JNU Mandatory Attendance Circular Protests – An Attempt to Find Sense in Them



Suddenly, I came across a tweet which says offices of JNU being held under siege by students, put in by a staff member of the University who is literaly pleading the students he is sick and needs assistance.
We too protested, but wenever ensured that some’s life is at stake. Trawling through the comments, it is surprising to see the level of abuse against the staff members. Is it a norm today? Or is it an exception to see that level of hate? May be I am too old for this, because we ran our show in colleges with Orkut and GPRS connections, not superfast wifi. And what offended me the most is the hashtag #NotOurVC. Is that the respect you give to your teachers?

At one point I jumped into the debate. I was not happy the way debate was going on. Actually, it seems, there are two grouses –
1. Mandatory attendance
2. Closing of dhabas in the university campus by 11 PM while as the reading goes, it used to be round the clock.
The argument plainly put forward was,
Dikkat ye h ki koi bhi university of social science courses keliye wo bhi PhD tk attendence compulsory ni h wo hi 75%. Ye sab circulars isiliye nikal warhe taaki; jnu ka debate and discussions culture khtm hojaaega.Govt. Is using its propaganda through v.c”
“Yahan dhabas 4 baje tk khulte the.. saare dhabas. Dhaba tha hmara venue to speak and generate awareness; or discuss; till late night. Ab dhabas 11 baje band hone lga h. Social studies mai class se sirf 40% education milthi h. Baaki class ke bahar se”

For propreity, I am going to mask the names of all the participants.
But, this is how the debate went in the general direction.
JNU Student: When we are attending classes, what’s the sense in making it mandatory?
Myself: When you are already attending, what’s the problem in formalizing it?
JNU Student: Problem is, they are making it mandatory that too for people till PHD level. This will kill the debate and discussion culture.
Another person: How is attendance and debating culture interlinked?
JNU Student: Dhabas in the campus used to be open till 4 AM. Dhabas used to be our venues to speak and generate awareness. Now, orders are given to shut them by 11 PM. We get only 40% education in Social Studies. Rest is outside.
Myself: Why can’t the same debates be conducted in class rooms after college hours? Which teacher is going to oppose it?
No answer but a shift in goal post.
JNU Student: You can go and check how many Social Sciences Universities have 75% attendance for MPhil and PhD. JNU is the only college in the country which opposes any repressive government policy.
Another person: I see only selective protests – against Govt, Army, RSS but I am not seeing any protests against ISIS, Triple Talaq or some other social evils. There was not even a protest when one of your collegemate was issued rape threats but you protested loudly in favour of the one who told Pakistan didn’t kill my father, war did.
JNU Student: Protesting against ISIS in JNU, what good will it do? There are a thousand evils in the world and we won’t be protesting against all of them. The most important thing today is fascist threat against all non upper class Hindus and minorities, and mysterious disappearance of people.
Myself: Let’s see. Protesting for Kashmir or Bastar in the urban coziness of Delhi, how does it help then? When your answer is pressurize govt, you can pressurize the same govt to create a united front against ISIS. As to the other allegation, do you have stats?
JNU Student: No muslim organisations in india ever supported the bloody attacks of isis. They have only clearly stated that they are not muslims. highest no. Of victims of ISIS are also muslims. But RSS is killing with state impunity here and BJP leaders publicly support
Myself: You are a college student. How did the debate degrade to Hindu vs Muslim? Shall we talk about your college, which is the only thing needed?
Another person: There will be fascist threat only if the current demography of India changes. The current facsist threat is just imagination of you people.
Myself: Interesting to see you don’t have an answer for even one of the questions posed. Let me compile them.
1. Which Univs don’t have mandatory attendance?
2. Why is protesting against ISIS useless but protesting against Kashmir is?
3. Why didn’t you protest in favour of Shelha Rashid?
4. How is debating in classes different from debating in canteens and hotels?
These should suffice for the time being.
The usual answer.
JNU Student: m not paid by anyone to attack people using fake accounts nor endowed with ‘much time’ as u people are. So; the 4. Questions u raised can be easily found properly from internet. But if u are a sanghi; thrs no point in me debating.

This turned out to be the usual tone of the debate. I am completely flummoxed. Can any student be this irresponsible and callous? They are risking lives simply because dhabas are closed and late risers are herded into class rooms. And when they are asked why they are protesting selectively(forget everything. When their collegemate is abused online, they all stood silent) or a list of colleges which don’t enforce mandatory attendance, they don’t have any answers

and the only options available with them are shifting goalposts and blocking(yes. I got that badge of honour as well),

that too when their Vice Chancellor, Department Heads and other seniors in the administration are part of the discussion. An added thing here is blind hate towards the Indic ecosystem which is currently identified with the word Sanghi. Is this the level of general discipline in the college, I don’t see any reason why the university or the concerned department should be kept open. It should be completely fumigated to make it a more saner place.

The VC may agree or disagree or can have a better solution than me, but the reality is, the current state of things cannot continue.

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Karikala – Separating Fact from Myth

As time passes and history of an event gets older, it is embellished with all sorts of exaggeration and sometimes, degenerates into a sort of pseudo-mythology. And if there is a reinvigorated effort to elevate him to a higher pedestal after the passing of centuries, it gets very hard to sift fact from fiction. One such person we have amidst us is Karikala Chola, whose provenance itself is a question.
So, who exactly is this Karikala Chola?
He is supposed to be one of the greatest Chola rulers of the old line. Son of Ilanjetcenni and the daughter of a Velir chieftain, he married a woman from the same clan. It is possible his father and grand father died when he was very young due to which his claim to throne was overlooked. He was captured by enemies but he escaped. His maternal uncle Pidarttalai helped him in his endeavours to claim back his throne. The royal elephant identified him and brought him back to the capital city. It is said that when the elephant was not able to lift him, a sage made marks on his feet with charcoal and he became light. He was good in both war and peace and patronized arts. One of his greatest achievements was the Battle of Venni where he defeated the Chera and the Pandya rulers. He led an invasion of victory till Himalayas and planted his standard there. He renovated Uraiyur and controlled Kaveri Delta; obtained vassalage of Oliyar, Aruvalar, Northerners, Westerners, Pandya, petty chiefs including that of the line of Irungovel. He built Kallanai, a dam to control Kaveri water flow and is considered an architectural masterpiece.
Origin of the word Karikala:
The oldest reference giving a meaning of the word is Palamoli which says it means charred leg. Others include Death to Kali, Killer of Elephants and even the charcoal marks which his mother got made on his feet when the royal elephant was not able to lift him.
Before trying to identify the real person behind this, let’s consider the sources which talk about him. They are categorized into two categories – those from the Sangam Age and those from the Modern Age
Sangam Age:

1. Puranuru: Verses 7, 65, 66
2. Puram 224 by Karungalal Adanar
3. Pattuppattu: Porunararrupadai by Mudattamakkanniyar
4. Pattinappalai by Kadiyalur Unruttirangannanar
5. Anhanuru: No 55, 125, 141, 246, 876
6. Silappadikaram: Cantos 3, 5, 6, 12
7. Manimegalai: Canto 1
8. Palamoli: Verses 6, 230, 239

Medieval Literature:
It is interesting to note, besides the traditional literature, the first reference of Karikala from a dateable age comes from the Melpadu plates of the Telugu Choda king Punyakumara, dated around 630 AD. This inscription is unique from three angles – linking Karikala with the Telugu people, first reference to Karikala’s Kallanai and the first reference to Trilochana Pallava.
After the Medieval Cholas came, there are a flood of references for Karikala, may be to legitimize their origins. Karikala is mentioned as early as that of Velanjeri plates of Parantaka Chola(932 AD). For reference, Aditya Chola is heard from 870 AD and became independent in 897.
As time went by, the inscriptions became more detailed, attributing more features to Karikala. Udayendram, Anbil, Thiruvalangadu, Leyden, Kanyakumari…all gave more finer details generally than the previous one. However, all of them said Karikala is from Surya Vamsa.
Karikala myth exploded on the world after Kulottunga’s invasion of Kalinga. Everyone wanted to link themselves to that illustrious person whom Cholas treated as the greatest in their line. The main works of this category are

1. Kalingattupparani describing Kulottunga’s invasion of Kalinga.
2. Ulas of Ottakkuttan: Vikrama, Kulottunga, Rajaraja. In both the Ulas and Kalingattupparani of Jayakondan, reference is made to Murkari or three eyed or Trilochana. Murkari is also interpreted as Maukharis on the basis of Northern invasion accd to Silappadikaram. There are two Maukharis, one around 200 BC and one around 500 AD. This gave impetus to some fertile imagination.
3. Kulottungan Pillaittamil by Ottakkuttan. This elaborates on Jayakondan’s Kalingattupparani.
4. Periya Puranam of Sekkayir

When Karikala is referred in Panditaradhya Charitra of Palkuriki Somana, he became popular in Andhra area. Approximately at the same time, Trilochana Pallava also took form. One of the first references is that of Vimaladitya’s Darsi inscription of 1023.
As the myth spread, everyone from Kakatiyas and the Vijayanagar chieftains of Matla, Saluva and others tried to associate them with Karikala. However, one needs to be careful how they picked it. Kakatiyas would have picked it through Coastal Andhra Chola territory while the rest, through Tamil traditions. A hint of this comes from a Bastar inscription of a Nagavamsi feudatory Chandraditya in 11th Century. Another is Bhaktiraja’s 1356 inscription. He operated in Godavari Delta area as a rebel for the Reddy kings.
Enter Vijayanagar. The legend refuses to die. Navacholacharitra(Kannada translated into Telugu), Cholavamsacharitra or Brihadeeswara Mahatyam, Sevvandippuranam, all give the story with their new details.
With regard to the reasons behind the massive impetus to the Karikala myth, one need to understand who the Modern Cholas were. The king lists with regard to three early inscriptions give a hint of what transpired with regard to them.
Velanjeri(932): Murari, Brahma, Marichi, Kasyapa, Surya,(gap), Usinara, Sibi,(gap), KARIKALA,(gap), Kochengannan,(gap) Orriyura, (unknown son), Aditya, Parantaka
Udayendram(941): Vishnu, Brahma, Marichi, Kasyapa, Surya, Rudrajit, Chandrajit, (gap), Sibi, (gap), Kokkili, (gap), Chola, (gap), KARIKALA, (gap), Kochengannan, (gap), Vijayalaya, Aditya, Parantaka
Tiruvalangadu(1020): Surya, Manu, Ikshvaku, Vikukshi, Puranjaya, Kakshivat, Aryyama, Analapratapa, Vena, Prithu, (gap), Dhundhumara, Yuvanasva, Mandhatri, Muchukunda,(gap), Valabha, Prithulaksha, Parthivachudamani, (gap), Dirghabahu, Chandrajit, Samkriti, (gap), Panchapa, (gap), Satyavrata/Rudrajit, (gap), Usinara, Sibi, Marutta, Dushyanta, Bharata, Cholavarman, Rajakesarivarman, Parakesarin, Chitraratha, Chitrasva, Chitradhanvan, (gap), Suraguru, Vyaghraketu, Narendrapati, Uparichara, (gap), Visvajit, (gap), Perunatkilli, (gap), KALIKALA, (gap), Kochchengannan, (gap), Vijayalaya, Adityavarman, Parantaka.
We can see names getting added as time passed. Even, it is interesting to note Vijayalaya is added in the middle. As names got added, details also got added. How much of this invention and how much of this is tradition? This is a clear indication that whoever Aditya Chola was, he decided to link himself to Karikala so as to claim legitimacy as a Chola. Initially, it just started with a name and slowly, additional details got added one after one.
Now, before trying to separate fact from fiction, there are a few markers to consider.

1. Karikala is shown as of remote past in Silappadikaram, meaning Sengottavan, the ruler in the book and Karikala are separated by long period, at least fifty years. Also to note is the fact that Silappadikaram is a book of fiction and it’s hard to separate fact from fiction. This is in reference to Karikala’s northern expedition.
2. Origin of the elephant story where the royal elephant identified him and brought him to the capital city came from a commentary on Palamoli 230.
3. Another Sangam work, Perumbanarruppadai written contemporaneous to Pattinappalai states Tondaiman Ilandirayan ruling Tondainad is more powerful than the three Southern neighbours. It is worthwhile to note, besides an account of Karikala’s northern expedition, all sources of his holding Kanchi and settling outsiders there are from medieval references. It is possible that Karikala holding Kanchi may have come from two possible areas – that Trilochana Pallava is one of his biggest enemies and though unrelated to the Pallavas of Kanchi and the word Pallava is enough to create a story of Karikala’s occupation. Alternately, this may have been confused due to an interregnum in Early Pallava rule where they lost Kanchi and bounced back. It is possible those who ejected the Pallavas from Kanchi were the Cholas.
4. The first reference to Kaveri embarkments comes from Malepadu plates of Punyakumara which talk of it as a miracle and not as an architectural achievement.
5. Ptolemy and Periplus who mentioned lesser kings didn’t mention Karikala. It’s an indication either he came after them or he is not as great as is projected.
6. One poem from Pattuppattu says kingdom is his birthright while the other says he escaped from prison to become a king. Combine both of them, though the kingdom was his birthright, he lost it. Is it possible that the poems were interpreted based on Pulakesi and Mangalesa?

All these centuries of distortion, the legend has turned from a human king to that of a superhuman one attributed with all sorts of impractical features. His enemy is three-eyed(an allusion to Madurai Meenakshi?), elephant is unable to lift him and all such.
Cholas being identified with Tamil pride has resulted in wishful interpretations extolling his virtues. Take for example, a few from Kanakasabhai Pillai.

1. Karikala’s daughter is Sengottavan’s mother Naroonai.
2. Karikala ruled Kanchi and Ilandirayan usurped Kanchi from him. It is worthy to note Tiruvalangadu is the first direct reference to Kanchi.
3. Karikala was on friendly terms with the northern entities like Avanti, Vajra and Magadha. Ignoring the military aspect in Silappadikaram, he states the military angle is a fertile imagination of the subsequent poets.

So, removing all the chaff which got created because he is identified as a prominent king in the dynasty of the contemporary superpower, what have we got? Nothing except this should be treated as truth.

1. He is a local king ruling Kaveri Delta, with his rule extending to Uraiyur.
2. He is either post Ptolemy or insignificant enough for him to consider.
3. He faced some troubles during accession – either he lost his kingdom in a battle or in a coup but he regained it through his personal capacity and with some help.
4. He defeated a confederacy of Chera and Pandya at Venni.
5. He is one of the prominent ones of his age, but not the most powerful. Tondaiman Ilandirayan is considered to be more powerful than him in a Sangam work written during his time.

Sources: Nilakantha Sastry in Studies In Cola History And Administration

The Ramachandra we don’t know – Did Alauddin Khilji ever reach Devagiri?

Barani writes,

At Bhilsan ‘Alauddin had heard of the elephants and wealth of Deogir and enquired about the routes to that place. He had resolved to collect a large army at Karra for an attack on Deogir without informing the Sultan. Find­ing the Sultan more kind and affectionate than ever, he applied for some delay in paying the dues (fawazil) of Karra and Oudh. ‘I have heard,’ he represented, ‘that within the boundaries of Chanderi and many regions adjoining it, the people are free and ignorant and entertain no apprehension of the army of Delhi. If I am allowed, I will invest the money due from me (fawazil) to the Diwan in enlisting new horse and foot. With these I will march to those territories and bring the enor­mous spoils that I win, together with dues of which I am postponing the payment, to the Sultan’s Diwan.’

Alauddin fitted out three or four thousand foot-soldiers (payaks) with whom he set out from Karra on an expedition to Deogir. Publicly, however, he gave out that he was going to plunder Chanderi and kept his plans about Deogir secret. He appointed as his deputy (naib) for Karra and Oudh my uncle Alaul Mulk, one of his chief associates. He marched by stages to Elichpur and thence to Ghati Lajura. Here all intelligence of him was lost. But Alaul Mulk kept on sending the Sultan regular reports from Karra. These contained vague statements that ‘Alauddin was busy in chastising and plundering rebels, and that he would send his own reports in a day or two. The Sultan, who had brought up ‘Alauddin (as a son), suspected no evil. But discerning men in the City and the Court concluded from ‘Alauddin’s continued absence, that he had gone out to seek his fortune in a distant land. This news, born of guess-work, soon spread among the people.
When ‘Alauddin arrived at Ghati Lajura, the army of Ram Deo under the command of his son, had gone on a distant expedition. The people of Deogir had never heard of Islam before this time, for the land of the Mahrattas had never been invaded by any (Muslim) king, khan or malik. And yet Deogir con­tained an enormous quantity of gold, silver, jewels, pearls and other valuables. When Ram Deo heard of the approach of the Muslim army, he collected together such troops as he could and sent them under one of his ranas to Ghati Lajura. It was defeated by ‘Alauddin, who entered Deogir. On the first day he captured thirty elephants and several thousand horses. Ram Deo then came and offered his submission. ‘Alauddin brought with him such enormous quantities of gold and silver, jewels and pearls, that though more than two generations have passed since then and much has been spent in every reign at the devolution of the Crown, a large part of those elephants, jewels, pearls and other goods is still left in the Treasury of Delhi.

For all practical purposes, this is what we know about Seuna Ramachandra. In synopsis, the story is that Alauddin Khilji, as the Governor of Karra, during an invasion, heard of Devagiri and decided to invade it. He suddenly landed in Devagiri when the army was away, caught the king by surprise and acquired a formal surrender before the armies returned. After that, he was a pliant vassal providing logistics for Alauddin Khilji’s southern expeditions. It seems there was a sort of rebellion which was crushed with no effort and Ramachandra was carted off to Delhi as a prisoner. After turning back, he never rebelled. His son and successor and after him, his son-in-law rebelled and were killed.

The question is, is this narrative correct? Or is it another spin off? While searching whether there are any Yadava accounts of Ramachandra’s forced visit to Delhi, I came across Purushottamapuri plates issued by Purushottama, a minister of Ramachandra. It seems to be the last authenticated grant of Ramachandra and the initial 18 verses in the grant talks about the achievements of the Seuna Yadava rulers. Two verses are dedicated to Ramachandra –

Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 17.23.20Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 17.30.28

Epigraphia Indica XXV

Synopsising, the grant says, Ramachandra subjugated Dahala(Kalachuris ruling from Tripuri near Jabalpur), Bhandagara(Bhandara), Vajrakara(Vairagarh near Gadchiroli), Palli(may be some hill tribes), Kanyakubja, Kailasa, Mahima(Mahim?), Sangama(Sangameshwar), Kheta(Khed) and last but not the least, Varanasi.
No Southern areas were mentioned, but what we see is, he is successful in Konkan, Western Maharashtra and Central Madhya Pradesh. Jabalpur to Varanasi is 400 odd km. A march that small is not a big matter. May be he raided or may be, he conquered. Another place to mention is Kanyakubja – Kannauj. Raiding it is also possible through Kalachuri territories. Did he send a pilgrimage to Mount Kailash, one can only conjecture.
This tells about a few things. Ramachandra came to the throne in 1271 AD. Forgetting what his predecessors did, the Yadava armies were active at least from around 1275 in North India. Karra is between Kannauj and Varanasi. Are we seriously saying the governor of Karra didn’t know about a Southern Army which defeated Muslim forces all around his headquarters a few years before he came? And then, the next question. Where exactly is the northern border of the Yadava Empire and how far is it from Devagiri? Kara to Aurangabad, for example, is around 1200 km and the route goes through the general area of Jabalpur.
Now, about the route Alauddin Khilji took. It’s Bhailasán > Elichpur > Ghati-lájaura > Deogír. This is what Amaravati District Gazetteer says, regarding this.

He marched from Kara to Canderi, and thence across the Satpudas to Ellicpur, where he halted for two days, explaining his presence by saying that he was one Malik- Ala-ud-din, who had been one of the nobles of the emperor of Delhi, but was now leaving his master with the intention of taking service with the raja of Rajamahendri in Telangana. His story served its purpose and he was not molested at Ellicpur, which he left suddenly at midnight, advancing by forced marches towards Devagiri.

Even this doesn’t stick. It should have been Raja of Warangal, not Rajamahendri. And if it is Raja of Rajamahendri, he is a subordinate of the Kakatiya ruler of Warangal, who is a clear enemy of the Yadavas. Prataparudra is already aggressive on Yadava border. Will the governor of Elichpur or the Yadava emperor consent the passage of a force of 10000, powerful enough to change the course of a war, but insufficient to run a campaign, to an enemy who has every chance to use them against the same Yadavas?
So, the question is, how did Alauddin Khilji maintain his position in Elichpur? Also, it is assumed that Ramachandra conquered Varanasi and then lost it – it’s not just a raid. On such a volatile border, is it possible that Ramachandra will leave the borders open without any security? Ramachandra’s achievements as a ruler are not mean. Is it that easy to reach the capital city of such a powerful kingdom undetected? Also, note, even according to Barani, Alauddin Khilji stopped at Elichpur for two days. Either it is not under Yadava rule, which is not the case, or it is conquered, meaning Yadavas are marshalling forces to block him and hence can’t reach Devagiri with a token force as such or as is mentioned in the gazetteer, asked for a passage, meaning he will be monitored. And if he changed his direction towards Devagiri, he will be cut down.
So, the question arises, what exactly happened? Did Alauddin Khilji ever reach Devagiri or did he capture the king in Elichpur or somewhere North when he is on a pilgrimage or on a hunting trip and then used him as a ransom for whatever wealth he got? The two day halt, is it possible, is for ransom negotiations? With kingdoms being eponymous to the capital city, capture of a fort can always be equated to capture of the capital city. And if Alauddin Khilji is bent on dethroning his uncle, a mere border raid won’t work – what he needs is toppling of a major kingdom. Going by the fact that 1308 Malik Kafur’s invasion of Devagiri against a ‘reclariant’ Ramachadra is that sanguine that Malik Kafur had to go back and get a new army to achieve his aims, can we expect that an alternate narrative is constructed to give Alauddin Khilji against his uncle?

Kakatiyas defeating Ala-ud-din Khilji – The Ramifications

Barani writes,
“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 –
Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 23.57.20
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?