How much do we know about the valorous saga of our ancestors from the east to west, north to south of Bharat? Unfortunately very little! Were we always defeated? It is a BIG No! But we have been projected as losers! During the last 1300 years, our ancestors across the country put up a brave resistance against invaders, first against Islamic invasion and rule and later the British. Hundreds and thousands of our warriors won battles and many fought until their last breath defending the motherland.
Indian History textbooks have hardly glorified these real warriors of the soil. We have grown up reading more about the glories of our invaders. A nation’s citizens, who are ignorant about the brave feats of their ancestors, tend to deviate away from their roots, historicity, and their sense of belongingness for the motherland. Saffron Swords that contains 52 tales of valor, is a tribute to the unsung warriors of India, both men, and women, from the last 1300 years. This book is the first in its series.
52 tales of Valour
Books like this one has been a long need for the society
Eye opener book
This is a book of brave heroes and heroines of India down the ages. India is one of the oldest civilizations with the Vedas as one of the oldest written records. We have historical records of our ancient times recorded in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Various dynasties ruled the country with golden periods witnessed during the Magadhas, Mauryas, Vijaynagara, to name a few. During Islamic and colonial rule, hundreds and thousands of our warriors gave a stiff resistance. But their saga of blood and glory, their tales of valor have not been highlighted in our History text books. Few tales that find a place in the history text books are not well described.
Manoshi Sinha Rawal and Yogaditya Singh Rawal have highlighted those neglected, unknown, and hidden tales of valor from the last 1300 years in this book Saffron Swords. There are 52 tales of valor, which encompass the brave exploits of warriors from across the country, from east to the west, north to the south. These include Nag Bhat I, Suhal Dev, Raja Prithu, Mula Gabharu, Raja Narasimhadeva, Rani Velu Nacchiyar, Kuyili, Hemchandra Vikramaditya, Saraswathi Rajamani, Shivdevi Tomar, Alluri Sitarama Raju, Uda Devi, Mahabiri Devi, Matmur Jamoh, Paona Brajabasi, Pasaltha Khaungchera, Rani Roipulliani, and more warriors.
One of the chapters delves on Nag Bhat I, a Gurjar Pratihar king, who with an alliance of Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Guhils, and more forces decimated the combined Arab army led by Emir Junaid of Sind in 738 AD. In the words of Suleiman, an Arab chronicler, the Arab forces in this battle ‘were scattered like hay by the hoofs of the horses of the Gurjar king and his alliances’. Inscriptions about this great victory have been found at various places including Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh.
The book has described the valorous saga of many unknown warriors. Narasimhadeva I of Orissa defeated Tughan Khan, the Turkish Muslim Nawab of Bengal in 1244 CE. He was the first king of Orissa to give a strong defence against Muslim invasion during his reign. He was one of the greatest rulers of the imperial Ganga family, of the Eastern Ganga dynasty.
There is one tale of valor of Mula Gabharu, the wife of Ahom commander Phrasengmung Borgohain. She fought like Goddess Shakti in battlefield in 1533 CE against Mohammedan forces of the Bengal Sultanate commanded by Turbak Khan, an Afghan. Khan treacherously killed Phrasengmung Borgohain in battle. The death of the commander demoralized the Ahom forces. Mula Gabharu immediately set to action, marching towards the battlefield on a horse with a flashing sword in hand. She killed two Lieutenants of the enemy including several soldiers before attaining martyrdom in the battlefield. The Ahoms won this battle.
In one tale, the book describes how Kapaya Nayaka led a confederation of Telugu nobles to liberate the South Indian kingdom of Warangal from the Delhi Sultanate. Delhi was then under the Tughlaqs. He drove the Tughlaqs out of the Warangal territory in 1336.
The British established their supremacy in parts of the northeastern states after the Treaty of Yandaboo signed in 1826 with Burma. It was in the 1900s that the British moved inwards towards the hill regions of Arunachal Pradesh. There is a tale of valor of Matmur Jamoh and a group of Adi warriors from Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh. They collectively killed two British officers and their attendants in 1911.
Then there is description of the valorous tale of Roipulliani, an 84 year old village chief from Mizoram. The book describes how she defended her people from British aggression. Roipulliani never paid any tax to the British nor gave in to any of their demands. The following was her declaration, which she followed till the end of her rule: “My subjects and I have never paid any tax to anyone, neither have we done any forced labor. We are the owners of this land. We must evict and chase out any and everyone who is an alien.”
Today, India is a youthful country with almost 50% of her population below the age of 25. It needs role models to inspire and motivate. This book therefore fulfills a very great need of our times. I commend the authors for this pioneering effort.
—Maj Gen (Dr.) GD Bakshi
Indian History text books hardly glorify the real warriors of the soil. Select few warriors find a place in the text books. We grow up reading more about the glories of invaders rather than the brave feats of our ancestors from the east to west, north to south. When our history books blank several great heroes and heroines and glorify a select few, and when we read only about defeats and no resistance by our ancestors, we end up deviating ourselves from a sense of belongingness for the nation. We do not know about our own historical roots. History needs to be retold. Our objective behind writing this book is presenting to the citizens of the country and the world about the brave exploits of our warriors from the last 1300 plus years.
In this context, my husband Yogaditya Singh Rawal, co-author of this book says, “History, especially Military History being my favorite subject, I was often left wondering: were we always defeated? Were we on the losing side always? So I started reading whatever I could find anywhere beyond the NCERT books. I, like countless others, was influenced much by the defeats and routs. Such portrayal creates a feeling that we were inferior to the invaders, thus sowing the seeds of inferiority complex. This happens to such an extent that one robotically tends to think that all that is from foreign lands is better than what we have here.”
Rawal further says, “Let us trace the path of finding and knowing about the battles which we have never read before, about heroes we never knew existed. Let us read about the stratagems, the pure valor and strength of our brave warriors who decimated the invaders.”
There are 52 tales of Indian valor in this book. Many of these warriors are unheard of. Few names are Matmur Jamoh, Pasaltha Khaungchera, Kapaya Nayaka, Alluri Sitarama Raju, Kaneganti Hanumanthu, Narasimhadeva, Roipulliani, Suhaldev, Rana Hammir Singh, Rani Velu Nacchiyar, Chain Singh, Kuyili, Avantibai, Suhungmung, Mula Gabharu, Kanhoji Angre, Naiki Devi. All of these warriors put up a brave resistance against Muslim rulers and British supremacy. Few of these warriors won battles against Mughals, Turks, Lodhis, and the Sultanate.
A friend Govind Raj, a doctor from Kochi, Kerala says, “We Indians are the most shameless, pride-less and gutless people with extreme deficiency of self respect. A community, a state or a nation that does not respect its history will never be taken seriously and will remain a third world country forever. We are utterly careless about our icons while we get insanely jingoistic about as trivial a thing as a Cricket match victory over Bangladesh. That is why we find it tough to find respect among ourselves and in the world community. When our history books blank several great heroes and glorify a select few, we as a nation become a joke.”
There are hundreds and thousands of unsung warriors from the east to west, north to south, who put up a brave resistance against Muslim rulers in battle and against British oppression. They don’t find a place in history text books. Hence the citizens of India do not get to read or know about the brave exploits of their own ancestors! When citizens of a nation are inspired by the exploits of warriors from the past, patriotism robotically evolves. This spirit is lacking in India. Because real history still remains hidden.
Tamal Sanyal, a friend from Varanasi, says, “The Nation which forgets its Heroes, is soon doomed, because it is their deeds only, which inspires the youth towards true patriotism and only true patriotism can inspire sacrifice and sacrifice is necessary for a Nation's survival. So it’s necessary to see what kind of narrative we build - a true narrative, which demands only dedication and sacrifice or a rosy narrative which will surely ensure re-enslavement of the nation.”
This book is an effort to bring to you the brave feats of our ancestors — those tales of valor, which we should feel proud of.
My Rakhi brother, Anjan Mitra Da says, “History is the strength and source of knowledge for a nation. The next generation when aware of it can know and avoid past mistakes. When that is doctored in a meticulous way, the fundamental fabric of the nation is torn apart.”
A rich heritage and culture identifies India. Let’s bask in the glory, the valor of our ancestors.
—Manoshi Sinha Rawal
2. Prithu: Assam King Who Badly Defeated Bakhtiyar Khilji in 1206 CE
3. Saraswathi Rajamani: Youngest Spy to Work for Netaji Bose’s INA
4. Jhalkaribai: Rani Laxmibai’s Lookalike Who Defended Jhansi against British in 1857-58
5. Bajiprabhu Deshpande: Led 300 Soldiers against 12000 Adilshahi Army, Defending Shivaji
6. Karnavati: Garhwal Queen who Defeated Mughal Army in 1640; Cut Noses of Surviving Invaders
7. Rana Sanga: Fiercely Defeated Delhi Sultan in Khatoli Battle
8. Battle of Haldighati: Who Won? Rana Pratap or Akbar? The Real Story!
9. Tonkham Borpatra Gohain: Ahom General Who Defeated and Killed Afghan Turbak Khan in 1533 CE
10. Veer Savarkar: Active Role in Assassination of British Officials; Voiced ‘Hindutva’
11. Chennamma: Rani of Keladi Who Fought Bravely against Mughals and Gave Shelter to Shivaji’s Son
12. Kuyili: First Human Bomb of India against British
13. Unknown Hindu Yogi: How He Shot Dead a British Captain in Front of British Army in 1857!
14. Gurjars in Freedom Movement in 1824: 100s of Gurjars Martyred and 100s Hung in Single Tree
15. Naiki Devi: Gujarat Chalukyan Queen Who Defeated Mohammad Ghori in 1178 Battle
16. Tarabai Bhosale: Maratha Queen Who Successfully Led War against Aurangzeb’s Forces
17. Baji Rout: Freedom Fighter Martyred at 12 Years
18. Tirot Sing: Guerrilla Terror to British from 1829 to 1833
19. The Bishnois: 15th Century Legacy of Vaishnava Theology and Ecology Conservation
20. Kanaklata Barua: Freedom Fighter Martyred at 17 for Holding High the National Flag
21. Uda Devi: Killed 32 British Soldiers in Sikandar Bagh in 1857
22. Roipulliani: 84 Year Old Mizoram Village Chief Who Defended her People from British Aggression
23. Kartar Singh Sarabha: Sikh Freedom Fighter Martyred at 19; Bhagat Singh Regarded Him as Guru
24. Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev: What You Must Know
25. Chandrashekhar Azad: The Journey for 'Swatantrata'
26. Khudiram Bose: An Orphan at 7 to Hanging by British at Age 18
27. Paona Brajabashi: Fearless Manipur General Who Led Fierce Battle against British in 1891
28. Shivdevi Tomar: Killed 17 British Soldiers in 1857
29. Veerapandiya Kattabomman: Tamil Nadu Chieftain Who Defeated British Twice; Hanged at 39
30. Kanhoji Angre: 18th Century Maratha Navy Admiral Who Was Never Defeated by European Forces
31. Pasaltha Khuangchera And Brave Warriors of Mizoram Who Fought against Britishers
32. Lakshmi Bai: Motherless at 4 to Battlefield Warrior Against British Forces and Martyrdom at 30
33. Hemchandra Vikramaditya: From a Vegetable Seller to the Last Hindu Ruler of Delhi
34. Alluri Sitarama Raju: Killed Several British Officers and Martyred at 26
35. Rana Hammir Singh: Regained Mewar from Delhi Sultanate and Rajputana from Tughlaqs
36. Kakatiyas and Kapaya Nayaka: Telugu Chieftain Who Reconquered Warangal from Delhi Sultanate
37. Matmur Jamoh: Arunachal Pradesh Freedom Fighter Who Killed British Officer; Jailed at Kalapani
38. Kalyan Singh Gurjar: Terrorized the British by Killing Many Britishers in 1822-24
39. Sambhudhan Phonglo: Dimasa Freedom Fighter Who Raised an Army for War against British
40. Banda Singh: Sikh General Who Led 5 Battles to Victory against Mughals and Established Supremacy in Punjab
41. Mula Gabharu: Ahom Warrior Who Killed Two Lieutenants of Muslim Army in 1533 Battle
42. Chain Singh: 24 Year Old Rajput Who Led an Army of 50 against Huge British Force in 1824
43. Kaneganti Hanumanthu: Revolted Against British Tax Policy Imposed on Farmers; Martyred at 30
44. Avantibai: Ramgarh Rani who Won 1st Battle against British and Martyred in 2nd at 27 Years
45. Mahabiri Devi: How Mahabiri Devi and 22 Village Women Killed Many British Soldiers in 1857
46. Suhaldev: Shravasti Raja who Defeated and Killed Ghaznavid General Salar Masud in 1034 CE
47. Durgadas Rathore: Protected Jodhpur Prince from Aurangzeb and Kept Marwar Flag Flying High
48. Prataprao Gurjar: Defeat of Mughal Army in Salher Battle and Encounter with Bahalol Khan
49. Narasimhadeva: Orissa King Who Defeated Turkic Afghan Tughan Khan in 1244 CE
50. Benoy Badal Dinesh: Bengal Freedom Fighters who Killed Col NS Simpson, British IG of Police
51. Nag Bhat I: This Gurjar Pratihar King Badly Defeated Arab Forces
52. Santi Ghosh and Suniti Choudhury: How the Two Teenage Freedom Fighters Assassinated British Magistrate