Short Essay on Expedition of Mohd Tughluq against Kampili

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Kampili was a small state comprising the modern districts of Raichur, Dharwar and Bellary and a small portion of the districts of Anantpur, in the south and Chitaldrug and Shimoga in the west.

The river Krishna separated this kingdom from the Marhatta province of the Delhi Empire. The founder of the kingdom Mummadi Singa died in A.D. 1313 and was succeeded by his son Kampilideva.

He was a brave prince and helped his master Ramadeva of Devagiri against his foe Ballala III. However, he was indignant against the Muslim invaders and never allowed them to set their foot in his land. Even he defied the first successful Muslim governor Malik Kafur and refused to submit to him.

He was eager to dislodge the Muslims from adjoining territories but was kept engaged in constant wars by Hindu rulers of neighboring kingdoms particularly Warangal and Dwarasamudra, and could hardly find the time to fulfil his ambition.

Besides his open hostility to the Tughluq rulers, he had incurred their wrath by demolishing the Imperial palanquin which had been sent to collect tribute from the rajas of the south. He had helped and given protection to fugitives from Tilinga.

Over and above this he had the audacity to offer asylum to the rebel Bahu-ud-din Gurshasp. Muhammad Tughluq was outraged at the open defiance of his authority and marched in person against the tiny state of Kampili. "But"better counsel prevailed and he stayed at Devagiri from which he sent an expedition under the command of Malik Rukn-u.d-din. He arrived at Kummata and invested the fort.

Kampila's son Kattana came out of the fort and attacked the besieged with great force. He was soon joined by Bahu-ud-din. Taken by surprise, the Imperial forces fled in all directions. The defeat of the Imperial army gave a shattering blow to their morale and "broke the spell of their invincibility".

The sultan despatched another expedition under the command of Qutb-ul-Mulk. The fort of Kummata was besieged. In spite of all these precautions taken by Qutb-ul-Mulk, a group of soldiers under Baichappa, a minister of Kampila, was able to penetrate into Muslim lines and attacked them. It created utter confusion in their ranks.

The siege continued for two days. On the third day, Kampila's son, Ramanatha fell upon the invading Turkish army with such ferocity that they ran panic-stricken. Many of them lost their lives and Kampila's forces came out victorious.

Greatly upset by the defeats of the Imperial forces, sultan now set a large army well-equiped under his able minister Malik Zada who ordered an assault on the fort and was able to capture one of the gates. Kampila knew the helplessness of his cause.

He thought it prudent to leave Kummata alongwith his friend Bahu-ud-din and took refuge at Hosdurg. The Imperial forces pursued him and invested the fort. He could not stand the siege for a long time as there were hardly any provisions.

He, therefore, sent his friend Gurshasp along with his family to Ballala III, and prepared himself for the final encounter. A huge pyre was erected and all the royal ladies and princesses and children threw themselves into the pyre to save their honour.

When the women and children had thus perished in flames, he ordered the gates of the fort to be thrown open. He rushed out of the fort along with his companions and caused havoc in the ranks of the enemy before he fell down dead. Malik Zada now took possession of the fort and posted a garrison there.

Isami, a contemporary chronicler, in his work Futuh-us-Salatin, lavishes praises on the great Rai of Kampila who received the fugitive Bahu-ud-din Gurshasp with open arms and assured him of his protection. Isami writes: "Kampila, the faithful Hindu ally, left not his post and stuck to the last like a veteran warrior.

He threw himself and his family into danger for the sake of his friend......... So, like a brave and sincere man, he fought until he was killed, laying down his life for the sake of his principles".

After the subjugation of Kummata and capture of Hosdurg, Malik Zada now turned his attention to Hoysala kingdom where Bahu-ud-din had taken shelter. Its ruler Ballala III was, however, not willing to risk his life and throne for the sake of his unbidden guest. He had repudiated the authority of the Delhi sultan after the departure of Kafur and annexed Setu in Tulunad.

Mubarak SKah was not able to restore his authority and Ballala was ruling as an independent king when Tughluq army under Malik Zada marched against him and demanded that Gurshasp be handed over to them. He thought it prudent to hand over Bahu-ud-din and accept the sovereignty of the Delhi sultan. Highly pleased Malik Zada confirmed him in his dominions and left for Delhi with his prisoner, who was killed in a most heinous manner.


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