The Battles of Panipat have a long and glorious history in India. Do you know how many Panipat battles were fought and who fought these battles? What is the objective of the battles and what were the consequences? Read the complete blog to know more about the battle of Panipat.
This Blog Includes:
- List of Battle of Panipat
- The First Battle of Panipat
- The Second Battle of Panipat
- The Third Battle of Panipat
List of Battle of Panipat
Let us first break the battles below:
- The First Battle of Panipat (1526): It was fought between the Timurids led by Babur (the founder of the Mughal Empire) and the Afghans led by Ibrahim Lodi (last king of Delhi sultanate)
- The Second Battle of Panipat (1556): The Hindu monarch Hemu battled the Mughals under Akbar in the Second Battle of Panipat (1556)
- The Third Battle of Panipat (1761): The Maratha Empire and the Durrani Empire, led by Afghan ruler Ahmad Shah Abdali, fought the Third Battle of Panipat (1761).
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The First Battle of Panipat
The First Battle of Panipat (April 21, 1526) took place near Panipat, Haryana, and marked the start of the Mughal Empire in India. During the rule of Ibrahim Lodi, the battle was fought between the invading armies of Zahir-ud-din Babur and the last empire of the Delhi Sultanate, the Lodi Empire.
The Military Forces
- Babur’s force numbered about 15,000 soldiers and had 20 to 24 field artillery guns.
- Ibrahim Lodi’s fighting army numbered between 30,000 and 40,000 soldiers, with at least 1000 war elephants.
- The Sultan lacked field artillery, but Babur’s force had cannons that proved critical on the battlefield.
Babur’s Tulughma and Araba strategies, not his weapons, were the key to his victory.
Tulughma: It referred to the division of the entire army into three units: the Left, the Right, and the Centre.
- The Forward and Rear divisions were subdivided from the Left and Right divisions.
- A tiny army was deployed to surround the enemy from all sides in this way.
Araba: The centre-forward division was then given araba (carts), which were stacked up against the enemy and tied together with animal hide ropes.
Result of the First Battle of Panipat
- Babur, the Timurid ruler of Kabulistan, defeated Ibrahim Lodi, Sultan of Delhi, and his much superior Mughal armies.
- Babur’s success allowed him to establish the foundations for the Mughal Empire in India.
- Ibrahim Lodi was betrayed by his feudatories and generals and killed on the battlefield (many of whom were mercenaries).
- The majority of the feudatories switched their loyalty to Delhi’s new ruler.
- Sultan Ibrahim’s fate may have been changed if he had lasted another hour of battle since Babur had no reserves left and his soldiers were quickly fatigued.
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The Second Battle of Panipat
The Second Battle of Panipat took place on November 5, 1556, between the armies of Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya, often known as Hemu, the Hindu ruler who ruled North India from Delhi, and the army of Akbar. Khan Zaman I and Bairam Khan, Akbar’s generals, won a decisive victory.
- Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya, often known as Hemu, was the Hindu ruler of Delhi after defeating Akbar/army Humanyun’s at the Battle of Delhi.
- Hemu was a descendant of Rewari, who served as an adviser to Sher Shah Suri’s son Islam Shah from 1545 until 1553. Between 1553 and 1556, as Prime Minister and Chief of the Army of Islam Shah, he defeated Afghan rebels in 22 battles.
- Humanyun, the Mughal king, died in Delhi on January 24, 1556, and was succeeded by his thirteen-year-old son, Akbar, at Kalanaur.
- King Akbar was enthroned on February 14, 1556. Mughal rule was limited to Kabul, Kandahar, parts of Delhi, and Punjab at the time of his accession to the throne.
Events of the Battle
- Akbar and his guardian Bairam Khan were stationed 5 Kms (8 miles) distant from the battleground and did not take part in it.
- The 13-year-old child King was not allowed to be present on the battlefield; instead, he was given a special guard of 5000 well-trained and loyal soldiers and stationed well behind the battle lines at a safe distance.
- The Mughal Vanguard was composed of 10,000 cavalries, 5000 of which were trained veteran soldiers ready to face Hemu’s invading army.
- Hemu personally led his army. His army comprised 1500 war elephants and an artillery park vanguard. And led a force of 30,000 well-trained horsemen composed of Rajputs and Afghans who marched in tight sync.
Result of the Second Battle of Panipat
- Hemu was ready to defeat Akbar’s army while commanding his soldiers from atop an elephant when an arrow injured Hemu’s squinting eye.
- He went unconscious when the arrow pierced through his brain and out of the cup of his skull.
- Hemu’s army was defeated as a result of not spotting Hemu on his howdah (a seat for riding on the back of a horse).
- Shah Quli Khan Mahram found and captured dead Hemu several hours after the battle ended, and carried him to Akbar’s tent in the Panipat camp.
- Hemu’s supporters erected a Cenotaph at the location of his beheading, which may still be seen today in the village of Saudhapur on Panipat’s Jind Road.
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The Third Battle of Panipat
The Third Battle of Panipat took place on 14 January 1761 at Panipat, about 60 miles (95.5 kilometres) north of Delhi, between a Maratha Empire northern expeditionary force and King of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Durrani, with two Indian Muslim allies— the Rohilla Afghans of the Doab and Shuja-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Oudh.
The battle is considered as one of the most important in the eighteenth century, with the highest number of casualties.
The Military Forces
The battle pitted the French-supplied artillery and Maratha’s cavalry against the Afghans’ and Rohillas’ strong cavalry and mounted artillery (zamburak and jezail) led by Ahmad Shah Durrani and Najib-ud-Daulah.(Ahmad Shah Abdali was also a name for Ahmad Shah Durrani.)
- The decline of the Mughal Empire after the 27-year Mughal-Maratha war (1680–1707), which resulted in rapid territorial gains for the Maratha Empire.
- Gujarat and Malwa came under Maratha rule under Peshwa Baji Rao. Finally, in 1737, Baji Rao defeated the Mughals on the outskirts of Delhi and gained possession of most of the old Mughal territory (south of Delhi).
- This brought the Marathas into direct conflict with Ahmad Shah Abdali’s Durrani empire.
- Ahmad Shah Abdali formed an army from Pashtun tribes in 1759 and made several gains in Punjab against the smaller Maratha garrisons. He, then formed a broad alliance against the Marathas with his Indian allies, the Gangetic Doab’s Rohilla Afghans.
The Support of Shuja-ud-Daulah
- Both the Marathas and the Afghans tried to persuade Shuja-ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Awadh, into their camp.
- By late July, Shuja-ud-Daulah had decided to join the Afghan-Rohilla coalition, choosing to be part of the so-called “Army of Islam.”
- Shuja provided much-needed finances for the prolonged Afghan stay in North India, therefore this was a strategic loss for the Marathas.
Shortage of Food
- This eventually turned into a two-month-long siege led by Abdali against the Marathas in the town of Panipat.
- During the siege both sides tried to cut off the other’s supplies at which the Afghans were considerably more effective; by the end of November 1760 they had cut off almost all food supplies into the besieged Maratha camp.
- This eventually turned into a two-month battle of Panipat, led by Abdali against the Marathas.
- Both sides tried to cut off the other’s supplies during the siege, but the Afghans were far more successful; by the end of November 1760, they had cut off nearly all food supplies into the trapped Maratha camp.
- By late December or early January, the Maratha camp’s food production had run out, and thousands of cattle died.
- Early in January, reports of soldiers dying of starvation started circulating.
- With no supplies and dying soldiers, the Maratha leaders begged Sadashiv Rao Bhau, their commander, to let them die in battle rather than starve to death.
- The Marathas left their camp to march towards the Afghan camp in a desperate bid to break the siege.
- Over 125,000 soldiers were involved in the battle, which lasted several days.
- There were long fights, with losses and victories on both sides. After defeating numerous Maratha wings, Ahmad Shah Durrani’s army emerged victoriously.
- The battle put an end to further Maratha conquests in the north, as well as weakening their holdings, for around ten years. The rule of Peshwa Madhavrao, who is credited with restoring Maratha supremacy following the defeat at Panipat, lasted ten years.
- Peshwa Madhavrao sent a huge Maratha force into North India in 1771, ten years after Panipat, in an effort that was intended to:
- Restore the Maratha Empire’s dominance in North India.
- Punish rebellious nations that had either allied with the Afghans, like as the Rohillas or had tried to pull from Maratha control after Panipat.
- The campaign’s success may be regarded as the conclusion in Panipat’s long history.
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