Prithviraj Chauhan is one of the greatest rulers India has ever had. Born to Rajputana blood, Prithviraj was a brave, fearless and courageous warrior. He was the king of Chauhan dynasty and his then kingdom included Rajasthan, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
Born in Gujarat in 1166 AD to a princely family, Prithviraj was throned the king of Delhi. Prithviraj was an extremely bright and considerate ruler with a foresight even the brightest of rulers didn’t possess. So bright and intelligent was Prithviraj right since his early childhood, it greatly impressed his maternal grandfather- a ruler of the Tomar dynasty, that he declared Prithviraj the rightful heir to his dynasty.
Prithviraj was reigned the throne of Delhi and Ajmer officially from 1179 after the death of his predecessor, his father Someshwar Chauhan.
As a part of his expansion of kingdom strategy, he waged wars against many princely states. Of these, his attack on Khajuraho and Mahoba was the first major victory he had. Soon after, he attacked the Chaulakyas of Gujarat. The war was fought fiercely from both ends and went on for years but Prithviraj wasn’t successful in defeating the Chaulakyas.
Prithviraj led the First Battle of Tarain when Mohammad Ghori attacked the fort of Bhatinda, a part of East Punjab. Prithviraj sent out a written appeal to all the neighbouring kingdoms, especially Kannauj, to stand in unisor against the Mughal invader. No one came to his support.
Unabashed, he fearlessly fought against Ghori and defeated him. According to historical facts, Ghori had to face defeat 11 times before he treacherously defeated Prithviraj.
Prithviraj belonged to a royal family but never let it get into his head. He was a very generous king who always thought well of his people and his kingdom. He was proficient in a total of six languages and was academically brilliant. He was an exceptional student of mathematics, medicine, history, military, philosophy, painting, and theology. He aced military skills and had exceptional archery prowess.
Prithviraj, The Benevolent
Prithviraj was an extremely courageous, fearless and an undaunted warrior. He had strategies, he knew how to expand his empire well. And though a ceaseless ruler on the battleground, he was a true benevolent, kind and considerate ruler to his people. Being a Rajput, he led life by principles and was just and right.
Even though he conquered other empires in an endeavour to expand his own, he never intervened in their political affairs.
Even when he defeated Ghori, there was a kind side to Prithviraj and Ghori played it. Once taken into captivity, Ghori begged him to be released. Prithviraj’s ministers saw through his ploy and strictly advised him against it. But being the benevolent king Prithviraj was, he released Ghori.
This kind gesture turned out to be the biggest mistake in the life of Prithviraj Chauhan. Ghori returned, with a foul plan and an army of thousands of soldiers to attack Prithviraj’s empire.
Prithviraj Chauhan fell in love with Princess Sanyukta, the dauighter of King Jaichand. Jaichand was the arch rival of Prithviraj. When he held a Swayamvar for his daughter, he invited all the kings of India barring Prithviraj. To insult him further, he got a statue of Prithviraj dressed as a gatekeeper- a darban at the event. Sanyukta, who too was in love with Prithviraj, when learnt of this, put the garland on the statue.
Prithviraj was attending the event in a disguise and when he saw this, he immediately came forward and fled with Sanyukta.
This enraged Jaichand and to get back at Prithviraj, Jaichand joined hands with Ghori to defeat him.
Final Battle: Mohammad Ghori
Ghori was hell bent on defeating Prithviraj, who had very generously released him. But ghori was a treacherous fellow who always won battles by sheer ploys.
Ghori was aware that Rajput rulers fought battles only from sunrise through sunset. He took advantage of this principle and attacked them unannounced befoe dawn- when Prithviraj’s army was sleeping and unarmed.
Prithviraj was taken captive by Ghori who then blinded him using iron rods. To further mock him, Ghori organised an archery competition to insult the blind Prithviraj. Prithviraj accompanied by his court poet Bardai saw this as the appropriate opportunity.
Prithviraj’s archery skills were immaculate. Bardai described the exact seating position of Ghori through his poem whose lines go- “Char bans, chaubis gaj, angul ashta praman, Ta upar sultan hai, chuke mat Chauhan”
Prithviraj aimed and the shot killed Ghori. Legend has it that Prithviraj and Bardai then killed each other to escape death at the hands of Ghori’s army but there’s no evidence to support it.