Ajay Devgn’s 100th film, as well as his most coveted project, ‘Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior’, has set the box office on fire. The film has won the hearts of audiences and critics alike and has earned a whopping total of more than Rs. 190 crores domestically, and a mind-boggling total of Rs. 251 crores [approximately] worldwide.
Ajay Devgn had announced that he plans to make a franchise of ‘Unsung Warriors’, for which he’s already chosen his second ‘Unsung Warrior’ as Veer Suheldev, who had defeated the nephew of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni in the Battle of Bahraich.
Now that Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior is a roaring success, and that the movie is on its way to becoming a massive blockbuster, there are some unsung warriors, whose tales of indomitable courage and unexpected victories need to be told to the masses through the powerful mode of cinema. While the list is almost infinite, and we’re sorry if we’ve left out any braveheart, here are some of the –
1) Veer Hammir –
If ‘Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior’ presented a poignant portrayal of the Maratha resistance to the Mughal rule under the leadership of Maratha braveheart, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, there is another warrior whose tale needs to be told with equal alacrity. Long before Mangal Pandey raised the clarion of rebellion against the British rule in 1857, long before Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj led the fight to liberate Bharat from Mughal rule, it was Veer Hammir, whose fight to liberate Rajputana inspired a nationwide resistance against the tyranny of the Turkish Sultanate, then ruled by Sultan Muhammad Bin Tughluq.
Hammir Singh Sisodia is the embodiment of the notion – son of the soil. Unfortunately orphaned at birth due to Alauddin Khilji’s invasion of Mewar, Hammir Singh spent his initial years in ignominy until he was spotted by his uncle Ajay Singh, one of the few survivors of the war with Alauddin Khilji. Hammir wasn’t only brave; he was equally shrewd as well, and after outsmarting his treacherous father in law Maldeo, apart from restoring the honour of his wife Sonagiri, who was widowed in childhood, Hammir went on to establish himself as the first Maharana of Mewar.
However, the ultimate moment of glory for Maharana Hammir came in 1336, when he defeated a large force of Sultan Muhammad Bin Tughluq at the Battle of Singoli. Sultan Tughluq was imprisoned and was let off only after conceding the entire Rajputana to Maharana Hammir, apart from 50 lakh silver tankas and more than 100 elephants. Sadly, his victory continued to be hidden in the obscure pages of Indian history.
2) Harihara and Bukka Rai –
If Maharana Hammir liberated Rajputana from Turkish rule, Harihara and Bukka Rai led the fight to liberate southern India from Turkish rule. Legend has it that both were military officers in the Kampili kingdom, who were captured when Sultan Muhammad bin Tughluq had defeated the ruler of the Kampili and were brought to Delhi, where the two were forcibly converted to Islam.
However, the free-spirited brothers refused to succumb to their might and escaped at the earliest opportunity available. They were further inspired by the teachings of Swami Vidyaranya, a devout sage from Shringeri Math, who encouraged them to remove the scourge of Turkish imperialism from Southern India. It was Harihara and Bukka Rai who later laid the foundation one of the most prosperous kingdoms of entire India, the Vijayanagar Empire.
3) Dadaveer Jograj Singh Gurjar –
They say that Timur ransacked India when he invaded our motherland in 1398. They also say that India could never recover from that onslaught. However, what the leftist historians refuse to tell is the fact that Timur was not the one to run away from a place after ransacking it. Like Alauddin Khilji, Timur also wanted to expand his empire throughout India.
However, as he proceeded towards Meerut, Timur and his forces were to receive the biggest shock of their life. People like Jograj Singh Gurjar, who had learnt of Timur’s blood lust and his murderous campaign in Delhi, didn’t want his barbarism to reign throughout the Indian peninsula. Gathering a large army of 120000 warriors, which included a separate all-woman force of 40000 soldiers, led by brave warrior Rampyari Gurjar, the forces of Jograj Singh Gurjar, which included people from all castes and creed, indulged in guerilla warfare, terrorizing the forces of Timur wherever he went.
Ultimately, when the two forces met at Haridwar, the forces of Sarvkhap Panchayat, led by Dadaveer Jograj Singh Gurjar, Rampyari Gurjar and Harveer Singh Gulia landed a crushing defeat on Timur, who barely managed to escape the battlefield with a gaping wound on the chest, courtesy a daring attack mounted by Harveer Singh Gulia. For a tyrant, who had raided Bharat with an army of millions, Timur managed to escape with barely a few thousand soldiers.
4) Lachit Borphukan –
Mughal Soldier – “We haven’t seen him…we don’t know if he is a mortal or a folklore but I know of people confessing that they have witnessed the golden radiance of The Hengdang” the scout said.
Aurangzeb – “What is the Hengdang?”
Mughal Soldier – “It is a sword sir…Lachit owns the blade…King Chakradhwaj Singha presented it to him” the scout replied meekly.
Aurangzeb – “What is he? A human, a ghost or these Hindus seriously have gods that walk around in human shapes with mythical swords in their hands?”
Another Mughal Soldier – “He is very much a man sir, the Commander-in-Chief of the Ahom army” replied another scout.
Aurangzeb – “If he is a man, then he will die”
This was the extent to which the name of Ahom general, Lachit Borphukan terrorized the Mughals to the core. The commander of the Ahom forces under the rule of King Chakradhwaj Singha, Lachit Borphukan was one of the commanders of the Indian resistance to the Mughal rule, especially on the eastern front.
An expert in naval warfare, Lachit Borphukan used the river resources of Assam to great advantage. When the Mughal forces under the command of Kachhwaha Rajput commander Ram Singh met the forces of Lachit Borphukan at the Battle of Saraighat, Lachit Borphukan, despite being severely outnumbered, managed to use the resources so effectively that the Mughals were not only defeated, they were forced to retreat. Lachit Borphukan breathed his last a few days later.
5) Hari Singh Nalwa –
Another man whose story deserves to be told to the coming generations is that of the gallant Sikh commander, Hari Singh Nalwa, who served the kingdom of the Sikh Empire, then ruled by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Hari Singh Nalwa was one of the last few warriors who withstood the might of both the British Empire and the Islamists wreaking havoc in north-western India at that time.
It was under Hari Singh Nalwa’s leadership that the Sikhs managed to liberate Kashmir from Islamic rule after centuries. What made Hari Singh Nalwa’s conquests unique is the fact that he had a well-established network of spies, which included women as well. It is because of this efficiency that Hari Singh Nalwa not only withstood the onslaught of Afghans but also managed to keep the British in check as long as he was alive.
The heroes who have been unjustly relegated to the backwaters of Indian history are now being given their due honour. We hope that Ajay Devgn continues with this tradition and bring more stories of such bravehearts, as he did with ‘Tanhaji’.