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BACKGROUND

  • The Mewar region in north-western India was ruled by the Guhila dynasty, whose seat was located at the Chittor Fort (Chittorgarh).
  • In 1299, Alauddin’s general Ulugh Khan had raided the Mewar region on his way to Gujarat. In 1301, Alauddin conquered Ranthambore, which was located between Delhi and Chittor, and then returned to Delhi.
  • The same year, Ratnasimha ascended the throne of Chittor.The later legends based on Malik Mohammad Jaisi’s epic poem Padmavat state that Alauddin invaded Chittor to obtain Padmini, the queen of Ratnasimha (called Ratan Sen or Ratan Singh in these legends

). • According to these legends, a man named Raghava told Alauddin about the extraordinary beauty of Padmini.

 SIEGE

  • On 28 January 1303, Alauddin started his march to Chittor with a large army. After arriving near the fort, he set up a camp between the Berach and Gambhiri rivers.
  • His army then surrounded the fort from all the sides. Alauddin stationed himself at Chitori hillock located to the north of the fort.
  • The siege went on for nearly 8 months, which suggests that the defenders put up a strong resistance. Amir Khusrau, who accompanied Alauddin to Chittor, Khusrau implies that the frontal attacks by the invaders failed twice.
  • He states that during the two months of the rainy season, the defenders managed to reach the “waist” of the hill, but could not advance further.
  • Alauddin ordered the fort to be pelted with stones from siege engines (munjaniqs), while his armoured soldiers attacked it from all sides. • The fort garrison may have suffered from a famine or an epidemic. On 26 August 1303, Alauddin entered the fort

. • After his victory, Alauddin ordered a general massacre of Chittor’s population. According to Amir Khusrau, 30,000 Hindus were “cut down like dry grass” as a result of this order

RAJA RATAN SINGH

  • Accounts vary about what happened to Ratnasimha, the ruler of Chittor. The early Muslim chroniclers such as Amir Khusrau, Ziauddin Barani and Isami, state that the unnamed ruler (“Rai”) of Chittor surrendered to Alauddin, and was pardoned.
  • The Jain writer Kakka Suri(1336) states that Alauddin took away his wealth, and “made him move like a monkey from one city to another”

. • Modern historians have interpreted the word “departed“ variously, either to mean that Ratnasimha died fighting on the battlefield, or to mean that he deserted the defenders and surrendered.

  • The Padmavat legend claims that Ratnasimha (“Ratan Sen”) died in a combat with the ruler of Kumbhalner.

 AFTERMATH

  • Alauddin assigned Chittor to his son Khizr Khan (or Khidr Khan), who was 7 or 8 years old at the time. The Chittor fort was renamed “Khizrabad” after the prince.
  • Alauddin stayed at Chittor for 7 more days, and then left for Delhi, probably after learning about the Mongol invasion. As Khizr Khan was only a child, the actual administration was handed over to a slave named Malik Shahin, who held the office of naib-i barbek, and whom Alauddin called his son.
  • Later, Alauddin seems to have decided that it was best to govern Chittor indirectly through a Hindu ruler. He transferred the governance of Chittor from Khizr Khan to the Chahamana chief Maladeva (Maldeo).
  • He contributed 5,000 horsemen and 10,000 infantrymen to Alauddin’s campaigns, whenever ordered. He used to bring gifts for Alauddin during his annual visit to the imperial court, where he was honoured in return.
  • After the death of Maladeva around 1321, the fort came under the control of Hammir Singh, a ruler of the Sisodia branch of the Guhilas. STUDY IQ

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