The only other power in the north was the Rajputs of Rajasthan. By their heroism and constancy they had repulsed Muslim attacks in the fourteenth century. The Muslim dissensions in the fifteenth had encouraged them to emerge from their desert fastnesses but they remained divided into clans and petty states. This moment of time found the Rajputs of Rajasthan with an outstanding leader, Rana Sanga of Mewar. Without forming an empire he had succeeded in heading a confederation of chiefs which seemed to present a formidable if incalculable power and to be capable of challenging the Afgan rule of Delhi. In fact after hundreds of years Rajputs had stood up as a united force and were looking ahead to wipe out the three hundred year old Muslim rule under Delhi sultanate.
In central India Gujarat was witnessing a firm governance for nearly a century. Its ruler Mahmud Begarha became a legend for his physical pecularities. His beard descended to his waist, his immunity to poison caused the couplet to be coined:
The King of Cambay's daily food
Is asp and basilisk and toad.
One more element must be added to the Indian scene. These are the Portuguese. They arrived by sea with Vasco da Gama in 1497, coming as they said, to seek Christians and spices. In 1510 the Portuguese had established themselves at Goa half-way up the west coast and were seeking, by means of sea fortress settlements, to control the maritime trade of the Indian Ocean. They used both cruelty and perfidy to gain access and power in the region.
Under the heavy influence of Islam and Christanity were the Hindu masses who maintained by force of habit and power of devotion the Hindu religion and social system. The Brahmins preserved Hindu thought and even developed it by means of commentories. Their impact was not diverse as they lacked royal patronage. Though some Hindus, like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu of Bengal and the Maratha 'saints' in the west started popular religious movements.
With such a social and political churning going on Indian subcontinent was an open invitation for any ambitious conqueror.
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