Samrat Hemchandra Vikramaditya: A Forgotten King

Not many people have heard of Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya, otherwise known as Hemu. Who was he? Hemu was a man of humble origins, who rose to become the king of Delhi in 1556.

Story of Delhi till now: Prithviraj Chauhan (r: 1179-1192) was the ruler of Delhi just before the Muslim invasion. Prithviraj was defeated in the Second Battle of Tarain in 1192 by Muhammad Ghori and the Delhi Sultanate (1206-1526) was established. Zahir ud-din Muhammad Babur, a descendant of Timur, defeated the last Delhi Sultan Ibrahim Lodi in the 1st Battle of Panipat in 1526 and laid the foundations of the Mughal Empire in India. Mughal Rule was interrupted briefly; when Sher Shah Suri, an Afghan, defeated Babur's son Humayun and established the Second Afghan Empire in India, known as the Sur Dynasty (1540-1555). Humayun took refugee in Persia (Iran) with Shah Tahmasp.

Early Life of Hemu: Hemu was born in a Hindu Brahman family at Rewari in Haryana in 1501. His father was Puran Das, a religious man of the Dhusar caste. When Hemu was in his teens, his father left his home and went to Mathura. So in order to support his family Hemu left his studies and started huckestry. He sold salt in the streets of Rewari. After some time, when his position improved, he left huckestry and became a weighman in the mandi. Due to his hard work, when his position improved a little, he went to Delhi and became a weighman there; he supplied cereals and saltpeter to Sher Shah's army. Hemu was an ambitious man. He sought a government job and became a hawker. Due to his abilities he was soon promoted as a government contractor. From this place his rise to prominence took place. Sher Shah's son and successor Salim Shah Suri, made Hemu Superintendent of the Markets. Hemu became the regent of the Sur empire during the reign of Muhammad Shah Adil popularly known as Adali. I have a separate post on Hemu in the service of Adali.


hemu-hemchandra-last-hindu-king-of-delhi

Humayun's Death:Taking advantage of the civil war among the Suris, Humayun marched towards India. After defeating Sikandar Suri, he became the King of India the second time in July 1555, after a gap of 15 years. Humayun died on 24 Jan 1556, due to an accidental fall from the stairs of his library (Sher Mandal library at Purana Qila) in Delhi. At the time of Humayun's death, Akbar was in Punjab with his guardian Bairam Khan, where he was engaged in operations against Sikandar Suri. Akbar (r: 1556-1605) was coronated in Kalanur in Punjab, on February 14 1556, at the age of thirteen, and Bairam Khan became his Regent.


Hemu Ascends the Throne of Delhi: Upon hearing the news of Humayun's death, Adil Shah sent Hemu with a large army to capture Delhi and Agra. After capturing Agra, Hemu proceeded towards Delhi. Tardi Beg Khan, the governor of Delhi, was defeated after a day's battle and Hemu successfully occupied Delhi. (Tardi Beg was later put to death by Bairam Khan.) When he got possession of so much plunder of the Mughal army, he began to entertain ambitious ideas, "Adil Shah is helpless. Although he possessed a valiant army, he could do nothing when Ibrahim and Sikandar rebelled. Now all his elephants and soldiers are with me". He distributed all the spoil, with the exception of the elephants, among the Afghans who accompanied him and gained them over to his side. On 7th October, 1556, Hemu ascended the throne of Delhi, assuming the title of Hem Chandra Vikramaditya and re-established the Hindu rule after 350 years of Muslim rule. He then sent word to Adil Shah, "Your slave, by the royal fortune, has routed the Mughal army, which was firm as an iron wall; but I hear that Humayun's son commands a numerous force, and is advancing against Delhi. For this reason I have kept the horses and elephants of the Mughals, in order that I may be able to face the valiant enemy, and not allow them to reach Delhi".

Hemu had fought twenty two battles with the opponents of Adil Shah and was victorious in all of them. At that time the Afghans considered themselves natives of the country while the Mughals were considered as foreigners. Hemu's army composed of Afghans as well as Hindus. He had a large army with 1,500 war elephants which no ruler of India had at that time. Hearing the victorious tales of Hemu's battles and the strength of his troops, the Mughal soldiers were frightened, but Bairam Khan insisted on fighting with Hemu. He sent the forces towards Delhi and himself followed with the young Akbar.

Historic Battles of Panipat: The Second Battle—Between Hemu and Akbar (5th Nov 1556):


The Second Battle of Panipat was fought between Hemu and the Mughal forces of Akbar on 5 Nov 1556. Hemu himself commanded his army. The warriors of that time wore amour that covered their entire body, except their eyes. Hemu was sitting in a howda on his elephant 'Hawai'. Initially his forces were winning, but suddenly an arrow hit Hemu in the eye and he fell unconscious. According to Ferishta, "Raising himself again, Hemu drew the arrow and with it the eye out of the socket, which he wrapped in his handkerchief, and in spite of his painful situation, he continued to fight with unabated courage, endeavouring, with the few men who remained about his person, to force his retreat through the enemy's line". At that time Shah Quli Khan Mahrum attacked the driver of Hemu's elephant. The elephant driver in order to save his own life, pointed to his master. Hemu was captured by the Khan Zaman and brought him before Akbar. Bairam Khan requested Akbar to behead Hemu to earn the title of Ghazi (Warrior of the Faith) but since Akbar refused to kill a dying enemy, Bairam Khan himself beheaded Hemu at a single blow. After Hemu's death, a massacre of Hemu's followers was ordered by Bairam Khan. On his refusal to convert to Islam, Hemu's father and relations were mercilessly executed. Thus the Second Battle of Panipat resulted in the re-establishment of Mughals under Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar.

Comments

  1. Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya is indeed a forgotten Hindu emperor in present times. One rarely comes to know or read about him in media or Govt. publications. History of India needs to be written afresh as it was written by invaders who were partial. A nationalist warrior who won 22 battles spanning entire north India remains ignored in history. History needs to be corrected.

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  2. Anonymous24 May, 2015

    Humayun tomb was not built by his begum or his political successor or anyone for that matter in the time of Mughal reign. It was a Rajputi Palace that Humayun's forefathers attacked and blatantly occupied and lived and died in it. The color of the so called tomb is "Geruya" or Red. If you've known enough distorted medieval history of this country... You'd know rajputs are known for having red forts and palaces. And many more claims yo prove that it is not a Mughal creation at all.

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  3. Anonymous24 May, 2015

    Humayun tomb was not built by his begum or his political successor or anyone for that matter in the time of Mughal reign. It was a Rajputi Palace that Humayun's forefathers attacked and blatantly occupied and lived and died in it. The color of the so called tomb is "Geruya" or Red. If you've known enough distorted medieval history of this country... You'd know rajputs are known for having red forts and palaces. And many more claims yo prove that it is not a Mughal creation at all.

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    Replies
    1. Actualy Rajputs are living in sudo proud and trying to distorting the history by claiming ridiculously on construction of muslim kings. Rajput have maintain their small Jagirs by offering their daughter and sisters to Muslims

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    2. Colour of maximum construction of mughals in Delhi is red. See Red fort Lal Masjid in Purana kila built by shershah. Colour is red not saffron and any construction having red or saffron colour is build by Hindu king is rediculous After all Rajputs are like shekhi khor lomdi

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  4. Thank you Anjana, for update the same. But you updated some wrong information about the caste of Shri Hemchander ji. We have all original records. He was not from Poor Family. He was "Dass" called cast "Sadhu/Baragi" his uncle was Shri Mohan Dass, his temple is in Bhadawas, Near Rewari. And his family was living in some villages Haryana only. I am also from Shri Hemu's family and living in Village Turkapur, Near Pataudi, Haryana. His father's name was Shri Puran Dass and he was businessman in Rewari. If any one need any clarification, he/she can call me 09873416622. Thx again Anjana.

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  5. आज सम्राट हेमचंद्र विक्रमादित्य का बलिदान दिवस है जो आम आदमी से सम्राट बना,पृथ्वीराज चौहान के ३५० साल बाद दिल्ली की गद्दी पर बैठा ये महान योद्धा अन्तिम हिन्दू सम्राट था व प्रथम स्वतंत्रता सेनानी आम आदमी था इसलिए हम सब भूल गये
    Desh ke liye pran samrpit karane vale baladaniyo ko sat sat naman, ore Bhagawan in ki atma ko shanti pradan kare , evam inke pariwar ko dukha sahane sakati de v apani kripa deve ye hi prathana , Salute to Indian Armed forces
    जय हिन्द, जय हिन्द की सेना

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  6. Salute to u sir,
    I am also of ur caste 'doshar vaishya'
    And i am proud of it.

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  7. hold on to your seats. I am about to reveal a bitter truth. My ancestors were among the ones who were ordered by bairam khan to be killed. so much so, after 4 generations, I have lost track of whereabouts of my Kul Devi (Family Godess) whom my ancestors worshipped and it is these Mughals because of whom I and my Ancestors were uprooted from our Culture!!!

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