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Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Second Battle of Panipat and Death of Hemu

Second Battle of Panipat and Death of Hemu
The Second Battle of Panipat was fought between the forces led by Hemu (the general and chief minister of Adil Shah Suri) and the forces of the of the Mughal emperor, Akbar. The battle was fought on November 5, 1556.

Background

After the death of Babur(founder of Mughal empire), Humayun succeeded the throne of Delhi. However after the Battle of Kanauj  (17 May 1540) Sher Khan(Sher shah Suri) became the master of Agra and Delhi. Mughal Empire was put to an end for a while and Humayun lived in exile for next 15 years because of this Short Sur Dynasty founded by Sher Shah Suri.


Later Islam Shah Suri ascended the throne of Sur dynasty after the death of Sher Shah in 1545 at Kalinjar. Islam Shah Suri was a capable ruler, but died in 1554.  With these two deaths the Sur Empire was caught up in a succession battle. Humayun used this perfect opportunity for the Mughals to march back to India and regain the lost power in 1540. Humayun with Bairam Khan (commander-in-chief of the Mughal army) fought the Battle of Srihind againt Sikandar Shah Suri in 1555 and became victorious. The Mughal Empire was finally regained control over Delhi and Agra after 15 years.
Islam Shah was succeeded by his 12-year-old son, Firoz shah suri. But after a short period Adil Shah Suri maternal uncle of Firoz shah murdered him and ascended the throne of sur Empire. He appointed Hemu (general of the Suri forces) as his Chief Minister. Most of the affairs of the state were left to Hemu as Adil Shah Suri was interested in luxury and pleasure.
Later Humayun died on 27 January 1556 and succeeded by Akbar. Bairam Khan was appointed regent over the young king Akbar. Tardi Beg Khan was the governor of Delhi when Humayun died.

Humayun's death provided a great opportunity for Sur dynasty to defeat Mughals and regain the lost territories. Hearing about the death of Mughal leader, Hemu made a quick march and conquered  Sambhal, Bayana, Kalpi, Narnaul and Etawah. Hemu continued to Agra and by hearing about the invasion, the governor of Agra fled away without a fight. And later Hemu reached Tughlaqabad, where he ran into the forces of the Tardi Beg Khan (Mughal governor of Delhi), and defeated them in the Battle of Tughlaqabad. Then Hemu took possession of Delhi after the battle and claimed royal status, assuming the assuming the title of Raja Vikramaditya (Samrat Hemachandra Vikramaditya).



Battle

With the news of Tughlaqabad, Akbar and Bairam khan started to Delhi. On November 5 1556 Mughal army met Hemu’s forces on the battle field of Panipat.
Earlier, before the battle Hemu lost his artillery to the Mughals, still his forces are large in numerical to Mughal forces. Hemu himself led his forces into the battle field. While the mughal army was led by by Ali Quli Khan Shaibani in the centre with Sikandar Khan Uzbak in the right wing and Abdulla Khan Uzbak in the left wing. Akbar and Bairam Khan stayed in the rear.

Finally On November 5 1556 Mughal army met Hemu’s forces on the battle field of Panipat. With his 30,000 Rajput and Afghan cavalry and 1500 war elephants, Hemu started war on Mughals.
Hemu’s forces held the upper hand on Mughals and pointed towards winning the battle. But all of a sudden an arrow was hit in the eye of Hemu and he fell unconscious on his elephant (Hawai). This turned the fate of battle into the hands of Mughals. Seeing their commander falling, Hemu's army panicked and Mughals stood victorious in the battle.

Death of Hemu:

An arrow was hit in the eye of Hemu in the battle and he fell unconscious on his elephant (Hawai). The elephant carrying the wounded Hemu was captured by Shah Quli Khan and brought to the Mughal camp at Shodapur on Jind Road at Panipat. 



According to Badayuni(a historian and translator living in the Mughal Empire),
Bairam Khan (Regent at the court of the Mughal emperor) requested Akbar (13 year old) to behead Hemu so that he could earn the title of Ghazi (Warrior of the Faith). But Akbar refused to use his sword to a defeated and dying Hemu. After Akbar's refusal Hemu's body was denied honour by the Mughal battle tradition and was unceremoniously beheaded by Bairam Khan. Later Hemu’s head was sent to Kabul and his body was hung at Purana Khila.
Later Hemu's Smadhi Sthal, a memorial to the king Hemu was constructed at Shodapur village on Jind road near Panipat where he was executed.

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