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BATTLE OF KANGRA (1333)
HOW KATOCH RAJPUTS BADLY DEFEATED MUHAMMAD -BIN- TUGHLAQ ?
The Kangra Fort is located 20 kilometers from the town of Dharamsala on the outskirts of the town of Kangra, India.The Kangra Fort was built by the royal Rajput family of Kangra State (the Katoch dynasty), which traces its origins to the ancient Trigarta Kingdom, mentioned in the Mahabharata epic. It is the largest fort in the Himalayas and probably the oldest dated fort in India. Many rulers sought to conquer the fort and plundered the treasures of its temples.
. The Katoch Rajputs of Kangra Annihilate Muhammad bin Tughlaq’s China Army (1333 AD)
Muhammad bin Tughlaq has been described as the Caligula of India – a man possessed by megalomania, ambition and ineptitude in equal measure. Tughlaq dreamed of being a world conqueror like Alexander, but sadly possessed neither the skill nor the temperament of an Alexander or a Genghis Khan. The result was that his reign was marked by one spectacular military and administrative failure after another. What he lacked in ability, Tughlaq made up for with cruelty. Needless to say, his ruthless reign was filled with rebellions all over the country.
With this object in view he began to raise a new army. Barani says that 3,70,000 troops were collected and paid for one year, but then the king disbanded them. Although the Sultan abandoned the idea of conquering Khurasan, he did not give up altogether the idea of foreign conquests.
A few years later, he conquered Nagarkot (A.D. 1333) in the Kangra district.Next he undertook an expedition in the Himalayan region. According to all accounts, the Sultan sent a large army for the expedition. Ibn Batutah says that it consisted of “a hundred thousand horsemen besides a large number of infantry”. It seems that the expedition passed through the Moradabad district. The royal troops captured the city of Jidya, which lay at the foot of the mountain, along with the adjacent territories, and burnt the country. The people here, all Hindus, left their hearth and home and took refuge in the mountain heights.
Rajanaka Prithvi Chandra, was ruling the fort of Kangra. In the Odes of Baelr-i-Chach (a poet at Muhammad court) we find the following: “when the sun was in Cancer, the king of the time (Muhammad Tughlak) took the stone fort of Nagarkot. It is placed between rivers like the pupil of an eye; the fortress has so preserved its honor and is so impregnable that neither Sikander nor Dara were able to take it, within are the masters of Katoch (named used for the kingdom Kangra then), within also are beauties resplendent as the sun. Its chiefs are all strong as buffaloes with necks like a rhinoceros.
They advanced by a narrow road, which would admit no more than one horseman at a time, along the precipitous mountain side, but safely reached the stronghold, which Ibn Batutah calls Warangal, of the local chieftain, where they halted after their toilsome journey. Here they were overtaken by the heavy and drenching rains of the mountains, which spread disease among men and horses and destroyed large numbers of both. The officers sought and received permission to lead their men back to the plains, there to await the end of the rainy season, when a second attempt might be made to traverse the mountains, and they set out with all their plunder, but the Katoch Rajputs had assembled to harass their retreat and occupied the gorges and defiles. Great stones and felled trees were hurled from the heights on the retreating host, laden with its plunder, stragglers were cut off, the passes were held and stoutly defended, and the highlanders so thoroughly performed their task
that they destroyed the army almost to a man, and recovered all the plunder. Nikpal, two other officers, and about ten horsemen were all who returned to Delhi and the king was deeply humiliated. Out of 1,00,000 , only 10 soldiers managed to return to delhi.
The effects of this campaign on the kingdom were disastrous. Not only had a great army and the enormous quantity of treasure which accompanied it been lost, but Muhammad’s reputation had received such a blow that disaffection in the regions groaning under his tyranny blazed into rebellion, and he was never again able to
place himself at the head of such a host as he had assembled for the conquest of China.
1. Cambridge history of india volume 3.
2. History and culture of india volume 6 by rc majumdar.
By sourya Jaiswal
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