It is surprising to see that the inscription issued in Saka 1108 is nothing more than a mass of names and no achievements. What does this mean? The Velanati Chodas didn’t achieve anything or by the time of Prithviswara, everything is forgotten? That he is ruling from Pithapuram and not Tsandavole itself is an indication… Read More Pithapuram Inscription of Velanati Choda Prithviswara
There is a obscure kingdom on the extreme end of Saurashtra by name Saindhavas about him almost nothing is known. Why do they matter? They crushed the Arab Navy, not once, but twice – a defeat that devastating that the Caliph, ordered no more naval raids of India. Nothing is known about them except two… Read More Saindhavas of Bhutambilika
This is an extract from the account of Mirza Muinuddin Hasan Ali Khan, the first Kotwal of Delhi appointed by the Mughal Empire during the rebellion. He puts much weight on the happenings in Awadh as a reason for the rebellion – it is interesting to notice that British saw a threat in the play… Read More Events Leading to Rebellion in Awadh, 1847-1857
Sugreeva mentions, in the description of lands in Ramayana, ततो हेममयं दिव्यं मुक्तामणिविभूषितम्। युक्तं कवाटं पाण्ड्यानां गता द्रक्ष्यथ वानराः।।4.41.19।। O Vanaras, leaving that river, you will find encrusted with pearls, the wonderful golden gate of the city of Pandyas. Alternately, this can be read as the Pandyans of Kavata, a name for their capital city.… Read More Pandya Kings in Raghuvamsam
The destruction of the Chalukya power under Pulakesi by Narasimhavarman resulted in a decade of chaos in the Chalukya territories, before Pulakesi’s son Vikramaditya I brought back stability. This immediately led to the shifting of allegiance of Telugu Chodas and Banas to Chalukyas. It is possible that Nolambas were governors appointed to a section of… Read More Nolambas – A Brief History
I seriously don’t get this attitude. What is the reason for this visceral hatred for Maharaja Hari Singh and unconditional love for Sheik Abdullah? Who is Sheik Abdullah? He is no more than a just another who ruled the roads. He neither had presence in Prajamandal nor has he got an official role in negotiations.… Read More Gandhi on Communal Riots in the Kingdom of Jammu
The Muslim Conquest of South India led to untold horrors in the area. The bounceback of the Hindus was swift – it’s as if they were surprised at the Muslim attacks and their mode of operation. While the lines were being drawn in the North with Yadava Empire controlled by the Muslims, the Telangana part… Read More Madhura Vijayam – Vijayanagar Conquest of Madurai
I was searching this for a long time, but never seriously enough. Madala Panji is the name of the chronicle maintained by Puri Jagannatha Temple. It contained a list of kings who ruled Orissa from time immemorial. Only after you reach medieval age, there is a semblance of practicality in dates. While Yudhistira is considered… Read More Orissa King List from Madala Panji
It is surprising to see that, sometimes, at the points where multiple civilizations merge, there is a blackhole about which we literally know nothing. Take for example, Dandakaranya – Bastar area. We have Bahamani Sultanate on one side, Delhi Sultanate on the second and Kalinga on the third side. They fought with each other everywhere… Read More Muslim-Ladakh relations
It’s an interesting piece – telling the way of life in the kingdom they are going to go, and the demands of those who are sending them. Next day, Lengdon sent for Khunlung and Khunlai. They made preparation to come. They put on embroidered coats and cloths on their bodies. The messenger escorted them. They… Read More Ahom Myths – Preparing Khunlung and Khunlai for their Journey to Earth
Of all the tribes and kingdoms Ahoms captured in the formative days of the Empire, the Chutiya Empire fought the longest and hardest war, giving way after almost two centuries of fight. With the collapse of the central authority, people scattered in all directions – Dimapur, where the court retreated, Kachari Dwars on the Bhutan… Read More The Fragmentation of the Chutiya Empire
Wahengbam Ibohal Singh, in History of Manipur tries to redate the Manipuri kings, a more rational effort as compared to the traditional account based on Cheitarol Kumbaba. The main points are below. Ibohal Singh bases his dates on the founding of Chandrabda – 789 AD and the fact that Imphal valley is populated no earlier… Read More Manipur Kings and Their Reigns
Then, when the land was overrun by the Mleccha hordes, his son Mihirakula of violent deeds, who was comparable to the god of destruction, became king. To the South belongs the god of Death; the northern direction, eager through rivalry to vanquish it, found an excuse and in him brought forth another god of death.… Read More Description of Mihirakula
The Zamorin’s empire at it’s zenith included the whole of the west coast from Kollam to Kollam, that is, from Pantalayini in the Kurumbranad Taluk of British Malabar to Quilon in the Travancore State. In the interior his sway extended as far as the Ghats. The main seaports are Putuppattanam or Turasseri, Pantalayini, Tikkoti, Kappat,… Read More The Zamorin Geography
From remote times Tirunavayi seems to have been a very sacred place in Kerala. The river here is considered to assume a special sanctity, because it flows between the temple of Mahavishnn, installed by the Mavayogis, on its right bank and the temples of Brahma and Siva on its left. It was the traditional head-quarters… Read More Mamakam – The Right to hold the Festival
In a society organised on the feudal model the sole burden upon land was service. Land-tax was unknown in Malabar before the Mysorean occupation. The sources from which the Zamorin derived his revenue were:— (1) Cherikkal lands or the royal estates. They were held in proprietory right, and it is from the proceeds of these… Read More The Taxes in Zamorin’s Calicut
There are a few important things when we look at Calicut – 1. The capital city was never taken 2. It has reduced two global colonial powers to mere jokes in it’s area of operations 3. Even till the last day, the king and his principal vassals are competent field commanders. 4. Calicut collapsed exhausted,… Read More Calicut – The Local Super Power about which we Know Nothing
The Namakaranam and Annaprasanam of the children are performed in the sixth month after their birth. The Tampurattis are named Sridevi and Mahadevi and the Tampurans Manavikraman, Manaviyadan and Virarayan. Those who bear the sane name are distinguished by pet name; the Tampurattis aro called Anujatti, Kunhianujatti, and Jyeshtatti, and the Tampurans Ettan, Kunhettan, Kuttiettan,… Read More A Description of the Zamorin Family
I haven’t read such an elaborate description of the accession of a king anywhere. Because of the level of intermixing of rituals, I had to carry forward a part of the information from the previous article. Due to the use of too much traditional jargon, the book is not that a great read, but the… Read More Change of Guard Part 2 – Accession of the New Zamorin
The funeral ceremonies are similar to those of the high class Nayars. The Attikkurissi directs them; the dead body is burnt and the Tampurans ‘bend under the branch’ as soon as they return from the cremation ground; on the 7th, 9th or 11th day after death, declared suspicious for the new Zamorin by the palace… Read More Change of Guard Part 1 – Death Ceremonies of the Zamorin
Well, he didn’t know about the true colours of Jaipur…It is the only Rajputana kingdom which never rebelled against the Muslims and voluntarily surrendered whenever there is a change in gaurd. Written c. November 1682. [After five long sentences of traditional eulogy] Shri Shambhu Raja craves your friendship and after enquiring about your welfare communicates… Read More Shambhaji’s Letter to Ram Singh of Amber asking him to rebel
Very rarely, you will find a historic occurence documented by multiple contemporaries in positions of note with their divergent point of views giving us multiple prisms to have a look at the same occurence, thereby ensuring helping us sift out fact from fiction and to eliminate the bias of the author. One such historic occurence… Read More The Fall of Hyderabad – First Hand Sources
If Jadunath Sarkar is one of the best we have got and if this book is his magnum opus, I am not happy. Read the narrative, it looks as if Aurangzeb won the war against Maharaja Jaswant Singh solely because of Jaswant Singh’s incompetence and nothing else. In contradiction to what is presented by Sarkar,… Read More Battle of Dharmat – History of Aurangzeb – How much can we rely on that?
What sort of garbage is this? This looks more like a floral piece of fiction than an account in a book of history by an erudite scholar. The complete section hinges on only one part – the incompetence of Maharaja Jaswant Singh, which looks completely unfair. The highlighted parts solely assert that part. Reaching Ujjain… Read More Battle of Dharmat – History of Aurangzeb – Jadunath Sarkar
Below is what Tarikh-i-Sultan Mahmud-i-Ghaznavi(I don’t know it’s antecedents) says over Mahmud of Ghazni. 1. The father of the King was the Amir Sabaktagin, and his mother was the daughter of a noble of Zabalistan, for this reason he is (sometimes) called ‘Zabali,” 2. Another time the Sultan again sent him a letter, and wrote… Read More Ghazni – Is he a Champion of Islam or is he a Just Another Conquer?
Well, what we learn is this. Rani Laxmibai jumped over the fort in the dead of the night, surrounded by her guards. She had her baby, Damodar Rao, tied to her back as she jumped off the fort wall on her favorite horse, Badal. What Vishnubhat Godse wrote The Rani, we were told, left the… Read More The Escape of the Rani of Jhansi
Always, I get confused with this treaty. Article 1 says transfer of ownership of property, Article 3 says the cost of transfer, Article 4 states that Gulab Singh can’t encroach and Article 5, Britain will be the arbitrator in any disputes. Article 10 establishes the British legitimacy over Article 5. These articles clearly point to a… Read More Treaty of Amritsar(1846) – Treaty or Sale Deed?
There is this book, My Journey written by a Maratha Brahmin by name Vishnubhat Godse, as fate ordains, decided to go on a pilgrimage to North India exactly at the time the the rebellion is about to start. For his bad luck, he was near Mhow, in Jhansi, Dhar, Gwalior, Lucknow and Chitrakoot when the… Read More Jhansi Theatre in 1857 Rebellion – What is the Truth?
If you know what to look and where to look, Indian scriptures give you tremendous information. Take for example, the list of Satavahana Emperors. Matsya Purana, in Chapter 273 gives a clear picture of the list of the rulers. And note, somewhere in the middle, there are these slokas which place them relatively – महापद्माभिषेकात्तु यावज्जन्मपरीक्षितः।… Read More Satavahana Ruler List – Matsya Purana
Nasik Inscription of Gautami Balasri, the mother of Gautamiputra(obvious, right?) Satakarni) is such a famous inscription, known by it’s famous name Nasik Prasasti is one of the most important ones over Satavahana history. Well, everyone knows the name and none knows what it contains, especially in these days of euphoria of the Telugu movie over the… Read More Nasik Prasasti of Gautami Balasri
There are some names, whose deeds are world famous, but the people are not. Damerla Ayyappa is one such, his contribution being the city of Chennai. Search regarding him, you will find literally nothing whatsoever. Well, as what is known, he is the younger son of Damerla Chennappa Nayaka, who ruled as a stand by for… Read More Damerla Ayyapendra – The Founder of Chennai
It’s not just the southern part of Bangladesh which is tough to draw because of those many islands. The northern part, especially in Rangpur division was even tougher since there are around 200 stand alone bits scattered in India and Bangladesh, these bits ranging in size from 25 sq km to a few square metres, creating… Read More Indo-Bangla Border and it’s Enclaves – A Curio and a Nightmare
Tradition says Warangal fort has seven concentric walls. May be, of the seven, two are the solid walls we are seeing even today and five, sort of temporary. May be, the considered the moat as one wall. Or, may be, it’s an exaggeration in itself. Of the two concentric walls standing today, the outer, a… Read More Warangal Fort – What existed between the Kirti Toranas?
Battle of Takkolam gave a body blow to the Chola power. The crown prince, Rajaditya was killed in the battle and there was a dynastic chaos in the Chola Empire from 950 to 985 after the king Parantaka died – five kings changed in the duration and the kingdom became an obscure entity from being… Read More Battle of Takkolam – Atakur Inscription
Rajendra Chola is one of the most famous of the Chola kings. A copper plate grant of his, known as Tiruvalangadu grant, gives a detailed story of the genesis of the dynasty besides other things. Well, I have got a few problems with that grant when juxtaposed with the fact that The Modern Cholas are… Read More Are the Cholas Really Tamil?
Well, they don’t know what’s their origin, they don’t know what their ancestors did. The older one gives a brief picture while the newer one is a more floral one. Poor guys…Can’t do much. Or is it multiple attempts to create a history for them, knowing that they are just petty rulers who were suddenly… Read More Modern Cholas – The confused lot
Discovered in 1905, these plates are one of the best indicators of how the Pallava Empire ended. Well, like any other kings, they linked themselves to one of the main dynasties of Puranic India. In their case, it’s the Ikshvakus – Chola is the son of Dushyanta. A few names, and then a break after… Read More Tiruvalangadu Copper Plates – A Floral Origin of the Cholas and References to the End of Pallavas
Below is in full, the chapter on Asmakas from Ancient Indian Tribes by Bimla Churn Law(what the hell is his actual spelling?). This piece of writing gives us the maximum information over Asmakas. The Asmakas or Assakas formed one of the Ksatriya tribes of ancient India. They are not mentioned in the Vedic literature, but… Read More Asmaka – Mahajanapada or Mahajanapadas or Namesakes?
14 September 1948 The Marquess of Salisbury Before I come to that, however, there is one matter which I cannot allow to pass without comment, and that is the recent deplorable happenings in Hyderabad. Your Lordships will have read the news of the invasion of that State with a sense of severe shock. The Nizam… Read More Annexation of Hyderabad – The Drama in British Parliament
This discussion in British Parliament on 23 June 1948 presents two intersting facets of the Hyderabad problem. One – Churchill, who declared he is not going to preside over the dissolution of the British Empire tries desperately to inflict his vendetta by creating troubles to India. On the other side, the acts of British government… Read More Churchill and Hyderabad – 23 Jun 1948
After the collapse of the Musunuri Nayaks, the scenario in Andhra was that the area was split between multiple players – both local as well as global. While Vijayanagar, Bahamani Sultanate and Kalinga formed that large and powerful kingdoms, the rest is shared between the two Velama kingdoms of Rachakonda and Devarakonda, the two Reddy… Read More Shitab Khan of Warangal – A Muslim Account
In a Bahamani advance around 1360s, Vinayakadeva, the son of Musunuri Kapaya Nayaka, the de facto ruler of Telangana was captured and executed. The war continued with reverses for Kapaya Nayaka and finally, Kapaya Nayaka agreed to a truce. Below is what Firishta writes of the pact – When the agents of the Raja came… Read More The Bahamani Throne
Only the last six of the Kakatiya Rulers can be called a great. Even of them, Prola was still a vassal to the Chalukyas. Rudra Deva a the firt to declare independence. His was a life of aggression and he was the one who laid the foundation of the mighty Kakatiya Empire. In a battle… Read More Rudrama Devi’s Death – Chandupatla Inscription
I seriously don’t remember where I plucked it from… The capital of Vijaynagar appears to have been established on 18 April 1336, equivalent to Salivahana Saka 1127 Prabhava Chaitra Pournami, Sthiravaram Ratri (night) where all activities of Sankalpa were completed and the foundation stone was laid in Bahula Paksha Amavasya at Midnight.This is confirmed by… Read More The Misfortune of Vijayanagar
One dynasty which is probably overhyped, be it due to megalomania or due to inferiority complex, much more than the rest is the Pandyan Empire. No questions that the word Pandya is very antique, having references in Mahabharata and elsewhere, but the reality is that they are petty rulers who ruled a carved out area… Read More Pandyan Empire – An Overhyped Kingdom?
Well, a drab one. Below is the dynasty chart of Cholas. There are a few major things to remember. Vijayalaya is the first Chola Ruler. He is nothing more than a petty governor or feudatory under the Pallavas who gained prominence by performing well in Pandyan-Pallava Wars. He declared that he is descended from the… Read More The Cholas – Dynastic Succession
Indian history is notoriously elusive. Here, we are seeing a kingdom which started as a governorship under the Golconda, then seamlessly transitioned into Mughal rule in a period of stability and even then, we don’t know the names of the rulers properly. CP Brown writes some names, someone some other, confusing regents and field commanders… Read More The Mayana Nawabs of Cuddappah
Restricting the discussion to the Maratha Empire based in Satara(the other two being Kolhapur and Tanjore), Satara Darbar directly controlled only five states besides the Peshwa. The whole of Maratha Empire, including the heavyweights like the Sindhia, Gaekwad, Holkar and the rest reported to the Peshwa, who in turn, reported to the Chatrapati at Satara.… Read More Satara Jagirs
The table below shows the changing fortunes of Hinduism and Islam all over the country at a major political entity level. One interesting thing to note is the resilience of Hindus to bounce back and claim the power, very rarely seen elsewhere in the world. Click on the image to zoom
Imad-ul-Mulk – Imad Shahi – Karnatak Hindu captured as a boy. He served for Khan Jehan and then Mahmud Gawan Yusuf Adil Khan – Adil Shahi – A Georgian Slave captured at the age of 17 and bought by Mahmud Gawan. He was adpoted as his son. Romantics say he was a son of the… Read More The antecedents of the first rulers of the Deccan Sultanates
This is probably the only contemporary sketch of Rama Raya, the defacto ruler of Vijayanagar till his death in Talikota. This comes from Tarikh-i-Firuz-Shah and is surprisingly Muslim looking for a professed guardian of Hinduism
A privateer Thimmayya, in the employ of Vijayanagar to disrupt the Muslim shipping was attacked by the Portuguese under Estevao da Gama once and the port of Honavar was burnt. Emperor Vira Narasimha, sensing their use in destroying Muslim shipping, in October 1505, he deputed Thimayya along with the Gersoppa chief, Malhar Rao to open… Read More The Day Portuguese got a Bloody Nose from Vijayanagar
The actual decline of the Pallavas started during the long reign of Dantivarman with a belligerent Pandyans encroaching from the south. In this chaos, Vijayalaya a feudatory of the Pallavas of the erstwhile Chola lineage defeated Muthurayars, a Pandyan feudatory based in the area around Thanjavur and occupied their areas around 850 AD. The final… Read More The End of Pallavas
This inscription, lauding the achievements of Pulakesi II or Satyasraya, one of the greatest of the Badami Chalukyas was composed by the court poet of the king, Ravikirti as a Sanskrit Poem and is installed in Meguti Temple at Aihole in 634 AD, when Pulakesi was at the peak of his career. One important thing… Read More Chalukya Pulakesi’s Aihole Inscription
It happened in 1993 when an inscription in Bactrian and Greek was found in a place called Rabatak between Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif when the Mujahideen were digging a trench along with many cultural treasures. It gave a complete account of the genealogy of the early Kushan Empire and some details till the reign of Kanishka,… Read More The Saga of the Kanishka – Rabatak inscription
One of the most complicated ruling dynasties in India is that of the Patwardhan Saranjam. Three brothers who were prominent military commanders were given lands between Kolhapur and Mysore and were given a free hand to expand and hold the both the kingdoms in check. Their traditional area of operation is the land between Krishna… Read More The Patwardhan Chaos – The Rulers of Miraj, Sangli, Kurundwad and Jamkhandi
1818 was the formal end of Maratha Empire. The Holkars, the Shindes and all the rest were formally separated from the Empire and a rump of Satara was created with five kingdoms as it’s vassals – Bhor, Aundh, Phaltan, Jath and Akalkot. Dalhousie one day suddenly declared that adoption is illegal unless sanctioned by him… Read More The Dying Days of Satara Darbar
Whether Mahmud of Ghazni was a religious zealot or not, we don’t know, but from the Indian perspective, he did nothing to propagate Islam, but looted the country continually. His credit lies in the fact that he finally broke the resistance in the Himalayas to open the route to India wide open. First Arabs came… Read More 17 Raids of Ghazni
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… Read More Three Battles which broke the back of Hindu India in a decade
This is the other kingdom which stopped Islam and was the main flag bearer after the fall of Zabul. Only after Kabul was crushed by Mahmud of Ghazni, Islam was able to enter India proper. There is no mention of these rulers in the pages of Indian history and unless the governments sit in some… Read More The Kabul Shahis
State Founded British Suzerainity Founder Origins of Founder How it was founded Area Alwar 1775 1803 Pratap Singh Thakur of Macheri Conquest and expansion 8547 Banswara 1527 1812 Jagmal Singh Prince of Dungarpur Estate by Dungarpur 4982 Bharatpur 1670 1805 Brij Local Ruler Conquest and expansion 5074 Bikaner 1488 1818 Bikaji Prince of Mewar Conquest… Read More Princeley States of Rajputana
Finally, the Sultans frustrated by Ramaraya’s politics, ganged up against him and defeated him at Talikota. A depth of commitment to Islam/a depth of motivation to throw off the Vijayanagar yoke simply led to the battle which spelled the death knell for the unity of Vijayanagar, which finally became a non entity due to the… Read More The Last Major Hindu Independent State is Crushed – The execution of Ramaraya at Talikota
Mewar is famed as the upholder of Hindu freedom and pride in Rajputana. The only thing we can say in this regard is that they staunchly refused to give their princesses to the Muslim rulers and nothing more. Looking at their history of fifteen hundred years, they ventured out of their territories only once with… Read More Mewar – What is it’s claim to fame?
An Ethiopian boy by name Shambhu was captured as a war booty and was sold successively in Yemen, Baghdad, Mecca and Baghdad, the last time bought by Chenghiz Khan the Prime Minister of Ahmednagar and finally turned up there. He was described as “a black kafir from Abyssinia with a stern Roman face” by the… Read More The African Black who forced Jahangir to daydream
There is a fact which Indians are to come to grips with. Marathas are not nation builders. They are military expansionists and never tried to consolidate their gains. Clear examples of these are the destruction of Angres, the survival of Najib-ud-Daulah, the neglect of Punjab, death of Dattaji Shinde, the debacle of Panipat where the… Read More If Marathas were Nation Builders
No additional text is needed to explain this chaos…As if two states are not sufficient, Dewas pitches in as well…
After Krishna Raya’s death, using the confusion, the Gajapati invaded Vijayanagara Empire. An angry Allasani Peddana composed his extempore, hearing which it is said that, an ashamed Gajapati retreated. సీ.రాయరావుతుగండరాచయేనుగువచ్చి యారట్లకోట గోరాడునాడు సంపెటనరపాలసార్వభౌముడు వచ్చి సింహాద్రి జయశిల జేర్చునాడు సెలగోలుసింహంబు చేరి ధిక్కృతి గంచు తల్పుల గరుల డీకొల్పునాడు ఘనతరనిర్భరగండపెండెర మిచ్చి కూతు రాయలకును గూర్చునాడు నొడ లెఱుంగవొ చచ్చితో యుర్వి లేవొ చేరజాలక… Read More A contemporary on Kalinga Invasion of Vijayanagar on getting news about the demise of Sri Krishna Deva Raya – A nice victor’s rant
During the Durrani invasion of 1765 to tame the Sikhs, during a fight outside Lahore, Nasir Khan, the ruler of Qalat fell down of his steed in the heat of fighting. As he fell to the ground, the turban he was wearing got loose. As a result, his long hair popped out from beneath his… Read More Nasir Khan Baloch’s Lucky Escape from Death
India’s history is very old, older than many of the other countries. But unlike any other cases, it’s a history of undisrupted continuum for millenia. But sadly, whatever the reasons are, Indians are not interseted in writing about history. Wherever we go, history is carried over either as literature, royal annals, inscriptions, coins and foreign… Read More The Origin of the word Satavahana
Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan and is one of the most prosperous of the Rajputana states. A reason for this can be found in the history of Jaipur. Basically, they never fought wars which they did not lose and always stayed on the correct side of brute force. The main exception is the ones… Read More Kingdom of Jaipur – The story of a survivor
They say behind every man, is a woman. Sometimes, it is for good and sometimes, it is for bad. The wives of the big three of Panipat are as below – Nanasaheb Peshwa – Gopikabai Raghunatha Rao – Anandibai Sadashiv Rao – Parvatibai Even though Gopikabai and Anandibai are cousins, they are bitter enemies of… Read More The Three Ladies of Panipat
K M Munshi, in his book End of an Era presented a very interesting case. Even if the British told that the Princeley States can lapse to independence once they left, who have got the moral standing to pitch for independence? And actually, only a handful of states tried to exercise that option – Hyderabad, Sikkim,… Read More Partition of India – Who has got a claim for Independence?
We can say Mughal Empire consists of five distinct phases – 1. Pre Sher Shah Suri 2. Great Mughals – Consolidation 3. Great Mughals – Period of Stability 4. Later Mughals – Period of Anarchy 5. Later Mughals – Period of Stability The above phases are clearly visible from the number of marriages and children… Read More Progeny of the Mughals – A Marker of Stability of India