This brave queen saved Gujarat from the invasion of Muhammad Ghori!

The history of the Chalukyas of Gujarat has been written about by many historians. However, some information has been left out which might be of the greatest importance in reconstructing the history of the Chalukyas of Gujarat.

We all applaud and revere the heroics of the Queen of Jhansi and rightly so. But the sheer valour of another queen who attained a magnificent victory against the treacherous Muhammad Ghori was of no less significance and brilliance, if not more.But sadly, we don’t know anything about this queen. This brave lady is the Chalukya Queen Naikidevi.

Mularaja-II, or Bala Mularaja as he is affectionately called by the Chroniclers, ascended the throne of his father Ajayapala in 1175 CE, while still a boy. His mother was Naikidevi, the daughter of Paramardin, who has been identified with the Goa Kadamba Mahamandalesvara Permadi or Sivachitta (circa 1147-1188 CE). The earliest known inscription of Mularaja’s brother and successor Bhima-II, is dated 1179 CE. Hence the reign of Mularaja-II lasted for not more than three years.

But even during this short reign, something extremely significant transpired for which the boy king is well-known. It was the manner in which the Muslim army was defeated.

A detailed description of the battle is given by Merutuñga who states that Mularaja’s mother Queen Naikidevi, the daughter of Paramadin, taking her son in her lap, fought at a ghat called Gadararaghatta (near the foot of Mount Abu) and defeated the Muslim king.

It is absolutely clear that Naikidevi had defeated a Muslim army. But there has been difficulty in identifying who the Muslim ruler was who suffered the defeat. Forbes, Buhler, Jackson, Hodivala, and Habibullah are of the opinion that the defeated Muslim army was led byMu’izzud-din Muhammad bin Sam, better known as Muhammad Ghori.

Muhammad Ghori invaded Bharat for the first time in 1175 CE. He captured Multan from the Qarmatian ‘heretics’ and Uch from a Hindu prince.

With this he obtained two good bases in Bharat and could now turn towards Lahore as was expected he would. But that wasn’t the case. It seemed that his aim wasn’t to capture the Bharatiya capital of the Yaminis.

The shortest route that led from Ghazni to Lahore is through the Khyber Pass, so if Ghori had wanted to capture Lahore he would have occupied Peshawar first, and then marched on Lahore as he later did.

But instead he entered through the Gomal Pass and after taking Multan and Uch turned sharply south towards southern Rajputana and Gujarat. Fortunately, this invasion wasn’t a success. If it had been the whole of southern Rajputana and Gujarat would have been fallen to the Muslims.

Invasion and Defeat of Ghori

A historical excerpt says that in 1178 CE, Ghori “marched an army towards Nahrwala by way of Uchchha and Multan. The Rae of Nahrwala was young in years, but had numerous forces and many elephants, and when the battle took place, the army of Islam was defeated and put to rout and the Sultan-i-Ghazi (Ghori) returned again without accomplishing his designs.”

Nizamud-Din states that “in the year 1178 CE he (Ghori) again came to Uch and Multan, and thence marched towards Gujarat through the desert. The ruler of the country gave him battle, and after a severe struggle the Sultan was defeated, and after much trouble, he returned to Ghazni and rested there for a short time.”

Badauni states: “Then in the year 1178 CE proceeding by the way of Multan he (Ghori) brought an army against Gujarat and suffered defeats at the hands of the ruler of that country, and with great difficulty reached Ghaznin and obtained relief.”

According to Ferishta, “in the year 1178 CE he (Ghori) again marched to Oocha and Multan and from thence continued his route through the sandy desert to Guzerat. The prince (a lineal descendant from Brahma Dew of Guzerat, who opposed MahmoddGhiznevy), advanced with an army to resist the Mahomedans and defeated them with great slaughter. They suffered many hardships in their retreat before they reached Ghizny.”

In his march against Gujarat from Multan, Ghori probably captured Naddula. The Sundha Hill inscription states that the Naddula Chahamana Kelhana“after destroying the Turushkas erected a golden Torana, like diadem for the abode of the holy Somesa.”

His defeat by Naikidevi in 1178 CE compelled Ghori to change his plans entirely. The next year he entered Bharat through the Khyber Pass, captured Peshawar, and later occupied Lahore.

Never again did Ghori attack Gujarat in his life. The next Muslim invasion of that Kingdom happened only in 1297 CE under Allauddin Khilji.

Vinayak Jain**