Maharaja Hemchandra Vikramaditya
A trailblazer of Hindu Raj
By Surya Narain Saxena
Can an arrow be as lethal as to kill the potential of Bharat regaining Hindu rule about four centuries after the defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan. Yes, this arrow was one that struck and left half dead a promising, able and brave Hindu general, commanding an all-Muslim army, aspiring to declare Hindu raj from no other place but Delhi, the natural capital of Hindu India after disposing of the impending clash with Mughal forces advancing from the west, led by 13-year-old Akbar, later to become emperor Akbar. The man of great valour, vision and administrative skill was little known Hemchandra Bhargava, who rose from a petty trader to become the prime minister of the last king of the Afghan dynasty, Islam Shah and soon a king himself by assuming the glorious title of Maharaja Vikramaditya on October 7, 1556, in Delhi.
According to Abul Fazal, he had fought and won twenty-two battles to defend the declining fortunes of Afghan empire but the one to take head-on the Mughal army, proved his last and a disaster for the possibility of Hindus regaining their long lost rule at Delhi. It is also said that a large part of his Muslim forces deserted him in the battlefield and he came within the striking range of enemy archers. Commanding his army from a caparisoned elephant and fighting heroically he fell half dead to an arrow that pierced his eye and brain in the battle, known as the second battle of Panipat on November 5, 1556. He was ordered to be beheaded by Akbar, when brought before him as a prisoner of war. Had he won this battle, the whole course of history would been changed as there would have been no Mughal empire in India. But as fate willed otherwise, Hindus were destined to suffer another three centuries of tyrannical Muslim rule.
The tale of rise of Hemchandra Bhargava, known in history as Hemu, from a petty trader to the throne at Delhi, is one of rare courage, genius and farsightedness. He is mentioned as the eldest son of a zamindar and preacher of Vallabh sect of Vaishnavite faith, Rai Puran Das and to have been born at Deoti Machheri near Rajgarh in Alwar state around 1500 AD. His family later shifted to Rewari in Haryana. His father being almost an ascetic and himself the eldest son, he had to support the family from an early age, according to some, by peddling salt, while others describe him as a corn chandler, a weigh man or a mere bania. Most Muslim chroniclers have derisively called him Hemu Bakkal.
Aren'tMaharana Pratap'sdefeat at Haldighati and failed Kamagatamaru mission to free the country as inspiring and luminous as any success story? Maharaja Hemchandra'sfailed venture carries a similar blaze.
As his financial condition improved, Hemchandra shifted to Delhi, capital of Afghan King Sher Shah Suri, where in the courts of two kings, Islam Shah and Adil Shah, he rose from one position to another by dint of his intelligence and administrative ability. His easy entry into the royal court was due to his father'scloseness with Sher Shah Suri'sfamily, whose widowed mother with her two sons was given shelter by Hemu'sfamily at Machheri, when she was in a state of penury. As stated, he finds mention in several Muslim chronicles. In Akbarnama, Hemchandra is recorded as a huckster of Rewari. The Imperial Gazetteer of India deservedly mentions him ?a man of genius, a great warrior and a great administrator.?
The monster of caste system has exacted an incredibly heavy price from Hindus over the ages and prevented a united action on many a critical occasion, when this was needed most. Such a crucial point in our history arose, when before the battle of Panipat, Maharaja Hemchandra wrote to several Rajput princes of Rajasthan seeking their military help against his impending fight to crush the Mughal forces, as he was apprehensive of betrayal by his own Muslim army in fighting the Muslim army of Akbar, which proved true as stated.
The replies of Rajput princes, who felt no shame in giving their sisters and daughters for the harems of Muslim kings, were most shocking and shameful. They insulted him for assuming the role of a Kshatriya, forbidden for a Dhusar?common name of Bhargava Brahamins in Rajasthan?and asking him to perform prayaschit before seeking their help.
How with such self-destructive thoughts and deeds we Hindus could expect a fate better than we had for over a millennium. It is ironical that sometimes history itself ignores some historical events. True, nothing succeeds like success and nothing fails like failure. But many a time failed attempts and defeats on the path of an ideal mission or a cause leave a trail more glorious than the triumph itself. Many such events are found in history and more than that in peoples? memory. Aren'tMaharana Pratap'sdefeat at Haldighati and failed Kamagatamaru mission to free the country as inspiring and luminous as any success story. Maharaja Hemchandra'sfailed venture carries a similar blaze.
Unfortunately history, tradition and people'sconsciousness have failed him so much that our capital Delhi, dotted with monuments and memorials, has none for this great son of Bharat.