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The veracity of claims that Maharaja Jaichand invited Sihabuddin or Mohd Ghori

Mahmud Ghaznavi attack on Kannauj and subsequent attacks on Indian mainland had been fresh on the memories of the Hindu populace. Muslim armies were notorious for forcible abduction of women and slavery, it is incomprehensible that Maharaja Jaichand, an ardent follower of Vaishnavism would have invited Sihabuddin to attack Prithviraj even after knowing the conduct of Muslim armies in India over the centuries.

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Name of the greatest ruler prior to emergence of Islam in India, Maharaja Jaichand has been employed as slur for a traitor by all hues of historians and politicians. The narrative has so effectively been integrated into the national consciousness that the name Jaichand has become symbolic of betrayal and collaboration with the enemy. Interestingly, no historical evidence exists to substantiate the allegations so expansively employed by all and sundry. Not one Muslim chronicles of the times had mentioned it, no Indian sources speak of this perfidy or any other sources are available to abuse the name of a Dharma Parayan Chakrawarti Maharaja. It shall be an endeavour of this article to study the accuracy and truthfulness of the claim of betrayal made against Dal-Pangul, Narapati, Asvapati, Gajpati, Vidhyavachaspati Maharaja Jaichand.

Principal of Scientific Methodology 

Today’s world is a scientific age where every thing is judged based on the scientific methodology and evidence. The said Facts must stand scrutiny of the elements of application of mind, a supposed Fact cannot be accepted merely because it’s been repeated ad nauseam by certain persons or a work of an individual. Discovery of truth is not supplicant to the established theories for the researchers, it must stand the test of methods applied by the researcher in his pursuit of Truth. New evidence has often been found to change the established history into irrelevance. We shall examine the factors which proves the innocence of Maharaja Jaichand in a scientific context.

Cause for Second Battle of Tarain 1192 !

The most compelling reason for the attack by Ghori was to retrieve his honour after the demoralising defeat by Prithviraj Chauhan on battlefield of Tarain, the previous year. Ghori who suffered an injury in the First Battle of Tarain and barely escaped being captured was rescued by his personal bodyguard who staked his life to save the Sultan. JH Gense in History of India, 1954, writes thus…

Briggs in his translation of Ferishta’s Tarikh has reiterated that Jaichand had no role in the second battle of Tarain as has been perpetuated in history. He ascribes the second attack to the shame of defeat in the year preceding his attempt at regaining his honour. There is no mention of any invite by any contemporary ruler in India. The basis of this conjecture is a story with dubious evidence.

Briggs’ translation & Cause of Ghori’s second attack.

Basis for the Alleged Betrayal !

The alleged betrayal has its genesis in the work of Rajshekhar Suri in Prabandhkosha writing around 1345 CE, a 150 years after Maharaja Jaichand met his glorious death in the battlefield of Chandawar in 1194. Suri in the chapter ‘ShriHarsh-Jayantchandra-Prabandh mentions a concubine named Suhab Devi. This Suhab Devi or Suhaba Devi was a widow of one Shalapati, probably a feudatory of Jaichand. She was a renowned beauty and accomplished in the art of politics and governance. She was obtained by a minister named Padmakar and presented to Jaichand who took her as his Bhog-Patni or a concubine. She had tremendous influence over the Maharaja and interfered in the running of affairs, was also called Kala-Bharti. ShriHarsha, the poet laureate of the court of Jaichand was titled Nara-Bharti, Suhab Devi developed an animosity owing to her zealousness for ShriHarsha. The incident of her asking ShriHarsha to put her footwear on her, thus humiliated the wise Minister retired from court and spent his remaining life as a hermit.

Rajshekhar speaks of another incident involving the Prime Minister Vidhyadhara of Jaichand & Suhab Devi. Jaichand had two sons, one a legitimate son from his Queen and another from Suhab Devi. On coming of age, Jaichand sought the counsel of Vidhyadhara on the question of his heir. Vidhyadhara, an adept at art of polity advised the King that his legitimate son is the rightful heir to the throne of Kannauj and Antarvedi, the Ganga-Yamuna Doab. Thus denied the throne for her son Suhab Devi sent a missive to Takshashiladheeshwar Surtan to attack Jaichand. Vidhyadhara informed the King of the conspiracy hatched by Suhab Devi but Jaichand blind in love with this character of Suhab Devi paid no heed to the warnings of Vidhyadhara. The wise Minister thus humiliated committed Jal-Samadhi in Ganga. However, it’s clear on certain things even we accept the theory provided by Rajshekhar some 150 years after death of Jaichand:

1. That ‘Surtan’ or Ghori was never invited by Jaichand and he had no information of the same

2. It was Suhab Devi who invited Sihabuddin Ghori when frustrated in her designs to get her son appointment as heir apparent.

3. Though Rajshekhar has blamed Suhab Devi, it still doesn’t prove that Ghori attacked on invitation of the concubine.

Merutung in his Prabandh Chintamani has mentioned Suhab Devi as the protagonist of the conspiracy against Jaichand. Vidhyapati in Purush Pariksha also alludes to the death of Jaichand at conspiracy by Shubha Devi or Suhab Devi. 

Views and Opinions of Historians !

Generally historians have accepted that the claim made against Maharaja Jaichand is not true. They have declared this assertion as untrue & ill logical as there exists no evidence whatsoever to substantiate the supposed Fact that Maharaja Jaichand invited Ghori to attack Prithviraj Chauhan. We present the views of some of the the leading historians who have formulated their own views independently. Dr RK Dikshit and Dr KD Vajpeyi writing in their work ‘Kannauj’ in 1955, “Prithviraj was defeated by Ghori in the second battle of Talawari, it paved the way for establishment of Muslim Rule in India. Jaichand had not assisted Prithviraj for which he paid soon after when he too died on the battlefield of Chandawar. This is an uncontested fact that Jaichand did not assist Prithviraj in the battle against Ghori and it was a great political blunder but it in no way implicates Maharaja Jaichand of betrayal or inviting Ghori against Prithviraj. It should be noted that Kannauj was the imperial capital of India not Delhi or Ajmer. The consequences of the decision of Jaichand not assisting Prithviraj were far reaching and catastrophic for the Country but there is no evidence of a collusion between Ghori and Jaichand. Muslim chronicles have acknowledged Maharaja Jaichand as the paramount ruler in India. Ibn Nasir in Kamil ut Tawarikh has called Maharaja Jaichand as the most powerful sovereign of India.

RC Mazumdar in his book Ancient India has stated that the allegation of Jaichand inviting Ghori has no legs to stand upon. In his words, “There’s is, however, nothing to support the current story that Jayachandra invited the Muslim King to India to wreak his vengeance against Prithviraj”. In his another book, Advanced History of India, pg 278, RC Mazumdar again rebuts the story of Jaichand inviting Ghori. He writes, “… the invasion of this country became inevitable corollary to Ghori’s complete victory over the Ghaznavids in Punjab”.

Dr Roma Niyogi in her History of Gahadvala Dynasty has refuted Chand Bardai and wrote that this allegation has been rejected by almost all historians. J C Powell-Price in History of Indiahas called the allegation baseless, he writes, “The story that Jaichand invited Mohammad Ghori to attack Prithviraj is presuming too much”. 

Dr Niyogi 

Dr R S Tripathi too has called this accusation as baseless. He based his observation on the fact that no Muslim chronicles have ever mentioned this in their writings over the centuries. Shri Mahendra Nath Mishra, renowned historian dismissed the charge against Maharaja Jaichand being a traitor to the country. He states that Chand was a court poet of Prithviraj and accepting his epic as history is far fetched. He wrote this in his article in National Herald in 1958.

Dr RS Tripathi and Shri Mahendranath Mishra 

Dr Ishwari Prasad too has rejected the accusations against Jaichand however has stated that Jaichand was a powerful sovereign who did not assist Prithviraj. Jaichand fought bravely on the battlefield of Chandawar where he died during fighting. Ibn Nasir in Kamil ut Tawarikhsays, Ghori knew that his hold on North was not permanent as long as Kannauj remains under Jaichand. Vincent Smith in Early History of India, Prithviraj led a Confedracy of Rajputs against Ghori at the second battle of Tarain. Though Prithviraj lost the battle but Smith has not blamed Jaichand for betrayal or invitation to Sihabuddin Ghori.

Lack of Contemporary Sources and Writings !

No contemporary author has even bothered to mention this accusation against Maharaja Jaichand. Not even the Persian or Islamic sources. Had there even been an iota of truth in this allegation, it definitely would have found a mention in any of the multitude of Muslim chronicles since Ghori. Some important observations on this accusation are as follows :

1. There is no mention of Jaichand inviting Sultan Ghori in Prithviraj Raso. It speaks of the story of abduction of Sayongita by Prithviraj leading to great animosity between the two. This rivalry led to establishment of Islamic Rule in India and destruction of both Prithviraj and Jaichand.

2. No Indian contemporary source mentions this important fact about betrayal by Maharaja Jaichand. Prithviraj VijayaHammira MahakavyaRambha ManjariPrabandh Koshanone speaks of this incident. 

Later authors taking Bardai’s Raso as historical source have interpolated the story of Sanyogita in love with Prithviraj, the Swayamvara of Sanyogita and the institution of Rajyasuya Yagna by Jaichand and created a myth of Prithviraj-Sanyogita. Jaichand had no daughter, no historical records or evidence exists of Sanyogita except in Bardai’s Raso. Abul Fazal in Ain i Akbari has put out the Raso as authentic history and thus makes the same mistake as many others.

Another important aspect which has been missed by the detractors of Maharaja Jaichand is the fact that there is no evidence of either Prithviraj attacking Jaichand or the opposite. Both Jaichand and Prithviraj have been extensively written about in their own times, their exploits, their victories and conquests have been thoroughly documented but never did these two main protagonists prior to establishment of Islamic Rule faced each other on a battlefield. If that be the case why would Maharaja Jaichand invite Sihabuddin Ghori. Importantly, Jaichand is universally acknowledged the paramount ruler of North India.

It is also an accepted fact that Jaichand was powerful enough by himself to take on Prithviraj Chauhan, then where was the need to invite Ghori to attack the Chahamana.

Gahadvals after the fall of Imperial Pratiharas assumed the paramountcy of North. They had successfully faced the Islamic invasions over the centuries. Chandra Dev Gahadval (1085-1100) had defeated the Turushkas says KM Pannikar in his book, ‘A Survey of Indian History’. Madanpala or Madanchandra (1104-1113) also successfully repelled a Turushka army, he spent his years fighting the Muslims. His heir and the most powerful Gahadvala ruler Govindchandra defeated Turks many times. So did his heir Vijaychandra. Jaichand or Jayachandra before dying bravely in 1194 at Chandawar had successfully defeated the Turushka Hammir (Amir). He was titled “Nikhil-Yavana-Kshaykarta(Destroyer of Yavanas), The word ‘Yavana’ is used for the Greeks in Indian history but it was generally applied to all foreigners and Turks in particular in later years. Vidhyapati in his work Purush Pariksha has mentioned that Jayachandra many a times defeated the Yavana King, he says “बारंबार  यवनेश्वरपराजयी पलायते” though it is not conclusive that Jaichand had faced Ghori before Chandawar in 1194.

The fable of Sanyogita-Prithviraj on which Chand Bardai based his epic Prithviraj Raso, has over the centuries had many recensions with newer additions. The earliest copy was found in possession of the Royal House of Bikaner which has no such mention. Raso has lost its historical relevance in light of critical studies of the epic and is relegated to being the foremost creation in Hindi language. GH Ojha, Dasharatha Sharma, HB Sarda, RV Somani, CV Vaidya and others have long gone discredited Raso as a historical source. 

Conclusion

Gahadvala Kings have been known in history as Protectors of Hinduism, their contribution to Religion has been documented in their inscriptions, in their temple building, in their grants to Brahmins and even to Buddhists. Gahadvala Kings were Vaishnavas and had faced the Turks over more than a century, they knew of the iconoclastic zeal, brutalities and destruction by the Muslim armies and resultant consequences of such an invite. Mahmud Ghaznavi attack on Kannauj and subsequent attacks on Indian mainland had been fresh on the memories of the Hindu populace. Muslim armies were notorious for forcible abduction of women and slavery, it is incomprehensible that Maharaja Jaichand, an ardent follower of Vaishnavism would have invited Sihabuddin to attack Prithviraj even after knowing the conduct of Muslim armies in India over the centuries.

The only thing which remains unanswered is that why did Jaichand not extend his support to Prithviraj in the times of a calamitous attack on the Hindu heartland ?

I don’t want to venture into the unknown but have this distinct idea that neither did Prithviraj seek assistance from Maharaja Jaichand nor did Jayachandra offered help to him in his fight against Sihabuddin Ghori. Besides, an unwritten law of Statecraft needs an applicant to ask for assistance from his neighbouring State to wage a war against an opponent. This aspect has been overlooked by the over zealous proponents of Prithviraj and find it convenient to make Maharaja Jaichand a scapegoat in the historical narrative being created at behest of vested interests.

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