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History of Prithviraj Chauhan




Rajput King Prithviraj Chauhan

Prithviraj III (1179-1192), also called Rai Pithaura by Muslim historians, was a king of the Rajput Chauhan (Chahamana) dynasty, who ruled a kingdom in northern India during the latter half of the 12th century. He was born to king Someshwara Chauhan and his wife Karpuravalli. He succeeded to the throne while still a minor, and ruled from the twin capitals of Ajmer and Delhi.

His elopement with Samyukta, the daughter of Jai Chandra, the Gahadvala king of Kannauj, is a popular romantic taleand is one of the subjects of the Prithviraj Raso, an epic poem composed by Prithviraj's court poet, Chand Bardai.

His kingdom included much of the present-day Indian states of Rajasthan and Haryana, and parts of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. In Prithviraj Raso, Chand Bardai depicts Prithviraj as a romantic, chivalrous and an jextremely fearless king.

His fast rise aroused the envy of the then powerful ruler of Kannauj, Jaichand Gahadwala, and caused ill-feeling between the two. Samyogita also known as Samyukta in folklore, daughter of Jaichand, fell secretly in love with Prithviraj and began a secret correspondence with him. Her father got wind of this and resolved to have her safely wed at an early date.

He arranged a Swayamwara, a ceremony where a maiden date. He arranged a Swayamwara, a ceremony where a maiden selects her husband from a number of suitors who assemble at the invitation of her guardian. Jaichand invited many princes of acceptable rank and heritage, but deliberately failed to invite Prithviraj.

To add insult to injury, Jaichand had a statue of Prithviraj made and placed at the door of the venue, thus parodying Prithviraj as a doorman. Prithviraj came to hear of this. He made his plans and confided the same to his lover, Samyukta.

On the day of the ceremony, Samyukta emerged from an inner chamber, entered the venue of the, swayamwara, walked straight down the hall past the assembled suitors, bypassing them all. She reached the door and garlanded the statue of Prithviraj. The assemblage was stunned at this brash act, but more was to follow:

Prithviraj, who had been hiding behind the statue in the garb of a doorman, emerged, put Samyukta upon his steed, and made a fast getaway. Jaichandra and his army gave earnest chase, to no avail. This incident resulted in a string of battles between the two kingdoms and both of them suffered heavily. The Chauhan-Gahadvala feud led to the weakening of both Rajput kingdoms.

After the Second Battle of Tarain, Prithviraj was taken as a prisoner in Ghor and was brought in chains before Mahmud. He haughtily looked Ghori straight into the eye. Ghori ordered him to lower his eyes, whereupon a defiant Prithviraj declared that the eyelids of a Rajput are lowered only in death.

On hearing this, Ghori flew into a rage and ordered that Prithviraj's eyes be burnt with red hot iron rods. This heinous deed was committed. The blind Prithviraj was then regularly brought to the presence of the barbaric warlord to be taunted by Ghori and his courtiers.

Chand Bardai came to Ghor to be near Prithviraj in his misery. Chand Bardai came in disguise and secured himself a place in Mahmud's court by purveying his skills as a composer of poems. The two got the revenge opportunity when Ghori announced an archery competition. Chand Bardai told Ghori that Prithviraj was so skilled an archer, that he could take aim based only on sound, and did not even need to look, at his target.

The blind and hapless Prithviraj was brought out to the field and given a bow and arrows. In the a spirit of the occasion, Mahmud Ghori personally gave Prithviraj the order to shoot. Thus, Chand Bardai provided Prithviraj with an aural indication of where Ghori was seated. He gave Prithviraj one further indication of the same, by composing a couplet on the spot and reciting the same in Prithviraj's hearing.

The couplet, composed in a language understood only by Prithviraj went thus:

Char bans, chaubis gaj, angul ashta praman,
Ete pal hai Sultan, (Taa Upar hat Sultan),
ab mat chuko hey Chauhan.

(Ten measures ahead of you and twenty four feet away, is seated the Sultan. Do not miss him now Chauhan).

Ghori then ordered Prithviraj to shoot, Prithviraj turned in the direction from where he heard Ghori speak, and, taking aim based only on the voice and on Chand Bardai's couplet, he sent an arrow racing to Ghori's throat. Ghori was thus stuck dead by Prithviraj.

Naturally, after this deed, Prithviraj was killed by Mahmud's courtiers. But the brave Rajput had avenged the betrayals and humiliations suffered by him. Selects her husband from a number of suitors who assemble at the invitation of her guardian. Jaichand invited many princes of acceptable rank and heritage, but deliberately failed to invite Prithviraj.

To add insult to injury. Jaichand had a statue of Prithviraj made and placed at the door of the venue, thus parodying Prithviraj as a doorman. Prithviraj came to hear of this. He made his plans and confided the same to his lover, Samyukta.

History of Prithviraj Chauhan

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