Delhi Sultunate : Rajputs in the 15th Century

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The Rajput rulers of this period were usually chieftains of principalities, some of which had been annexed by the Sultanate, although the rulers continued in the status of vassals. Of these there were two states which not only managed to preserve their independence, but aimed high and with aspirations of taking over the kingdom of Delhi. These were Mewar and Marwar, their descendants being more familiar in modern times as the rulers of Udaipur and Jodhpur in Rajasthan.

When the Sultan of Delhi, Alauddin, had laid siege to the fort at Chitor, a Rajput of the Guhila family had escaped from the fort and begun guerrilla activities against the Sultanate armies in the Aravalli Hills. This was Hamir, who founded the state of Mewar and who recaptured Chittaur. The weakness of the Sultanate following Timur's raid favoured the expansion and establishment of the Rajput states. Marwar had come into prominence through the efforts of Rawal, of the Rathor clan, who claimed descent from the Gahadavala rulers of Kanauj. Marwar lay to the west of Mewar in the region of the city of Jodhpur built by Jodha, the great-grandson of Rawal. The discovery of silver and lead mines in Mewar brought prosperity to the state, and it seemed as if the Rajputs were again going to assert themselves as a major power in northern India. In an effort to strengthen the bonds between the two states, a marriage was arranged between the two royal families, but this was to lead soon to a bitter feud over a complicated succession issue.

Mewar survived the conflict partly because it was ruled at the time by the powerful Rana Kumbha, almost a legendary figure: he was a playwright, a literary critic who wrote one of the finest commentaries of Jayadeva's Gita Govinda and a lover of music, and a keen student of the art of fortification. His life ended in tragedy; he went insane and was killed by his son. But it was not the end of Mewar which again saw a brief period of glory under Rana Sanga, a legendary figure.

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