Maharana Kumbha

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Maharana Kumbha


Maharana Kumbha or Kumbhakarna Singh was the eldest son of Maharana Mokal of Mewar and his wife Sobhagya Devi. He ascended the throne after his father was assassinated. He ruled Mewar for thirty five years, the historians often called the era the golden period of Mewar. Man who never lost any battle

Maharana Kumbha

INTRODUCTION

Maharana Kumbha succeeded his father in S. 1475 (A.D. 1419) ; nor did any symptom of dissatisfaction appear to usher in his reign, which was one of great success amidst no common difficulties. The bardic historians do as much honour to the Marwar prince, who had made common cause with their sovereign in revenging the death of his father as if it had involved the security of his crown; but this was a precautionary measure of the prince, who was induced thus to act from several motives, and above all, in accordance with usage, which stigmatizes the refusal of aid when demanded: besides Koombho was the nephew of Marwar. It has rarely occurred in any country to have possessed successively so many energetic princes as ruled Mewar through several centuries. She was now in the middle path of her glory and enjoying the legitimate triumph of seeing the foes of her religion captives on the rock of her power.

CHALLENGES

A century had elapsed since the bigot Alia had wreaked his vengeance on the different monuments of art. Chittore had recovered the sack, and new defenders had sprung up in the place of those who had fallen in their saffron robes, a sacrifice for her preservation. All that was wanting to augment her resources against the storms which were collecting on the brows of the Caucasus and the shores of the Oxus, and were destined to burst on the head of his grandson Sanga, was effected by Kumbha; who with Hamir's energy, Lakha's taste for the arts, and a genius comprehensive as either and more fortunate, succeeded in all his undertakings, and once more raised the crimson banner of Mewar upon the banks of the Caggar, the scene of Samarsi's defeat. Let us contrast the patriarchal Hindu governments of this period with the despotism of the Tatar invader. From the age of Shahbudin, the conqueror of India, and his cotemporary Samarsi, to the time we have now reached, two entire dynasties, numbering* twenty-four emperors and one empress, through assassination, rebellion, and dethronement, had followed in rapid succession, yielding a result of only nine years to a reign. Of Mewar, though several fell in defending their altars at home or their religion abroad, eleven princes suffice to fill the same period. It was towards the close of the Ghilji dynasty that the satraps of Delhi shook off its authority and established subordinate kingdoms : Beejipoor and Golconda in the Dekhan(Deccan); Malwa, Guzzerat, Joinpoor in tlie east ; and even Calpee had its king. Malwa and Guzzerat had attained considerable power when Koombho ascended the throne. In the midst of his prosperity these two states formed a league against him, and in S. 1496 (A.D. 1440) both kings, at the head of powerful armies, invaded Mewar. Koombho met them on the plains of Malwa bordering on his own state, and at the head of one hundred thousand horse and foot and fourteen hundred elephants, gave them an entire defeat, carrying captive to Cheetore Mahmood, the Ghilji sovereign of Malwa.

SOURCES

ABUL FAZAL ON HINDU KING

Abul Fazal relates this victory, and dilates on Kumbha's greatness of soul in setting his enemy at liberty, not only without ransom but with gifts. Such is the character of the Hindu : a mixture of arrogance, political blindness, pride, and generosity. To spare a prostrate foe is the creed of the Hindu cavalier, and he carries all such maxims to excess. The annals, however, state that Mahmood was confined six months in Cheetore ; and that the trophies of conquest were retained we have evidence from Baber, who mentions receiving from the son of his opponent, Sanga, the crown of the Malwa king.

CHITTOR STAMBH

But there is a more durable monument than this written record of victory : the triumphal pillar in Chittor, whose inscriptions detail the event, when, shaking the earth, the lords of Goojurkhund and Malwa, with armies overwhelming as the ocean, invaded Medpat.

GLORY OF MAHARANA 

Eleven years after this event Kumbha laid the foundation of this column, which was completed in ten more : a period apparently too short to place this ringlet on the brow of Cheetore, " which makes her look down upon Meru with derision. We will leave it, with the aspiration that it may long continue a monument of the fortune of its founders. It would appear that the Malwa king afterwards united his arms with Kumbha, as, in a victory gained over the imperial forces at Jhunjhunu, when he planted his standard in Hissar, the Malwa troops were combined with those of Mewar. The imperial power had at this period greatly declined : the Khootba was read in the mosques in the name of Timoor, and the Malwa king had defeated, single-handed, the last Ghorian sultan of Dehli. Of eighty-four fortresses for the defence of Mewar, thirty-two were erected by Kumbha. Inferior only to Cheetore is that stupendous work called after him Koombhomer,* the hill of Kumbha, from its natural position, and the works he raised, impregnable to a native army. These works were on the site of a more ancient fortress, of which the mountaineers long held possession. Tradition ascribes it to Sumprit Raja, a Jain prince in the second century, and a descendant of Chandragupta ; and the ancient Jain temples appear to confirm the tradition.

When Kumbha captured Nagore he brought away the gates, with the statue of the god Hanuman, who gives his name to the gate which he still guards. He also erected a citadel on a peak of Abu within the fortress of the ancient Pramara where he often resided. Its magazine and alarm-tower still bear Kumbha's name ; and in a rude temple the bronze effigies of Kumbha and his father still receive divine honours. Centuries have passed since the princes of Mewar had influence here, but the incident marks the vivid remembrance of their condition. He fortified the passes between the western frontier and Aboo, and erected the fort Vasunti near the present Sirohi, and that of Macheen, to defend the SheroNalla and Deogurh against the Mairs of Aravili. He re-established Ahore and other smaller forts to overawe the Bhoomia* Bhil of Jarole and Panora, and defined the boundaries of Marwar and Mewar. 

Besides these monuments of his genius, two consecrated to religion have survived; that of Kumbha Sham on Aboo, which, though worthy to attract notice elsewhere, is here eclipsed by a crowd of more interesting objects. The other, one of the largest edifices existing, cost upwards of a million sterling, towards which Koombho contributed eighty thousand pounds. It is erected in the Sadri pass leading from the western descent of the highlands of Mewar, and is dedicated to Rishub-deva.f Its secluded position has preserved it from bigoted fury, and its only visitants now are the wild beasts who take shelter in its sanctuary. Koombho Ran a was also a poet : but in a far more elevated strain than the troubadour princes, his neighbours, who contented themselves with rehearsing their own prowess or celebrating their lady^s beauty. He composed a tiJcaj or appendix to the Divine Melodies,^^t in praise of Crishna. We can pass no judgment on these inspirations of the royal bard, as we are ignorant
whether any are preserved in the records of the house : a point his descendant, who is deeply skilled in such lore, might probably answer. Koombho married a daughter of the Rahtore of Mairta, the first of the clans of Marwar. Meera Bae was the most celebrated princess of her time for beauty and romantic piety. Her compositions were numerous, though better known to the worshippers of the Hindu Apollo than to the ribald bards. Some of her odes and hymns to the deity are preserved and admired. Whether she imbibed her poetic piety from her husband, or whether from her he caught the sympathy which produced the ^' sequel to the songs of Govinda/^ we cannot determine. Her history is a romance, and her excess of devotion at every shrine of the favorite deity with the fair of Hind, from the Yamuna to the world^s end,^'* gave rise to many tales of scandal. Koombho mixed gallantry with his warlike pursuits. He carried off the daughter of the chief of Jhalawar, who had been betrothed to the prince of Mundore : this renewed the old feud, and the Rahtore made many attempts to redeem his affianced bride. His humiliation was insupportable, when through the purified atmosphere of the periodical rains the towers of Koombhom^r became visible from the castle of Mundore, and the light radiated from the chamber of the fair through the gloom of a night in Bhadoon,t to the hall where he brooded o'er his sorrows. It was surmised that this night-lamp was an understood signal of the Jhalani, who pined at the decree which ambition had dictated to her father, in consigning her to the more powerful rival of her affianced lord. The Rahtore exhausted every resource to gain access to the fair, and had once nearly succeeded in a surprise by escalade, having cut his way in the night through the forest in the western and least guarded acclivity : but, as the bard equivocally remarks, " though he cut his way through ih.Qjhal (brush-wood), he *^ could not reach the JhalaniJ' Koombho had occupied the throne half a century ; he had triumphed over the enemies of his race, fortified his country with strongholds, embellished it with temples, and with the superstructure of her fame had laid the foundation of his own—when, the year which
should have been a jubilee was disgraced by the foulest blot in the annals ; and his life, which nature was about to close, terminated by the poignard of an assassin—that assassin, his son ! This happened in S. 1525 (A.D. 1469). Ooda was the name of the parricide, whose unnatural ambition, and impatience to enjoy a short lustre of sovereignty, bereft of life the author of his existence. But such is the detestation which marks this unusual crime, that, like that of the Venetian traitor, his name is left a blank in the annals, nor is Ooda known but by the epithet HatiarOj ' the murderer.' Shunned by his kin, and compelled to look abroad fop succour to maintain him on the throne polluted by his crime,
M^war in five years of illegitimate rule lost half the conse- quence which had cost so many to acquire. He made the Deora prince independent in Aboo, and bestowed Sambhur, Ajm^r, and adjacent districts, on the prince of Jodpoorf as the price
of his friendship. But, a prey to remorse, he felt that he could neither claim regard from, nor place any dependence npon, these
princes, though he bribed them with provinces. He humbled
himself before the king of Dehli, offering him a daughter in marriage
to obtain his sanction to his authority ; but heaven manifested its " vengeance to prevent this additional iniquity, and preserve the
house of Bappa Rawul from dishonour.^' He had scarcely quitted
the divan fdeioan-Jchaneh), on taking leave of the king, when a flash of lightning struck the ' Hatiaro' to the earth, whence he never
arose. The bards pass over this period cursorily, as one of their race was the instrument of Ooda^s crime.
There has always been a jealousy between the MangtaSj as they
term all classes ' who extend the palm/ whether Brahmins, Yatis,
Charuns, or B'hats ; bat since Hamir, the Charun influence had far
eclipsed the rest. A Brahmin astrologer predicted Koombho^s death
through a Charun, and as the class had given other cause of offence,
Koombho banished the fraternity from his dominions, resuming all their land: a strong measure in those days, and which few would have
had nerve to attempt or firmness to execute. The heir-apparent,
R-aemul, who was exiled to Eidur for what his father deemed an
impertinent curiosity,* had attached one of these bards to his suite,
whose ingenuity got the edict set aside, and his race restored to their
lands and the prince^'s favour. Had they taken off the Brahmin^s
head, they might have falsified the prediction which unhappily was
too soon fulfilled.
t
Raemul succeeded in S. 1530 (A.D. 1474) by his own valour to the seat of Koombho. He had fought and defeated the usurper, who
on this occasion fled to the king of Dehli and offered him a daughter
of Mewar. After his death in the manner described, the I)ebli
monarch, with Sehesmuland Soorajmul, sons of the parricide, invaded
Mewar, encamping at Siarh, now Nat'hdwara. The chiefs were

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