Second Battle of Panipat

Second Battle of Panipat

Occurred on November 2, A.D. 1556,

Between - Akbar and Hemu

Second Battle of Panipat

The fall of Delhi perturbed the Mughal officers. Tardi Beg could not face the power of the army of Hemu at Tughlaqabad and fled away to Sirhind. Hemu, after establishing his control over Delhi, assumed the title of Vikramaditya. It is also stated that he also got coins issued in his name but no specimens of his coins are available.

Hemu had established his control over a vast territory spreading from Gwalior to the river Sutlaj. Akbor was in Punjab when he came to know of all the activities of Hemu and immediately decided to march towards Delhi so that the increasing power of Hemu could be crushed but he was informed by his terrified Mughal officers that it was of no use to have an encounter with Hemu and his army, and he should return to Kabul for safety and reorganization, but Bairam Khan did not agree to this advice and decided to measure swords with Hemu. Akbar also agreed with his regent.

On October 13, A.D. 1556 Akbar left Khizr Khwaja Khan after him in Punjab to settle the score with Sikandar Sur and himself marched against Hemu. He ordered Tardi beg and other fugitives to stay at Thaneshwar. One day in Sirhind when Akbar had gone on a hunting expedition, Bairam Khan got Tardi beg killed on the charge of treason and running away from the battlefield. It is said that he had sought the permission of Akbar secretly before putting him to death. Akbar expressed his surprise on the assassination of Tardi Beg when he returned from the hunting expedition but later on he agreed to this step by his regent as it was the only way to teach the fugitives and restore courage and confidence among the soldiers as well as the commanders. Tardi Beg was the friend of Humayun and he had helped him a lot in his Indian expeditions.

Badauni writes that Bairam Khan had secured the permission of Akbar before the execution of Tardi beg. Nizamuddin Ahmad mentions that Bairam Khan thought it worthwhile to kill Tardi Beg. Abul Fazl affirms that Bairam Khan and Tardi Beg were staunch rival of each other and wanted to kill each other. First Bairam Khan invited Tardi Beg in his camp and promised friendship but later on killed him. Ferishta writes that  he had learnt from conquiries that assassination of Tardi Beg was essential in the interest of the Mughal Empire. V.A. Smith mentions, “The punishment, although inflicted in an irregular fashion without trial, was necessary and substantially just. It may be reasonably affirmed that failure to punish the dereliction of Tardi Beg from his duty would have cost Akbar both his throne and his life.”

The punishment inflicted on Tardi Begs terrified the other officers and they not only became disciplined and submissive but also began to obey the orders of Bairam Khan out of fear. But Dr. Ishwar Prasad condemns the act of Bairam Khan saying that the way in which Tardi Beg was put to death could not be excused even if it might be in the interest of the State. But it is sure that Akbar was not responsible for the assassination of the veteran noble of his father’s time as Bairam Khan was very powerful and it was not possible for him to act contrary to the wishes of his powerful regent.

The army of Akbar marched from Sirhind to Panipat. Ferishta writes that “Hemu also marched from Delhi to face the royal army with a vast army.” His army contained 30,000 soldiers and 1500 elephants which were well equipped with gunners and bowmen. The trunks of elephants were also decorated with sabres and spears. Hemu sent a greater part of his artillery with the advance guard under the command of Ali Quli Khan to invade the Mughals but he was defeated by the Mughal army and his artillery was snatched. It harmed Hemu very much. The final battle between the two took place on November 15, 1556. Bairam Khan was holding the supreme command of the Mughal army. Akbar purposely stayed about five miles away from the battlefield with 5000 well trained and very faithful soldiers. He was also directed by his regent to march towards Kabul in case the Mughal army did not succeed against Hemu.

In a fierce battle the elephant of the army of Hemu proved fatal and being afraid of the artillery of the Mughals, they turned their backs and trampled their own army. Hemu and his associate Afghans ha to face greet loss at the hands of their own artillery which was occupied by the Mughals earlier.  Although Hemu disturbed the right and left wings of the Mughal army by his fierce attack but victory was achieved by the Mughals when unfortunately an arrow hit the eye of Hemu and he became unconscious. The soldiers took him to be dead and fled away wherever they could in the absence of their master. His elephant driver endeavored his best to take his master out of the battlefield safely but he was pursued by a Mughal soldier Shah Quli Mehram and captured. Hemu was presented before Akbar in an unconscious state and stained with blood. According to Ferishta and Badauni, Bairam Khan requested his master Akbar “to do a meritorious act by killing the infidel with his own hands.” It is also stated that Akbar drew his sword and touched the head of the convicted Hemu but he did not put him to death. The rest of the work was performed by Bairam Khan himself with his sabre.

Historians hold different views about the death of Hemu. Ahmad Yadgar says, “The Prince, accordingly, struck him, and divided his head from his unclean body.” Nizamuddin Ahmad writes, “Bairam Khan Khanab then put Hemu to death with his own hand.” The different versions testify that after defeat in the second battle of Panipat, Hemu was assassinated either by Akbar or Bairam Khan. Dr R.P. Tripathi mentions about the end of this battle, “His defeat was accidental and the victory of Akbar providential.”


Milan Tomic

Hi. I’m Designer of Blog Magic. I’m CEO/Founder of ThemeXpose. I’m Creative Art Director, Web Designer, UI/UX Designer, Interaction Designer, Industrial Designer, Web Developer, Business Enthusiast, StartUp Enthusiast, Speaker, Writer and Photographer. Inspired to make things looks better.

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