A Forgotten Empire Chapter 11

A Forgotten Empire Chapter 11

A Forgotten Empire Vijayanagar| by Robert Sewell Preface|Chapter 1|Chapter 2|Chapter 3|Chapter 4|Chapter 5|Chapter 6|Chapter 7|Chapter 8|Chapter 9|Chapter 10|Chapter 11|Chapter 12|Chapter 13|Chapter 14|Chapter 15|Chapter 16|Chapter 17
The Siege and Battle of Raichur, and Close of Krishna's Reign (A.D. 1520 to 1530)
The date of the siege ~~ Evidence of Castanheda, Correa, Barros, Faria y Souza, Osorio, Lafitau, Firishtah ~~ Ruy de Mello and the mainlands of Goa ~~ Immense numbers engaged ~~ Firishtah's story of the fight ~~ Portuguese present ~~ Christovao de Figueiredo ~~ Political effects of the Hindu victory, and the events that followed it ~~ The mainlands of Goa.


I shall ask my readers to turn for an account of the great battle and siege of Raichur to the narrative of Nuniz,[214] whose description is so full and so vivid that it may well be allowed to stand by itself. It is only necessary for me to add a few notes.

The following is a short summary of the story: ~~

Krishna Deva Raya, having determine to attack the Adil Shah and once for all to capture the disputed fortress of Raichur, collected all his forces, and marched with an immense host from Vijayanagar in a north-easterly direction. It was the dry season, and he probably set out in February or March. The weather must have been intensely hot during his advance, and still more so during the campaign; but the cotton plains that lay on his route out and home were then in the best condition for the passage of his troops, guns, and baggage. His enormous army consisted of about a million of men, if the camp-followers be included; for the fighting men alone, according to Nuniz, numbered about 736,000, with 550 elephants. The troops advanced in eleven great divisions or army corps, and other troops joined him before Raichur.

He pitched his camp on the eastern side of that citadel, invested the place, and began a regular siege. After an interval he received intelligence of the arrival of the Adil Shah from Bijapur, on the north side of the Krishna, with an army of 140,000 horse and foot to oppose him.

Having for a few days rested his troops, the Sultan crossed the river, advanced (according to Nuniz) to within nine miles of Raichur, and there entrenched himself, leaving the river about five miles in his rear.[215] Firishtah, however, differs, and says that the Muhammadan forces crossed directly in face of the Hindu army encamped on the opposite bank.

On Saturday morning, May 19, in the year A.D. 1520, according to my deductions, the forces became engaged, and a decisive pitched battle was fought. Krishna Deva, making no attempt to outflank his adversary, ordered an advance to his immediate front of his two forward divisions. Their attack was so far successful that they drove the Muhammadans back to their trenches. The Sultan had apparently deployed his force over too wide an area, expecting that the Raya would do the same; but finding himself weak in the centre he opened fire from the guns that he had previously held in reserve, and by this means caused great loss in the close ranks of the Hindus. The Raya's troops fell back in face of this formidable bombardment, and at once their enemies charged them. The retreat was changed to a rout, and for a mile and a half to their direct front the Mussulman cavalry chased the flying forces belonging to Krishna Deva's first line. The king himself, who commanded the second line, began to despair of victory, but rallied his troops, collected about him a number of his nobles, and determined to face death with the bravery that had always characterised him. Mounting his horse, he ordered a forward movement of the whole of his remaining divisions, and charged the now disordered ranks of the Mussulmans. This resulted in complete success, for the enemy, scattered and unable to form, fled before his impetuous onslaught. He drove them the whole way back to, and into, the river, where terrific slaughter took place, and their entire army was put to flight.

The Raya then crossed the river and seized the Shah's camp, while the Shah himself, by the counsel and help of Asada Khan, a man who afterwards became very famous, escaped only with his life, and fled from the field on an elephant.

While being driven back towards the river, Salabat Khan, the Shah's general, made a valiant attempt to retrieve the fortunes of the day. He had for his bodyguard 500 Portuguese "renegades," and with him these men threw themselves into the advancing ranks of the Hindus, where they "did such wonderful deeds" that ever after they were remembered. They penetrated the king's host, and cut their way forwards till they almost reached his person. Here Salabat Khan lost his horse, but at once mounted another and pressed on. The little force was, however, surrounded and annihilated, and the general, being a second time overthrown, horse and all, was made prisoner.

The spoil was great and the result decisive. For years afterwards the "Moors" cherished a wholesome dread of Krishna Raya and his valiant troops, and the Sultan, panic-stricken, never again during his enemy's lifetime ventured to attack the dominions of Vijayanagar. Krishna Deva, flushed with victory, returned at once to the attack of Raichur, and the fortress was after a short time captured.

Its fall was due in great measure to the assistance rendered by some Portuguese, headed by Christovao de Figueiredo, who with their arquebusses picked off the defenders from the walls, and thus enabled the besiegers to approach close to the lines of fortification and pull down the stones of which they were formed. Driven to desperation, and their governor being slain, the garrison surrendered.

Date of the Battle.

Now as to the date of this battle.

I am bold enough to believe, and defend my belief, that when Nuniz fixed the day of the great fight as the new moon day of the month of May, A.D. 1522, he made a mistake in the year, and should have written "1520."

The chronicler states that Krishna Deva was prepared to give battle on a Friday, but was persuaded by his councillors to postpone his attack till the following day, Friday being unlucky. The battle accordingly took place on the Saturday, which was the new moon day.

Before proceeding to examine the month and day, let us consider the year A.D. of the battle.

Paes describes two grand festivals at the capital of which he was an eye-witness, and at which Christovao de Figueiredo was present. He fixes definitely the days on which these occurred. The first was the nine-days MAHANAVAMI festival, and the second was the festival of the New Year's Day. Paes states that on the occasion when he was present the MAHANAVAMI began on September 12 ("ESTAS FESTAS SE COMECAO A DOSE DõAS DE SETEBRO E DURAO NOVE DIAS"[216]), and the latter began on October 12 ("ENTRAMDO O MES D OUTUBRO A OMZE DIAS AMDADOS D ELE … NESTE DIU COMECAO O ANNO, E DIA D ANNO BOM … COMECAO O ANNO NESTE MES COM A LUA NOVA, E ELLES NAO CONTAO O MES SE NAO DE LUA A LUA").[217] Previously to this, when writing about Raichur, Paes has described that place[218] as a city "that formerly belonged to the king of Narsymga (I.E. Vijayanagar); there has been much war over it, and THIS KING took it from the Ydallcao" (Adil Shah). The chronicler, therefore, was present at these feasts on an occasion subsequent to the date of Krishna Deva's conquest of Raichur.

Now the MAHANAVAMI festival begins in these tracts on the 1st of the month of Asvina, and the New Year's Day in the time of Paes was evidently celebrated on the 1st of the month Karttika, as was often the case in former years both days being the days following the moment of new moon. In what year, then, during the reign of Krishna Deva Raya, did the 1st of Asvina and the 1st of Karttika fall respectively on September 12 and on October 12? I have worked these dates out for all the years of the reign, and I find that in no year except A.D. 1520 did this occur. In 1521 the MAHANAVAMI fell on September 2, and the New Year's Day on October 1; in 1522 the former fell on September 20, and the latter on October 20. This shows that Paes assisted at the festivals of A.D. 1520, and that therefore the battle and capture of Raichur must have taken place before the month of September in that year.

This again throws fresh light on the magnificent reception accorded to Christovao de Figueiredo by the king, and the latter's exceptional kindness to the Portuguese at the time of these feasts.[219] Krishna Raya cherished an especial fondness for Christovao on account of his invaluable aid at the siege of the city, and for the fact that but for him the war might have lasted much longer.

Let us now turn to the other Portuguese writers, and see whether they confirm our date, 1520, for the fall of Raichur.

The decision of this question turns mainly on the date when the Portuguese obtained the mainlands opposite the island of Goa, consisting of the tracts called Salsette, Ponda, and Bardes. It seems certain that this capture of the mainlands took place by Krishna Deva's connivance shortly after the fall of Raichur, at a time when Diogo Lopes de Sequeira, the governor-general, was away at the Red Sea, and when Ruy de Mello was governor of Goa. Now Sequeira left Goa for the Red Sea on February 13, A.D. 1520, and arrived again before Diu in India on February 9, 1521.

Castanheda tells us (and he is a good authority, since he was in India in 1529) that while Sequeira was absent at the Red Sea war broke out between the king of Vijayanagar and the Adil Shah,[220] at the close of which the latter was defeated and put to flight, while the Hindus took Raichur and other places

"so that many of the TANADARIS[221] near Goa on the mainland were left undefended. And since the king of Narsinga was very rich, and had no need of these lands, and wanted that all the horses that came to Goa should come to him and none to the HIDALCAO, he sent to say to Ruy de Mello, captain of Goa, that he had taken Belgaum by force of arms from the Hidalcao, with all the land appertaining to it as far as the sea, in which were TANADARIS yielding more than 500,000 gold pardaos, of which he desired to make a present to the king of Portugal … and that he wanted all the horses that came to Goa. He therefore said that the captain of Goa could enter and take possession of the TANADARIS."

This was immediately done, and Ruy de Mello took possession of the mainland of Goa, including Salsette, in ten days.

Correa, who was in India at the time, having gone thither in 1512 or 1514, mentions[222] that de Sequeira left Goa for the Red Sea in January 1520, and that "at that time" (NESTE TEMPO ~~ the expression is unfortunately vague) war broke out between Vijayanagar and Bijapur. After its close the Hindu king sent a message to "Ruy de Mello, captain of Goa," in the absence of the governor-general, regarding the mainlands of Goa. Correa does not mention distinctly the year in which this occurred, but the edition of 1860 at the head of the page has the date "1521." This, however, must be an error on the part of the editor, for in May 1521 Sequeira was not absent, and therefore the year referred to cannot be 1521; while in May 1522 Dom Duarte de Menezes, and not Sequeira, was governor-general.[223] Sequeira sailed for Portugal January 22, A.D. 1522.

Barros relates the departure of de Sequeira from India for the Red Sea on February 13, 1520, and states that in his absence Ruy de Mello was governor of Goa, under Sequeira's lieutenant, Aleixo de Menezes. Ruy de Mello seized the mainland of Goa after the battle of Raichur,[224] and at that time de Sequeira was absent at the Red Sea. His description of the siege of Raichur and the great battle in the vicinity clearly seems to have been taken from the chronicle of Nuniz. It follows the latter blindly, even in the misspelling of names, and therefore is really of no greater value. When, however, Barros comes to deal with the acquisition of the mainlands of Goa,[225] he is dependent on other information, and gives a much more detailed account. The time is clearly fixed. After the battle and flight of the Adil Shah the feeling between the two adversaries was naturally highly strained, and this "enabled Ruy de Mello, captain of Goa, to take the mainlands of Goa." Sequeira was at the Red Sea and Menezes at Cochin. A very important passage for my present purpose occurs a little later on in Barros's work:[226] ~~

"Diogo Lopes de Sequeira, AS soon as he arrived at Goa (from the Red Sea), all necessary arrangements having been made for the government of the city, AND PRINCIPALLY OF THE MAINLANDS, WHICH HE FOUND THAT RUY DE MELLO HAD TAKEN … went to Cochin;"

and thence to Diu, where he arrived on February 9, 1521.[227] Another passage farther on in the narrative of Barros also establishes the fact that Ruy de Mello took the lands during Sequeira's absence at the Red Sea.[228]

Faria y Souza, a Spanish writer, whose work was first published a century after these events, confirms the period, February 1520 to February 1521, as that of Sequeira's absence at the Red Sea, and he writes: ~~

"While the governor[229] was in the Red Sea, the King Crisnao Rao of Bisnaga covered the plains and hills and stopped the flow of the rivers[230] with an army of thirty-five thousand horse, seven hundred and thirty-three thousand foot, and five hundred and eighty-six elephants carrying castles with four men in each, and twelve thousand watermen … and baggage in such quantities that the courtesans alone numbered more than twenty thousand."[231]

Souza also states, as does Nuniz, that after the defeat of the Adil Shah, Krishna Deva Raya demanded that, as the price of peace, the former should visit him and kiss his foot; and that, taking advantage of the Adil Shah's difficulties, Ruy de Mello seized the mainlands of Goa.[232] It is clear, therefore, that both authors are writing of the same event.

Osorio, a later writer, confirms the story in most of its details, stating that after the defeat of the Adil Shah, Krishna Raya sent to Ruy de Mello ("Roderigo Melos"), captain of Goa, offering the mainlands, and promising after the return of Sequeira to send a regular embassy to conclude a solemn treaty. De Mello accordingly took the mainlands.

Lafitau[233] also states that the war took place during Sequeira's absence at the Red Sea, and that the mainlands were taken after the Adil Shah's defeat.[234]

Turning to Firishtah, I find a difference. He states that the battle of Raichur took place in Hijra 927 (December 22, 1520, to December 1, 1521, A.D.), which, if it was fought in May, as Nuniz declares, makes the date May 1521. That he is speaking of the same affair is obvious from the details given. He mentions, for instance, the vast host constituting the Hindu army, the Shah's force advancing to the river Krishna, the too hasty crossing of the river, the gallant fight of the Muhammadans, their defeat and rout, the fact of the Adil Shah's forces being driven to the river and perishing in large numbers while attempting to re-cross it, the Shah's narrow escape, and his dependence on Asada Khan. All this leaves no room for doubt. The only difference is that, whereas we learn from the other authorities that the fortress of Raichur was in the hands of the Muhammadans, Firishtah states that the war arose because the Adil Shah "made preparations for marching to recover Mudkul and Roijore from the Roy of Beejanuggur," as if the latter were then in possession of those places. As to Firishtah's date, I believe it to be wrong by one year, for the reasons given above. It must be remembered that he wrote many years after the event.

Having thus, I hope satisfactorily, established the fact that the date given by Nuniz for the battle of Raichur is wrong by two years, and should be 1520, I turn to examine the day and month. It was the new moon day of May, according to Nuniz, and a Saturday. Krishna Deva Raya was ready for battle on the Friday, but postponed his attack to the next day since Friday was considered an unlucky day.

The moment of the occurrence of new moon in May 120 was 2.27 A.M. on the morning of Thursday, May 17. We do not know whether Nuniz ascertained his facts from native almanacks or the calculations of the astrologers, or whether he spoke from observations made by himself or by some one who was present; but Nuniz was an ordinary person, not a skilled astronomer, so far as we can tell, and he may well have called the day on which the crescent of the new moon first made its appearance just after sunset the "new moon day." This first appearance actually took place on the Saturday following. The first day of the Muhammadan month Jamada' l akhir, corresponding to the heliacal rising of the moon on that occasion, was Saturday, May 19.

I therefore believe that this great battle took place on Saturday, May 19, A.D. 1520,[235] a date almost synchronous with the of the "Field of the Cloth of Gold."

The Number of Troops Engaged.

When we total up the list given by Nuniz of the columns that marched from Vijayanagar for the campaign, the amount is so huge that we pause in natural doubt as to whether the story could by any possibility be true: 703,000 foot, 32,600 horse, and 551 elephants, BESIDES the camp followers, merchants, &c., and "an infinitude of people" who joined him at a place close to Raichur! It certainly demands a large strain on our credulity.

Let every one form his own opinion. I can only call attention to the fact that large armies seem to have always been the rule in India, and that certainly Krishna Raya had the power to raise immense numbers of troops,[236] though whether so many as is stated is another question. His power to do so lay in his mode of government. Allusion has already been made to this, and Nuniz gives us interesting details. The whole empire was divided into provinces and estates, held by chiefs bound to keep up masses of troops fit for immediate service. It is, of course, natural to suppose that in this great war the king would have put forth all his strength.

To prove that immense armies were often employed by Indian kings, we have only to refer to a succession of writers. Barros notes the great power of the sovereign of Vijayanagar and his almost incredible richness, and is at pains to give an account of how these enormous forces were raised, "lest his tale should not be believed."

In the second volume of Scott's "History of the Dekhan," a translation is given of a journal kept by a Bondela officer in the reign of Aurangzib, an officer who served under "Dulput Roy" in A.D. 1690. Writing about Vijayanagar in former days, at the height of its grandeur and importance, he says, "They kept an army of 30,000 horse, a million of infantry, and their wealth was beyond enumeration."

Conti, who was in India about a century earlier than the war in question, told Bracciolini that the Vijayanagar army consisted of "a million of men and upwards."

Abdur Razzak (1442 A.D.) tells the same story, putting the number at 1,100,000 with 1000 elephants.

Twenty years later Nikitin states that the Kulbarga forces marching to attack the Hindus amounted to 900,000 foot, 190,000 horse, and 575 elephants.

The Sultan himself, independently of his nobles, took the field with 300,000 men, and even when he only went out on a hunting expedition he took with him a train of 10,000 horse, 500,000 foot, and 200 elephants. He states that the Malik ul Tujar alone had an army of 200,000 employed in the siege of one city. The Hindus fought almost nude, and were armed with shield and sword.

Even so far back as the time of Alexander the Great (about B.C. 320) the army of Magadha was computed by the Greeks as consisting of 600,000 foot. 30,000 cavalry, and 9000 elephants, though Quintus Curtius makes a much more modest estimate.

Lord Egerton of Tatton states[237] that an army of Hindu confederated states, mustered for the defence of Northern indict against the Muhammadan invasion in 1192 A.D., amounted, "according to the most moderate estimate," to 300,000 horse, 3000 elephants, and a great number of infantry.

In A.D. 1259 a Mogul embassy was received at Delhi by an escort of 50,000 horse, and was led past lines of infantry numbering as many as 200,000 in their ranks.

It will be remembered how Muhammad Taghlaq of Delhi[238] raised, according to Firishtah, an army of 370,000 men for the conquest of Persia, and when he wanted to destroy the inhabitants of a certain tract of country, he "ordered out his army as if he were going hunting," surrounded the tract, and then, pressing inwards towards the centre, slaughtered all the inhabitants therein. This implies that he took, when merely hunting, immense numbers of men with him. Shahab-ud-Din, indeed, declared that Muhammad Taghlaq had an army of 900,000 horse;[239] and Nuniz, on the opening page of his chronicle, says that this Sultan invaded the Balaghat with 800,000 horse.[240] This estimate was, of course, only according to the tradition extant in 1535.

Faria y Souza, writing in the seventeenth century, estimated the forces of Bahadur, king of Cambay, in 1534, as 100,000 horse, 415,000 foot, and 600 elephants.

As late as 1762 the Mahrattas are said to have had an army of 100,000 horse.

Nuniz[241] gives details of the provincial forces of Vijayanagar, compulsorily maintained by eleven out of a total of two hundred nobles amongst whom the empire was divided, and the total of the forces of these eleven amounts to 19,000 horse, 171,700 foot, and 633 elephants.

Castanheda confirms other writers in this matter, stating that the infantry of Vijayanagar were countless, the country being of large extent and thickly populated, so that the king could call upon a million, or even two millions, of men at will.[242] This writer visited India just at the close of the reign of Krishna Deva Raya. He states that the king kept up at his own cost an establishment of 100,000 horses and 4000 elephants.

As to all this, I repeat that every one is at liberty to form his own opinion; but at least it seems certain that all the chroniclers believed that the king of Vijayanagar could, if he so desired, put into the field immense masses of armed men. They were probably not all well armed, or well trained, or well disciplined, but as to large numbers there can be little reasonable doubt. A relic of this may be seen every year at modern Haidarabad, the capital city of H.H. the Nizam, where, at the annual festival known as the "Langar," armed irregulars in very large numbers file through the principal streets. They are for the most part a mere mob of men with weapons, and are not maintained as State troops, but they are brought up by the various nobles in separate bodies, each chief mustering for the occasion all his hereditary retainers and forming them into rough regiments and brigades.

As to the description given by Nuniz of the offensive armour of the elephants, which are stated to have gone into battle with long swords like scythes attached to their trunks, the story is confirmed by many other writers.

Firishtah's Narrative.

Firishtah's account of the battle of Raichur is interesting, as it gives a description of the affair from the enemy's point of view. Ismail Adil Shah marched

"to recover Mudkul and Roijore from the roy of Beejanugger, who, gaining early intelligence of his designs, moved with a great force, and stationed his camp on the bank of the Kistnah, where he was joined by many of his tributaries; so that the army amounted at least to 50,000 horse, besides a vast host of foot. The sultan would now have delayed his expedition, as the enemy possessed all the ferries of the Kistnah, but that his tents were pitched, and it would have been disgraceful to retract from his declarations He therefore marched with 7000 horse, all foreign, and encamped on the bank of the river opposite to the enemy, waiting to prepare floats to cross and attack them.

"Some days after his arrival, as he was reposing in his tent, he heard one of the courtiers without the skreens reciting this verse: ~~ 'Rise and fill the golden goblet with the wine of mirth before the cup itself shall be laid in dust.' The sultan, inspired by the verse, called his favourites before him, and spreading the carpet of pleasure, amused himself with music and wine. When the banquet had lasted longer than was reasonable, and the fumes of the wine had exercised their power, a fancy seized the sultan to pass the river and attack the enemy…. Warm with wine he resolved to cross immediately, and mounting his elephant, without making his intentions known, proceeded to the river, as if to reconnoitre, but suddenly gave orders for as many of his troops as could to go upon the rafts, and others to follow him on elephants through the river. The officers represented the folly and danger of precipitation; but the sultan, without reply, plunged his own elephant into the stream, and was followed involuntarily by the amras and their followers; on about 250 elephants.

"By great good fortune, all reached the opposite shore in safety, and as many troops as could cross on the floats at two embarkations had time to arrive, when the enemy advanced to battle in so great force as excluded every probable hope of escape to the sultan, who had not more than 2000 men ready to oppose 30,000. The heroes of Islaam, animated with one soul, made so gallant a resistance that about a thousand of the infidels fell, among whom was Sunjeet Roy, the chief general of Beejanuggur; but at last, harassed beyond all power of opposition by cannon-shot, musquetry, and rockets, which destroyed near half their numbers, the survivors threw themselves into the river in hopes of escaping, and Nursoo Bahadur and Ibrahim Bey, who rode on the same elephant with Ismaeel Adil Shaw, drove the animal across the stream, but so great was the current, that except the royal elephant and seven soldiers, all the rest were drowned. The sultan's rashness was heavily punished by so great a loss. He took a solemn vow never to indulge in wine till he had revenged his defeat; and then, throwing away despair, busied his mind in repairing this unfortunate miscarriage.

"As Mirza Jehangeer had fallen in the action, the sultan consulted with Assud Khan on what measures would be best to take in the present crisis of his affairs. Assud Khan replied, that as his loss was great and the troops dispirited, it would be better for the present to retreat to Beejapore. The sultan approving the advice, marched from the Kistnah to Beejapore, and conferring the dignity of Sippeh Sallar[243] on Assud Khan, added several districts to his jaghire, and made him his principal adviser in all important affairs."

Comparison of Accounts.

Comparing this account with that given by Nuniz, there can, I think, be little doubt that both stories refer to the same event, though there are of course several discrepancies. The origin of the war is related differently. Firishtah states that on the arrival of the Sultan at the river-bank he found the Hindu army encamped on the opposite side; he crossed, after a few days' delay, with a small force, and was driven into the river. Nuniz says that Krishna Deva Raya heard of Ismail Adil's arrival on the river-bank while he himself was in camp at Raichur, fifteen miles away; and that he advanced and gave battle nine miles from the river, in the end driving the enemy across. But taking the two narratives as a whole, there are too many points of coincidence to leave any doubt in the mind that each chronicler is writing of the same event.

As to which of the two is more accurate it is impossible now to decide. But considering that Nuniz wrote only fifteen years afterwards, and that there were Portuguese present at the battle, some of whom Nuniz may have personally consulted as to what took place, it would seem more reasonable to trust in him rather than in a Muhammadan historian who did not compile his work till after an interval of sixty years. Moreover, there are some inherent improbabilities in Firishtah's narrative.

It is worthy of notice, too, that throughout the story of Nuniz at this part of his chronicle there is much that impels the belief that either himself or his informant was present at the Hindu camp while these events were taking place. The narrative of the campaign, in complete contrast to that of the remainder of the history, reads like the account of an eye-witness; especially in the passages describing the fortress of Raichur[244] and the camp ~~ where the supplies were so great that "you could find everything that you wanted,"[245] where "you saw"[246] the goldsmiths and artisans at work as if in a city, where "you will find"[247] all kinds of precious stones offered for sale, and where "no one who did not understand the meaning of what he saw would ever dream that a war was going on, but would think that he was in a prosperous city." Note also the description given of the extraordinary noise made by the drums, trumpets, and shouts of the men; so that even the birds fell down into the soldiers' hands stricken with terror and "it seemed as if the sky would fall to the earth," and "if you asked anything, you could not hear yourself speak, and you had to ask by signs." Many such instances might be given, but not to be tedious I will invite attention to only three more, viz., the account given by Nuniz of how; when receiving the men of the city after its surrender, the king, "casting his eye on Christovao de Figueiredo, nodded his head, and turned to the people telling them to observe what great things could be effected by one good man;"[248] his description of the behaviour of the defeated citizens when Krishna Deva made his triumphant entry into the city; and his narrative of the ambassador's reception at Vijayanagar by the king after the conclusion of the campaign.[249] It may be remembered that our other chronicler Domingo Paes, was at Vijayanagar with Christovao de Figueiredo some months after the battle, even if he were not personally present in the fighting at Raichur.

The great interest of Nuniz's narrative lies in the fact that it is the only detailed account extant. Barros related the events in historical fashion, taking his facts from this very chronicle; but he was never in India, and his brief summary is altogether wanting in the power and force contained in the graphic story of Nuniz. The other Portuguese writers pass over the war very lightly. It appears as if it hardly concerned then;, further than that at its close Ruy de Mello seized the mainlands near Goa.

Political Effects of the Battle.

And yet it had far-reaching effects. The Hindu victory so weakened the power and prestige of the Adil Shah that he ceased altogether to dream of any present conquest in the south, and turned his attention to cementing alliances with the other Muhammadan sovereigns, his neighbours. The victory also caused all the other Muhammadan Powers in the Dakhan seriously to consider the political condition of the country; and this eventually led to a combination without which nothing was possible, but by the aid of which the Vijayanagar Empire was finally overthrown and the way to the south opened. It furthermore greatly affected the Hindus by raising in them a spirit of pride and arrogance, which added fuel to the fire, caused them to become positively intolerable to their neighbours, and accelerated their own downfall.

It equally affected the fortunes of the Portuguese on the coast. Goa rose and fell simultaneously with the rise and fall of the second Vijayanagar dynasty; and necessarily so, considering that its entire trade depended on Hindu support; for the king of Portugal was never well disposed towards his hereditary enemies, the "Moors." This is a point frequently left unnoticed by writers, on Portuguese colonial history. The two most recent authors of works on the subject, Mr. Danvers ("The Portuguese in India") and Mr. Whiteway ("The Rise of Portuguese Power in India"), pay very little attention to the internal politics of the great country on the fringe alone of which the Portuguese settled, and on the coast of which their vessels came and went. Mr. Danvers devotes one short paragraph to the battle of Raichur,[250] and another[251] to the destruction of Vijayanagar. Mr. Whiteway does not even allude to the former event, and concludes his history before arriving at the date of the latter. Yet surely it is easy to see that the success or failure of maritime trade on any given coast must depend on the conditions prevailing in the empire for the supply of which that trade was established. When Vijayanagar, with its grandeur, luxury, and love of display, its great wealth and its enormous armies, was at the height of its power, the foreign traders were eminently successful: when Vijayanagar fell, and the city became desolate and depopulated, the foreign traders had no market for their goods, and trade decayed. So that this great Hindu victory at Raichur deserved a better fate than to be passed over by the historians as if it had been an event of small importance.

The Events that followed the Battle.

Nuniz gives us in detail an account of the events that followed the victory of Krishna Deva Raya, and considering that he wrote only about fifteen years after their occurrence, we should do well to receive his account as probably true in the main. Firishtah, perhaps naturally, preserves a complete silence on the subject.

Nuniz tells us that when the city of Raichur surrendered, the Hindu king made a triumphal entry into it, and treated the garrison with kindness and consideration; while the other Muhammadan kings sent envoys to Krishna Deva Raya on hearing of his success, and received a haughty and irritating reply. Krishna Deva then returned to Vijayanagar and held high festival. Shortly afterwards an ambassador arrived from the defeated Shah, and was treated with scant courtesy for more than a month, after which he was received in audience; when the king sent answer by him to his enemy, that if the Adil Shah would come to him, do obeisance, and kiss his foot, his lands and fortresses should be restored to him. No attention being paid to this, the Raya set out to search for the Shah, hoping, that he would be induced to do homage in the manner demanded and appearing to ignore altogether the effect which would necessarily be produced on the minds of the other kings of the Dakhan by this contemplated supreme humiliation of one of their number. The submission never took place. Krishna led his army as far north as Bijapur, the Adil Shah's capital, which for a time he occupied and left sadly injured. Then Asada Khan, the Shah's wily courtier, successfully brought about the death of his personal enemy, Salabat Khan, by inducing the Raya to order his execution; an act to, which the king was led by the machinations of the arch-intriguer, who subordinated his chief's interests to his own selfish ends.

King Krishna had, in the city of Bijapur, taken prisoner three sons of a former king of the Bahmani dynasty, who had been held captive by the Adil Shahs, and he proclaimed the eldest as king of the Dakhan.[252] This abortive attempt to subvert the rule of the five kings who had established themselves on the ruins of the single Dakhan sovereignty naturally fell flat, and only resulted in stiffening the hostility which these sovereigns felt towards their common foe.

A little later Krishna Raya's son, a young prince on whom he desired to confer his crown, and in whose favour he had even gone so far as openly to abdicate, died suddenly of poison, and the king, then himself in a dying condition, arrested and imprisoned his own minister, Saluva Timma, and his family. In this he was aided by some Portuguese who happened to be present at the Durbar. On Saluva Timma's son escaping to a "mountain range" ~~ perhaps Sandur, on the south of the capital, where there are still to be seen the remains of a strong fortress built of cyclopean masonry on the summit of the highest hill, now known as Ramandrug ~~ the king summoned Timma and his brother and son, and had their eyes put out.

About this time the Adil Shah advanced again to retrieve his broken fortunes, but fled incontinently on hearing the news that Krishna Deva was advancing in person to meet him. That the king, though sorely ill, did indeed move in the manner stated, seems to be confirmed by the statement of Nuniz that on the way he bought six hundred horses from the Portuguese. Krishna began to make preparations for an attack on Belgaum, then in the Adil Shah's possession, and sent an envoy to invite the assistance in this enterprise of the Portuguese at Goa; but he fell too seriously ill to carry out his project, and died shortly afterwards at the age of from forty-two to forty-five years. It was then the year 1530 A.D.

He was succeeded by Achyuta.

So far Nuniz. We learn something more from other writers. Barros states that about the year 1523 Saluva Timma, the king's minister, invaded the mainlands near Goa, which had been recently acquired by the Portuguese under Ruy de Mello; that he advanced towards Ponda with a small force, but that he was attacked and driven back.[253] Shortly after this, viz., in April 1524, the Muhammadans of Bijapur attacked these same mainlands with success, during the viceroyalty of Dom Duarte de Menezes. On October 31 of that year the Chamber of Goa wrote a report to the king of Portugal in which occurs the following passage: ~~

"The mainland which Ruy de Mello, who was captain of this city, conquered, was entered by the Moors, who used to possess it, in the month of April of five hundred and twenty-four, and they hold it as theirs, and the first Thanadar's district which they took was that of Perna, which is by the seaside. There they captured two Portuguese, and one of them was the Thanadar; these are prisoners in the fortress of Bylgan (Belgaum), of which the Suffilarim is captain."[254]

It is evident, therefore, that "the Moors" were successful, and yet it is curious that very little mention is made of this circumstance by other historians. Firishtah does not mention it; and it may therefore be reasonably inferred that the "Moors" in question were not the royal troops acting under the orders of the Sultan, but belonged to the local levies of Asada Khan, then chief of Belgaum.

According to Firishtah, the defeat at Raichur was followed by Ismail Adil Shah's marrying his sister to Burhan Nizam Shah of Ahmadnagar; quarrelling and fighting with him (A.D. 1523); again fighting with him (1528); marrying another sister to Ala-ud-Din Ummad of Birar; and fighting with and entirely defeating Sultan Amir Barid of Bidar, then an old man, whom he captured. On the death of Krishna Deva, Ismail took advantage of the confusion of the Hindus to retake possession of Mudkal and Raichur.

Firishtah gives no dates for the two last of the event above noted, but the submission of Amir Barid to the Adil Shah apparently did not take place till 1529, for Barros[255] implies that it occurred after an event which cannot have happened earlier than 1529 ~~ namely, an attack on Ponda by three Hindu chiefs, which led to the inhabitants appealing for help to the then governor of Goa, Nuno da Cunha. Da Cunha was not governor till 1529. "AT THIS TIME," writes the historian, "Melique Verido[256] submitted to the Hidalchan, by advice of Madre Maluco and Cota Maluco, and came to his camp in poor clothes, and flung himself at his feet." This evidently refers to what occurred after the Barid's capture by the Adil Shah, if Firishtah's story is true.[257]

Let it be remembered, though the fact has no bearing on the history of Vijayanagar at this date, that in 1526 the Emperor Babar captured Delhi, and established himself as the first monarch of the great Moghul dynasty. He was succeeded in 1530 by Humayun, and on the latter's death in 1556 the great Akbar attained the throne.

wA Forgotten Empire Chapter 11  

A Forgotten Empire Vijayanagar


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