The Battle of Khanwa: Decisive event in History of India

The Battle of Khanwa was more important than the Battle of Panipat because Rana Sanga was much more powerful than Ibrahim Lodhi. This was evident from the Pandulipi written by the purohit of Rana Sanga. As per those writings, Babur sought help from Rana Sanga for defeating Ibrahim Lodhi as Rana had already defeated Ibrahim Lodi in the Battle of Khatoli and the Battle of Dholpur. After emerging victorious in the Battle of Panipat, Babur had realized that the only person who could block and overthrow him out of India is Rana Sanga.

For Babur, the Battle of Panipat was not enough for the establishment of the Mughal Empire. There were many Rajputs and non-Rajput kings who were supporting Babur during the first battle of Panipat. But after sensing that, Babur is not willing to go back to his native place and seeking to establish his kingdom then it triggers multiple conflicts with them. It was claimed by Babur had received better assistance from Rana Sanga of Mewar for his move against Ibrahim. But his accusation against Rana Sanga has been neither supported by scholars nor it was proved by any literary or non-literary historical evidence.

But it was a fact that the officials and some nobles of Delhi had sent a secret invitation to Babur against their Sultan. Babur was very much pleased to receive such invitations on the eve of the battle of Panipat. This had made him more bold and courageous.

The Battle of Khanwa

Battle of Khanwa
Battle of Khanwa

Babur was a threat to Rana Sanga. A clear threat indeed. It was not because he had defeated Ibrahim Lodhi and overthrown him from the Throne. It was because initially, Rana was considering him as an invader who had invaded the Indian subcontinent with the aim of looting and plundering the wealth of the region. But on realizing that Babur is not here for just plundering wealth, then Rana considered him as a serious threat because Rana was very much familiar with the war malpractices of Babur and his army.

As per few historians, there was an indirect or direct interaction that had occurred between Rana Sanga and Babur. In the biography of Babur, Baburnama claimed that it was Rana Sanga who had invited him to invade India by sending his messenger to Babur. But pandulipi written by purohit of Rana Sanga suggests that it was Babur who had actually asked help from Rana to help his army to defeat Ibrahim Lodhi. Rana Sanga was ready to provide assistance to Babur but his commanders and ministers warned him to do so. They were reluctant because they believed that helping Babur will be similar to feeding milk to a snake who eventually will bite him on another day.

Rana considered Babur like an invader who would plunder health and leave India. But on finding that Babur had actually invaded India to establish himself here, Rana took him seriously and considered him as a threat to his territory. Therefore Rana Sanga decided either to drive Babur out of the country or to confine him to Punjab. Babur on the other hand accused Rana Sanga of breach of the agreement. He said that Sanga had invited him to India and promised to join him against Ibrahim Lodi, but made no move while we conquered Delhi and Agra. This claim was also mentioned in Baburnama but this claim was unable to garner any other historical evidence to proved as right.

Another battle was inevitable in history and that was the battle of Khanwa. Many Afghans, including Mahmud Lodi, a younger brother of Ibrahim Lodi joined with Rana Sanga in the hope of regaining the throne of Delhi in the case of Sanga won. Sanga had also the support of many Rajputs as he was the chief of the Rajputana confederation. Rana Sanga himself bore the title of the hero of a hundred fights. The reputation of Rana Sanga and his early success against some of the outlying Mughal posts such as Bayana demoralized Babur’s soldiers. Babur on the other hand was not the man to retreat at this stage of his progress in India.

He infused a fighting spirit in his soldiers by declaring Jihad on the eve of the war. Both the forces met at Khanwa, a place nearly 40 km. away from Agra. According to Babur, Sanga’s forces exceeded 200,000 including 10,000 Afghan cavalrymen. Babur’s forces were undoubtedly inferior in number. The battle of Khanwa (1527) was fiercely contested. Rana Sanga made ferocious attacks on Babur’s right and almost breached it.

However, the Mughal artillery took a heavy toll on life, and slowly, Sanga’s forces were pushed back. At this juncture, Babur ordered his soldiers in the center to launch an attack which drove the backbone of Sanga’s army. Rana Sanga was badly wounded and was taken to a place of safety. But he came back after a short while and renewed the war. It is said that apprehending the war to be dangerous and suicidal, one of Rana’s associates poisoned him to death.

However, the battle of Khanwa ended with the defeat of Rana Sanga. The battle of Khanwa was decisive and significant. It proved the superiority of Mughal weapons upon Rajputs.