The story of this great Maharana Hammir reinforces the observation that how bizarre the saga of survival and ascendance of kings to the throne of Mewar in the Sisodia dynasty had been. How fate intervened to impose defeat from near-certain victories of Mewar or conversely, saved the Maharanas and their armies from the very brink of annihilation, by a stroke of luck. Sometimes, one is forced to believe that there was a divine power audaciously determined to keep the Hindu resistance alive in the subcontinent; otherwise, how was it possible for one single house to continue ruling Mewar and be the center of resistance to unceasing Islamic attacks for one thousand years?
During the days of Islamic marauders during medieval Bharat, Hindu customs and traditions were crushed and banned with an iron will cities were destroyed and the entire populations were slaughtered for the singular wish and ideology of the Islamic invaders—-convert to Islam or die. What was that singular thread, except an amazing understanding of the ethos and values of Hindu dharma, which made not only the Maharanas stand against jihad but the entire population of Mewar and at times, all of Rajasthan, unite with their kings?
One is baffled at the fortitude of these amazing kings who were outnumbered, outwitted, and out-resolved in the fight against Islam and yet, they stood firm, in opposing the designs of all these murderous assaults on Hinduism. After Ratan Singh was killed by Allauddin Khilji, Chittor was taken over by Islamic forces for the first time and every haveli, temple, and structure of consequence was either desecrated or destroyed. Khilji continued to plunder Chittor for about a fortnight and then gave the fort to his son, Khijr Khan, who named converted the name of Chittor to Khijrabad. Almost nine generations of Ratan Singh died trying to regain Chittor, but finally, Bhuwan Singh recovered the fort. Bhuwan Singh was succeeded by Laxman Singh, while in Delhi, the power had shifted from the Khiljis to the Tughlaqs. Muhammad Bin Tughlaq attacked Chittor, and Laxman Singh along with his son Ari Singh, died defending Chittor. Chittor lost once more. The younger son of Laxman, Ajay Singh, escaped with severe injuries and was healed by Jain munis. Laxman Singh had two songs, Ajay Singh and Ari Singh.
Maharana Hammir Singh’s birth Story and Childhood Bravery
Before the attack by Tughlaq, Ari Singh the eldest son of Laxman Singh went out to hunt boars in the jungles of Kailwada and came across a local woman in the village of Oondwa. She confronted him when he wanted to enter the cornfield while chasing a wounded boar. The girl asked Ari Singh not to ruin the farm and wait for her to return with the boar. To Ari Singh’s utter amazement, the girl came back with the carcass of the animal. Then, the girl politely asked Ari Singh to cook the boar in the village and enjoy his meal. As they were walking back, Ari Singh, already impressed with her, noticed how carrying a milk pitcher on her head, she was also effortlessly dragging two buffaloes. Ari Singh contemplated, ‘If I were to have a son from her, he would be a very powerful man indeed.
Ari Singh inquired about the family, who happened to be Chandana Rajputs, and asked for her hand from her father. Ari Singh married the girl, Urmila, but because she was no royalty, the marriage was kept a secret. He kept visiting the girl regularly and a boy was born to the Chandana girl. The boy was named Hammir Singh. In the meantime, Muhammed Bin Tughlaq attacked Chittor and acquired it after killing Laxman Singh and Ari Singh. Now Chittor was once again in the hands of Islamists but this time name was Tughlaqs.
Ajay Singh, the younger son of Laxman Singh, escaped from the war with the Tughlaq and settled at Kialwada. He had two sons, Sajjan Singh and Kshem Singh, both of whom were weak and ineffective. Ajay Singh was constantly challenged by a local mountain chief, Moonja Balocha, but was too old to fight him. Then, some samants loyal to Ari Singh told Ahay Singh about Hammir Singh, who was beckoned from his village Oondwa, at the age of thirteen. Hammir set up his men and learned that Moonja would be coming to Semari village to attend an event. Hammir attacked him and beheaded him, carrying back Moonja’s head on his saddlebow. Ajay Singh kissed his nephew and applied a teeka on Hammir’s forehead with Moonja’s blood. Thus, Hammir Singh became the king of Mewar, overcoming his circumstances through his extreme valor and twist of fate around CE 1326.
Hammir Singh’s Struggles to Chittor
Ajay Singh’s sons, Sajjan and Kshem Singh were exiled by their father to prevent a civil war in the family. Sajjan Singh went to the Deccan where his progeny was destined to fight the wrongs done to Hindustan by the then Mughal ruler Aurangzeb in Delhi. Sajjan Singh was the ancestor of the great Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj, this lineage is also recorded in the chronicles of Mewar. Coming back to Hammir Singh, he made Kailwada his residence and his first plan of action was to order the people of Mewar to vacate the plains and climb up the hills according to the ‘scorched earth policy of Mewar. This policy was made to render the plains of Mewar barren and useless for the enemy and create such hardships that they would starve in the absence of local farming and other commodities required for sustenance. It was not an easy journey for Hammir. Even after putting his people through all these hardships and destroying all local commerce, Hammir did not gain much military success. A time came when he did not even have the money to pay the salaries of his army.
In the meantime, Tughlaq went back to Delhi, leaving Chittor in the hands of Maldeo Songara of Jalore as his vassal. Maldeo protected it fiercely and nursed the ambition of ruling the whole of Mewar someday. Maldeo was informed of the moves of Hammir Singh, but he considered Hammir a weak and spent force. The repeated failures at regaining Chittor began to tire out the samants and friends of the royal house. The entire campaign to free Chittor began to disintegrate. Hammir, dejected and defeated, abandoned his home and retreated to Dwarka in Gujrat. En route to Dwarka, he camped at night in a village called Khod, which was a settlement of the local Charan community. Here Hammir had a chance to meet with a female mystic Barwadi Devi, daughter of Chakhda Charan, to whom he narrated his misfortunes. This encounter and her advice not only changed his life but also the dimensions of the entire Hindu-Muslim conflict in the subcontinent irreversibly.
Barwadi looked at Hammir and proclaimed, “O brave brother, go back to Kailwada! You will get Chittor and when you get a matrimonial offer from the most unexpected place, don’t reject it; accept it. That offer will be instrumental in getting back your lost Kingdom.” Hammir replied, “Bai, how will I get Chittor back? I don’t have a horse to ride, nor men to fight for me and no money even to feed my family.” Barwadi told Hammir that her son Baru would come to Kailwada with a caravan of 500 Horses and enough wealth to help him build an army with them and then pay her back when he had enough. Hammir was inspired by Mata Barwadi’s words and contemplated following her advice.
Hammir Singh’s Diplomacy and Winning of Chittor
Hammir came back to Kailwada and waited. As promised by Mata Barwadi, within weeks, Baru followed him with his 500 horses and money. Hammir saddled all of them and Baru was honored as the raj kavi or Mewar. Once again, the Bhils of Mewar rose to support the Rajputs of Mewar and provided Hammir with thousands of warriors and bowmen and furnished information about the movements of the enemy troops. Then, through a strange turn of events, Maldeo, who was entrusted with Chittor by Muhammed Bin Tughlaq, was advised by his well-wishers to give a daughter to Hammir as they thought that, it would truly expand their frontiers. Though, without doubt, Maldeo merely wanted to use matrimony to augment his own power, little did he know of the fate that awaited him.
From Hammir’s perspective, this offer was unacceptable, but Hammir was convinced about Mata Barwadi’s prophecy and considered accepting it. Thus, Hammir undertook the most daring adventure of his life, walking straight into the arms of the enemy with nothing except courage and faith in the Charani mystic’s words at his disposal.
Marriage took place at Chittor and the Songara princess won Hammir’s heart on their very first night. The Songara princess fell instantly in love with Hammir and laid out a plan for him to win back Chittor. She advised Hammir to ask for Maldeo’s servant Mauji Rami, to which the bride’s father Maldeo, consented. Mauji Ram came to Kailwada with the newlyweds and immediately approached Hammir, “Now is the time to make your move, for which you had sought my loyalties from Maldeo”. Hammir followed Mauji Ram, who took Hammir and his small army to Chittor on the pretext of hunting. At midnight, since the gatekeepers recognized Mauji Ram, the gates of Chittor were opened and Hammir seized Chittor, slaughtering whatever little resistance he faced. Maldeo’s son Jaita was exiled from Chittor.
All remnants of the Islamic takeover were obliterated within weeks by hammir and any memory naming Chittor as Khjrabad was erased. Maldeo was furious when he learned of this and gathered his army to attack Chittor. Maldeo had five sons, who fought for him. Hammir gathered all his former chieftains and repelled the attack of the Jalore army. Maldeo approached Tughlaq and the joint forces of Muhammed bin Tughlaq and Jalore came to attack Chittor. In the meantime, as the people of Mewar learned about Hammir’s ascendance to the throne of Mewar, they poured in streams from the western highlands and the valley of Kumbhalgarh to cheer their king. The glory of Chittor being restored was a signal for the people to return to their ancient abodes in the plains from the hills and other hideouts.
Battle of Singoli and Capturing of Tughlaq
Every Hindu chief, who wished to uproot the barbarian occupying his motherland, rejoiced at the possibility of throwing off the barbaric yoke of the marauders once more. Armed with such zeal and fervor, Hammir collected a vast army and instead of waiting for Tughlaq to attack him, decided to march towards him and meet him at a place and time of his choice. Tughlaq was ill-advised by his counselors to approach through the east where his superior numbers were rendered useless by the intricacies of the narrow passes of Mewar. Tughlaq was resting with his army of 70,000 cavalry and 20,000 infantries on the banks of Chambal River, at the village Singoli. In 1336 AD, Hammir attacked Tughlaq with an army of 20,000 cavalry, slaughtered his army, killed most of his Generals and took Tughlaq as a prisoner.
Hammir destruction of the combined Tughlaq and Jalore forces should educate us about the so-called ‘Delhi Sultanate’. Hammir took Tughlaq to Chittor and kept him, prisoner, for three months. The mightly Delhi Sultanate’s ruler was kept captive like a dog in the ordinary prison of Chittor, but not one soul from Delhi Sultanate dared to lead an attack on Chittor to free him from the clutches of Hammir. Tughlaq was forced to surrender Ajmer, Ranthambore, Nagamand, and Shivpuri to Hammir, besides giving Rs. 50 lakh as a fine and one hundred war elephants as a penalty. He also said to Tughlaq as he stood in chains in the royal courts of Mewar: “if you were ever to attack Chittor again, be prepared that I will defend Chittor, not from within, but outside her walls.”
Creating a false narrative around a non-existent Delhi Sultanate and erasing the names and deeds of Maharana Hammir Singh of Mewar and depicting them as corrupt and meek rulers is a sin committed by modern Indian historians for which responsibility should be fixed and people named and shamed for these acts of commission and omission. When a Lion is brought as a cub and trained in a circus, the lion is made to believe after repeated lies that he is weak and the man who is holding the hunter is strong but the reality is exactly the opposite, even the weakest of the lion in a circus can maul and kill any of the strongest men on the earth. Similarly, these historians fed us lies so that we should believe that invaders were all powerful and won all the wars that they fought with us. We were weak and made to be subjugated. Only knowledge can do away with all the wrongs of history, and we as the future generation of our forefathers should learn from them and not let this Islamic cult win this battle of civilization because the dimension of war has changed but still we are at war with a political ideology named Islamic cult.