Jaichand of Kannauj
|Successor||Harish Chandra (as a subordinate of Muhammad Ghori)|
|Mother||Roopsundari (daughter of Anangpal Tomar)|
Jaichand (ruled 1173-1193) was a ruler of the Kannauj kingdom. At his time, the kingdom stretched from Benaras to Gaya and Patna, in the fertile area between the Yamuna and Ganges rivers. He belonged to the Gaharwar dynasty, from which descent of the Rathores of Rajastan is sometimes traced. He was the father of Sanyogita, Prithviraj Chauhan's wife. He was defeated and killed by Muhammad Ghori at the Battle of Chandawar in 1193-94.
An inscription (c. 1170) by Jayachandra, located at Bodhgaya, opens with an invocation to Buddha, the Bodhisattvas and the king's preceptor (a monk named Srimitra) and mentions the construction of a cave-monastery at Jayapura.
His court poet Bhatta Kedar wrote a eulogy titled Jaichand Prakash (c. 1168) on his life, but the work is now lost. Another lost eulogy on his life is the poet Madhukar's Jaya Mayank Jas Chandrika.
Jaichand is mentioned in Prithviraj Raso, a semi-historical legend on the life of Prithviraj Chauhan; a similar account occurs in Ain-i-Akbari (16th century). Other sources include inscriptions and other accounts of the Battle of Tarain.
Legendary account Prithviraj Raso
The most popular account of Jaichand's life occurs in Prithviraj Raso and its several recensions, but the historicity of this legend is disputed by many historians. According to this legend, after becoming one of the most powerful rulers in North India, Jaichand decided to conduct a symbolic sacrifice (Ashvamedha yajna) to declare his supremacy. Prithviraj, a rival king, did not accept his suzerainty. Jaichand was a cousin of Prithviraj: their mothers were sisters belonging to the Tomar clan.
Jaichand found out that his daughter Samyogita and Prithviraj were in love. So Jaichand insulted Prithviraj by erecting a statue that depicted him as a doorkeeper of his palace. Jaichand also decided to hold Swayamvara (a ritual for a woman to choose her husband) for his daughter. But during Swayamvara, his daughter placed garland on Prithviraj's statue. Subsequently, an angry Prithviraj raided Jaichand's palace, and later eloped with his daughter Samyogita against his wishes. Thus, Prithviraj and Jaichand became sworn enemies. When Muhammad Ghori (also known as Sultan Shahabuddin) invaded India, Jaichand allied with Ghori, and helped defeat Prithviraj. However, Ghori later deceived Jaichand and defeated him at the Battle of Chandawar. Another version that is accepted is that Jaichand did not aid his forces against the invader along with Prithviraj Chauhan and was confronted later by Ghori and defeated.
Death and legacy
According to one account, Jaichand was killed in the Battle of Chandawar. According to another account, he was taken as a prisoner to Ghazni, where he was killed after attempting to assassinate Muhammad Ghori with an arrow. Jaichand's son Harish Chandra ruled Kannauj as a subordinate of Muhammad Ghori until 1225 CE, when Iltutmish ended his reign. Another version is that Jaichand survived the battle and escaped into the Kurnaon Hills with his entourage, where his descendants established a new kingdom.
Because according to Prithviraj Raso, Jaichand helped a foreign invader defeat the Indian king Prithviraj, Jaichand became a symbol of treachery in the modern Indian folklore. 'युद्धों में कभी नहीं हारे हम डरते हैं छल-छंदों से, हर बार पराजय पाई है अपने घर के जयचंदों से।'
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