History, as they say, is written by the victors and not by the losers. Indian history has also been distorted by eminent historians for their vested interests.
Prithviraj Chauhan was a brave and courageous king of the Chauhan dynasty, who ruled the kingdoms of Ajaymeru (Ajmer) and Delhi during the latter half of the 12th century. He was the last independent Hindu king to rule the kingdom of Delhi, before Hemu.
Taragarh fort (image source: flickr).
In 1191, Shahabuddin Muhammad Ghori, the Sultan of Ghor, captured the fortress of Bhatinda in East Punjab which was located on the frontier of Prithiviraj Chauhan’s kingdom. Prithviraj marched to Bhatinda and defeated Ghori at Tarain and retook the fortress of Bhatinda.
The next year, in 1192, Ghori reassembled a larger army and returned to challenge Prithviraj Chauhan at the Second Battle of Tarain. Ghori attacked in the early morning hours and defeated Prithviraj Chauhan’s armies. Prithviraj Chauhan attempted to escape but was captured and eventually executed.
This was pretty standard procedure for that time to execute defeated ruler.
Prithviraj Smarak Monument, Ajmer.
The greatest myth lies in the stories written by Prithviraj’s court poet Chand Bardai and several other writers after him. These stories mention that Prithviraj Chauhan actually defeated Mohammad Ghori more than twice but rather six times. Every time Prithviraj generously pardoned his life and allowed him to return back to Ghor.
Based on myths, in seventh battle, Mohammad Ghori attacked Prithviraj Chauhan unfairly at night, defeated his armies and captured him. Later Chauhan was taken to Ghor, where he was blinded for not accepting the supremacy of Mohammad Ghori.
Then Chand Bardai, poet and a friend, came to his rescue by devising a plan to kill the sultan of Ghor. Chand Bardai approached the Mohammad Ghori & informed him that Prithviraj is an excellent archer & could hit any target just by hearing the sound & would only accept this order by a king. This proposal was accepted by Ghori. On the said day, Ghori sitting in his royal enclosure had Prithiviraj brought to the ground and ordered him to shoot a target. Prithiviraj turned in the direction from where he heard Ghori speak and struck Ghori dead with his arrow and afterwards they, Chand Bardai and Prithviraj, killed each other in a suicide pact.
This event is described by Chand Bardai in his poem “The Prithviraj Raso” as
“Char bans, chaubis gaj, angul ashta praman. Tau par sultan hai, Mat Chuko Chauhan.”
(Ten measures ahead of you and twenty four feet away, is seated the Sultan, do not miss him now, Chouhan.)
Prithviraj Chauhan kills Muhammad Ghori.
Death of Prithviraj Chauhan is still under a big question mark. Even though Prithviraj Chauhan’s graves lays in Afghanistan, it is still unclear how the king died.
Myth or Fact: what do you think?