Historic Landmarks of the Deccan/Chapter 2

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CHAPTER II.

A FORMER CAPITAL OF INDIA.

TOWARDS the end of the twelfth century of the Christian era the Chalukyan dynasty of southern India, once overthrown and again restored, only to totter gradually to its fall, was blotted out, and its dominions, after being the prey of various petty chieftains, were united under the Yadavas, a dynasty of which the elder branch, the Hoysala Yadavas, ruled for many years at Dvaravatipura or Dhorasamudra, the ruins of which are to be found at Halebid, in the Hassan district of the Mysore State. The Yadava race was represented in the northern Deccan by Bhillama, a famous warrior who, after a severe struggle with his kinsmen in the south, established his rule throughout Maharashtra and extended his dominions southwards to the Krishna. In 1187 Bhillama founded Devagiri or Deogir and made it his capital. Here he and his descendants reigned, not ingloriously, for a century, in the course of which period they succeeded in adding Malwa to their dominions. In 1271 Ramachandra, styled Ramdeo by Muhammadan historians, the fifth in descent from Bhillama, ascended the throne in Deogir, and early in 1290, while Ramdeo was ruling at Deogir Jalal-udKiin Firuz founded the Khalji dynasty at Delhi. The Deccan was at this time no more than a name to the Musalmans of Northern India. The Arabs had long been engaged in maritime trade with the inhabitants of the Malabar coast, and Muhammadan emperors had for a century held sway over the Punjab and Hindustan, and had overrun Bengal, but no Muhammadan from the north had yet crossed the Vindhyan range or penetrated the forests of Gondwana.

Jalal-ud-din Firuz, who was an aged man when he was raised to the throne of Delhi, had a nephew, Ala-ud-din Muhammad, who was also his son-in-law, and whom the old emperor treated rather as a son than as nephew, slighting the advice of his counsellors who descried in the younger man's restless and ambitious disposition danger to the pros- pect of the peaceful descent of the crown to the natural heir. Ala-ud-din's ambition was stimulated by an unhappy marriage. The cousin whom he had married was a termagant, and his domestic troubles were accentuated by the interference of his mother-in-law, the Malika-i-Jahan, who espoused her daughter's cause and supported her in her opposition to her husband. Relations became so strained that the prince feared that his mother-in-law, who had great influence over her husband, the emperor, would contrive to compass his death. Ala-ud-din was at this time governor of the province of which Karra, on the Ganges, 42 miles north-west of Allahabad, was the capital. There he consulted with friends as to how he could best raise an army sufficiently strong to enable him to found a kingdom for himself in some strange land beyond the emperor's dominions, where he could forget his domestic troubles and be secure from the designs of the Malika-i-Jahan. To assemble a large army without the emperor's knowledge was impossible, and as a large army was necessary to the execution of his design, Ala-ud-din had recourse to artifice. He represented to the emperor that the safety of the empire required that Chanderi should be subdued, and asked for and obtained permission to undertake the task. He marched from Karra in 1294, keeping the real object of his expedition a secret even from his own troops. He had already heard, during an expedition to Bhilsa, vague rumours of the great wealth of the Rajas of Deogir, and resolved to attack that place. Passing through Chanderi he advanced southwards and arrived, after a march of two months' duration, at Ellichpur. Here he halted for a short time to rest his troops, and explained his presence by saying that he was one of the nobles of Delhi who was leaving the imperial service and wished to enter that of the Raja of Rajamahendri in Telingana. He then left Ellichpur by night and pressed on by forced marches towards Deogir. Fortune favoured his enterprise, and it so happened that Deogir was at this time almost denuded of troops, the army having accompanied the Raja's eldest son, Shankar Deo, who had gone on a pilgrimage. Ala-ud-din advanced as far as Lasura, about twelve miles from Deogir, without meeting with any opposition. Meanwhile Ramdeo, who had heard of the approach of the invader, had contrived to collect two or three thousand men and to despatch them to Lasura to stay his progress. This small force was easily defeated by the Muhammadan army and was pursued to the gates of Deogir. The Raja took refuge in the citadel, then a place of no strength and undefended even by a ditch. The small garrison was hastily provisioned with some merchandise in sacks, which had been brought by merchants from the Konkan, and abandoned where it lay when they fled on hearing of the approach of the stranger; but the sacks contained salt, not grain. Ala-ud-din meanwhile captured the Brahmans and principal merchants of Deogir and plundered the city, giving out that his troops were no more than the advance-guard of an army of 20,000 Musalmans, which was following him. Ramdeo was now seriously alarmed and opened negotiations with Ala-ud-din. He pointed out to him that the army of Deogir would soon return to the capital and would annihilate the invaders, and that if any escaped they would certainly be cut off by the Rajas of Malwa, Khandesh and Gondwana. Ala-ud-din, who was well aware of the perilous nature of his enterprise, agreed to depart within a fortnight, holding his captives meanwhile as a guarantee for a ransom of 50 maunds of gold, several maunds of pearls, and some valuable stuffs, in addition to 40 elephants, some thousands of horses, and the plunder which he had already collected from the city. In the meantime, Shankar Deo had heard of his father's plight and was returning to the city by forced marches. The treaty had just been concluded when news arrived that he was within six miles of Deogir. Ramdeo sent a message to his son, ordering him not to attack the "Turks," who were terrible men, as he had just concluded a treaty with them. Shankar Deo, whose army outnumbered that of the invaders by two to one, disregarded his father's orders and sent a message to Ala-ud-din ordering him to restore all the plunder that he had taken and leave the kingdom. Ala-ud-din disgraced the messengers by parading them through his camp with their faces blackened, and then, leaving Malik Nusrat with a thousand men to watch Deogir, marched against Shankar Deo. The fight was fiercely contested, and the Musalmans were on the point of retiring, when Malik Nusrat left Deogir without orders and came to his leader's assistance. The Hindus, seeing a fresh force of Musalmans, believed it to be the army of 20,000 horse of which Ala-ud-din had spoken, and broke and fled. Ala-ud-din then returned to the siege of the citadel, put his captives to death, and paraded a number of Ram Deo's relatives, who had been captured in the battle, in chains before the fortress. Ram Deo was on the point of applying for assistance to the neighbouring Hindu chieftains when the sacks of salt were opened and it was discovered that the garrison was absolutely without provisions. The Raja was thus forced to re-open negotiations on terms much less favourable than those which he had first obtained. Ala-ud-din inferred from his anxiety for peace that the garrison was hard pressed, and resolved to make the Hindus suffer for their breach of faith. He now insisted on a ransom of 6oo maunds of gold, 7 maunds of pearls, 2 maunds of other jewels, 1,000 maunds of silver, 4.000 pieces of silk, and a yearly tribute of the revenues of the Ellichpur province, to be despatched annually to Karra. On his part, he agreed to release all his remaining captives and to turn back the mythical army of 20,000 horse. On these terms the Raja of Deogir rid himself of Ala-ud-din for a time, and thus ended one of the most impudent and daring raids known to history. The refugee had paved the way for Muhammadan rule in the Deccan, and with the wealth which he had collected he returned to Hindustan. On his return he murdered his uncle and benefactor, and after a brief conflict which was decided in his favour by means of a lavish but judicious expenditure of Deccan gold, ascended the throne of Delhi. He was not the last Musalman ruler to profit by the truth contained in the Hindu proverb that the legs of Lakshmi were broken after she had crossed the Narbada.

For some time the Ellichpur tribute was regularly remitted, but Ala-ud-din was too much occupied to attend to the affairs of the Deccan, and after an interval of a few years Ram Deo thought that he might safely discontinue the payment of the heavy toll imposed upon him by the adventurer; but he reckoned without his host. Not only did Ala-ud-din the emperor miss the tribute which had been demanded by Ala-ud-din the fugitive, but he soon had other grounds for invading Deogir territory. In an expedition to Gujarat he had captured Kamala Devi, the wife of Raja Rai Karan of that country, and had taken her into his harem. Kamala Devi seems to have been contented with her change of partners, but missed the companionship of her daughters. One had died, but the younger, Deval Devi, a beautiful girl, was sought in marriage by Shankar Deo, the eldest son of Ram Deo. Rai Karan had long refused his consent to the alliance on the score that a Rajputni princess could not degrade herself by marrying a Maratha. When, however, Ala-ud-din, at the instance of Kamala Devi, sent an army to Gujarat in order to compel Rai Karan to despatch his daughter to Delhi. Shankar Deo, without his father's permission, sent to Rai Karan a mission, at the head of which was his younger brother Bhim Deo, and represented that it was better that Deval Devi, should be married to a Hindu prince than that she should fall into the hand of the Turks. Rai Karan saw the force of the argument and made haste to despatch his daughter to Deogir. Ulugh Khan, commander of the imperial troops, hearing of this, attacked Rai Karan with all his force and defeated him, but was too late to prevent the despatch of Deval Devi to Deogir, Rai Karan fled towards Deogir closely pursued by Ulugh Khan. One day, when Ulugh Khan was halted by the bank of a river, probably the Girja, three or four hundred of his men asked for leave to visit the caves of Ellora, near which the camp lay. While they were wandering among the caves a force of Hindus came into sight. The sight-seers, who had their arms with them, believed that this force was one sent against them from Deogir, and formed up to receive it. A fight ensued, in which the Hindus were worsted and fled. The horse of a lady who was with them was wounded by an arrow, and the Musalmans surrounded it and were about to seize her as a prize, when her attendant came forward and entreated them not to dishonour Deval Devi. The Musalmans then learnt that they had had the good fortune to encounter Bhim Deo's mission on its way back from Gujarat. The princess was sent with all honour to Ulugh Khan, who escorted her with his army to Gujarat and thence despatched her to Delhi, where she was married to Khizr Khan, the emperor's son, and became the heroine of one of the most famous love stories of the East.

Meanwhile, the emperor's favourite, Malik Naib Kafur, known as Hazar Dinari, from the price which he had fetched as a slave, had been sent to reduce the Raja of Deogir once more to obedience. Ram Deo was captured and sent to Delhi, where he was well received and highly honoured by Sultan Ala-ud-din. Deogir was restored to him and he received the title of Rai Rayan, with permission to use a white umbrella. For the rest of his life he remained a faithful vassal of Delhi.

There is a conflict of authorities regarding tHe date of these two expeditions to the south under the command of Ulugh Khan and Malik Naib Kafur, and it cannot be determined whether they were despatched in 1302-03 or in 1306-07.

As the Musalmans carried their arms southwards, they made use of Deogir as a base and source of supplies. Thus when Malik Naib Kafur marched in 1309 against the Telinga kingdom of Warangal, Ram Deo assisted him with treasure, elephants and horses. In 1310, when the same general marched through Deogir on his way to Dhorasamudra, the capital of the Hoysala Yadavas of the south. Ram Deo had, according to the historian Barani, who disposes of the Hindu's fate in a Calvinistic spirit, "gone to hell" and Shankar Deo ruled in Deogir. Early in 13 17 Ala-ud-din himself died, or, as was believed, was murdered by Malik Naib Kafur. Khizr Khan, the heir-apparent, had been thrown into prison, and Shahab-ud-din Umar, Ala-ud-din's youngest son, was raised to the throne, but was deposed and blinded in the following year by his brother Qutb-ud-din Mubarak, who ascended the throne. In 1318 Harpal Deo, son-in-law of Ram Deo, was ruling at Deogir, and in the course of the disturbances which followed on Ala-ud-din's death, had thrown off his allegiance to Delhi. In this year Qutb-ud-din Mubarak Shah set forth to chastise him and to recover Deogir. Harpal Deo fled on the emperor's approach but was pursued and captured and was then flayed alive. Thus ended the line of the Yadava Rajas of Deogir.

Qutb-ud-din Mubarak Shah remained during the rainy season at Deogir, engaged in bringing the Maratha country for the first time under Muhammadan rule and in building the great mosque which still stands at Deogir. This structure is a monument of the establishment of Islam in the south. The numerous pillars which support its roof are purely Hindu in design and were evidently taken from some temple which stood on or near the spot where the mosque now stands. The effect of the Hindu carvings in the temple of monotheism is most incongruous, perhaps designedly so, for Qutb-ud-din Mubarak, who was three parts debauchee and one part theologian, evidently intended them to bear witness to future ages of the downfall of Hinduism and the establishment of Islam. The emperor, during his stay in Deogir, established military posts throughout the Gulbarga, Sagar, and Dhorasamudra country, and parcelled out Maliarashtra among Muhammadan jagirdars. Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/38 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/39 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/40 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/41 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/42 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/43 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/44 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/45 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/46 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/47 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/48 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/49 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/50 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/51 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/52 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/53 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/54 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/55 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/56 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/57 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/58 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/59 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/60 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/61 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/62 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/63 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/64 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/65 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/66 Page:Historic Landmarks of the Deccan.djvu/67