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Second Battle of Panipat 1556

Second Battle of Panipat 1556

Humayun died on January 24, 1556 and Jalal-ud-Din Akbar, his 13 years old son was enthroned on February 14, 1556 in Kalanaur in Punjab. At the time of his father’s death, Akbar was in Punjab with Bairam Khan, the Chief Minister. The Mughal Empire sprawled over Kabul, Delhi, Kandhar and Punjab when Humayun died. The Empire was encased by the adversaries from outside and inside.

Mohammad Adil Shah, the Afghan Sultan (Emperor) was one of those impending perils who wanted to expel the Mughal from India. Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditiya (commonly known as Hemu), the Military chief of Sultan Mohammad Adil Shah suppressed the rebellion in Bengal defeating and ultimately killing the rebellious Mohammad Shah, the ruler of Bengal. Hemu was an experienced warrior who had been the advisor to Islam Shah, the son of Sher Shah Suri. He had won many battles before quelling the Bengal revolt after which he marched towards Delhi and encountered Akbar’s army under Bairam Khan and Khan Zaman l, the generals of Akbar.

Hemu stayed in Tughlaqabad outside delhi and defeated the Mughal Army fighting under Turdi Beg who could not forbear the battle and escaped. With a heavy death toll in the battle, the Mughal Army was conquered by Hemu and he was crowned on October 1556 in “Purana Qila”. Hemu now dreamt of conquering Kabul. Bairam Khan, the general of Akbar decided to counter Hemu though the advisers’ opinion was against it. Hemu had an upper hand in the number of his army men and artillery and he was close to his victory when Khan Zaman devised a ploy to dislodge him from his elephant. Hemu and his army were covered with armors and they could not be hit by arrows except on eyes. Khan Zaman targeted Hemu’s eye and he fell down from his “howdah” (the seat on elephant) and lost his senses. Seeing him not present in his Howdah, the soldiers of his army recoiled leaving Akbar’s forces winner of the day. Semi-dead Hemu was arrested by Shah Quli Khan Mahram and was taken to Akbar’s tent. Bairam Khan asked Akbar to behead Hemu, the winner of 22 battles but he refused to behead a dead enemy as it was against his grandeur. Himu’s widow escaped from Delhi and could not be arrested by Pir Mohammad Khan who chased her.The Second Battle of Panipat made it easy to conquer Delhi and Agra. Also it re-established the Mughal Dynasty in India by crushing the hostile forces.

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