The last major Hindu resistance to the Muslim rule in India was the Battle of Khanwa in 1527 when the Rajput resistance was broken. The next wave actually came in the region of 1555-1570 where Hindu kingdoms faced serious tribulations. The consequence of these wars was that Hindu India is now restricted to Rajasthan, lands east of Siliguri and north of Bangladesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. In the south, the border of Hindu India shifted from Krishna to Northern Penna.

Battle of Panipat 1556

Can we call it a Hindu fight against the Muslims? I seriously doubt it. It is a part of a civil war involving four Muslims – three Suris – Adil Shah, Ismail Shah and Muhammad Shah and Humayun, who was dethroned by a previous Suri. Adil Shah’s Prime Minister Hemu took his master’s banner, who was the actual ruler against the other two Suris who declared themselves independent. While Hemu invaded Bengal and killed Muhammad Shah, Humayun, seeing the opportunity, invaded Ismail Shah’s domains and drove him off. By the time Hemu reached Delhi, Humayun died in a freak accident (falling off the steps of his library – involving drugs?) and Akbar took his place. Agra fell without a fight and Hemu, instead of carrying the banner of his suzerain, created his own banner. He was generally successful except for that stray arrow on the fields of Panipat where he was leading the charge in a battle he was winning while Akbar conveniently stayed eight miles behind the battlefield.

Battle of Talikota 1565

This was more of a Hindu Muslim fight from the bird eye view and not from the ground level. Both the armies had a portion of the other religion as well. From the days of Srikrishna Deva Raya, Vijayanagar’s fortunes were rising and rising. But, history says a kingdom forged using a sword will be destroyed by sword itself. Feeling the might of Vijayanagar, all the fragments of the Bahamani Sultanate(Nizan Shah – Ahmednagar, Adil Shah – Bijapur, Barid Shah – Bidar, Qutb Shah – Golconda), Vijayanagar’s perpetual enemy banded together and crushed it in a mighty war. Even Firishta’s number of 9,00,000 soldiers for Vijayanagar is not far fetched. The accounts vary as to the actual execution of the war. Vijayanagar armies were led by Ramaraya, the de facto ruler of Vijayanagar while the four Muslim armies were led by their own kings. Berar was in the middle of a civil war and did not participate.

Firishta in his propaganda writes Vijayanagar was generally winning the war when in a touch of generosity, Ramaraya sitting on a throne started distributing goodies to the valiant soldiers on the field. The Muslims(Nizam Shah?) saw this and in a mighty push towards Ramaraya, captured and got him beheaded before the Vijayanagar armies were able to reinforce the position. This led to a carnage where Viajayanagar armies were chased to the gates of the capital city which itself was abandoned.

Vijayanagar accounts write that the Adil Shah was a honorary son of Ramaraya and he did not fight the war. Vijayanagar actually won the war against the rest three and when berated for letting the Muslims down, the Adil Shah attacked the revelling army and massacred it. In the middle of the carnage, two Muslim commanders of Vijayanagar joined the victorious Bijapur armies completing the rout. Ramaraya was captured and was executed by the Adil Shah.

The actual truth is somewhere in between – a seasoned commander distributing gifts to those fighting in a battle is a joke and a victory party in full fledge when a belligerent army, although neutral, is still in force is also equally improbable.

Though this battle broke the back of Vijayanagar, Vijayanagar armies were at the gates of Golconda itself in twenty years and it took another mighty war, this time, a civil war, to destroy Vijayanagar(Toppur – 1616) for good.

Capture of Orissa 1568

Orissa’s problems actually started with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Under his influence, a basically martial king, Prataparudra Gajapati turned towards Bhakti and neglected the kingdom military tradition of Kalinga. With a weak/withdrawn centre, the Prime Minister, Govinda Vidyadhara rebelled and took the reigns from the Emperor’s sons in 1541. His dynasty itself was overthrown by a general Mukunda Deva in 1559. Mukundadeva allied with Bhurishreshta drubbed the Muslim forces in the Battle of Triveni in 1565 under the command of Rajiv Lochan Ray. Something happened in the middle because of which Rajiv Lochan Ray asked permission from Mukunda Deva to convert to Islam so that he may marry the daughter of the Sultan of Bengal. The permission was denied, he rebelled and took the name of Kalapahad. In 1568, taking opportunity at the break in alliance between Bhurishreshta and Kalinga, Kalinga was attacked by the Sultanate of Bengal with the same Kalapahad as the commander of the invading forces. Mukundadeva was killed in a battle at Gohira Tikiri on Vaitarini River near Bhadrak. The kingdom was subjugated completely and all lands till Rajahmundry in North Central Andhra Pradesh came under Muslim rule for good. All these wars placed even the Bengal on a platter to the advancing Mughals who took Bengal in 1576.

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