Modern Indian History-Events and Personalities

Historical episodes that PM spoke about in Kashi


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Personalities mentioned

Mains level: NA

In his speech at Kashi, PM has referred to several historical episodes including the battle between Salar Masud and Raja Suhaldev and the conflict between Governor-general Warren Hastings and Raja Chait Singh.

He also mentioned the contributions of historical figures like Rani Bhabani from Bengal.

Note: UPSC is known to ask contemporaries.

[1] Salar Masud and Raja Suhaldev

  • The story of Salar Masud, also known as Ghazi Mian, and Suhaldev is a mix of history and myth.
  • Ghazi Mian is believed to have acquired popularity as a warrior in the 12th century.
  • He was the nephew of the 11th-century Turkik invader, Mahmud of Ghazni, whose invasion of India is known as the moment when Islam entered large parts of the subcontinent.
  • Interestingly, his tomb at Bahraich in Uttar Pradesh stands as a place of pilgrimage for a large number of Muslims as well as Hindus.
  • The most comprehensive source of information about Ghazi Mian is the Mirat-e-Masaud (Mirror of Masaud), a 17th-century Persian hagiography written by Abdur Rahman Chisti, a Sufi saint.
  • He asserted that Masud was the disciple of Sheikh Moinuddin Chisti, the founder of the Chistiya order of Sunni mysticism.

His conquest and Suheldev

  • Masud arrived in Multan as a 17-year old head of the Afghan army and after having subjugated it made for Delhi where he spent almost half a year.
  • Advancing his aggressive campaigns, Masud on the way destroyed several temples and converted many to Islam.
  • It was at Bahraich, where in the course of a battle in 1034 CE between Masud and a local king by the name Suhaldev that the former was wounded by an arrow and succumbed.
  • Suheldev is believed to have been the eldest son of the king of the Bhar community, from which emerged the Pasi community, a Dalit caste group of the region.

[2] Warren Hastings and Maharaja Chait Singh

  • Another historical episode cited by Modi in his Kashi speech was about the first governor-general of Bengal Warren Hastings fleeing the city in 1781.
  • By the late 18th century, Benaras had declared independence from the Nawab of Awadh.
  • In 1771, Maharaja Chait Singh succeeded to the throne of Banaras with the help of British authorities.
  • Two years later, the Maharaja transferred the domain to the East India Company under the control of Hastings.

Issues over Mysore war

  • When faced with the need for resources to fight the Mysore War against Hyder Ali, Hastings pressed Maharaja Chait Singh to make additional revenue payments and supply troops in 1778 and 1779.
  • When Singh failed to comply, Hastings marched to Benaras with his troops to confront the king.
  • A skirmish erupted between the British troops on the one hand and the Raja’s forces and his large number of supporters on the other.
  • As they fought, the Raja managed to escape from the fort through a window facing the Ganges.

An embarrassing defeat for Hastings

  • Several of Hastings’ men were killed in the conflict and, left with no other option, the governor-general was forced to retreat.
  • Popular narrative goes that he left hurriedly at night for the nearby Chunar Fort riding an elephant.
  • The incident is believed to have given rise to the popular saying in Banaras: “Ghode par haudah, hathi par jeen, Kashi se bhaga Warren Hastings”.

[3] Rani Bhabani

  • Bhabani was married to Raja Ramkanta Ray, the zamindar of the Natore estate in Rajshahi (present day Bangladesh).
  • After the death of her husband in 1748, the zamindari passed on to the hands of Bhabani, making her one among the very few women zamindars of the time.
  • For the next four decades, Bhabani is said to have managed the estate of Natore with utmost efficiency.
  • Bhabani is remembered most for her philanthropic efforts. She is known to have built several schools across Rajshahi district and offered a number of scholarships.
  • She is also known to have built the Durga Kund Mandir in Varanasi.
  • She also desired to build a Kashi in Bengal and, consequently in 1755 a complex consisting of a dozen temples was built in Baronagar in Murshidabad by her.


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