The Sher of Battles

The death of Sher Shah was a dramatic event that put an end to the blip in the power of the Mughals. After getting wounded during his gunpowder attack on Kalinjar fort, he was killed, bringing the decline of his empire.
Suri, the king under a king's nose; Source; History For Exam

Suri, the king under a king's nose; Source; History For Exam

The Mughal empire was a dynasty that transformed early modern history by its capabilities. But the road to success was not smooth. There was someone who stood like a mountain on this path! So while Babur crossed the Himalayas, Humayun had to cross someone else. He was the cat in the biggest run and chase the world ever saw!

It is hard to wonder that was there really a king who defeated the Mughals! A ruler whose reign was short but left an indelible mark on the history of the subcontinent.

He was an optimistic and brave ruler known for killing a tiger to save his emperor. That is why he was known as Sher Khan, a title he carried with honour.

An emperor of the Islamic Sur dynasty, who seized the kingdom of the Mughals for seven years and sent them on a run, Sher Khan was the king of the masses. He wasn't a ruler who made false promises like the present-day government, but a king who worked for his people without hefty announcements. His contributions were spoken among and spread by his people.

Born in Hisar Firoza as Farid Khan, Sher Shah Suri became a zamindar at an early age. He then left home to enlist as a soldier in the service of the Governor of Jaunpur. This was his learning curve. He always wanted to learn military techniques and train himself to fight the war and become a successful soldier. He served as a private in the Mughal army, where he learned to use cannons and guns on the battlefield.

A king always fears that his army will not be pitted against him in the future. Babur saw, pretty early on, Sher Khan's dream of becoming a king. Babur's fear forced him to sack Sher Khan and he was dismissed, perhaps all for the good. Or not?

Optimist commander Khan was not going to stop here. He continued his journey and used the techniques he had learned during his previous military campaigns.

He bid his time and only waited for the right moment to play his game and strike. And when his time came, he snapped the Mughals out of their dreams in the flick of a few years!

His intelligent and clever mind always helped him win decisive victories in the wars. The Battle of Chausa was only the beginning of Sher Shah Suri's victories. He won in Bihar, in Bengal, in Kannauj, in Malwa, in Marwar, and finally in Jodhpur. The flag that was thus raised, stayed there for many years to come.

To win over a fort in Bhopal, Sher Khan made cannons by melting copper coins. The destiny had something else in its fold but he snatched his victory!

The legend also has it that Sher Shah often resorted to deception to win wars. Once he even sent a fake letter to his enemy's palace that some Suri soldiers want to join him. This diverted the king's attention from the war and Khan won the battle. A war strategist, who held tight to the phrase, all is fair in love and war!

In the 1530s Amber was ruled by king Puranmal. As soon as he came to know that he had been cheated and the battle was slipping from his hands, he beheaded his wife Rani Ratnavali to save her from enemies. So much for valour and respect!

It is hard to fathom the demise of the lion. On 22nd May in 1545, his tactic failed during the siege of a fort, which led to his untimely and unfortunate death as the lion was killed not from the sword or bullet of the enemy but his gunpowder that couldn't find the right person to hit. Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts, which Sher Shah Suri displayed in abundance all through his life.


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