From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Prithviraj Chauhan
Mains level : NA
There is controversy around a new film where some communities of Rajasthan are laying claim over the 12th century emperor Prithviraj Chauhan.
- Prithviraj Chauhan (1177–1192 CE) popularly known as a king from the Chauhan (Chahamana) dynasty who ruled the territory of Sapadalaksha, with his capital at Ajmer in present-day Rajasthan.
- Ascending the throne as a minor in 1177 CE, Prithviraj inherited a kingdom which stretched from Thanesar in the north to Jahazpur (Mewar) in the south.
- He aimed to expand by military actions against neighbouring kingdoms, most notably defeating the Chandela’s.
- Prithviraj unified several Rajput clans and defeated the Ghurid army led by Muhammad Ghori near Taraori in 1191 AD.
- However, in 1192 CE, Ghori returned with an army of Turkish mounted archers and defeated the Rajput army on the same battlefield.
- Prithviraj fled the battlefield, but was captured near Sirsa and executed.
- His defeat at Tarain is seen as a landmark event in the Islamic conquest of India, and has been described in several semi-legendary accounts, most notably the Prithviraj Raso.
Prithviraj in literary works
- The image of Prithviraj as a fearless and skilled warrior that is now etched in the folk imagination can be traced back to his depiction in ‘Prithviraj Raso’.
- This was a poem in Brajbhasha attributed to Chand Bardai, which is thought to have been composed in the 16th century.
- James Mill’s ‘The History of British India’ (1817) categorized Indian history into the Hindu, Muhammadan and British periods.
- In this formulation, Prithviraj Chauhan would be the last ruler of ‘Hindu’ India.
Why is he being revived?
- To a vocal section of the Hindu right, Prithviraj Chauhan appears as “the last Hindu emperor” of India who made a valiant attempt to stop the radical invaders.
- In the popular imagination, he is the heroic figure who symbolises the exalted ideals of patriotism and national pride.
- However the historical evidence demonstrates rather different ways in which Prithviraj has been seen over the ages.