costing, if I remember rightly, about threepence, forty

 people involved | time:2023-11-28 23:45:43

Before proceeding to details we must shortly glance at the political condition of India in the first half of the fourteenth century, remembering that up to that time the Peninsula had been held by a number of distinct Hindu kingdoms, those of the Pandiyans at Madura and of the Cholas at Tanjore being the most important.

costing, if I remember rightly, about threepence, forty

The year 1001 A.D. saw the first inroad into India of the Muhammadans from over the north-west border, under their great leader Mahmud of Ghazni. He invaded first the plains of the Panjab, then Multan, and afterwards other places. Year after year he pressed forward and again retired. In 1021 he was at Kalinga; in 1023 in Kathiawar; but in no case did he make good his foothold on the country. His expeditions were raids and nothing more. Other invasions, however, followed in quick succession, and after the lapse of two centuries the Muhammadans were firmly and permanently established at Delhi. War followed war, and from that period Northern India knew no rest. At the end of the thirteenth century the Muhammadans began to press southwards into the Dakhan. In 1293 Ala-ud-din Khilji, nephew of the king of Delhi, captured Devagiri. Four years later Gujarat was attacked. In 1303 the reduction of Warangal was attempted. In 1306 there was a fresh expedition to Devagiri. In 1309 Malik Kafur, the celebrated general, with an immense force swept into the Dakhan and captured Warangal. The old capital of the Hoysala Ballalas at Dvarasamudra was taken in 1310, and Malik Kafur went to the Malabar coast where he erected a mosque, and afterwards returned to his master with enormous booty.[6] Fresh fighting took place in 1312. Six years later Mubarak of Delhi marched to Devagiri and inhumanly flayed alive its unfortunate prince, Haripala Deva, setting up his head at the gate of his own city. In 1323 Warangal fell.

costing, if I remember rightly, about threepence, forty

Thus the period at which our history opens, about the year 1330, found the whole of Northern India down to the Vindhya mountains firmly under Moslem rule, while the followers of that faith had overrun the Dakhan and were threatening the south with the same fate. South of the Krishna the whole country was still under Hindu domination, but the supremacy of the old dynasties was shaken to its base by the rapidly advancing terror from the north. With the accession in 1325 of Muhammad Taghlaq of Delhi things became worse still. Marvellous stories of his extraordinary proceedings circulated amongst the inhabitants of the Peninsula, and there seemed to be no bound to his intolerance, ambition, and ferocity.

costing, if I remember rightly, about threepence, forty

Everything, therefore, seemed to be leading up to but one inevitable end -- the ruin and devastation of the Hindu provinces; the annihilation of their old royal houses, the destruction of their religion, their temples, their cities. All that the dwellers in the south held most dear seemed tottering to its fall.

Suddenly, about the year 1344 A.D., there was a check to this wave of foreign invasion -- a stop -- a halt -- then a solid wall of opposition; and for 250 years Southern India was saved.

The check was caused by a combination of small Hindu states -- two of them already defeated, Warangal and Dvarasamudra -- defeated, and therefore in all probability not over-confident; the third, the tiny principality of Anegundi. The solid wall consisted of Anegundi grown into the great empire of the Vijayanagar. To the kings of this house all the nations of the south submitted.

If a straight line be drawn on the map of India from Bombay to Madras, about half-way across will be found the River Tungabhadra, which, itself a combination of two streams running northwards from Maisur, flows in a wide circuit north and east to join the Krishna not far from Kurnool. In the middle of its course the Tungabhadra cuts through a wild rocky country lying about forty miles north-west of Bellary, and north of the railway line which runs from that place to Dharwar. At this point, on the north bank of the river, there existed about the year 1330 a fortified town called Anegundi, the "Nagundym" of our chronicles, which was the residence of a family of chiefs owning a small state in the neighbourhood. They had, in former years, taken advantage of the lofty hills of granite which cover that tract to construct a strong citadel having its base on the stream. Fordable at no point within many miles the river was full of running water at all seasons of the year, and in flood times formed in its confined bed a turbulent rushing torrent with dangerous falls in several places. Of the Anegundi chiefs we know little, but they were probably feudatories of the Hoysala Ballalas. Firishtah declares that they had existed as a ruling family for seven hundred years prior to the year 1350 A.D.[7]

The chronicle of Nuniz gives a definite account of how the sovereigns of Vijayanagar first began to acquire the power which afterwards became so extensive. This account may or may not be accurate in all details, but it at least tallies fairly with the epigraphical and other records of the time. According to him, Muhammad Taghlaq of Delhi, having reduced Gujarat, marched southwards through the Dakhan Balaghat, or high lands above the western ghats, and a little previous to the year 1336[8] seized the town and fortress of Anegundi. Its chief was slain, with all the members of his family. After a futile attempt to govern this territory by means of a deputy, Muhammad raised to the dignity of chief of the state its late minister, a man whom Nuniz calls "Deorao," for "Deva Raya." or Harihara Deva I. The new chief founded the city of Vijayanagar on the south bank of the river opposite Anegundi and made his residence there, with the aid of the great religious teacher Madhava, wisely holding that to place the river between him and the ever-marauding Moslems was to establish himself and his people in a condition of greater security than before. He was succeeded by "one called Bucarao" (Bukka), who reigned thirty-seven years, and the next king was the latter's son, "Pureoyre Deo" (Harihara Deva II.).

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