Battles of Tarain

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The Battles of Tarain, also known as the Battles of Taraori, were fought in 1191 and 1192 near the town of Tarain (Taraori), near Thanesar in present-day Haryana, approximately 150 kilometres north of Delhi, India, between a Ghurid force led by Mu'izz al-Din and a Chauhan Rajput army led by Prithviraj Chauhan.[1]

The First Battle[edit]

1st Battle of Tarain
Date 1191
Location near Thanesar
Result Chauhan Rajput victory
Territorial
changes
Prithviraj retakes the fortress of Bhatinda
Belligerents
Ghurid Empire Chauhan Rajput
Commanders and leaders
Mu'izz al-Din Prithviraj Chauhan
Strength
unknown[2] unknown, reportedly outnumbered Mu'izz al-Din's army[2]

Battle[edit]

In 1191, Mu'izz al-Din captured the fortress of Bhatinda in East Punjab which was on the frontier of Prithiviraj Chauhan's domains.[1] Prithviraj marched on to Bhatinda and met his enemy at a place called Tarain (also called Taraori) near the ancient town of Thanesar. The Ghurid army initiates battle by attacking with cavalry who launch arrows at the Rajput center. The forces of Prithviraj counter-attack from three sides and dominate the battle, pressuring the Ghurid army into a withdrawal. Meanwhile, Mu'izz al-Din is wounded in personal combat with Prithviraj's brother, Govind Tai.[1] Prithviraj succeeded in stopping the Ghurid advance towards Hindustan in the first battle of Tarain. He did not pursue Ghori's army either not wanting to invade hostile territory or misjudging Ghori's ambition,[3] instead electing to retake the fortress of Bhatinda.[1]

The Second Battle[edit]

2nd Battle of Tarain
Date 1192
Location near Thanesar
Result Ghurid victory
Territorial
changes
Mu'izz al-Din takes Bihar province
Belligerents
Ghurid Empire Chauhan Rajput
Commanders and leaders
Mu'izz al-Din Prithviraj Chauhan
Strength
120,000[3] 300,000(likely exaggeration)
Casualties and losses
Prithviraj Chauhan(executed)

On his return to Ghazni, Mu'izz al-Din made preparations to avenge his defeat. When he reached Lahore, he sent his envoy to Prithviraj to demand his submission, but the Chauhan ruler refused to comply. Prithviraj saw through Mu'izz al-Din's stratagem and issued a fervent appeal to his fellow Rajput chiefs to come to his aid against the Muslim invader.

Size of the forces and generals[edit]

According to Firishta, the Rajput army consisted of 3,000 elephants, 300,000 cavalry and infantry, most likely a gross exaggeration.[3] Minhaj-i-Siraj, stated Mu'izz al-Din brought 120,000 fully armored men to battle.[3]

Battle[edit]

Prithviraj had called his banners and hoped to buy time as his banners (other Rajputs under him or his allies) had not arrived. Mu'izz al-Din received news of this and sent a letter to Prithviraj asking for a truce. Mu'izz al-Din attacks the Rajput army before dawn. Forming his army into five units, Mu'izz al-Din send four units to attack the Rajput flanks and rear.[1] His flanking attacks fail and the fighting continues.[1] In hopes of causing a break in the Rajput lines, Mu'izz al-Din orders his fifth unit to feign retreat.[1] The Rajput's charge the fleeing unit and Prithviraj's army loses its cohesion.[1] Ghori's 12,000 fresh cavalry attack and with continued flanking assaults, the Rajput army was eventually defeated, Prithviraj was taken prisoner and subsequently executed.[1]

The aftermath[edit]

The victory of Mu'izz al-Din was decisive, he took Bihar province in 1193 eradicating Buddhism in that area.[1] Later in 1202, his army completes the occupation of Hindustan by taking the province of Bengal.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East, Vol. I, ed. Spencer C. Tucker, (ABC-CLIO, 2010), 263.
  2. ^ a b Paul K. Davis, 100 Decisive Battles: From Ancient Times to the Present, (Oxford University Press, 1999), 133.
  3. ^ a b c d Satish Chandra, Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals (1206-1526), (Har-Anand Publications, 2006), 25.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Satish Chandra, Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals (1206-1526), Har-Anand Publications, 2006.
  • Paul K. Davis, 100 Decisive Battles: From Ancient Times to the Present, Oxford University Press, 1999.
  • A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East, Vol. I, ed. Spencer C. Tucker, ABC-CLIO, 2010.