The second battle of Tarain changed the face of Indian history forever. The two sides fighting this battle were the same as in the first battle of Tarain. But some things were different. Ghori had learned lessons from his first defeat and brought a bigger and better army. He had also found a crack in the Indian Rajputana politics, a fault in the system that would haunt the Indian subcontinent for thousands of years. The shortcoming of Indian kingdoms was their lack of unity and jealousy amongst themselves. Ghori applied the divide and rule policy, which later would become the bane of Indian independence.
What happened after the first battle of Tarain?
Mohammad Ghori and his men had lost the first battle of Tarain. They had successfully retreated because of faster horses and fewer foot soldiers. In fear for their life, they had also left their comrades at Bhatinda Fort helpless. Prithviraj’s men lacked the types of equipment for breaching the fort, hence they surrounded the fort and waited for the food supply to run out.
Ghori was back in Afghanistan, licking his wounds from the defeat. He gave up all his luxuries and vowed not to touch them until he completes his revenge. He was also very harsh on the captains and generals of his army, demoting, exiling, and even executing some of them. He started building a much bigger and better army for the next battle. He planned some new tactics and trained his soldiers accordingly.
On the other hand, Prithviraj celebrated his emphatic win. He was also distracted by his love interest Samyukta, who was the daughter of the neighbouring Hindu king Jaichand. Jaichand was reluctant about their relationship. Prithviraj had to abduct Samyukta from her father’s kingdom in order to marry her.
After marrying her daughter, Prithviraj gained the support of Jaichand. But at his heart, Jaichand still hated him and wanted his downfall.
Ghori amassed an army twice the size of his previous attempt and started marching toward India. He took the fort of Bhatinda with ease and like the previous attempt, made this fort his base. Prithviraj started organizing his army and sent messages to his neighbouring allies to provide him with some troops. A large chunk of these extra troops came from the army of Jaichand.
How did the second battle of Tarain unfold?
Both the armies met once again on the fields of Tarain. Prithviraj and an army of Lakh men and 300 elephants. Ghori on the other hand commanded an army of fifty thousand horse riders. To avoid being run over like the previous time, Ghori started the charge. But he did so before the breaking of the dawn. Rajputs and Indian Kings generally had a long tradition of not fighting in the dark. This nobility cost them. Ghori’s men rained arrows on and hence didn’t need much light.
At the break of dawn, Prithviraj had managed to reorganize his army after the initial shock. But once again Ghori outmanoeuvred him. He let his right flank of horse riders charge the Rajputs. The riders came close to the Rajputana army but didn’t engage head-on. Rather, they fired arrows and retreated. Ghori even had his soldiers trained to fire arrows backwards while riding horses.
This manoeuvre thinned the Rajput flanks and Prithviraj was forced to send them aids from the central unit. At this moment Ghori attacked all in. He kept his best unit of archers in the centre. He also had a secret deal with Jaichand, whose men left Prithviraj mid-battle, leaving the centre volatile. Soon, the centre was breached and Prithviraj was captured.
What happened to Prithviraj Chauhan after this battle is a mystery. Different writers and historians suggest different stories. But what happened to the land of India after the battle is crystal clear. The effects of this loss can be seen and felt even today. The entry of the Ghurid dynasty changed the demography of the Indian subcontinent forever.