Top 5 Battles That Changed
The Course of Indian History
Wars have always been an integral part of human history. The bloodshed the world over war has led to the inception of new kingdoms, new religions and individual greats, who not only brought changes in regime, but also paved the way for much-needed change in the socio-political orders of countries. And India’s history is certainly no exception.India’s history is characterized by a long list of battles as native and foreign powers sought to conquer and gain access to the wealth of the subcontinent. Here, we have decided to shed some light on the five battles that changed Indian history forever, focusing on more recent battles.
5. Second Battle Of Tarain:-
This war took place in Tarain in 1192 between Delhi's King Prithviraj Chauhan and Muhammed Ghori, the Sultan of Ghor. Ghori had been invading and looting India for three decades. When he challenged Prithviraj in the First Battle of Tarain in 1191. The great Rajput king defeated him. Humiliated after his defeat, Ghori returned to Afghanistan, but came back in 1192 with a bigger army and challenged Chauhan once again. This time, due to the lack of unity between the Rajput confederation, Chauhan was short on support from other Rajput kings, resulting in a massive defeat for Chauhan, the last Hindu king on the throne of Delhi.
The war established Islam in India, because unlike other Islamic invaders who used to loot India and return to their lands, Ghori stayed put. He established an empire and before returning to Ghor, left Qutub-ul-Din Aibak, the man who laid the foundation of Qutub Minar in Delhi, as his regional governor. Later this event led to the foundation and rise of the Gulam Dynasty & Delhi Sultanate.
4. First Battle Of Panipat:-
This war took place between the invader Babur from Fargana, and Delhi’s Sultan Ibrahim Lodhi in 1526. Many books, including Babur's biography, claim Babur was invited to attack India by Lodhi’s brother, Sikander Lodhi, and Mewar's King Rana Sanga, who thought that war with Babur would weaken the Sultan enough to defeat him. But like Ghori, Babur was mesmerized with the riches of the beautiful India, and didn’t leave after defeating the Sultan. Instead, he laid the foundation of the Mughal Empire.
Later in 1527, defeated Rana Sanga in the Battle of Khanwa. But the Mughal rule was cemented in the Second Battle of Panipat in 1556, when his grandson Akbar defeated Hemu, the last hope of Hindu rule over Delhi.
3. Battle of Plassey:-
This battle established the British as one of the contenders, along with the Marathas and many others as successors to the Mughal empire. The war took place on 23 June 1757, between the Nawab of Bengal Siraj-ud-Daulah and the British. Tensions escalated between the two when the British fortified Fort William in Calcutta without the permission of the Nawab. According to NCERT books, the Nawab was fed up with the continuous interference of the British in his rule, and took this opportunity to vent his anger. He destroyed the fortification.
But soon the British got help of Madras Province. Robert Clive, the British Commander used divide and rule policy and therefore, he bribed commander of nawab's army Mir Jaffer, deewan Rai Durlabh along with many other key commanders. As a result, a majority of the 40,000 soldier army of the Nawab didn’t fight, and surrendered meekly at Plassey. The Nawab lost to an army of just two thousand soldiers.
This war made Britain's dream of ruling India more accessible, and they realised it by defeating all other contenders to the Mughal throne - the Marathas, the Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan, and many others in future.
2. Third Battle Of Panipat:-
This war, between the Marathas and Afghan invader Agmad Shah Abdali, took place on 14th January 1761. The war is considered to be one of the most decisive battles in Indian history because it didn’t decide who would become the successor of the Mughals in India, but who would not. The Marathas, under the leadership of the Peshwa’s brother Sadashiva Rao Bhau, lost their war despite having twice the number of soldiers against Abdali. According to A Comprehensive History of Medieval India, the major cause of Maratha defeat was the lack of support from other Indian regional kings like the Rajputs, Sikhs, Jats and even the Nawab of Awadh. Panipat was thousands of miles away from their capital in Pune, and it resulted in soldiers dying of hunger. Maratha supply lines were cut by Abdali and his Indian allies. Out of compulsion, Bhau had to fight at Panipat. Initially, the ferocity of the Maratha attack was such that it took the Afghans by surprise, but soon the law of averages caught up and the Afghans dominated and defeated the Marathas.
This defeat opened the gates of India to the British. A few years later, the British waged war against the Maratha empire and completely destroyed it by 1818 in the third Anglo-Maratha war.
1. Battle Of Buxar:-
The battle took place on 22 October, 1764 at Buxar, roughly 130 km west to of Patna, between the British, led by Hector Munro, and the combined forces of Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II, Shuja-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Awadh, and Mir Qasim, the former Nawab of Bengal. The Indian side had a massive army of almost 40,000 troops, whereas the British had only 10,000 soldiers in their ranks. But Britishers won because of their modern technique, discipline and armory.
As a result of the defeat, the treaty of Allahabad was signed, and the Mughal Emperor became the prime victim. Apart from being the pensioner of the British, he remained confined in Allahabad, had to give Diwani Rights of revenue collection of the Bengal Province, comprising today’s Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and parts of Uttar Pradesh, to the British.
After Buxar, the British never looked back. The victory gave the British great confidence and they became a force to reckon with. Till the 1857 revolt, they defeated all their potential enemies including the Marathas, Tipu Sultan and the Sikhs, resulting in the complete subjugation of the Indian subcontinent under the British rule.