The Battle of Talikota, also known as that of Rakkasagi–Tangadagi, (23 January 1565) was a watershed battle fought between the Vijayanagara Empire and an alliance of the Deccan sultanates.[2] Despite the Vijayanagara army being larger, they were comprehensively defeated. The battle resulted in the defeat and death of Rama Raya, the de facto ruler of the Vijayanagara Empire, which led to the immediate collapse of the Vijayanagara polity and reconfigured South Indian and Deccan politics.[2]

Battle of Talikota
Part of Muslim conquest in the Indian subcontinent

Battle of Talikota from Ta'rif-i Husain Shahi (Chronicle of Husain Shah), 16th century.
Date23 January 1565
Around the Villages of Rakkasagi and Tangadagi near Talikota in present-day Karnataka[1]
Result Deccan Sultanates alliance victory

Deccan sultanates

Vijayanagara Empire
Commanders and leaders
  • Rama Raya Executed
  • Venkatadri 
  • Tirumala Deva Raya
  • Achutappa Nayak
  • Kempegowda (Benagluru Nada Prabhu)
  • Battle of Talikota is located in Karnataka
    Battle of Talikota
    Location within Karnataka

    The specific details of the battle and its immediate aftermath are notoriously difficult to reconstruct in light of the distinctly contrarian narratives present across primary sources.[3] Defeat is usually blamed on the gap in relative military prowess.[4][3] Orientalist and nationalist historians claimed the battle as part of a clash of civilizations between Hindus and Muslims;[2][3] Contemporary scholars reject such characterizations as flawed.[5][6]

    Background edit

    Rama Raya, after his installation of a patrimonial state and emerging as the ruler, adopted a political strategy of benefiting from the internecine warfare among the multiple successors of the Bahmani Sultanate, and it worked well for about twenty years of his reign.[2][7][8]

    However, after a series of aggressive efforts to maintain hold over Kalyan[9][a] and diplomatic dealings with the Sultanates laden with insulting gestures by the Sultanates, the four Muslim Sultanates – Hussain Nizam Shah I and Ali Adil Shah I of Ahmadnagar and Bijapur to the west, Ali Barid Shah I of Bidar in the center, and Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah Wali of Golkonda to the east – united in the wake of shrewd marital diplomacy and convened to attack Rama Raya, in late January 1565.[2][3]

    Battle edit

    Battle of Talikota.

    Sources edit

    There exist multiple contemporary chronicles (literary as well as historical) documenting the war:[3][10]

    • Burhan-i Maasir by Sayyid Ali Bin Abdullah Tabataba, the court historian of Ahmadnagar Sultanate.
    • Gulshan-i Ibrahimi by Ferishta, the court historian of Bijapur Sultanate.
    • Taḏkerat al-molūk by Rafi-ud-Din Shirazi, another court historian of Bijapur Sultanate.
    • Décadas da Ásia by official Portuguese record-keeper Diogo do Couto.
    • Letters by Goa governor Dom Antão de Noronha.
    • Fath-Nama-i Nizam Shah by Hasan Shauqi, a Dakhni poet.
    • Tarif-i Husayn Shah by Aftabi, a poet at Ahmadnagar court.

    The details of the battle and immediate aftermath are often distinctly contrarian and even accounting for biases, reconstruction is difficult, if not impossible.[11][3][12]

    Description edit

    The exact venue of clash has been variously mentioned as Talikota, Rakkasagi-Tangadigi and Bannihatti, all on the banks of river Krishna.[3][13][b] There exists debate as to the precise dates.[3][14] Span-lengths vary from hours to days; descriptions of battle formations and maneuvers vary too.[3]

    Outcome edit

    Rama Raya was eventually beheaded either by Sultan Nizam Hussain himself or by someone else acting on his behest despite Adil Shah, who had friendly relations with Raya, intending against.[3] In the resultant confusion and havoc, Raya's brother Tirumala deserted with the entire army; he did try to regroup in Vijaynagara but failed and moved to the outskirts.[2][8] His other brother Venkatadri was blinded and likely, killed in action.[2]

    Analysis of defeat edit

    Vijayanagara side was winning the war, state Hermann Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund in a survey of Indian history, until two Muslim generals[who?] of the Vijayanagara army switched sides.[7][15][3][11][4][6]

    Aftermath edit

    The "Malik-i-Maidan" (Master of the Battlefield) cannon, stated to be the largest piece of cast bronze ordnance in the world,[16] was utilized by the Deccan Sultanates during the Battle of Talikota. It was provided by Ali Adil Shah I (Bijapur Sultanate)

    The Sultanates' armies went on to plunder Vijayanagara, unopposed.[2] Popular accounts and older scholarship describe Vijayanagara falling to ruins, in light of the widespread desecration of sacred topography; however, this view has been contested.[17] Contemporary historians and archaeologists warn against conflating the state with the town as little evidence exists about any damage inflicted beyond the Royal Center; they further emphasize about the politically strategic nature of destruction and arson, since sites associated with sovereignty, royal power, and authority were subject to more wanton means.[17]

    Nonetheless, the battle caused a political rupture for the state of Vijayanagara and permanently reconfigured Deccan politics.[2] Patronage of monuments and temples ceased, the Vaishnava cult perished from the city of Vijayanagara due to the cessation of royal patronage, and the Royal Center was never rebuilt.[2][18] The Bijapur Sultanate reaped maximum gains but their alliance with the other Deccan sultanates did not last long.[8][19] Tirumala went on to establish the Aravidu dynasty, which held sway over fragments of the erstwhile empire and even operated out of Vijayanagara for two years, before shifting to Pengonda.[8][19] But faced with successional disputes, rebellions by multiple local chieftains—primarily Telugu Nayak houses—who did not wish for the reemergence of any central authority,[c] and continuous conflicts with the Bijapur Sultanate—who might have been invited by Rama Raya's son—, it moved southwards before disintegrating in the late 1640s.[2][8][3][21]

    Legacy edit

    Historiography edit

    Colonial era historiography (e.g. the work of Robert Sewell and Jonathan Scott), drawing from the accounts of Firishta[citation needed] and others[who?], placed this battle within the context of a larger "Clash of civilizations" metanarrative. In this account, the battle pitted, on the one hand, Hindu civilization, represented by the "Rama-rajya" of Vijayanagara, against Islamic civilization on the other hand, represented by the alliance of Deccan sultanates. The result of the battle, according to this view, was the fall of the last "Hindu bastion" of South India to "Mohammed" zealotry and expansionism. In the modern post-colonial era, a number of South Indian nationalist historians (Aluru Venkata Rao, B. A. Saletore, S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar, K. A. Nilakanta Sastri) have continued to endorse this view or one like it.[25] This view has been associated with the far-right Hindutva ideology.[11]

    However, in recent decades, a number of historians have criticized or rejected this view. For example, Richard M. Eaton denies any religious motives behind the battle and describes the class of civilizations hypothesis as emblematic of flawed Orientalist scholarship. In support of his position, Eaton cites a number of lines of evidence, including the multiple alliances of Rama Raya with various Muslim rulers at different points in time, (motivated by political rather than religious factors); the thorough perfusion of Persian Islamate culture within the Vijaynagara Kingdom, as evident from court sanction and patronage of Islamic art, architecture and culture; and the strategic alliances of Rama Raya's heirs (the Aravidus) with the heirs of the Deccan Sultans that fought at Talikota.[2][4] Romila Thapar, Burton Stein, Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Muzaffar Alam, and Stewart N. Gordon have concurred with this perspective on the basis of similar analyses. Additional arguments include the fact that the Muslim Berar Sultanate did not join the battle, the fact the Sultanate-alliance dissipated soon after the battle,[29] and the existence of harmonious Hindu-Muslim relations in the Vijayanagara Empire, which extended to the placement of Muslims in high positions in the royal court of Vijaynagara.[32]

    Popular culture edit

    The battle has been adopted into a play by Girish Karnad titled "Rakkasa Tangadi" (English title: "Crossing to Talikota"). Karnad based it on Eaton's analysis.[33][34]

    See also edit

    Notes edit

    1. ^ Kalyana was the capital of the Chalukyas. Rama Raya sought to control the territory in his bid to gain popular legitimacy by establishing himself as the true heir to Chalukya sovereignty and glory. Other examples included retrofitting of decayed Chalukya complexes and bringing back Chalukya festivals.
    2. ^ James Campbell had reported traces of the Vijayanagara defensive fortifications along the southern bank of Krishna in these regions as late as 1884.
    3. ^ Stein notes of these independent estates to have been consolidating power since the zenith of Rama Raya's rule. He considers the entire span of Vijayanagara Empire to be a weakly-centralised polity, whose most important territories were regarded by local chiefs as independent "in every respect save that they could not claim to be fully-fledged kingdoms". Noboru Karashima disagrees with Stein's broad characterization but agrees that the final period of the Vijayanagar empire (Aravidus) was indeed marked by the growing power of the Nayakas as local feudal lords.[20]

    References edit

    1. ^ Sastri, K A Nilakanta, ed. (6 January 2024), "The battle of Rakkasagi-Tangadagi", Further Sources of Vijayanagara History Vol 1, pp. 263–264
    2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Rama Raya (1484–1565): élite mobility in a Persianized world". A Social History of the Deccan, 1300–1761. 2005. pp. 78–104. doi:10.1017/CHOL9780521254847.006. ISBN 9780521254847.
    3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "1 Courtly Insults". Courtly Encounters. 2012. pp. 34–102. doi:10.4159/harvard.9780674067363.c2. ISBN 9780674067363.
    4. ^ a b c Eaton, Richard M. (2019). India in the Persianate Age : 1000–1765. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520325128.
    5. ^ a b Ramachandran, Nandini. "Histories that challenge the reductionist popular understanding of Islam in India". The Caravan. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
    6. ^ a b c Ahmed Sayeed, Vikhar (18 January 2019). "Battle of Talikota: Beyond the Hindu-Muslim binary". Frontline. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
    7. ^ a b Kulke, Hermann; Rothermund, Dietmar (2016). A History of India. doi:10.4324/9781315628806. ISBN 9781317242130.
    8. ^ a b c d e f "Imperial collapse and aftermath: 1542–1700". The New Cambridge History of India. 1990. pp. 109–139. doi:10.1017/CHOL9780521266932.006. ISBN 9781139055611.
    9. ^ Chandra Shobhi, Prithvi Datta (2 January 2016). "Kalyāṇa is Wrecked: The Remaking of a Medieval Capital in Popular Imagination". South Asian Studies. 32 (1): 90–98. doi:10.1080/02666030.2016.1182327. S2CID 219697794.
    10. ^ a b Gordon, Stewart (2 January 2016). "In the Aura of the King: Trans-Asian, Trans-Regional, and Deccani Royal Symbolism". South Asian Studies. 32 (1): 42–53. doi:10.1080/02666030.2016.1174429. S2CID 164169912.
    11. ^ a b c d e Ray, Aniruddha (2003). "The Rise and Fall of Vijayanagar – an Alternative Hypothesis to "Hindu Nationalism" Thesis". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 64: 420–433. JSTOR 44145480.
    12. ^ Guha, Sumit (9 July 2015). "Rethinking the Economy of Mughal India: Lateral Perspectives". Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient. 58 (4): 532–575. doi:10.1163/15685209-12341382. JSTOR 43919254.
    13. ^ Shirwani, H K. (1 July 1957). "The Site of the so-called Battle of Talikota". Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society. 5 (3): 151–157. ProQuest 1301919684.
    14. ^ Sarkar, Jadunath (1960). Military History of India. M. C. SARKAR AND SONS PRIVATE LTD. KOLKATA. p. 91.
    15. ^ K. A. Nilakanta Sastri (1955), A History of South India, Oxford University Press, p. 267, ISBN 0195606868
    16. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bijapur" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 927.
    17. ^ a b c d Lycett, Mark T.; Morrison, Kathleen D. (2013). "The 'Fall' of Vijayanagara Reconsidered: Political Destruction and Historical Construction in South Indian History". Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient. 56 (3): 433–470. doi:10.1163/15685209-12341314. JSTOR 43303558.
    18. ^ Verghese, Anila (September 2004). "Deities, cults and kings at Vijayanagara". World Archaeology. 36 (3): 416–431. doi:10.1080/1468936042000282726812a. S2CID 162319660.
    19. ^ a b Eaton, Richard Maxwell; Wagoner, Phillip B. (2017). Power, Memory, Architecture: Contested Sites on India's Deccan Plateau, 1300-1600. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-947769-2.[page needed]
    20. ^ Chakravarti, Ananya (2012). The empire of apostles: Jesuits in Brazil and India, 16th–17th c (Thesis). ProQuest 1040866864.
    21. ^ Talbot, Cynthia (2001). Precolonial India in Practice. doi:10.1093/0195136616.001.0001. ISBN 0195136616.
    22. ^ Nair, Janaki (1996). "'Memories of Underdevelopment' Language and Its Identities in Contemporary Karnataka". Economic and Political Weekly. 31 (41/42): 2809–2816. JSTOR 4404683.
    23. ^ a b Archambault, Hannah Lord (2018). Geographies of Influence: Two Afghan Military Households in 17th and 18th Century South India (Thesis).
    24. ^ a b Shekhar, Shashank (25 October 2019). "Hampi: Ruins of splendour". Frontline. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
    25. ^ [2][22][3][23][24][6][17]
    26. ^ Eaton, Richard M. (2 January 2016). "Afterword". South Asian Studies. 32 (1): 126–128. doi:10.1080/02666030.2016.1201895. S2CID 219698039.
    27. ^ "Hindu Militarism under Islamic Rule". Hinduism and the Ethics of Warfare in South Asia. 2012. pp. 161–210. doi:10.1017/CBO9781139084116.008. ISBN 9781139084116.
    28. ^ Wagoner, Phillip B. (1996). "'Sultan among Hindu Kings': Dress, Titles, and the Islamicization of Hindu Culture at Vijayanagara". The Journal of Asian Studies. 55 (4): 851–880. doi:10.2307/2646526. JSTOR 2646526. S2CID 163090404.
    29. ^ [8][11][26][10][23][27][5][24][28]
    30. ^ Shivarudraswamy, S.N. (2005). "Hindu-Muslim Relations Under the Vijayanagara Empire". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 66: 394–398. JSTOR 44145855.
    31. ^ Verghese, Anila (1995). Religious traditions at Vijayanagara, as revealed through its monuments. Vijayanagara research project monograph series. New Delhi: Manohar : American Institute of Indian Studies. ISBN 978-81-7304-086-3.
    32. ^ [30][11][3][17][31]
    33. ^ "History vs 'Crossing to talikota' play by Girish Karnad". Firstpost. 21 October 2019. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
    34. ^ Guha, Sumit (2009). "The Frontiers of Memory: What the Marathas Remembered of Vijayanagara". Modern Asian Studies. 43 (1): 269–288. doi:10.1017/S0026749X07003307. JSTOR 20488079. S2CID 145476823.