Bharat Ek Khoj—The Discovery of India
A Production of Doordarshan, the Government of India’s Public Service Broadcaster
Episode 31: Rana Sanga, Ibrahim Lodi and Babur
With Lalit Tiwari as Babur, Anang Desai as Ibrahim Lodi, Ravi Jhankal as Rana Sanga, Devendra Malhotra as Ajjaji, Surender Sharma as Dilawar Khan, Mahendra Raghuvanshi as Makan, Navtej Hundal as Tardi Beg, Ashok Banthia as Prithviraj, and Adil Rana as Miyan Kakkar. Playback by Murlidhar and Jasvinder Singh. Songs composed by Kuldip Singh.
As Nehru observes, while Vijaynagar was flourishing in the south and the petty sultanates reigned in Delhi in the 14th and 15th centuries, there were individual strongholds of Orissa, Bengal and Awadh in the east, and Gujarat, Malwa and Rajasthan in the west. In the and Babur north, however, the Turkish, Afghan and Moghul conquests resulted in rapid development of India’s contacts with Central and Western Asia. Babur, a prince of the Timurind line, established himself on the throne of Delhi in 1526 and his frank diary Babur-Nama remains a graphic guide to his tempestuous times in India.
Under Rana Kumbha of Mewar, the great plateau of capital Chittor was fortified. Drawing upon James Tod’s Annal and Antiquities of Rajasthan, the curtain opens on Mewar where the princes Prithviraj, Jaimal and Sangram Singha (later Rana Sanga), sons of King Raimal, are seen heading for a remote-dwelling Yogin to foretell their royal destiny. With the prophecy favouring Rana Sanga, the braggart Prithviraj eliminates Jaimal and attacks and injures Rana Sanga. Prithviraj is consequently banished from the kingdom, yielding the throne to Rana Sanga. Even with a single hand and a single leg, Rana Sanga is fiercely patriotic and contemplates power beyond Ibrahim Lodi in Delhi by inviting Babur.
Babur, on receiving the missive from Rana Sanga, launches his successful bid in 1525 with a highly mobile force and with the new gunpowder technology. There have been terminal rivalries after the death of the powerful king Sikander Lodi, amidst his son and successor Ibrahim Lodi in Delhi and his sibling in Jaunpur. In 1526, Babur’s army meets Ibrahim Lodi’s troops with the latter’s advantage of 10:1 at Panipat and wins through a superior strategy by attacking on the two flanks as well as from behind, turning the enemy’s bulk into his disadvantage.
Rana Sanga, who had encouraged Babur to invade, simply hoped for a Lodi rout and then a Mughal withdrawal, leaving the coast clear for his own ambitions. As the song of Guru Nanak conveys, Babur’s final coming to India was a matter of moral degradation for India. He moves out to give battle, amidst unfavourable soothsaying, defection of forts and a desertion of Indian recruits. He turns on the Rajputs, though much superior in number, at Khanua and has a fiercely-contested fight, relying, on semi-fortified arrangement of ditches and chained carts interspersed with artillery and matchlock-men. According to Tod’s Annals, defeat results from treachery, making Sanga retreat and leaving the Mughals supreme in the heartland of North India.
After winning his spurs at Panipat and Khanua, Babur sends Humayun, his favourite eldest son and designated heir, to Afghanistan. When told that Humayun is ill, he offers his own life and takes to bed, never to get up again. He is buried in his favourite garden in Kabul.
Uploaded by Public.Resource.Org
Based on Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, The Discovery of India
With Roshan Seth as Jawaharlal Nehru
Om Puri as the Narrator
Produced and Directed by Shyam Benegal
Chief Assistant Director was Mandeep Kakkar
Executive Producer Raj Plus
Script by Shama Zaldi and Sunil Shanbag
A production of Doordarshan