By this time, you all have heard of great Rajput battles such as the battle of Gangwana or the legendary battle of Haldi Ghati.
But there is one battle in the annals of Rajasthan that has skipped most people’s radar, and that’s the under rated Battle of Nagaur
The Battle of Nagaur was fought between the Rajputs of Mewar and the Nagaur Sultanate.
Now as any normal person you would think that these two kingdoms must be enemies, right? But that’s not hundred percent true.
As two neighbouring kingdoms these two states were fairly on good terms with rarely any plans of full scale war.
And yet the dice of fates rolled in such a way that Mewar not only had to contest against the Sultanate of Nagaur, but also the mighty Sultanate of Gujarat along with that the kingdom of Malwa and Mewar.
Status Prior to Battle
The year is 1455. The titular ruler of Nagaur Feroz Khan has died. He is leaving his independent kingdom under the control of his two sons, Shams Khan and Mujahid khan.
On his death, as per the tradition, his elder son Shams Khan was going to succeed him. But his younger brother, Mujahid Khan deposed him and prepared to go to war against the true king.
With most of his army capitulating to Mujahid because he had paid of most of the local nobles, Shams Khan found himself alone with no support.
In desperation he fled to Rana Kumbha for shelter and help.
Now whether Rana Kumbha helped him out of pure benevolence or shrewd tactic, is not clear.
But what is clear is that Kumbha had long had designs on Nagaur, and he gladly embraced this opportunity of carrying them out.
He agreed to place Shams Khan on the throne of Nagaur on one condition. He acknowledge Kumbha’s supremacy by demolishing a part of the battlements of the fort of that place.
Shams Khan accepted the terms. After all beggars can’t be choosers and right now he was in complete need of support.
Battle against Nagaur Sultanate
Rana Kumbha gathered up his man power and raised an army. It is not clear how big his army was but by some estimates it is somewhere around 3000-5000 along with hundreds of auxiliary archer units.
He marched his way to the city of Nagaur where the Sultan Mujahid was defended by the stronghold.
The forces of Nagaur were somewhere between 2000-3000 but being inside a strong castle evened their odds.
There are other sources which state that the battle of Nagaur took place in an open field which we will discuss later.
Battle raged on for some days as Rana Kumbha realized that as long as the enemy forces are inside the castle the war will not end.
So as the night approached, a few of his commanders somehow managed to get their way inside the castle and opened the gates.
The Rajput forces charged in completely surrounding the garrison. Mujahid Khan realised that any further bloodshed will be pointless and ceded to Shams Khan’s treaty.
On the other hand there is another account which states that the forces of Nagaur fought against the Army of Mewar in an open field but lost fair and square.
Needless to say every single account states the Mewari kingdom had a flawless victory.
Once the coronation of the true Sultan Shams khan had been completed, Rana Kumbha placed forth his conditions.
The Sultan had to destroy the small border fortifications along with key battlements and the fort of Nagaur.
But Shams Khan humbly prayed to the Maharana to spare the fort, for otherwise his nobles would kill him after the Maharana was gone. He promised to demolish the battlements himself later on.
The Maharana granted this prayer and returned to Mewar.
But what Kumbha didn’t know was the new Sultan had plans of his own.
The moment Rana Kumbha reached Kumbhalgarh, he got the news that Shams Khan Has walked back on his plan.
Now instead of demolishing, he is re-inforcing the forts at the border. This brought Kumbha on the scene again with a large army.
Shams Khan was expecting the Rana to take at least some more time with his army to come, but the lightening campaign of Kumbha shocked him.
The fortifications weren’t even complete when the great Rajput King arrived at the outer edge of the Nagaur kingdom.
Shams Khan knew how strong the Mewar forces really are, and his own battered troops were of no match against a superior enemy.
He fled even before the armies had a chance to fight leaving his kingdom which passed into Kumbha’s possession. The Maharana now demolished the fortification of Nagaur and thus carried out his long-cherished design.
Battle with Gujarat Army
Shams Khan fled to Ahemdabad, taking with him his daughter, whom he gave to Sultan Qutb-ud-din Ahmed Shah II to wife. Unlike Shams khan, Ahmed Shah was no minor king.
He was the supreme commander of the Gujarat region. He too had a sour spot for the Maharana and wanted to stop his victory campaign.
The Sultan thereupon espoused his cause and sent a large army under Rai Ram Chandra and Malik Gadday to take back Nagaur.
Rana Kumbha allowed the army to approach Nagaur, while his own army hid low and shadowed the enemy’s movement.
As the column marched forth, the Mewar army ambushed it, inflicting a crushing defeat on the Gujarat Sultanate army, annihilating it.
Only remnants of it reached Ahemdabad, to carry the news of the disaster to the Sultan.
Battle against Malwa and Marwar kingdoms
Before Rana Kumbha could catch a break, his old rival Mahamud Khilji from Malwa invaded his territory.
The invader wanted to take revenge for his defeat by the hands of Maharana at the battle of Sarangpur.
After finding the border territories unguarded he swiftly captured Mandalgarh and ajmer.
Along with him the ruler of Marwar Rao Jodha captured Mandore.
With these two kingdoms bent on conquering, Rana Kumbha focused on tackling them one by one.
Firstly the new ruler of Gujarat Mahmud Bhageda had re-ignited an age old rivalry between the Sutlanate of Gujarat and Malwa.
This little difficulty busied Mahmud Khalji and before he knew it, Maharana Kumbha re conquered all his lost territories.
The Rana used skirmish techniques to diplomacy. But in the end he got his kingdom back
With all his sides under his direct control, Rana Kumbha proved his mettle by defending a four pronged attack in such a swift action.
His military genius not only helped his kingdom survive during such testing times, but also thrive like a medieval juggernaut.
He also held Nagaur making his original plan valid.
It is fate itself that smiled on Rana Kumbha. Because whenever Mewar army defeated any invader, the would be conquerers left all their equipment and loot behind.
This along with many other reason provided the financial backing for Rana Kumbha to survive during difficult times.
One of his main gates which is called Hanuman pol was actually once the part of Nagaur, and now was in the hands of Mewar.
Rana Kumbha’s genius shines through Indian history just like Hannibal Barca’s in ancient roman’s.
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