Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Akbar’s Conquest of Garah Katanga

In l564 Akbar sent Khwaja Abdu-Majid, better known as Asaf Khan, the governor of the Mughal province of Kara, to make a conquest of the kingdom of Garah Katanga, a territory, abounding in hills and jungles in the Gondwana region presently forming parts of the northern districts of the state of Madhya Pradesh. It had remained unconquered since the advent of Islam in India.

At this time the kingdom of Garah Katanga was being governed by a valiant lady of noble character Rani Durgavati, as the regent for her minor son, Bir Narayan.  Durgavati was a princess of the famous Chandela kingdom of Mahoba, a powerful dynasty of India some five centuries earlier. Equipped with about 500 elephants and 20,000 horses this gallant Rajput lady met the Mughal forces between Garah and Mandala (now in the Jabalpur district). During the battle an arrow struck her. When she saw that she might be taken prisoner, she plunged a dagger into her stomach and died. The young ruler, Bir Narayan, fought bravely but was defeated and trampled to death by horses.

The enormity of the booty captured by the invaders in the form of jewels, gold, silver, and other stones can be gauged by the fact that it proved difficult to compute even the tenth part of it.

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