Itihaas
May 16th, 1999
Akhilesh Mithal

The Capture of Chittor

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This article is a continuation of last week's article The Legend of Chittor.

AkBarAttackingChittorgarh.jpg (93709 bytes)
Akbar Attacking Chittor

The commandant of Chittor, Jai Mull, was bemoaning his fate. "Alas!" he said, "Alas for the milk of my mother which coursed through my veins with all the valour of my ancestors the Runna Bunkoa Raatthauds (runna: battle, bunkoa: rendered slightly askew raathaud, the Raathauds who are so exhilarated by the prospect of a battle that they walk and ride slightly off centre!). How can I fulfil my war lust? I cannot ride a horse with this game leg. Unless a Raathaud can ride how will he fight?"

Jai Mull’s brother Kallaa could not bear his brother’s pain. He got off his horse and came to Jai Mull. "Brother," he said, "Do not pine and grieve as long as I am alive. I will indulge your bloodlust and desire to go fighting for one last time. I’ll be your horse."

The brothers drew their swords and threw away the scabbards. Kallaa hoisted Jai Mull atop himself and raising the "Jai Ekling" war cry rushed to the Bhairoan Pol where they died fighting impossible numbers of the enemy and wrecking havoc.

The mad onslaught of the Rajputs and their allies appeared to overwhelm the Imperial forces. No progress could be made in direction of the fort. Akbar moved in his war elephants armed with two-edged swords carried in their trunks and wielded with the deadly skill imparted by long and arduous training.

The elephant Madkar led the charge. He was followed by Zakiya, Sabdaliya, Kadra and others who moved like mountains with the swords in their strong and nimble trunks striking the enemy ranks like thunderbolts. The Rajputs soon retorted with a counterattack.
Isardas held on to the tusk of Madkar and shouted up to the Mahout (Mahaawut) "Give me the name of this creature?"

When told it was Madkar, Isardas attacked it with his sword and inflicted a severe wound. He then said, "Please remember me to Akbar!"

This elephant had killed fully 30 persons before it was assaulted and wounded by Isardas. Even after the wound Madhkar continued to fight and slaughter the enemy.

The fierce counterattack caused the elephant Gajraj to panic. It carried Azmat Khan deep into the ranks of the defenders. They killed the Khan.

Akbar himself entered the fort in a thicket of war elephants. He was directing the battle and encouraging his troops to renewed deeds of valour, far beyond the call of duty. The event etched itself deeply into his mind and memory. He told his chronicler, Abul Fazl some stories which we recount.

Akbar saw the war elephant Jabdaliya slaughtering defenders in hordes.

Attacked, assaulted with a sword the maddened by bloodlust war elephant wrapped its trunk round the attacker and threw him down on the ground to trample him underfoot. To save him his comrade came forward and attacked the elephant from the rear. As Jabdaliya turned to face the new threat the original assailant got up and renewed the attack.

In another incident a defender challenged the attackers to meet him in single combat. An Imperial soldier responded. As the fight was in progress a second Imperial soldier tried to come to the help of his comrade. The Emperor Akbar himself stopped this from happening as it was unfair that one man should fight two.

The defender died and the attacker melted in the crowd. Akbar looked for him and was sorry he could not track him down.

The Emperor also recorded the death of Pattaa.

When he was near the temple of Govindshyam a mahout brought a mortally wounded brave who had been caught in his elephant’s noose like trunk. There was still some life left in the wounded man. The mahout said that he thought him to be some chief of importance as many men had died around him. Enquiries confirmed that the dead man was the defender Patta Jagmaal.

Moatmed Khan, author of the Iqbaalnaama Jahangiri writes that one thousand defending marksmen made their way through the Imperial forces posing to be victors by having with them with their wives and children trussed up like prisoners and booty of war. No one stopped them. These were Baksaria Muslims from Kalpi who had come to defend Chittor for the Sisodiyas.

This great victory for Akbar occurred on 25 February 1568. As he had made a vow (nuzr) Akbar walked to Ajmer Sharif to offer obeisance at the shrine of Khwaja Muinuddeen Chisti. On return he had lifesize statues of Jai Mull and Pattaa Jagmaal erected to honour their bravery.

A communal "Hindu-Muslim" angle or colouring can only trivialise such events.

 

Akhilesh Mithal, 1991-1999. All rights reserved.
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