“In the first expedition the Malik Naib Kafur Hazardinari was sent to Deogir with the amirs and maliks and the red canopy. Khwaja Haji, the Naib ‘Arz i Mumalik, was also sent with him to look after the administration of the army and the collection of elephants and treasures. No army had been sent from Delhi to Deogir since the time ‘Alauddin had invaded it as a mere malik; consequently, Ram Deo had rebelled and refrained from sending any tribute for years. The Malik Naib reached Deogir with a well-drilled army, plundered the territory and captured Ram Deo and his sons together with the Rai’s treasury and seventeen elephants. Great spoils fell into the hands of the troops. A message of victory was sent from Deogir to Delhi; it was read from the top of the pulpits, and drums were beaten in joy. The Malik Naib returned to Delhi with Ram Deo and the spoils, and presented them before the throne. The Sultan treated Ram Deo with great favour and presented him with the green canopy along with the title of Rai Rayan. He was further given a lac of tankas and sent back with great honour to Deogir with his sons, family and followers. Deogir was reconferred on him. Thenceforth to the end of his life, Ram Deo always obeyed the Sultan; he passed his remaining days in loyal obedience, never wavered from ‘Alauddin’s orders and sent regular tribute to Delhi.
Next year, in A.H. 709 ‘Alauddin sent the Malik Naib to Arangal with the maliks, amirs and a large army accompanied by the red canopy. ‘Sacrifice your treasure, elephants and horses in capturing the fort of Arangal,’ the Sultan directed him, ‘and try to make up for the loss in future years. Be quick and do not persist in exacting too much. Do not insist on Laddar Deo’s presenting himself before you in person or on bringing him to Delhi for the sake of your fame and honour. Do not remain there long. Be moderate and polite in your dealings with the maliks and amirs. Do not undertake any venture without consulting Khwaja Haji and the more important officers. Be kind and gentle to the men and do not show any unnecessary irritation. You are going into a foreign country; it is a long journey from there to Delhi and you should not be guilty of any acts or words which may lead to trouble. Connive at the small speculations and faults of the men.”
The second paragraph is more interesting as it ultimately, sets the context for the first paragraph. Ala-ud-din Khilji ordered Malik Kafur to gain token acceptance from Prataparudra of Warangal. Notice this one particular line.
Sacrifice your treasure, elephants and horses in capturing the fort of Arangal, and try to make up for the loss in future years. Be quick and do not persist in exacting too much.
In other words, in spite of sending Malik Kafur, Ala-ud-din Khilji is not confident of defeating Prataparudradeva. He wants just a token show. It’s a different thing altogether that Malik Kafur was able to defeat the Kakatiya forces at Warangal itself, though the strength, neither of the kingdom nor of the fortress of Warangal was not defeated.
Now, let’s go back to the first paragraph. It simply means, Malik Kafur had to invade Devagiri, subdue it and cart off the king to Delhi as a prisoner. But, the king is released and the kingdom restored. Reading between the lines, is it possible that a deal was struck between Ramadeva and Ala-ud-din Khilji for an attack on Warangal with Ramadeva receiving his kingdom in return for logistical support? Is it an offer he could not refuse, like kingdom against his head or violation of his women? After all, that’s what he did with Karnadeva, the Vaghela king who is a part of this discussion. Making this offer, does it indicate a defeat against the Kakatiyas which Ala-ud-din was not able to forget?
We also have this, from Barani, giving the time as 1303-1304.
At this time the Sultán was engaged in the siege of Chítor. Malik Fakhru-d dín Júná, dádbak-i hazrat, and Malik Jhaju of Karra, nephew of Nusrat Khán, had been sent with all the officers and forces of Hindustán against Arangal. On their arrival there the rainy season began, and proved such a hindrance that the army could do nothing, and in the beginning of winter returned, greatly reduced in numbers, to Hindustán.
Combining both the snippets, are we seriously saying, it’s a matter of shame for Ala-ud-din Khilji that his armies were not able to take Warangal because of rains? How many such parallels do we have in world history? Or is the story something different?
We have a reference to this from a single line in a Kakatiya inscription –
Going by the fact that the Muslims wrote they won every war against Warangal except the first siege of Warangal Fort by Ulugh Khan, this line, meaning, defeated the Turkish armies at Upparapalli, as conjectured by Nilakantha Sastry and others should tell exactly why the expedition failed.
Going into the details, it seems the Muslim armies marched diagonally South from Bengal before they were intercepted by the Kakatiyas under Pothuganti Maili near Upparapalli some 90 km north of Warangal and 50 km from the Yadava borders. That they were able to cross Godavari in flood but were not able to cross minor streams in that area due to rains raises questions over his claims.
Parallel to this, we see that when Ala-ud-din Khilji took Gujarat in 1304, Karnadeva, the Vaghela king escaped into Devagiri. Ramadeva gave him asylum and was ready to face the Muslim armies instead of surrendering Karnadeva. A massive force was sent under Malik Kafur in 1308 to take down a fully prepared Ramadeva. In spite of the fact that Karnadeva escaped into Kakatiya territories, the Muslims were unable to proceed further to Warangal and had to broker a deal with Ramadeva, which clearly tells that the battle was sanguine and Ramadeva or Singhana were capable of creating a general insurrection in the Yadava territories – they need a pliant vassal and not a belligerent loser.
Does this mean, not the rains but the potential of rebellion among conquered territories is the reason for shame, combined with the fact that Karnadeva, the original husband of his wife Kamaladevi is still roaming free?