The rise of Vijayanagar Empire in Deccan during the early 14th century (AD 1336) is probably one of the most fascinating stories ever to be ascertained in the rise of Hindu empires in India. The UNESCO world heritage sites in Hampi still stands testimony to the marvel of this Empire. Two young warriors Harihara and Bukka of the ancient Yadav family rose to great heights and established this empire, to overcome the advent of Islamic dynasties (Khilji and Tughluq) in southern India.
What one doesn’t realize is that even these young warriors at one point of time had to face the discrimination of Islamic bigotry. During AD 1327, they were taken to Delhi as captives by the then Sultan, Muhammad bin Tughluq, and forcibly converted to Islam.
In what appears to be a pre-conceived plan, the brothers gained the confidence of Sultan. The Sultan then sent these brothers on a conquest to Deccan (AD 1331) to spread Islamic rule to the far corners of south India. The brothers on their way to Deccan were greeted by chief preceptor of Sankeswar Math, Shree Sankaracharya Vidyaranyaswami. Shree Vidyaranyaswami, who also donned a keen political mind, reconverted the brothers back into the Hinduism fold. Vidyaranyaswami in consolation with other Hindu leaders of the south, decided to establish an independent sovereign state on the banks of Tungabhadra and was also anointed as the chief minister of the state.
From then onward the rise of Vijayanagar Empire marked a real threat to the Delhi Sultanate. In fact one of the most famous historical goof ups of Muhammad bin Tughluq, which involved shifting of his capital from Delhi to Devagiri, can be attributed to the rise of Hindu power (Vijayanagar Empire) in southern India. Unfortunately, he had to scatter back to Delhi and control the Hindu revolts which posed a grave danger to his existing kingdom.
The arrival of foreign Islamic invaders in India, around 6th century, had pushed our liberal Hindu thinkers into a cocoon. During the time period from 6th to 13th centuries, desecration of Hindu temples, mass conversions, rape of Hindu women and plunder of wealth had reached its pinnacle.
In order to safeguard the basics of Hinduism, Hindus started enforcing self-imposed bandhis (restrictions) upon themselves based on caste distinctions. These include lotibandhi (prohibition of drinking water), rotibandhi (prohibition of food), betibandhi (prohibition of inter caste marriages), sparshbandhi (un-touchability), shudhibandhi (prevention of religious converts), sindhubandhi (ban on sea voyage) and so on. Prior to this, the existence of such bandhis have not been recorded in history of India.
The Chozha Emperor Rajendra Chozhan who was known for his naval conquests was once bestowed with the title, “Trisamudreshwar” – ruler of the three seas. One can only imagine what kind of horrors this Hindu civilization would have gone through, so that it developed so much cold feet with these self-inflicted bandhis.
The questions which are still left unanswered here are the following:-
1) Why had none of the Indian historians analyzed who were the inspirations for the founders of Vijayanagar Empire, Harihara and Bukka?
2) What prompted Shree Sankaracharya Vidyaranyaswami to bring back the two young warriors into Hinduism fold?
3) How the Hindu Civilization nullified the various bandhis to overcome Islamic threat?
4) Who ruled Delhi at the end of Khilji Dynasty and who was defeated by the Tughluq Dynasty?
To answer all the above mentioned questions, one must understand the history of Sultan Nasir-ud-din aka Khushrukhan (Khusraw Khan) and Sultana Devaldevi. Sadly this part of Islamic history has been conveniently erased by various Indologists due to its Hindu point of view.
Alauddin Khilji hatched a coup d’état to capture the Delhi Sultanate by killing his uncle Jallaudin Khilji. After catapulting himself to power, Alauddin eyed to conquer Gujarath in 1298 AD. His conquest of Gujarath not only satisfied his the lust for power but also his lust for women as well. He managed to captured Queen Kamaldevi and her daughter Devaldevi and took them to Delhi as part of his plunder. In those days of Islamic conquests, sodomy (sex with young boys) was considered as an inherited practice from Arabic traditions. Alauddin Khilji also managed to capture several young men on this pretext and two such young men worthy of mention here are Maliq Kafur and Khushrukhan. Khushrukhan, in fact belonged to the sweepers community (Parwar) in Gujarath, which has been vehemently denied by several Islamic historians.
Both these slaves quickly rose up to the rank of the Chief Administrators and went on to gain the confidence of their Sultans. While Maliq Kafur wholeheartedly converted himself to Islam and completely entertained every whimsical of the Sultan, Khushrukhan could never consider himself on the same par. He could never ignore the injustice done to him and was itching to overthrow the Khilji dynasty from Delhi.
After the death of Allauddin and Maliq Kafur, Khushrukhan became the sole confidante of Qutb ad-Din Mubarak (Allauddin Khilji’s son). Sultan Mubarak married queen Devaldevi and handed over the complete administration to Khushrukhan. It was coincidental that at this time, he had established a secret pact with Sultana Devaldevi, who was also waiting for an opportunity to extract her revenge on the Sultan. By exploiting this opportunity, Khushrukhan enrolled nearly 30,000 Hindu warrior into the Muslim army at Delhi Sultanate. He also anointed his Hindu brother to the governorship of Gujarath.
Khushrukhan, as mentioned earlier, had earned the confidence of Sultan Mubarak by maneuvering several successful south Indian conquests (from Deccan to Malabar). While he was away on one such conquests, many conspiracy claims about him trying to reclaim Hindu Empire in Delhi floated to the ears of Sultan Mubarak. The entire court warned Sultan Mubarak of the impending danger ahead if he spares the life of Khushrukhan. But Kushrukhan in spite of this hostile environment returned from his conquest to Delhi with enormous spoils of war as a gift to the Sultan. The gullible Sultan fell prey to Khusrukhan and Devalevi’s plan to establish a Hindu empire in Delhi.
One fine day (AD 1319), on the pretext of converting all members of his community soldiers to Islam, Khshrukhan brought thousands of them into the palace. This provided as a right opportunity to overthrow Sultan Mubarak and in the revolt which preceded, he was killed.
Khushrukhan proclaimed himself as the Hindu Emperor of Delhi by marrying Sultana Devaldevi. Although he never really managed to change his name Naser-ud-din, (probably due to the fact that he doesn’t remember his Hindu name) he did announce that he no longer intends to establish an Islamic rule in the state. He come forward to declare himself as a defender of Hindu dharma and implemented the following acts immediately after coming to power:-
1) Enabled willing re-conversion of several men/women as per their wishes back to Hinduism fold
2) Jazia tax and other inconvenient laws against Hindus were revoked
3) Allowed the worship of Idols and reclamation of Hindu temples which were forcefully converted to Masjids
4) Created a harmonious environment for Hindus and Muslims to live side by side
Although his rule was a welcome change to many in Delhi, there were few deranged Moulavis who egged and aided the governor of Punjab, Ghaysuddin Tughluq, to reconquer Delhi. After several futile attempts Ghaysuddin in AD 1321 defeated Sultan Naser-ud-din (Khushrukhan) and established the Tughluq dynasty in Delhi.
Coincidentally it was during AD 1327, eight years from the overthrowing of Khilji dynasty, Harihara and Bukka were present as captives in Delhi Sultanate. Such an open proclamation of Hindu rule in Delhi, not only broken shackles of Islamic supremacy but also rekindled the spirit of several Hindu rulers far and wide across India. This in one way could be considered as a direct inspiration to the rise of Vijaynagar Empire in south India.
It is unfortunate that even to this day, hardly one or two Indian historians have considered this evidence to explain the rise of several commendable Hindu dynasties or provide Indian history with a Hindu perspective.
Reference: Six Glorious Epochs of Indian History – By Veer Damodar Savarkar
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