Ajmer and Delhi was one of the greatest and most
powerful rulers of India. When he came to the throne
he found himself with many complex and difficult
situations. India was politically disunited and there
was no central authority in the country. The Rajput
princes were quarrelling with each other and above all
Mohammed Ghori was planning seriously not only to
invade India but to have permanent domination and
control over the country. He had already annexed
western Punjab to Gaur and thus was knocking on the
doors of Prithviraj Chauhan's domain whose immediate
but very difficult task now was to check the
advancement of the invader.
Ghori decided to invade Gujarat which was Chalukya
king Mulraja-II's domain. It is unfortunate for India
that Prithviraj and Mulraja-II were not on good terms
with each other. Thus, the former remained an amused
spectator while the latter faced the enemy. In the
battle that followed Ghori was defeated. Had both the
Indian kings combined and faced the enemy, they would
have inflicted a crushing defeat on the invader who
probably would not have again gathered courage to even
dream about conquering India.
Mohammed Ghori proposed a peace treaty to Prithviraj,
while he was invading the other parts of the country
but the proud Rajput refused to enter into any
alliance with him. After the withdrawal of the
invader, Prithviraj found good opportunity to expand.
Though he followed an aggressive policy towards his
neighbours, yet he could not get much territorial
gains. He developed enmity with Jaya Chandra, the
powerful king of Kannauj because of two reasons - one
due to the desire of both to dominate over North India
and the other due to his romance with Sanyogita, Jaya
War with the Muslim invader was becoming inevitable
because Mohammed Ghori was determined to invade and
conquer India whereas Prithviraj, being on the gate of
India, was determined to face the enemy and not to
allow him to proceed further. In 1191 AD Ghori
proceeded towards India and captured Bhatinda.
Prithviraj too advanced towards Bhatinda to check the
enemy's advance. Both the armies faced each other at
Tarain. In the first battle of Tarain Mohammed Ghori
was defeated. It was with great difficulty that a
Khilji noble could save his life and took him away
from there. Prithviraj won a victory but did not chase
him and inflict a crushing defeat on him. He allowed
the enemy to leave India and did not take full
advantage of the situation which had arisen out of
Mohammed Ghori, after the defeat at Tarain was on the
look out for an opportunity when he could strike back
and take revenge. In 1192 AD he again invaded India
with a huge army of 1,20, 000 armed men. Both the
armies faced each other again at Tarain. Prithviraj
had the support of his feudal chiefs but these were
only small princes. No powerful ruler extended his
support to him even at this critical juncture. Thus,
for all practical purposes he had to face the enemy
Prithviraj realised that the enemy was in an
advantageous position and proposed a peace treaty to
the invader. He offered him Bhatinda and East Punjab.
The invader found it a good pretext to prepare for
war. He kept Prithviraj engaged in peace talks and
finding an opportunity suddenly attacked him and
inflicted a crushing defeat on him. Prithviraj was
caught and killed. This was the turning point in the
history of India. Thus, Delhi and gradually the rest
of India fell into the hands of Muslims.
Reasons for Prithviraj's defeat:
Prithviraj's expansionist policy resulted in enmity
with other Rajput and neighbouring states who did not
side with him when the enemy was on their head and
knocking on the doors of India. Had all the Indian
kings forgotten their enmity, combined together and
given a united fight to the invader, victory would
have touched their feet and the history of our country
would have been altogether different.
Being at the doorsteps of North India and in the
constant danger of Muslim invasion, Prithviraj should
have developed good intelligence system, which he
failed to do.
Prithviraj could not foresee that the enemy could take
advantage of the time when he was negotiating for
peace talks with him. As a shrewd ruler he should have
sent his intelligence to find out how far the enemy
was serious about his peace negotiations.
At the time of both first and second battles of
Tarain, Prithviraj allowed the enemy to come up to
Bhatinda. It is after the fall and capture of Bhatinda
that he proceeded to check the advance of the enemy.
It was decidedly a wrong policy. He should have
checked the enemy as soon as it was known that the
invader was proceeding towards India. It was obviously
more difficult to root out an enemy once he was on the
soil of India. Instead of being offensive he remained
defensive and acted only when attacked upon.
After his victory in the first Battle of Tarain,
Mohammed had been defeated and was being removed as an
injured person. It was an appropriate time when he
should have vigorously followed and tried to kill him.
He should have created havoc for demoralised and
defeated army of the enemy and taught it a lesson not
to see towards India again. But Prithviraj allowed the
opportunity to miss.
Modern India has a lot to learn from the mistakes of
Prithviraj Chauhan. We Indians continue to repeat the
same mistakes - right from Prithviraj Chauhan to
Kargil. In spite of having suffered so much, we seem
not to have learnt any lessons from our history.
Lessons to be Learnt:
Internal conflicts and differences must be forgotten
when faced by external threat. Whatever are the
differences, while fighting the foreign forces we must
be united. United we stand, divided we fall.
We must always be vigilant and develop a good
intelligence system so that we are aware of the
enemy's movements in advance.
We must not get carried away by enemy's sweet friendly
talks. While the enemy is acting friendly, we must
keep our eyes and ears open so as to know his real
motive and not let him fool us.
We must not wait to retaliate till the enemy has
attacked and harmed us. As soon as we see signs of
evil designs, we must attack and crush the enemy.
Offence is the best defense.
We must never show mercy to the enemy or pardon him.
When victorious, we must take full advantage of the
situation. The enemy must be punished at the first
opportunity we get to do so. If he is pardoned, he
will recover and come back with greater force.