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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Rakshabandhan: Recalling Karnawati's 'rakhi' to Mughal emperor Humayun who honored it, chased out her enemy [Communal Harmony Project-7]

Almost 500 years ago, Karnawati had sent a 'rakhi' to Emperor Humayun and sought his help when her kingdom was besieged by the enemy forces.

Humayun left Delhi and reached Chittaur in keeping with the age-old tradition of Raksha Bandhan.

The attacker Bahadaur Shah Gujrati had annexed Malwa in 1531 AD and was marching on. As his forces surrounded the fort of Chittor, Rani Karnavati, the Raja's mother, appealed to Badshah--the mughal king Humayun for help.

Along with her letter, she sent 'rakhi', the sacred thread that girls tie on the wrists of their brothers and in turn they pledge to take care of them.

Humayun accepted the 'rakhi' and proceeded to Chittor though Bahadur Shah didn't expect the Emperor to rush to Chittor and fight him.

Humayun did reach Chittor and Bahadur Shah had to flee. He escaped to Malwa but Humayun followed him to Fort Mandu and later on to Champanir where he took refuge.

But Humayun reached there also and captured it as well. Bahadaur Shah saved himself by reaching to Diu island.

Though Humayun had got delayed in starting off, he did honour this tradition and taught a lesson to the aggressor.

Even historians with a Saffron bent don't dispute this occurrence, as it is no myth and is recorded in history. Isn't it strange that so little we hear about this episode these days.

While the myths (and truths) regarding Muslim kings' persecution of other community are blown up all the time, such aspects are ignored.

Such glorious aspects of Indian history that are shining examples of the composite culture need to be highlighted. And this is just an example. In fact, in countless homes across the country, Hindus sisters tie rakhi to Muslim brothers and there are also Muslim girls who tie rakhin on the wrists of Hindu brothers.


Anonymous said...

The whitewashing of atrocities perpetrated by muslim invaders is so stark in our history books, in our movies, literature etc its pretty amazing.
Only recently you had a downright fictional movie about Akbar which painted him as some secular, enlightened individual instead of the debauched character that he actually was. All his wives were converted to Islam, not what was shown in the movie. No mention of his harems either, or his war mongering. Same whitewashing was done in earlier mughal-e-azam also.

We never learnt of the horrific temple destruction carried out by Aurangzeb in our history books. Or the destruction of Somnath, not once but six times by muslim invaders. Or that of Nalanda, or Vijayanagar.. the list is endless.

What you write of composite culture is nonsense. The subcontinent has never seen much peace since the onset of muslims. Get rid of the fantasy. Look at whats happening in Kashmir for more proof.

The only practical solution is another partition in which Hindus and Muslims are completely separated so that we can go our own ways.

urdudaaN said...

I wonder what caused the lapse in your memory. You seem to have forgotten all the atrocities of the British in the middle ages. You always jump from Mughals to Pakistan forgiving the British in between. No wonder you earn the tag of 'tolerant' from the west. You never give a damn to the alleged 'Dogs and Indians are not allowed' written by them. The bullets given to Hindu and Muslim soldiers by the British. Do you ever wonder if your thinking is free after winning the freedom? Or, is it a so called freedom??

aslam saiyad said...

why some people close their eyes to history..they just see wot they wnt to see..

akbar followed tolerant policy and most mughals followed that .
hindustani music evolved flourished during mughal era.
. i think no king has lived for relgion but for expansion of land..
even great shivaji looted surat.

aurangzeb had more 100 amirs(amir= leader of more than 1000 horse ridersand same with shivaji he 99 amir which were afghan.
can now somebody tell me it awas war between hindu muslims. that was for territory ..aurangzeb grand son and sambhaji son together fought against aurangzeb.
tipu the hero of all time was fighting against british .
maratha and british together fought to defeat tipu. and where does hindu swarajya goes..
actually we painted rajas and king for our purpose .they were mere ambitious kings..
problem with so called hnduwadis is they dont want know truth.their knowledge is limited read about world islam arabs romans mongols aryans.
even aryan were from outside they suprssed dravidians.
sher shah surri was great administrator even now govt is following old rules which he started. he brought discipline vilage taluka levels .revenue system..etc..
wake up guys say black is black and white is white..
dont see ur own color

aslam saiyad

Pinku said...

such a beautiful post followed by such hate filled bigotted comments.

This speaks of our sad times if nothing else does.

By the way, reading this brought a smile as i remebered you muslim bhai

Cool4u said...

wonderful post. My complements. Some of the comments though are not too pleasing. we need more people like you to preach universal brotherhood and bon homie between religious groups. I did read about or was told about this Rakhi incident by my teachers in school. thank you for reminding us.

shan said...

The post is really laudable. There is also a poem written by Bengli poet narrating this entire incident.
Another much forgotten and even less spoken character who had done a lot to promote unity and peace was Shahzada Dara Shiko. But unfortunately it is one of the reasons for which he was brutally murdered by Aurangzeb. However, sadly, there is no effort to promote Dara Shiko, neither by Indian politicans nor by Hindus or Muslims. Instead, Aurangzeb is probably more popular because of his orthodoxy.

A Pragmatist/Academic said...

To the first post:

History books have been whitewashed too to support the claim that the invaders of India did more bad than good. Victory is defined by the victorious.
Just Read "Higher education, ideology, and politics" by Pinto, Ambrose (2004).

And, no conquest or invasion has been without bloodshed. There was in-fighting among Hindu rulers as well; its not like the Muslim rulers were the only ones who led bloody wars.

Even Hinduism has the concept of wars. According to Hindu philosophy, there exists a continuous tension between dharmayuddha and kutayuddha.

Please people, inform yourselves, read some books and think for yourself and go out and vote. Don't let anyone else make decisions for you.

prabhat said...

I like this one - in fact when I was small I read this story - and for me humayun was hero .Humayun was very unfortunate ruler who never had peace of mind .

But there was another part of the Muslim invasion of India - as a victor there was a lot of blood shed - lot of Hindus killed and there temple destroyed - this is also a history - so we should not forget this.

Ruler like AKBAR ,sahajahan , jahangir were pragmatic in their approach as to rule india they have to adopt conciliatory approach towards local rulers - divide and rule - which British did to perfection.

Anyway its true that a great cultural progress has been made in terms of language , architect , music and art during mugal rule .

Ans friendship between mugal and rajpoots were legendary.

shivaji indeed had lot of afgan as soldiers - but they were not mugals.

tHERE is also truth behind destruction of mny important temples of hindus and genocide of millions of hindus by afgans and later mugals - and most of the time this had religios undertone as new rulers of india Muslim want to consolidate their power - so forced conversion , destruction of temples , marrying to local girls all was part of that - i think any aggresor would do that .

Raksha Bandhan said...

Its good to see such blogs where hindu and muslim bondage is shown...

Raghavendra Kulkarni (Raghu) said...


Thanks for sharing this piece of history. I will share this with my friends.

Jai Hind,

Indian said...

All right lets just say muslim invaders( Id rather say afghan or turkish) did destroy temples massacred hindus( especially at the hindu kush mountains) what do the present muslims have to do with it. Did they ask those block heads back then to do all sorts of nasty stuff. No they did not. you may say all muslims praise barbarians like mohammed ghur,Ghazni, aurangazeb etc. correction it is not all muslims it is few muslims( very few to be precise, may be 2% of muslim population).So what i ask is why dont we leave such stuff behind in history. just let it go.

we must remember that we are all same ol' indians( we all have similar genetic make up that means an indians from any religion are more similar to each other than maybe to a chinese or an african person) with just differemt ways of thinking but similar mindsets none the less.

Jai hind

Raghu Yadav said...

I have seen this story on screen :). Its been very well captured in movie 'himayun' , ashok kumar is in the role of himayun, and prithvi raj kapoor in the role of Babar. if you are in india you should get DVDs of this 1946 movie, if you are outside in india then search torrents :)