors) later went on to establish the Vijayanagar empire.

As a further precaution, Veera Ballala had established three capitals: Dvarasamudra,Kundani and Tiruvannamalai.This enabled him to mount a mobile defence against the Islamic incursions from Devagiri in the North, as well as secure his rear against the Muslims in Madurai. Tiruvannamalai was bang on the main road which linked Madurai to the North. For nearly fifteen years (1328-1342 CE) this city was his base of operations against the Muslim garrisons in Tamil Nadu. In the region of Anegondi and Kampili ferocious battles raged to drive out the Muslims.

6.1.1 A comparison of the armies of Veera Ballala and Mohammed Tughlaq

What was the strength of the army of Veera Ballala? From Ibn Batutas account, in 1342 CE Veera Ballala had 1, 00,000 infantry and 20,000 Muslim mercenaries in his army. In 1328 CE it is difficult to gauge his military strength, but it must have been considerable to go up against Mohammed Tughlaq.

To get an idea of the impossible odds facing the Hindus here are some numbers for Muhammad Tughlaq’s army:

Component of army

Estimated numbers

Horsemen (cavalry)

9,00,000

War elephants

3000

Turkish Mamluks

2000

Spearmen

1000

Eunuchs (all armed)

10,000

Bashmaqdars ( a type of bodyguard)

1000

Slaves

2,00,000

 Table   6‑3 The strength of Muhammad Tughlaq’s army.

Out of the nine lakh horsemen, the bulk accompanied Tughlaq on his campaigns while the rest were posted in various provincial garrisons around the country. In addition he could raise large forces for temporary expeditions .e.g. sometime before 1333 CE he raised and maintained an army of 3,70,000 horsemen to support his invasion of Khorasan (in Iran).This had to be disbanded after a year due to maintenance costs running in crores of tankas ( the currency of the day).

6.2 The war in Andhra desa

The final battle of the Kakatiya kingdom took place near Rajamahendravaram in 1323 CE. The cream of the kshatriya’s of Andhra perished in this terrible battle against Mohammed Tughlaq’s forces. But within two years of this disaster the banner of freedom was unfurled by the Musunuri chief Prolaya Nayaka and his cousin Kapaya Nayaka. With their headquarters at Rekapalli, they gathered around them 75 Nayakas (military chiefs) of the erstwhile Kakatiya kingdom. Promiment amongst the seventy five Nayakas were Prolaya Vema Reddi, Kopplua Prolaya Nayaka, Recharla Singama Nayaka and Manchikonda Ganapati Nayaka. In this heroic endeavour they were joined by surviving generals of the Kakatiya’s such as Ariyeti Annamantri and Kolani Rudradeva.

Prolaya Nayaka revived the old endowments and patronised Vedic learning. He also restored those temples which suffered destruction at the hands of the Islamic invaders. This liberating army of the Hindus moved swiftly and by 1328 CE coastal Andhra was liberated from the clutches of the Muslims. In western Andhra by 1329 CE they were joined by the Chalukya prince Somadeva, who from his base in Kondanavolu (Kurnool) launched attacks on the Muslim garrisons in the Bellary and Rayalseema regions. After fierce fighting, he retook the forts of Anegondi,Mudgal,Musalimadugu,Satanikota,Etagiri,Kunti and Sara. In concert with him, Veera Ballala attacked Kampili. Malik Muhammad the Tughlaq governor of Kampili was now facing simultaneous attacks from Somadeva and Veera Ballala. Somadeva defeated Malik Muhammad in a series of battles and managed to capture him along with his 6000 cavalry. However Muhammad managed to secure his freedom by making false promises.

By 1333 CE the position of the Muslims in Andhra had become precarious. The survivors retreated to Warangal which was under Malik Maqbul. At the same tine in 1335 CE, Muhammad Tughlaq descended into the Deccan to subdue the revolt of Jalal-ad-din Ahsan Shah (the kotwal of Madurai). Ahsan Shah had declared himself as an independent Sultan of Madura and minted coins in his own name. When Tughlaq was encamped in Warangal (or Bidar as per another account) a plague struck the city of Warangal .A majority of the Hindu population of that city perished along with a great part of Muhammad Tughlaqs army. Many seniors Malik’s and Amirs also perished due to the plague. Muhammad Tughlaq himself was taken sick and had to beat a hasty retreat. Ahsan Shah was left to his own devices in Madurai.

By 1336 CE the stage was clear for the liberation of Warangal. Like a hurricane Kapaya Nayaka swept into Telangana and liberated Warangal in 1336 CE. In this he was aided by Veera Ballala who sent forces to reinforce Kapaya. Warangal the declared as the capital of the short lived but glorious Musunuri kingdom. In Kondavidu, Prolaya Vema Reddi began to lay the foundations of the kingdom of the Reddi’s.

6.3  A bird’s eye view of the Scene at Delhi…

The period from 1325 CE   onwards was one of a general collapse of the Delhi sultanate. Till his death in 1351 CE Muhammad Tughlaq was constantly running from one end of his  short lived empire to the other, constantly fighting rebellions and uprisings. By 1336 CE the major part of South India was back in Hindu hands. The only aberration was the Sultanate of Madurai in Tamil Nadu.

Like the rule of other Muslim sultans, Muhammad Tughlaq’s rule was marked by extortionate taxation and oppression of the Hindu’s. The years from 1325 to 1340  CE were of one long famine in North India, especially in the Doab region of Uttar Pradesh. The doab region is one of the most fertile regions in India. Muhammad Tughlaqs oppressive policies had exacerbated the drought into a deadly famine. Hindus abandoned their lands and fled into the safety of the jungles. For this Muhammad Tughlaq organised hunts to kill them like wild animals. The decision to move the capital of the Sultanate to Devagiri in 1327 CE was dictated by many factors:

i. Primary amongst them was to check the wave of Hindu resurgence sweeping South India. Far flung places like Madurai were six months march from Delhi. Devagiri had the advantage in being centrally located and within striking range of the main centres of the liberation struggle i.e. Karnataka and Andhra.

ii. The famine in the countryside  had finally affected Delhi, as the supplies of corn into the city were disrupted by chaos in the countryside.To ease the  suffering of the Muslims in Delhi ,Mohammed Tughlaq ordered the evacuation of the Muslim residents of Delhi to prosperous Devagiri. The fact that it was exclusively the Muslim population that was transferred is indicated in the sources. Delhi had become a parasitical city whose prosperity depended on the exploitation of the Hindu countryside.

iii. The threat of Mongol invasions still loomed over Delhi. The geographical location of Delhi makes it inherently vulnerable to a straight thrust from the side of the Punjab. Once the buffer of Punjab is gone it is only a matter of time before the invader reaches Delhi. (As a side note: Punjab during this time was decimated by the rapacious policies of the  Delhi Sultans and the ravages of the Mongol invasions . During this period i.e. 1328 CE, famines stalked Punjab and the rivers changed their courses leading to thousands of people perishing in the ensuing cataclysmic floods.)

In 1329 CE the Mongol ruler Tarmashirin swept over  Delhi. At this crucial juncture most of the officers of the Tughlaq administration were in Devagiri. Mohammed Tughlaq had to buy Tarmashirin off with a huge bribe which nearly emptied the treasury. To make up for the bankrupt state Mohammed Tughlaq issued copper coins thus effectively devaluing the currency. This led to large scale forgeries and the hoarding of gold and silver by the people.

By 1333 CE rebellions had broken out all over the Tughlaq empire. The most pertinent for us is the declaration of indepence by the Jalal-ud-din Ahsan Shah; the kotwal of Madurai in 1335 CE.

The heroism of Veera Ballala, the tenacious bravery of Kapaya Nayaka,the foundation of the Vijayanagar empire, its life and death struggle against the Bahmani Sultanate and the Sultanate of Madurai will form the ensuing chapters.

 

References:

1. Vijayanagar,Never to be Forgotten Empire; Suryanarayan Row.

2. The Qarnuah Turks, Ishwari Prasad.

3.South India and her Muhammadan invaders; S.K.Aiyangar.

4.The History of the Reddi Kingdoms; Malampalli Somasekhara Sarma.

5. Prof.N.Venkataramanayya’s articles in Vijayanagar history in Itihaas, the journal of Andhra Pradesh State Archives,vol II,no.2,1975, Prolegomena to the Study of Vijayanagar.

6. Social and Political Life in the Vijayanagara Empire, B.A.Saletore,Vol I & II

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November 28, 2012

Map of Vijayanagar Empire,circa 1350 CE

This map is a small demo of what can be done with the blank template map that was traced out as part of the Historical Map of India project.

The political situation in South India and greater part of Maharashtra during 1350 CE has been shown on the map.It still needs a lot of work regaridng correction of boundaries,showing smaller principalities,correction of place names etc etc.But to visualise what the political topography of South India was in the middle of the 14th century this will be useful aid.

This is only one of a series of maps.It can be used to depict battles,movement of troops etc.

Comments and feedback welcome.

November 19, 2012

Bukkaraya, Part II

This article is continued from part I.

3.Achievements’ of Bukkaraya I

3.1 Destruction of the sultanate of Madurai

As we have seen before the annihilation of the Madurai sultanate was essential to secure the rear of the newly created empire of Vijayanagara.It was also essential to succsefully defend against yhe Bahmani jihad from the north of the river Krishna.Bukkaraya moved with decisive speed and despatched his elder son Kamparaya to uproot the foothold which the Islamic jihadi’s had gained in the deep south of India.The unstructions given by Bukkaraya were clear and unambiguous as shown in this verse in the Madhuravijayam:

When all the forest kings are defeated then defeating the Muslim king will not be diffuclt for you.When hundreds of branches of a tree are burnt by the forest fire,is it possible that the tree trunk will not burn?” Verse 11, Eighth Canto, Madhuravijayam.

From the evidence given in the madhuravijyam it is clear that the Chola and Pandya kings who had been dispossessed by the Sultanate and its allies had taken shelter at Vijayanagar court.Madhuravijyam also hints at the fact that the kings of kerala were tributaries to Bukkaraya.

Reinforced by their allies, the Vijayanagar army issued forth from the capital city like a raging torrent.The days of the adhramic Islamic sultanate were numbered now.

“ The army which looked like the grand confluence of seven oceans began its orderly march with great uproar.” Verse 44, Fourth Canto, Madhuravijayam.

With lightening rapidity Kamparaya’s forces reached Mulbagal in a matter of six days. From Mulbagal they swept down into Tamil country and faced off the Champaraju on the Southern bank of the river Palar near Kanchipuram. In the climactic battle Champaraju’s army was shattered and he was forced to seek shelter in the fortress of Rajgambhiranmalai. Besieged and with no succor in sight Champaraju sallied forth from his stronghold and met Kamparaya in single combat, in which he met his doom at the hands of  Kamparaya. After stabilizing the anarchic condition in the erstwhile Champaraju kingdom, Kamparaya moved to attack Madurai.

In this expedition he was accompanied by his Brahaman general Gopanarya (Gopanna),Saluva Mangu (who moved down from Udayagiri) and his chief minister Someya Dannayaka.The strike force under Gopana destroyed the forward Muslim garrison at Samayavarm. Srirnagam was liberated and the idol of Sri Ranganatha was reconscreated in the temple which had suffered terrible damage under the Islamic vandals. The temple of Hoysalesvara at Kannanur had been dismantled by  Muslims right upto its foundations and a mosque constructed in its place. The mosque was torn down and worship restored in the temple.

For the Madurai sultanate the end game was in sight. Kamparaya fought the muslims in a ferocious battle outside Madurai.The ferocity of the fighting is illustrated in these verses from the Madhuravijayam :

The soldiers of Kamparaya with anger ( caused by the enemies evil deeds) avoiding the shower of enemy arrows with their shields,moved unobserved and simultaneously hacked the bodies of enemy horses along with their riders.” Verse 1, Ninth Canto, Madhuravijayam.

The bow men severed the trunks of enemy elephants with half moon faced arrows.They (trunks of elephants) fell down into pools of blood like serpents in the sacrificial fire of King Janmejaya.” Verse 3, Ninth Canto, Madhuravijayam.

In the hotly contested battle nearly all the Muslim commanders were killed. in desperation the Muslim sultan attacks Kamparaya and is beheaded in the ensuing encounter. Thus curtains came down on one of the darkest chapters of Indian history. For the first time in Indian history a blood thirsty sultanate was uprooted root and branch and no trace of it left, except for odd coins discovered by numismatists centuries down the road.

3.1.2 Who was the sultan and when did this war take place?

The dates for the existence and destruction of the Madurai sultanate vary widely. This is natural given the paucity of evidence and inscriptional data which can be extremely confusing. The dates for the Madurai war range from 1352 to 1371 CE, a wide range of nearly twenty years. Thus if the foundation of the Madurai sultanate is dated to 1333 CE, it could have lasted anywhere from twenty to forty years depending on which scholars argument you accept.

The table below briefly summarizes the range of dates put forward by various scholars:

Name of Scholar Proposed date for the Madurai war Possible Ruling Sultan
Dr.S.K.Iyengar

prior to 1358 CE

Naziruddin Mohammed Shah (1342-1352 CE)
K.A.N Sastri

around 1364 CE

Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah*(1359-1368 CE)
T.V.S Pandarattar

1364 CE

Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah*(1359-1368 CE)
Dr.T.V.Mahalingam

1361-1363 CE

Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah*(1359-1368 CE)
Father Heras

1377 CE

Alauddin Sikandar Shah*
V. Rangachari

1365-1371 CE

Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah*,Qurbat Hasan Kangu*
Hayavadana Rao

1371 CE

Qurbat Hasan Kangu*
K.R Venkataramana Iyer

1371 CE

Qurbat Hasan Kangu*
 Prof.N.Venkataramanaya war in two phases 1370-71 and

final resolution in 1378

1.Qurbat Hasan Kangu2. Alauddin Sikandar Shah*
Dr.A.Krishnaswami

1371 CE

Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah*
Dr.B.A Saletore

1371 CE

1.Qurbat Hasan Kangu2. Alauddin Sikandar Shah*

3.2 Defeat of the Bahmani Jihad

The Bahmani sultan  Ala-ud-din Hasan Kangu launched a major invasion in 1355-1357 CE which was successfully beaten off by Bukkaraya. The shock of the defeat and near continuous warfare with Vijayanagar virtually emptied the Bahmani treasury. On Ala-ud-din’s death in 1359 CE,his son Muhammad I found himself broke and unable to mount a credible attack against Vijayanagar. The danger of Firoze Shah Tughlaq (Sultan of Delhi) mounting an attack to recover his brothers conquests in the Deccan also loomed large.  Muhammad packed off his mother with a large bribe of gold coins to the Sharif of Mecca and the impotent Abbasid caliph living in Egypt.

At this point in 1360 CE both Bukkaraya and Kapaya Nayaka of Warangal were breathing down his neck. With the tinkle of gold in his hands the Abbaisid caliph promptly issued a farman asking Feroze Tughlaq to desist from attacking the Bahmani kingdom.The farman of an impotent and powerless figurehead from the middle east was enough to convince Firoze Tughlaq to issue an assurance of non-aggression to Muhammad I. This a typical example of the mentality of Muslims in India even today where everything from the Arab world is greater than the land they live in.

Assured of safety on his northern borders Muhammad promptly launched a vicious jihad in 1361 CE  against Kapaya Nayaka and Vijayanagar who were allies. On both fronts he had to suffer serious reverses. Kapaya Nayaka’s son Nagadeva captured the fort of Kaulas. Bukkaraya reinforced Kapaya Nayaka with 20,000 cavalry and a large force of infantry. The Bahmani forces had to face a humiliating defeat and the situation was so uncertain for the Bahmani’s that rumors spread of Muhammad death on the battlefield. At the end of the war Bukkaraya forced the jihadi Muhammad to agree to the following terms :

i. The river Krishna was recognized as the boundary between Vijayanagar and the Bahmani sultanate.

ii. Prisoners of war on both sides were to be set free.

iii. In future wars women and children would not be harmed and would be treated with respect.

iv. The forts of Raichur and Mudgal to be jointly controlled.

The terms of the treaty clearly indicate that the Bahmani’s had received a drubbing at the hands of Vijayanagar. This war was notable for the fact that firearms including cannons and muskets were employed by both sides.

3.3 Restoration of a traumatised society

For his untiring efforts in healing the scars inflicted on Hindu society, Bukkaraya was given the title  “ Vedamarga Prasthapika” ie the re-establisher of the Vedas. His patronage revived the old systems of learning which had fallen into decay in a half century of warfare.An extremely tolerant ruler he mediated between various sects such as the Jainas and Srivaisnava’s extracting promises that they would respect each other.

It was but natural that the arts, sciences and literature would flourish under the protection of the sword wall erected by Bukkaraya.To quote from Dr.Krishnaswami’s book “ Tamil Country under Vijayanagar”,

“ The rulers of Vijayanagar restored worship in the temples, repaired old temples and towers, settled disputes amongst the temple servants and made extensive endowments in the shape of jewels,lands,taxes and other income.”

He also constructed extensive water management projects the most significant of which was the reservoir of Bukkasamudram. The old water dams, bridges etc which had fallen into ruins due to the Muslim depredations were repaired and restored. Taxes were reduced keeping in view the strained circumstances of the land.

Goa which was under the Kadamba kings came under incessant attack by the Bahmani jihadis. Under Bukkaraya the Islamic invaders were pushed out and Goa was recovered.

This great defender of Dharma breathed his last on 24th February 1377 after a glorious reign of more than twenty years.

References

1.Tamil Country under Vijayanagar rule, Dr.A.Krishnaswami,Annamalai University,1964.

2.Social and Political Life in the Vijayanagara Empire, B.A.Saletore,Vola I & II. (both are available for free download here).

3. Original translation of Madhuravijyam, to be published by Sriyogi Publications in 2013.

4.Madhuravijyam,English translation by Prof.Tiruvenkatachari,Madras University,1959.

5. Prof.N.Venkataramanayya’s articles in Vijayanagar history in Itihaas, the journal of Andhra Pradesh State Archives,vol II,no.2,1975, Prolegomena to the Study of Vijayanagar.

* These names have been solely based on numismatic evidence, they are not backed up by either inscriptional or literary sources. Prof. N.Venkataramanaya has correctly called into question the validity of taking these names and dates for granted solely based on the evidence of coins.

November 16, 2012

Historical Map of India project : Cities of Vijayanagar Empire

Updated map with most cities of the Vijayanagar empire + Bahmani sultanate.Would be useful for anyone mapping history of Vijayanagar.Project  was dormant ofr a long time.As you will see the map will need to be cleaned up further (which I will sooner rather than later).

August 22, 2012

Bukkaraya,Part I

This is the first part of a two part series on the Vijayanagar emperor Bukkaraya I.

I have taken the liberty of not quoting references as it tends to become time consuming.But most of them can be found quite easily.The translation of verses from the Madhuravijayam is from an original translation being done by my parents, which I plan to being out sometime this year.If you are interested in  buying the book as and when it comes out please do send me a message.

Bukkaraya, Part -I

He (Bukkaraya) was the first among all kings , just as Adisesa  is among snakes, Himalaya is amongst the mountains and Lord Vishnu is amongst the gods.” verse 27, First Canto, Madhuravijayam.

Such was the greatness of Bukkaraya that he is compared to Lord Vishnu who delivered the earth from adhrama. Bukkaraya was the  second emperor of the glorious Vijayanagar empire, ruling from 1357-1377 CE .The first ruler of which was his elder brother Harihara I. In popular folklore these two brothers have been immortalised as Hakka-Bukka. There were actually five brothers in all, better known as the Sangama brothers. It was due to his herculean efforts that that the wave of Islamic jihad broke on the banks of the Krishna and a badly wounded Hindu society was nursed back to health.It would be worth adding that without the divine guidance of seers like Vidyaranya and Kriyashakti who guided the Sangama brothers ,the successful fight back would not have been possible.

To see the greatness of Bukkaraya in the correct perspective it is essential to have a little understanding of the challenges faced by him and his achievements in overcoming them.

1.1   Some Years before…

In the early 1300’s the marauding hordes of the Islamic barbarians led by Malik Kafur had penetrated into the Deccan and as far as Tamil Nadu.Soon afterwards in the 1320’s came the wave of the Tughlaq invasions which swamped the southern kingdoms. For a while the fate of the Dharma hung in balance. The Yadavas of Devagiri were wiped out, the Kakatiya’s of Warangal were gone and the Pandyas of Tamil Nadu vanquished as well.The only Hindu kingdom left fighting was that of the Hoysalas led by Veera Ballala III. It seemed certain that the  terrible disaster which had convulsed Northern India after Prithviraj Chauhan’s death in 1192 CE would be repeated in the South.

But things were destined differently. A ferocious fight back began all over South India. By 1336 CE the rollback of the Tughlaq invasions from most of South of India had been accomplished by a confederation of Hindu Kings and commanders. Notable among them were Prolaya Vema who liberated large parts of  Andhra Pradesh, the Chalukya prince Someshwara who ousted the tyrannical muslim governors from parts of Karnataka and the great Hoysala King Veera Ballala III who liberated large parts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.In this great war of independence to which only the twenty seven years of ferocious warfare waged by the Maratha people against the Mughals can be compared, there was complete participation of every segment of South Indian society.From a reading of various sources it seems likely that the Sangama brothers were feudatories of  Veera Ballala III. This explains why Veera Ballala had the confidence to attack the murderous sultans of Madurai with the main component of his army in 1342 CE, as the Sangama brothers were securing his northern frontiers against an attack by the Muslim forces from Devagiri. And by 1346 CE the construction of the magnificent capital of the empire later known as Vijayanagar was nearly complete.

2.The Challenges faced by Bukkaraya

2.1. The Bahmani and the Madurai Sultanates

The sultanate of Madurai was established around 1333 CE by Jalal-ud-din Ahsan Shah, the governor of Madurai. His rebellion was amongst the first of a long revolts by governors of Muhammad Tughlaq all over India which eventually led to the disintegration of  Tughlaq empire.

Veera Ballala III was engaged in near constant warfare with this genocidal regime in desperate attempts to destroy it and liberate the deep south. He was over eighty years old at this time met a tragic end in 1342 CE at the hands of  Ghiyas-ud-din Damghan Shah, a successor of Ahsan Shah.. This great defender of Dharma was captured in the decisive battle of Kannur-Koppam  and skinned alive by the blood thirsty Ghiyas-ud-din. His brutal murder was a great setback to the liberation of the deep south, as it was essential to secure the rear before the Muslims from the North launched a fresh offensive.

The region from the south of river Coleroon right till Rameshwaram was in the hands of the Sultanate of Madurai. With their capital at Madurai the so called “Sultans” had their paws on the rich trading routes of Asia via the flourishing ports on the Tamil Nadu coastline.The ports were a source of not only trade but also the entry point for Islamic jihadis arriving from West Asia and Africa.The most fertile region of the south was under their control.This allowed to Sultanate to field resources to fend off larger enemies like the Hoysalas. It was upto Bukkaraya I to remove this vicious dagger sticking in the back of the fledgling empire. The terrible atrocities carried out by the Sultans of Madurai were recorded by Gangadevi in her epic poem Madhuravijyam. I am presenting a few verses which give graphic details of the tyranny of these animals.

I am pained by seeing the beautiful groves of Madura where the coconut trees have been  cut down and in their place are to be seen rows of iron spikes hanging with garlands of crores of human skulls.” Verse 8, Eighth Canto, Madhuravijayam.

In Madura the kings courtyards which were very cool by sprinkling the camphor and sandal waters are now polluted by the imprisoned Brahmins tears ,I am distressed seeing that.” Verse 11, Eighth Canto, Madhuravijayam.

Ibn Battuta was also  witness to the blood thirsty nature of these tyrants.He says,

the Hindu prisoners were divided into four sections and taken to each of the four gates of the great catcar. There, on the stakes they had carried, the prisoners were impaled. Afterwards their wives were killed and tied by their hair to these pales. Little children were massacred on the bosoms of their mothers and their corpses left there. Then, the camp was raised, and they started cutting down the trees of another forest. In the same manner did they treat their later Hindu prisoners. This is shameful conduct such as I have not known any other sovereign guilty of. It is for this that God hastened the death of Ghiyath-eddin.”

The Madurai sultanate was not without its allies. The ruler of Kanchipuram was Champaraju,also known as Sambuvaraya by  historians. The region of North and South Arcot districts and parts of Chittor  district were included in his kingdom. He was an ally of the Madurai sultanate and this is hinted to in the Madhuravijyam wherein the Sultan is referred as the tree and Chamapraju as the branches. Thus there was a buffer region which had to be overcome before the Muslims in Madurai could be disposed off.

The Bahmani Sultanate : A new danger had arisen in the Deccan. On 3rd August 1347 at Gulbarga in Karnataka, Hasan Kangu proclaimed himself Sultan Abu’l Muzzafar Ala-ud-din Bahman Shah. The foundation of the Bahamani sultanate with its epicentre at Gulbarga marked the start of a bloody epoch in the history of the Hindus. The Bahmani sultanate was no less genocidal than the Madurai one.Large parts of Maharashtra were depopulated under the “secular” rule of the Bahmanis. The Bahmanis particularly after 1357 CE were engaged in aggressive campaigns of attacking Goa (which was under the Kadamba kings, who were tributaries of Vijayanagar), Telangana and the dominions of Vijayanagar proper around the Krishna river.

Bukkaraya had to  fight against enemies in the front and in the rear. Both the Muslim sultanates coordinated with each other in the attacks against the Vijayanagar empire. In fact one of the sultans of Madurai was a relation of the first Bahmani sultan. As witnessed by Ibn Batutta the Madurai sultans used to conduct regular devastating raids into the Tamil countryside.

2.2  Anarchy in society

The damage to the fabric of society was the most serious havoc wrought by the Islamic invaders. The waves of destructive invasions and the establishment of  Muslim rule in parts of South India had destroyed the traditional ways of living.The large scale sack and destruction of temples by the Islamic fanatics had left a large vacuum in rural and urban society.Hindu society has traditionally been decentralised and village based.In the villages the temples acted as the employer, land holder,bank, hospital, consumer of local goods and services etc. Thus to the muslims what was an easy source of plunder was the life blood to the common man.With the destruction of the temple the anchor which held together communities was effectively broken. The plight of the temples is well illustrated by this verse from the Madhuravijyam.

The state of the temple is such that the spiders are weaving their fine cobwebs, wild elephants rub their heads against the walls and lord Shiva himself is bereft of caretakers.” Verse 3, Eighth Canto, Madhuravijayam.

Added to these there was no security for the common Hindu as the Muslims engaged in wanton raping and killing. The slavery of the Hindus was big business for the Muslim sultanates. Brahmana’s were especially targeted as they were viewed to be the intellectual bastion of resistance against the Muslims (This strategy of targeting them was and is being used by Christian missionaries and other anti national forces).Atrocious taxation measures adopted by the Sultans were designed to fleece every single penny from the Hindus.

2.3 Damage to Infrastructure 

  In the scorched earth  warfare tactics practised by the Muslims the traditional water management systems such as tanks, bunds, canals, dams and bridges were the prime casualities. Not being endowed with any quality other than barbarity they neither had the will nor the expertise to repair the extensive damage caused by them. Agriculture which was  completely dependent on timely rains and in case the rains failed these water management systems were the fall back option. With their destruction droughts inevitably turned into catastrophic famines, as the stores of grains were requisitioned by the Muslim tyrants without any reciprocal relaxation in the taxation.

Compounding the woes of the Hindus was the serious drop  in the monsoon rains. The period from 1300s to 1500’s was the little ice age which was accompanied by serious droughts in India. Large scale famines which carried off lakhs of Hindus were a regular occurrence, one of the more serious ones being the famine of 1337-1344 CE which depopulated large parts of Northern India (which were fortunate to be under Muslim rule). We again turn to the Madhuravijayam for an eye witness view of the Muslims vandalism and the resulting famines.

At present the river Kaveri breaking her traditional course is flowing in wrong directions.It seems that she is imitating the Tulushkas by flowing in all wrong directions.” Verse 6, Eighth Canto, Madhuravijayam.

Unlike earlier times the earth no longer produces wealth, Indra does not give timely rains and the god of Death carries away the survivors left alive after the massacres by the yavanas.” Verse 14, Eighth Canto, Madhuravijayam.

The above verse refers to the plague that was ravaging Madura in the 1340’s.

 

The article is continued in Part II.

February 6, 2012

First day cover of Sri Krishnadevaraya,with information sheet

Filed under: Philately,Vijayanagar — Yogeshwar Shastri @ 1:26 pm
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February 4, 2012

Two Books on Vijayanagar Empire : Vyasayogi Caritam and Founders of Vijayanagar

On request follwing two books relating to Vijayanagar history and its foundation.

1.Founders of Vijayanagar

2.Vyasayogi charitam

 

Vyasayogi Caritam is a sanskrit poem written between the 15-16 Centuries on the great Madhva scholar Vyasaraya.It has an exhaustive historical forward as well.

October 10, 2010

VIjayanagar – Chapter 5

Vijaynagar

Chapter 5


Fig.1 Major Kingdoms of South India 1320 CE.

 

The map above shows the rough extent of the Delhi Sultanate and the extent of the major South Indian kingdoms.

In Delhi tectonic changes were taking place. In 1320 CE, Khusrau Khan assassinated Sultan Mubarak Khilji and proclaimed himself Sultan Nasir-ud-din. From the venom heaped upon him by Muslim historians like Barni, it is clear that Khusrau Khan   had converted back to Hinduism. Khusrau Khan is an enigmatic character who deserves an article on his own; I will touch very briefly on him.

Assisting Khusrau Khan in reasserting Hindu might in Delhi were fifty thousand Gujarati Hindus who had been enslaved by Ala-ud-din Khilji during his conquest of Gujarat. These are the Parwárís referred to by Muslim historians.

That the occasion of Sultan Nasir-ud-din’s accession to the throne of Delhi was a moment of joy for the despairing Hindus in the North is given by the following passage of Barani, “In those dreadful days the infidel rites of the Hindus were highly exalted, the dignity and the importance of the Parwárís were increased, and through all the territory of Islám the Hindus rejoiced greatly, boasting that Dehlí had once more come under Hindu rule, and that the Musulmáns had been driven away and dispersed”. (Baranī)

But this joy was short lived.Khusrau Khan was defeated in battle by Ghiyath-al-din Tughlaq and excecuted .Devala Devi who had married Khusrau Khan committed suicide by taking poison.

After killing Khusrau, Ghiyath-al-din Tughlaq   took over the reins of the Delhi Sultanate in 1320 CE. Once the Gangetic plains were subdued, he was able to direct his attentions to the south which had shaken off even nominal allegiance to the sultanate. Taking advantage of the chaos in Delhi, Prataparudra had thrown off the Muslim yoke. It is apparent that all the previous Muslim expeditions had not dented Warangal’s power much.

Third Invasion of Warangal

Once the gangetic plains were subdued, Ghiyath-al-din Tughlaq   turned his attention onto Deccan and further down south. Mubarak Khilji had completely wiped out the Yadava ruling family in Devagiri, which was now completely subdued. As mentioned previously Devagiri had become a stronghold of Muslims, who were   encouraged to come and settle.

Keeping in line with the genocidal policies of the sultans, Hindus were pushed to   bare subsistence levels wherever the Muslims gained a strong foothold. A detailed explanation of the economic and social catastrophe that befell Hindu society can be found on Dikgaj’s blog (http://dikgaj.wordpress.com/).

Fig 2   First Tughlaq invasion of Warangal in 1321 CE

 

Ghiyath-al-din Tughlaq   sensed that Warangal would not be easy to subdue. For this purpose a large army was assembled from the Muslim strongholds of Baduan, Oudh, Kara, Dabmu, Bangarmu, Chanderi etc. This sea of Muslim armies marched towards Warangal in 1321 CE led by Ulugh Khan (later on known as Mohammed Tughlaq).

This expedition was clearly with a view of conquering the Kakatiya kingdom, not just looting it. Ulugh Khan was accompanied by a host of other nobles and their retinues. After two months they reached Deogiri, where they were reinforced by other Muslim amirs and the invasion force rolled on towards Warangal.

At this point it needs to be appreciated that this was the third full scale invasion of Warangal in a short time of eleven   years. Muslims could generate and sustain massive armies on the back of relentless exploitation of the Hindus of the north and the looting of existing Hindu kingdoms. The enslavement of Hindu men and women was big business for the Delhi sultans. Northern India (Punjab and Gangetic plains) was stripped bare of resources after being raped for over three centuries by the Muslims.

It was official policy of the Delhi sultans to reduce the Hindus to bare subsistence levels. This is illustrated by a quote by Barani about Ala-ud-din Khiljis policy towards Hindus, “The Hindú was to be so reduced as to be left un­able to keep a horse to ride on, to carry arms, to wear fine clothes, or to enjoy any of the luxuries of life.” (Baranī)

On the other hand the Kakatiya kingdom was hard pressed to generate the same level of military resource without adversely affecting other sections of society i.e. agriculture, trades etc. Despite their obvious resource handicap the hardy Kakatiya warriors put up a fierce fight to the advancing Muslim host.

As on previous occasions Prataparudra along with his nobles took shelter in the formidable Warangal fort. Prataparudra was well prepared to withstand a long siege. In any event the siege dragged on for eight months. Roving bands of Kakatiya warriors disrupted the Muslim postal system and harassed the invaders from the rear.

I will deviate to give a brief description of the Delhi sultanates postal system. It is necessary to get an idea of how the Sultans were able to take rapid   military action on the basis of speedy communications.  Ibn Battuta says the sultans postal service was of two types:

1. Mounted Couriers: The first type was mounted couriers on horses. There were relays every 4 miles.
2.  Runners on foot: – Every third of a mile there was a village outside which three pavilions in which runners sat ready to move off. Each runner had a staff (yard and half long) with bells at the top. When a runner ran he had the message in the fingers of the free hand and the rod in the other. The bells alerted the men sitting in the next village of the runners approach and someone in the next pavilion took over the message. As per Ibn Battuta this was faster than mounted couriers. Fruits and criminals were also transported in this way to the sultan. This seems to have been only used for the sultan’s personal needs/military communications/government communications.

While the siege of Warangal was in progress, dissensions and intrigues broke out in the Muslim camp. Distrustful of Ulugh Khans motives, a group of rebels led by Tighin and Timur conducted secret negotiations with Prataparudra. As per their pact with Prataparudra, the rebels would abandon the camp and lift the siege of Warangal, provided Prataparudra allowed them to leave unmolested through his territory. Once assured of their safety the rebel faction rolled up their camp, destroyed the wooden stockades and left Ulugh Khan to face the wrath of the Kakatiya forces.

As soon as Prataparudra was sure that the rebels had left the Muslim camp for good, a ferocious sally issued forth from Warangal fort. This caused great slaughter in Ulugh Khans camp. Ulugh Khan had to depart in haste, all the while being pursued by the avenging Hindus.

Thus ended the fifth invasion of Warangal in total ignominy for the “ever victorious” armies of Islam.

Final invasion of Warangal: End of the Kakatiya Kingdom


When the news of the ignominious defeat reached Delhi, Ghiyath-al-din Tughlaq made sure that the rebels   who were responsible for the debacle were executed in the most painful way possible.Barani says, “The Sultán held a public darbár in the plain of Sírí, when ‘Ubaid, the poet, and Káfúr, the seal-keeper, and other rebels, were impaled alive;* some of the others, with their wives and children, were thrown under the feet of elephants.”  (Baranī)

Fig 3   First Tughlaq invasion of Warangal in 1322 CE

 

Within six months a more formidable invasion force was raised and Ulugh Khan swept into the Deccan. This time Prataparudra was taken unawares and was completely unprepared for the attack!

It is difficult to explain this failure in the light of the fact that on every previous occasion he had been well prepared to meet the Muslim attack. The   Kakatiya soldiers had been sent back to their villages and the granaries emptied, even Warangal fort was not properly provisioned. This can be only described in that oft repeated phrase of modern India as an “intelligence failure”!!

The Muslim force stormed Badrakot (Bidar) and besieged Warangal. The siege went on for five long months, but the breaking point for the brave Hindus came due to lack of food within the fort. Prataparudra surrendered on condition of amnesty.

While being taken as a prisoner to Delhi, Prataparudra committed suicide. Rather death than a life of dishonour!! This is a message strangely lost on modern   India wherein “compromise” and “adjustment” are the buzz phrases of the secular mob.

Thus fell the great Kakatiya kingdom which was a focal point of Hindu resistance against Islamic imperialism for nearly a quarter of a century. Ulugh Khan promptly renamed Warangal as Sultanpur. A typical act of Islamic vandalism wherein anything created by other cultures is appropriated as their own!!  Ishwa from India forum has written a nice series of articles analysing Islamic vandalism (http://www.india-forum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/2468-scheme-of-muslim-rule-in-india/page__pid__108412__st__0&#entry108412). Myths like the golden age of Islamic science etc which are being bandied about these days are a pretty good example of   gross distortion of history.

Resistance in Andhra

Although Prataparudra’s death brought the curtains down on the Kakatiya kingdom it did not extinguish Hindu resistance. In south western Andhra, Jagatapi Gangayadeva resisted the Muslims from his capital at Gutti. But in due course he was forced to submit to Ulugh Khan.

Fighting continued in the coastal Andhra region. Ulugh Khan established his authority and extracted tribute from the Hindu populace with the help of Muslim governors and the usual Hindu collaborators. Ulugh Khan also retained the key decision makers of the old Kakatiya kingdom to help govern the newly captured province. What limited freedom of movement the old Hindu officials had, would be closely watched by strong Muslim garrisons posted in key cities.

After the fall of Andhra, Ulugh Khan captured Madurai. In 1323 CE,  Parakaramdeva the Pandya king of Madurai was defeated and his family taken prisoner. A strong Muslim garrison was posted at Madurai   and the administration passed into the hands of Muslim amirs.

Change at Delhi

In 1325 CE, Sultan Ghiyath-al-din Tughlaq   was killed when a wooden structure erected to welcome him from his Bengal expedition collapsed on his head. The hand of Ulugh Khan in his father’s death has been strongly suspected by historians. With this Ulugh Khan ascended the throne of Delhi and proclaimed himself Sultan Mohammed Tughlaq.

Fig 4   South India in   1325 CE

 

At the time of Mohammed Tughlaqs ascension to the throne of Delhi   the major Hindu kingdoms still in existence were (see map above):

North: Rajputana (   I am clubbing all the existing Rajput states together, as I have not read enough of the situation in the North to give a clear picture)

South: Kampili (Karnataka), Dvarasamudram (major portion of Karnataka, parts of Andhra & parts of Tamil Nadu), Kandhyana (present day Pune region, not shown on map), Calicut.

East: Jajnagar (Orissa), Kamarupa (Assam, not shown on map).

The map above gives a rough idea of the size and location of the remaining Hindu kingdoms in the south of  India. I make no claims to the accuracy of the map; hence take it as a rough guide.

Mohammed Tughlaqs behaviour towards the Hindus was no less cruel and atrocious than the other Muslim sultans. Then why is so much opprobrium heaped on him? The Muslim historian Barani statement clearly illustrates the reason for his infamy:

“The punishment of Musulmáns, and the execution of true believers, with him became a practice and a passion. Numbers of doctors, and elders, and saiyids, and súfís, and kalandars, and clerks, and soldiers, received punishment by his order. Not a day or week passed without the spilling of much Musulmán blood, and the running of streams of gore before the entrance of his palace” (Baranī)

Its one thing if kafir Hindus are cut down like animals, but a different thing if a “true believer” i.e. a Muslim is killed!!

In recent times the secular lobby has tried to rehabilitate Mohammed Tughlaq by portraying him as a misunderstood visionary who was ahead of his time!  The same “eminent historians” are responsible for this reprehensible whitewash. On a side note many of these pseudo historians testified from the Muslim side in the Sri Ram Janmabhoomi court case which was decided recently upon by Allahabad High court. The way the Honourable judges tore apart their lies can be found in the extracts of the judgement posted in this thread in Bharat Rakshak (http://forums.bharat-rakshak.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5697).

What the secular historians neglect to mention is gems like these: “At this time the country of the Doáb was brought to ruin by the heavy taxation and the numerous cesses. The Hindus burnt their corn stacks and turned their cattle out to roam at large. Under the orders of the Sultán, the collectors and magistrates laid waste the country, and they killed some landholders and village chiefs and blinded others. Such of these unhappy inhabitants as escaped formed themselves into bands and took refuge in the jungles. So the country was ruined. The Sultán then proceeded on a hunting excursion to Baran, where, under his directions, the whole of that country was plundered and laid waste, and the heads of the Hindus were brought in and hung upon the ramparts of the fort of Baran. (Baranī)

In the above poassage, Barani is talking about the atrocious taxes levied by Mohammed Tughlaq and their effect on the Hindus of Uttar Pradesh.

So the “enlightened” Sultan first taxes Hindus till they have virtually no incentive to till their fields (It must be kept in mind that even in this day, land is everything to the Indian farmer.He will only abandon it in the most extreme circumstances: either when it does not provide  even subsistence level food or under  extreme force by external factors).Next when the Hindus flee inhuman persecution,the Sultan promptly organizes “shikaars” and hunts them down like wild animals!!

The Kampili wars

Kampili was a small but powerful kingdom founded by Mummadi Singeya from the fragments of the disintegrating Devagiri kingdom. Kampilideva succeeded Mummadi Singeya in 1313 CE. Please see the map for a rough idea of the kingdom of Kampili. It was tiny compared to the Delhi sultanate, but it punched well above its weight. It took three well equipped invasions before Kampili   faded into the night.

Kampilideva is one of those unacknowledged heroes   of our history who fought tooth and nail against the Muslim invaders. A staunch defender of dharma, he fought with even those Hindu chiefs who paid tribute to the Delhi sultans. Kampilideva fought many battles with bigger kingdoms such as Dvarasamudram and Warangal.

Mohammed Tughlaq decided to put an end to Kampili before it became the focal point of resurgent Hindu power in the Deccan. An ideal pretext for invasion was found in Baha-ud-din Garhasp’s rebellion. Baha-ud-din was a cousin of Mohammed Tughlaq and had been made governor of the Sagar town (Karnataka)   by Ghiyath-al-din Tughlaq .A brave warrior; he had fought with distinction against the Mongols in 1324 CE.

Baha-ud-din was disaffected with his treatment by Mohammed Tughlaq and rebelled in order to carve a separate kingdom for himself. All this while, he had been careful to cultivate excellent relations with Kampilideva. In 1327 CE, a pitched battle between the Delhi sultanates army and Baha-ud-din took place on the banks of the Godavari River in Karnataka. Garhasp was defeated and fled with his family to Kampilideva for protection.

Like on previous occasions in our history, the flight of a fugitive to the protection of a Hindu state was enough excuse for the Muslim sultans to attack the Hindu kingdoms. In Kampili’s case the excuse came in the form of Baha-ud-din Garhasp.

The outstanding moral character of Kampilideva is clearly demonstrated in the assurance of safety which he gave to Garhasp, “Now so long  as the pulse moves in my body, I won’t take in a breath except in friendship to you. I swear by the sun, the sacred thread (I wear) and the idols (I worship) that you shall find me faithful. If all (the people of the world) were to join together to take your life, they cannot cause you as much injury as a grain of barley.”

I have taken the descriptions of the three invasions straight from N Venkataramanayya’s book. Apologies if it sounds ad verbatim, as for most part it is.

First Invasion of Kampili

The first invasion of Kampili took place shortly after Garhasp’s rebellion in 1327 CE. Malik Zada aided by Malik Rukn- ud- din crossed the Krishna and mounted an attack on Kummata, which was the chief fortress of Kampilideva. At this time, Kampilideva was in his capital Hosdurg (Anegondi). Kampilideva sent a strong force headed by his minister Baicappa, his sons Ramanatha and Katanna, and Garhasp to reinforce Kummata.

On arrival Rukn- ud- din pitched his tents around the fort. Katanna conducted a surprise sally from the fort on the first day of the siege, inflicting heavy losses on the Muslims and capturing two thousand horses in the process. The next day the Muslims tried to storm the fort but were decisively beaten back by Ramanatha and Katanna. The Muslim army was completely routed and Rukn-ud- din forced to retreat back to Devagiri.

Thus ended the first invasion of Kampili; a complete failure for the world conquering armies of Islam.

Second invasion of Kampili

Incensed by the failure of the “mighty” armies of Islam to subdue the small kingdom of Kampili, Mohammed Tughlaq   promptly despatched another well equipped invasion force under Malik Qutb-ul-Mulk. The Muslims moved as before   to attack Kummata.

Kampilideva was well prepared to meet the second invasion as well. Both the forts of Kummata and Hosdurg were strengthened. This time Kampilideva himself led the defence of Kummata against the Muslims.

On the night of first day of the siege a surprise night attack by a band of Kampili warriors threw the Muslim camp into confusion. On the second day Qutb-ul-Mulk attacked   the fort with all his forces from three sides. They managed to take the outer wall, but were pushed out by the vigorous defenders led by Kampilideva.

On the third day of the siege Kampilideva arranged his troops in battle order outside the fort gates. Facing him was the Muslim army with their Turkish horse archers in the centre, cavalry to the right and elephants to the left. Ramanatha attacked the Turkish centre first throwing them into disarray. As they desperately tried to flee from the attack, they caused confusion in the cavalry and elephants stationed on their sides. Ramanatha charged the Muslim forces cutting most of them down and killing their top commanders. Qutb-ul-Mulk saved himself by escaping from the battlefield.

Final Invasion of Kampili

Within a short time Mohammed Tughlaq despatched an even larger force under his minister Malik Zada. There seems to have been a drought during this time in Kampili, as the Portuguese historian Nunes says that the Muslims had to wait for the rainy season before they could proceed further. This would perhaps explain why the two strong forts: Kummata and Hosdurg ran out of provisions relatively quickly.

The Muslims laid siege to Kummata first. Although Kampilideva and Garhasp sallied forth and assaulted the Muslims, they were defeated and forced to pull back inside the fort. Conditions inside Kummata got dire as the Hindus began to run out of provisions.

The Muslims stormed the fort in an all out assault forcing Kampilideva to abandon Kummata and seek shelter in his capital Hosdurg. Kampilideva relocated the fifty thousand citizens of Hosdurg to other places in Kampila, only keeping five thousand soldiers for the defence of Hosdurg.

Hot on Kampilideva’s trail, Malik Zada laid siege to Hosdurg. After one month the situation inside the fort got dire. The situation got even more precarious when the Muslims   stormed their way into the fort.

Kampilideva realised all was lost, but this great man first made sure his friend Garhasp escaped with his family to the Hoysala kingdom of Dvarasamudra, which was ruled by Veera Ballala III. Garhasp escaped with his family to Dvarasamudra.(Garhasp seems to have been quite an accomplished warrior, as he is described  tying three-four horses together, putting his family on them and riding out of  Kummata, only turning back to cut down his pursuers).

I am quoting this passage written by Ibn Battuta about the last hours of this great sovereign. It is extremely stirring to read, Then he (Kampilideva) commanded a great fire to be prepared and lighted. Then he burned his furniture, and said to his wives and daughters, “I am going to die, and such of you as prefer it, do the same.” Then it was seen that each one of these women washed herself, rubbed her body with sandal-wood, kissed the ground before the ráí(Raya) of Kambíla (Kampila), and threw herself upon the pile. All perished. The wives of his nobles, ministers, and chief men imitated them, and other women also did the same.

The ráí, in his turn, washed, rubbed himself with sandal, and took his arms, but did not put on his breastplate. Those of his men who resolved to die with him followed his example. They sallied forth to meet the troops of the Sultán, and fought till every one of them fell dead.” (Batuta).

As can be seen from the above passage the ladies of Kampila performed “jauhar” to save their honour. Ibn Batuta heard about this incident from a trusted source, but he was an   eye witness to another incident wherein the Hindu ladies burnt themselves on their husband’s pyre. Ibn Batuta clearly describes their fearlessness and devotion to their husbands in the face of the raging flames.

Kampilideva fought extremely bravely in battle before falling dead of his many wounds. Malik Zada had his head stuffed   and sent to Mohammed Tughlaq as a gift. The Muslims conducted a general massacre of the remaining residents of Hosdurg. Those who survived like the eleven sons of Kampilideva; were converted to Islam.

Thus was the end of the kingdom of Kampili, but the lowest ebb for the Southern Hindus was yet to come.

What of Baha-ud-din Garhasp? Veera Ballala III was unwilling to take the risk of inviting a full scale Muslim invasion by sheltering a fugitive. He promptly handed over Garhasp to Malik Zada.

As is illustrated by this passage Garhasp met a terrible end, He (Mohammed Tughlaq) ordered the prisoner (Garhasp) to be taken to the women, his relations, and these insulted him and spat upon him. Then he ordered him to be skinned alive, and as his skin was torn off, his flesh was cooked with rice. Some was sent to his children and his wife, and the re­mainder was put into a great dish and given to the elephants to eat, but they would not touch it. The Sultán ordered his skin to be stuffed with straw, and to be placed along with the remains of Bahádur Búra,* and to be exhibited throughout the country”. (Batuta)

References:

i.                    The Early Muslim Expansion in South India, N. Venkataramanayya, edited by Prof. K A N Sastri, Madras University Historical Series, 1942. Available at http://library.du.ac.in/dspace/

ii.                  Ibn Battuta, Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1354; HAR Gibb; George Routledge & Sons, 1929.

Works Cited

Baranī, Ż. a.-D. (n.d.). Retrieved October 2010, from http://persian.packhum.org/persian/main

Batuta, I. (n.d.). Retrieved October 2010, from http://persian.packhum.org/persian/main

Map References:

1.       Schwartzberg, Joseph E. A Historical Atlas of South Asia ,http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/schwartzberg/

2.      The Early Muslim Expansion in South India, N. Venkataramanayya, edited by Prof. K A N Sastri, Madras University Historical Series, 1942. Available at http://library.du.ac.in/dspace/

June 2, 2010

Vijayanagar Chapter 4

Vijayanagar

Chapter 4

Disintegration of Deogiri

In 1312 CE Rama Raya of Deogiri died and his son Sangama (some accounts call him Bhillama) took over the throne. The first thing Sangama did like his late brother Shankara Deva was to rebel against the Muslims and declare independence.

Ala-ud-din promptly despatched Kafur to dispose of the rebel. Kafur ravaged the lands of Deogiri .Sangama deciding discretion was the better part of valour fled from Deogiri.

However this  time no scion of the Yadava dynasty was installed on the throne. Deogiri lost its independence and was annexed to the Delhi sultanate for good. Malik Kafur made himself the governor of Deogiri and instituted an aggressive policy of Islamisation of the Deccan. The imperialism of the Muslims entailed settling large numbers of Muslims from the north and foreign countries in and around Deogiri. Deogiri like Delhi was fast becoming a Muslim city. Hindus were marginalised and terrorised. Kafur was an enthusiastic breaker of Hindu temples and took great delight in breaking them down and erecting mosques in their place.

As the Deogiri kingdom passed out of existence, various Hindu chiefs formerly under it refused to bow down to the Islamic oppressors. The hilly region of the Sahyadri Mountains, particularly around Pune was under the Koli king Naga Nayaka, who retained his independence in face of Muslim assaults.

In the southern part of the kingdom Mallideva the chief of Rayadurga   was a relation of Rama Raya. He declared himself the king of Maharashtra. Mallideva’s attempt at opposing the Muslims ended in failure, Mallideva being killed in battle by rival chiefs Mummadi Singeya of Kampili and Jagatapa Gangayadeva of Gutti.

Mummadi Singeya’s son Kampili Raya established the powerful kingdom of Kampili, which covered present day Dharward, Bellary and Raichur districts. Kampili stood as a bulwark against Muslim invasions till it was overwhelmed by Muhammad Tughlaq.

Malik Kafur departed for Delhi soon after leaving Ain –ul- Mulk as the governor of Deogiri.

Change at Delhi

In 1316 Ala-ud-Din   Khilji died and the administration of the sultanate was taken over by Kafur. In the   bloody   succession struggles which were typical   of the   Delhi sultanate,   he had two of Ala-ud-dins older sons Khizr Khan and Shadi Khan blinded. Imprisoning them in Gwalior he proclaimed Ala-ud-dins infant son as the sultan. Mubarak Khilji was thrown into prison and expected to meet the same fate as his brothers.

Kafur being a man of many enemies thought it wise to recall Ain-ul-Mulk to Delhi. Ain-ul-Mulk gathered all the Muslims of Deogiri and started his march to Delhi. As I have pointed out before the Muslim community was almost completely militarised, which meant each and every Muslim played the role of a soldier in battle. Hence for a brief period of time Deogiri was left completely to the Hindus.

However before Ain-ul-Mulk could reach Delhi, Kafur was assassinated by his bodyguards. They raised Mubarak to the throne, who proclaimed himself as Sultan Qutb-ud-din Mubarak Khilji. Mubarak himself had a male slave on whom he lavished his attentions. Known as Hasan he was subsequently given the title Khusrau Khan by Mubarak. Khusrau Khan was one of the enigmatic characters of the Delhi Sultanate.

Mubarak was a debauch and spent his time drinking or with women. He had his brothers Khizr Khan and Shadi Khan killed and took their wives for his own pleasure. The unfortunate Devala Devi was amongst these and Mubarak forcibly married her. With a fetish for cross dressing he used to appear in his court dressed in a woman’s clothes!!

But he was of one mind on the question of pursuing Jihad against the Hindus.

Haripala Deva

With the bulk of the Muslim forces departing with Ain-ul-Mulk (the governor of Deogiri), a war of independence was waged in Deogiri by   the valiant Haripala Deva.

Haripala Deva was the son in law of the late Rama Raya. The situation for Hindus had become intolerable with their day to day lives being dependent on the whims and fancies of the Muslim rulers. Hindu women were abducted in broad daylight and the peasantry taxed to death.

Haripala Deva was joined in his efforts by Raghava, a minister of   Rama Raya .For a brief period under the kingship of Haripala Deva, Deogiri regained its independence. He succeeded in defeating various Muslim amirs to the extent that Sultan Mubarak himself had to lead an army from Delhi to recapture Deogiri.

In 1318 CE, Mubarak accompanied by his lover Khusrau Khan started from Delhi with a large army. Entering Maharashtra they had to fight tough battles with Haripala Deva   and Raghava.

Raghava was defeated by Khusrau and his army destroyed. But Haripala Deva defeated Khusrau twice in battle. Making intelligent use of the mountainous terrain Haripala Deva with his strong army gave the Muslims a tough time.

Haripala Deva was finally cornered in Devagiri fort and agreed to surrender after Sultan Mubarak promised to spare his life. On surrendering this lion of the Yadava clan met a most gruesome end.

Mubarak in flagrant violation of his own promise, had Haripala Deva skinned alive and his lifeless corpse hung from the gates of Deogiri fort .The entire royal family of the Yadavas was massacred to prevent any future uprisings. Maharashtra was distributed to various Muslim chiefs as their reward.

Malik Yak Lakhy was made the governor of Deogiri and military garrisons were posted at Sagar, Gulbarga and other places. But the garrison meant to subdue Dvarasamudram was defeated by Katari Saluva Raseya Nayaka who was an officer in Veera Ballala’s army. Khusrau Khan was despatched to collect tribute from Prataparudra and Sultan Mubarak departed for Delhi on 5th August 1318 CE.

Thus ended the great line of the Yadavas of Deogiri.  With them came to an end the golden age of Maharashtra. For the next three hundred years   the life of Hindus in the Deccan  slipped into a dark age. The life of the common Hindu becoming worse than that of animals, as ravaging Muslim armies swept    across the landscape. Maharashtra passed from one genocidal sultan to the next, till divine deliverance came in the form of Chattrapati Shivaji in the seventeenth century.

Khusrau’s forays into the South

As soon as Sultan Mubarak was back in Delhi, Malik Yak Laky proclaimed himself Sultan Shams-ud-din and even minted coins in his own name. The Sultan promptly sent Khusrau khan with a large army to imprison the usurper. For a man with royal ambitions Malik Yak fell short of loyal friend’s .Betrayed by his own subordinates, he was imprisoned by Khusrau Khan who sent him to Delhi. There his ears and nose were cut off and would be sultan was deprived of all his wealth. Khusrau Khan appointed Ain-ul-Mulk as the viceroy of Deccan.

Khusrau Khan was further entrusted to attack the Pandya kingdom which was in a state of complete chaos. After Kafurs foray   in 1311 CE the Pandya brothers resumed their power struggles. However this time Vira Pandya gained the upper hand and Sundara Pandya was forced to flee into exile. Soon Vira Pandya himself was dethroned following an invasion by the Chera king of Kerala Ravivarman Kulashekhara. Ravivarman was forced to retire back to Kerala following troubles there and the Pandya kingdom was again in the hands of Vira Pandya.

Meanwhile in 1317 CE Prataparudra taking advantage of the disorder sent a powerful army under his general Muppidi Nayaka. The Kakatiya army successfully captured Kanchi from the Pandyas. Thus on the eve of Khusrau’s invasion the Pandya kingdom was in an even worse state of chaos than before.

As in Kafurs time the Pandyan army refused to fight a set piece battle with Khusrau. Civilians wise from previous experiences of the Muslims fled before the advance of the enemy, taking   along their possessions .Khusrau managed to capture a hundred elephants and the city of Pattan. The governor of Pattan was a Muslim named Siraj-ud-din. This did not stop Khusrau from   confiscating his wealth and taking his daughter!!

With the beginning of the rains and internal squabbles breaking out in his camp, Khusrau was forced to move back to Delhi. Khusrau’s southern campaign thus ended   in failure without producing any tangible results.

For Chapter 5 click here.

References:

  1. The Early Muslim Expansion in South India, N. Venkataramanayya, edited by Prof. K A N Sastri, Madras University Historical Series, 1942. Available at http://library.du.ac.in/dspace/
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandyan_Dynasty
  3. South India and Her Mohemmedan Invaders, S Krishnaswami Iyengar, S Chand & Co,1921, http://library.du.ac.in/dspace/
  4. TÁRÍKH-I FÍROZ SHÁHÍ,          ZÍÁU-D DÍN BARNÍ, Packard Humanities Institute, retrieved on 03-04-2010, http://persian.packhum.org/persian/main
  5. A History of South India, Prof K A N Sastri, Oxford University Press, 1966.

May 15, 2010

Vijayanagar – Chapter 3

I have created rough graphics of Malik Kafurs invasion routes using in S Krishnaswami Iyengar’s description and with the help of Google Earth .I have modified Vijaynagar Chapter 2 to show the map for Kafurs invasion of Deogiri and Wrangal.

Vijayanagar –Empire of the Gods

Chapter 3

After   extracting tributes from two of the most powerful Hindu Kingdoms in India at that time, Ala-ud-dins gaze was naturally turned on the rich Hoysala kingdom in Karnataka and Pandya kingdom in Tamil Nadu.

The Hoysalas

The Hoysala kingdom was extensive and covered almost all of modern Karnataka and parts of western Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. It was a rich and flourishing kingdom with revenues from sea trade, teak   etc. The Hoysala kings were known for their patronage of Kannada literature and fine architecture. Many temples from the Hoysala period still survive to this day and are outstanding examples with superb detail and exquisite craftsmanship.

The capital of the Hoysala’s was Dvarasamudram (modern day Halebid in Karnataka), a well fortified city. Veera Ballala III (ruled from 1291-1343 CE) was the ruler at the time of Kafurs raid on South India. He was a person with exceptional foresight, courage and   one of the mighty defenders of Hindu Dharma in troubled times of the fourteenth century. Even at the age of   eighty years this great king was still fighting against the Muslims, when he was treacherously murdered in 1343 CE by Sultan   Ghiyas-ud-Din Muhammad Damghani of Madurai.

The Pandyas

The Pandya kingdom was extremely rich and powerful, commanding the vital sea routes. It stretched from Quilon in Kerala to Nellore in Tamil Nadu. The capital of the Pandyan kingdom was Madurai and its second great city was Vira Dhavalapattanam (known to the Muslims as Bir Dhul).As it stood astride the major sea trading routes, it had a flourishing network of ports and a large fleet of ships.

The Pandya kings used to maintain a large cavalry force, sustained by constant imports from abroad. It must be pointed out here that India is not ideal horse country, the weather and climatic conditions render horses susceptible to a host of diseases and early death. Except for the hardy indigenous breeds of horses, foreign breeds had a very short life. This was why maintaining a large cavalry force was a luxury for most kingdoms .They needed to be constantly replenished and were a drain on resources. A good cavalryman in that age was worth his weight in gold. The Muslims in contrast had access to large cavalry forces straight from Central Asia.

The Pandyas also possessed a force of nearly thousand elephants, a large army with a contingent of Arab fighters as well. Elephants played a role on the battlefield much like battle tanks do today i.e.  steamroll   the opposition. War elephants   worked fine until they ran amok and turned on their own side.

The king ruling over this porsperous domain  just prior to the muslim invasion was Kulashekhara Pandya.He was an extremely capable and ambitious ruler. He defeated the Kakatiya’s and laid siege to the Hoysala capital of Dvarasamudram twice. Ceylon and other islands were subject to his power. After he was foully assassinated by his son Sundara Pandya, the Pandya kingdom fell on hard times.

A fratricidal war erupted between Sundara Pandya and his   younger brother Vira Pandya. Vira Pandya had been nominated by Kulashekhara as his successor. This was the reason why   Sundara Pandya killed his father and usurped the throne.

In a see-saw of battles the fortunes of Vira and Sundara Pandya rose and ebbed in turn. Thus on the eve of Kafurs attack the entire Pandya kingdom was in a state of chaos.

Attack on Dvarasamudram

Fig 1. Kafurs invasion route to Dvarasamudram and Madurai

In the map above I have charted out a rough route for Kafur’s attack on Dvarasamudram and Madurai based on the description given in in S Krishnaswami Iyengar’s book.

Malik Kafur reached Deogiri on 3rd February 1311 CE.As usual Rama Deva provided all the materials needed to help to the invaders.Rama Deva deputed one of his commander in chief Parshuram Dalavi to guide Kafur onto the right route for Dvarasamudram. Parshuram’s domains bordered Veera Ballala’s kingdom. Rama Deva had his own axe to grind against Veera Ballala III, as Veera Ballala had made repeated attacks on the Deogiri kingdom to seize territory.

Thus suitably provisioned, Kafurs force started from Deogiri on 7th February 1311 CE and reached a place called Bandir (as per S K Aiyangar this is Pandharpur in Maharashtra) on   22nd February 1311 CE. This was at the border of   Deogiri and the Hoysala kingdoms.

Like all good practitioners of warfare, Kafur had an intelligence wing in his army. Before penetrating into the Hoysala kingdom, Kafur despatched four officers(Bahram Karra, Qatlah Nehang, Mahmud Sartiha and Abaji Mughal), each accompanied by an interpreter to gather information about the enemy. The interpreters were fluent in the local language; I assume this was ancient Kannada.

Meanwhile Veera Ballala had decided to take advantage of the chaos in the Pandya kingdom and   was leading his army to try and take back territory lost by the Hoysala’s to Kulashekhara Pandya. As soon as Kafurs scouts reported this news, Kafur decided to head straight for   the capital Dvarasamudram.

Veera Ballala on his part learned of the Muslims at his rear and returned with great haste to Dvarasamudram.

En route one of Veera Ballala’s   Nayakas   attacked Kafurs   army, but was killed on the battlefield.

Following his tried and tested strategy of launching   surprise attacks straight on enemy capitals, Kafur reached Dvarasamudram on 25th February 1311 CE. In a short span of twelve days he had force marched his army straight to the gates of Dvarasamudram.

As per accounts initially Veera Ballala wanted to go into battle with Kafur. The Pandya king Vira Pandya had already despatched a force to help Veera Ballala. He however changed his mind on seeing the destructive capacity of Kafurs army. Before making up his mind he sent his advisor Kesava Mal to ascertain the strength of the enemy. Learning of the formidable strength of the enemy   Ballala decided to sue for terms. Veera Ballala was prepared to lose his treasure in order to safeguard his people and kingdom. He sent Ballapa Deva Nayaka who was known for his negotiation skills to Kafurs camp. Kafur made the same demands as before and extracted a heavy price from Veera Ballala.

There were two additional stipulations to the terms of surrender; one was that Veera Ballala’s son Veera Virupaksha Ballala was to accompany Kafur back to Delhi (possibly as a hostage to prevent Veera Ballala turning against Delhi) and that he should lead the Muslim army to Madurai.  With no way out of the quandary he was in Veera Ballala agreed to these terms.

Onward to Madurai

Guided by Veera Ballala, Kafur’s army reached the border with the Pandya kingdom on 15th March 1311 CE. The Pandyan princes mounted guerrilla warfare against the invaders almost as soon as they entered their territory.

Showing tactical ingenuity the Pandyas refused to fight set piece battles where Kafurs armoured cavalry would have an advantage. Instead they kept eluding Kafurs forces.

Kafur moved towards Veera Dhavalapattam, conducting savage massacres of defenceless Hindus along the way. Vira Pandya was in Veera Dhavalapattanam and he sent out a mixed force of Hindu and Muslim cavalry. A ferocious battle raged between the combatants from afternoon till sunset. In the might taking advantage of the lull in fighting Vira Pandya escaped with his family and treasure.

Furious at losing Vira Pandya, Kafur pursued him from place to place without any success. In the meanwhile rains had started and Kafur was obliged to stop as his army was in no position to fight.

As soon a Kafur made camp, Pandyan cavalry launched a fierce attack in the rain and were only repulsed after a terrible battle. Realising that making camp in the rains would make him a sitting target Kafur resumed Vira Pandyas pursuit.

With the entire landscape flooded by torrential rains, it was left to Veera Ballala to safely guide the Muslims across the waters. In the course of his pursuit Kafur came upon hundred and twenty elephants laden with Vira Pandyas treasure which he promptly appropriated.

After sacking the town of Kandur, Kafur’s forces fell upon the town of Marhatpuri in the night where every civilian was killed. In Marhatpuri the Brahmana’s and other courageous civilians had decided to defend the temples to their last breath and were killed to a man fighting Kafur’s forces. The temples in every case were razed to the ground.

Reaching Veera Dhavalapattanam on 1st April 1311 CE, Kafur destroyed the temples; even going to the extent of digging up their foundations to make sure no traces remained of them.

Kafur   reached Madurai on 10th April 1311 CE, but was unable to plunder it .Madurai was the seat of power of Sundara Pandya and was very well defended. Sundara Pandya had already fled Madurai.

Just when it seemed all was lost, a hurricane rose up which nearly destroyed Kafur and his band of thugs. Vikrama Pandya who was the younger brother of Kulashekhara Pandya took charge of the army. Vikrama Pandya was   eighty years old and with the help of his veteran Brahmana commander he marshalled the Pandya warriors to destroy the invaders ( to put the significance of this in context, try to imagine geriatrics like Manmohan Singh, Lal Krishna Advani etc taking up arms to defend India, can’t see that happening can you?!).

By now Kafur had overstretched himself and had penetrated too deep into the Pandya territory. Gathering a   vast force Vikrama Pandya attacked Kafur (I’m not sure of the location).The Pandyan warriors were incited to terrible fury by the heinous acts committed by Kafur. In the fury of their attack the Muslim cavalry was annihilated and most of Kafurs army destroyed.

Like other Hindu kings Vikrama Pandya fell short of completely annihilating Kafurs army and killing Kafur.

On his part Kafur managed to escape along with the treasure which had been despatched to Delhi. The battered remains of Kafurs army returned to Dvarasamudram and from there made their way to Delhi, reaching Delhi on 30th October 1311 CE.

Kafur took  Veera Virupaksha Ballala to Delhi where Ala-ud-din pleased with the help rendered by Veera Ballala, presented him with ten lakh tankas (silver coins) and sent him back to Dvarasamudram.

Thus Kafurs attack on the Pandya kingdom came to an ignomious end at the hands of the valiant Vikrama Pandya. Veera Ballala’s kingdom was left intact and he would be the last Hindu king left standing when the next wave of conquest started from Delhi.

For Chapter 4 click here.

References :

  1. The Early Muslim Expansion in South India, N. Venkataramanayya, edited by Prof. K A N Sastri, Madras University Historical Series, 1942. Available at http://library.du.ac.in/dspace/
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandyan_Dynasty
  3. South India and Her Mohemmedan Invaders, S Krishnaswami Iyengar, S Chand & Co,1921, http://library.du.ac.in/dspace/
  4. The Never to be Forgotten Empire “Vijayanagar”, B Suryanarain Row,1905, http://library.du.ac.in/dspace/handle/1/3601
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