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Full text of "Akbar, The Emperor Of India"

20                        AKBAR/EMPEROR OF INDIA.
control of Mewar rested upon the possession of the fortress
Chitor which was built on a monstrous cliff one hundred
and twenty meters high, rising abruptly from the plain
and was equipped with every means of defence that could
be contrived by the military skill of that time for an incom-
parably strong bulwark. On the plain at its summit which
measured over twelve kilometers in circumference a city
well supplied with water lay within the fortification walls.
There an experienced general, Jaymal, "the Lion of Chi-
tor," was in command. I have not time to relate the partic-
ulars of the siege, the laying of ditches and mines and the
uninterrupted battles which preceded the fall of £hitor in
February, 1568. According to Akbar's usual custom he
exposed himself to showers of bullets without once being
hit (the superstition of his soldiers considered him invul-
nerable) and finally the critical shot was one in which Ak-
bar with his own hafld laid low the brave commander o£
Chitor. Then the defenders considered their cause lost,
and the next night saw a barbarous sight, peculiarly Indian
in character: the so-called Jauhar demanded his offering*
according to an old Rajput custom. Many great fires
gleamed weirdly in the fortress. To escape imprisonment
and to save their honor from the horrors of captivity, the
women mounted the solemnly arranged funeral pyres,
while all the men, clad in saffron hued garments, conse-
crated themselves to death. When the victors entered the
city on the next morning a battle began which raged
until the third evening, when there was no one left to kill.
Eight thousand warriors had fallen, besides thirty thou-
sand inhabitants of Chitor who had participated in the
fight. ^
With the conquest of Chitor which I have treated at
considerable length because it ended in a typically Indian
manner, the resistance of the Rajputs broke down. After
Akbar had attained his purpose he was on the friendliest