Battle of Panipat (1556)

Battle of Panipat (1556)

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Second Battle of Panipat

partof=Mughal Wars
date=November 5, 1556 (Muharram 2,964 Hijri)
place=Panipat, Haryana, India
result=Decisive Mughal victory
combatant2= Suri Dynasty
commander1=Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar
Bairam Khan

The Second Battle of Panipat was fought between the forces of Samrat Hem Chander Vikramaditya, popularly called Hemu, and the army of Mughal emperor Akbar, on November 5, 1556. [citebook|title=History of Medieval India|author=S. Chand|id=ISBN 8121903645]


On January 24, 1556, Mughal ruler Humayun died and was succeeded by his son, Akbar who was only thirteen years old. On February 14, 1556, in a garden at Kalanaur in Punjab, Akbar was enthroned as the king. At the time of his accession to the throne, the Mughal rule was confined to Kabul, Kandahar, parts of Delhi and Punjab. Akbar was then campaigning in Kabul with his guardian, Bairam Khan.

Hem Chander or Hemu was the Prime minister and military chief of Adil Shah Suri, who ruled over a region east of Delhi established at Chunar and was seeking to expel the Mughals from Delhi. At the time of Humayun's death, Hemu had quelled a rebellion in Bengal. He made his intentions of winning Delhi for himself known to his commanders. He then started a campaign winning battles throughout northern India. When he attacked Agra, the commander of the Mughal forces in Agra ran away, leaving the state without a fight. A large area of Ettawah, Kalpi and Agra states had come under Hemu's control.

Hemu then moved towards Delhi and stationed his forces outside the city at Tughlaqabad. On October 6, 1556, his army encountered Mughal resistance. After a fierce fight Akbar's forces were ousted, and Tardi Beg, the commander of the Mughal forces, ran away, allowing Hemu to capture Delhi without much difficulty. Around 3000 army personnel were killed. Hemu had himself coronated at Purana Quila on October 7, 1556, and was bestowed the title of "Samrat Vikramaditya".


Developments in Delhi and Agra disturbed the Mughals at Kalanaur. Many Mughal Generals advised Akbar and Bairam Khan to retreat to Kabul as Mughal forces may not face Hemu's might, but Bairam Khan decided in favour of war. Akbar's army marched towards Delhi. On November 5, both armies met at the historic battlefield of Panipat, where, thirty years earlier, Akbar's grandfather Babur had defeated Ibrahim Lodi in what is now known as the First Battle of Panipat. General Hemu showed most heroic courage during the battle. The Mughal forces were charged repeatedly by Elephants to break their lines. General Hemu was himself commanding his forces from atop an elephant. General Bairam Khan devised an ingenious plan to attack General Hemu by sending his archers who in turn would be protected by swordsmen in a circle and get closer to General Hemu in this formation. As the formation got closer to the target they fired volley after volley of arrows towards General Hemu. An arrow struck Hemu in the eye and knocked him senseless off his elephant. General Hemu’s army was now in disarray and defeated in the ensuing confusion. Hemu was captured by Sher Afghan Quli Khan and brought to Akbar’s tent. General Bairam Khan was desirous that Akbar should slay General Hemu himself and should establish his right to the title of “Ghazi” (Champion of Faith or war veteran). But Akbar, the spirited boy that he was, refused to strike a defeated and wounded enemy. Bairam Khan irritated by Akbar’s scruples beheaded Hemu himself. His head was sent to Kabul, where it was hanged outside Delhi Darwaza, while his body was placed in a gibbet outside Purana Qila in Delhi.


Akbar, after the Battle of Panipat, took Agra and Delhi without much resistance. But soon after he took possession of his capital, he had to return to Punjab when intelligence informed him of Sikandar Shah Suri’s (Adil Shah Suri’s brother) advancing campaign in Punjab. He was however defeated and taken captive after the siege of Fort Mankot by Mughal forces and exiled to Bengal. The victory of Akbar at the Battle of Panipat in 1556 was the real restoration of the Mughal Dynasty to Power in India. It marked the fulfillment of the destiny of the House of Timur in India as rulers.

ee also

* Battle of Panipat (1526)
* Battle of Panipat (1761)
* Babur


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