A tale of faithfulness and faithlessness

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Roopmati and Baz Bahadur……

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Báz Bahádur and Rúpmatí

Like Romeo & Juliet and Laila-Majnu, the story of Roopmati and Baz Bahadur is one of those grand romantic sagas of history, filled with beauty and emotion, yet ending with tragedy, loss and separation.

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Báz Bahádur and Rúpmatí

The Story of Roopmati and Baz Bahadur

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Roopmati

Baz Bahadur was the last Sultan of the state of Malwa. He ruled from 1555 to 1562. One day while out hunting, Sultan Baz Bahadur spotted a Hindu girl, Roopmati, singing as she bathed in the Narmada river. Bewitched by her beauty and her voice, Baz Bahadur persuaded her to live with him in Mandu, the capital of Malwa.

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The Defeat of Baz Bahadur of Malwa by the Mughal Troops, while Rani Roopmati, and her female companions, view the scene from the terrace of the fort.

Thereafter, he spent his time in the pursuit of love and music, leaving his kingdom vulnerable to attack. So when Akbar’s general, Adham Khan, attacked Mandu in 1561, the kingdom was his for the taking. Baz Bahadur fled the battlefield, deserting Roopmati, who was captured. But the courtesan proved more courageous than the king. Even as the Mughal general waited outside her room to claim her, she committed suicide by swallowing poison.

What Happened to Baz Bahadur?

After his defeat, Baz Bahadur fled to Khandesh, where he was confronted by another of Akbar’s generals, Pir Muhammad. Pir Muhammad attacked Khandesh and proceeded up to Burhanpur but he was defeated by a coalition of three powers: Miran Mubarak Shah II of Khandesh, Tufal Khan of Berar and Baz Bahadur. Pir Muhammad died while retreating.

The coalition army pursued the Mughals and drove them out of Malwa and Baz Bahadur was even able to regain his kingdom. However, his victory was short-lived. In 1562, Akbar sent another army under Abdullah Khan, who finally defeated Baz Bahadur.

Baz Bahadur once again fled, this time to Chittor and then one by one to a number of courts till was forced to surrender in November, 1570 to Akbar at Nagaur. His life was spared and he ended up joining Akbar’s service.

Thus, Baz Bahadur hit the final nail in the coffin of his love by joining the service of the very person who was responsible for his wife’s death!

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Copper coins of Baz Bahadur

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Báz Bahádur and Rúpmatí Hunting

Tomb of Rani Roopmati & Bazbahadur,Sarangpur, Rajgarh

Tomb of Rani Roopmati & Bazbahadur,Sarangpur, Rajgarh

Baz Bahadur’s last wish was to be buried by the side of Rupmati at Sarangpur, where she had awaited his coming for many long and lonely years. There each by other they yet sleep, those two great lovers once more united, the Lady of the Lotus and her Lord, in the middle of the lotus-spread waters. It is said that, if anyone call Rupmati at their tomb, the echo answers, Baz Bahadur!! Unfortunately, the tomb is now ruined!

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Thus, Baz Bahadur hit the final nail in the coffin of his love by joining the service of the very person who was responsible for his wife’s death!

About Miyan Bayezid Baz Bahadur

Baz Bahadur was the last sultan of Malwa, who reigned from 1555 to 1562. He succeeded his father, Shuja’at Khan. He is known for his romantic liaison with Roopmati, a singer of Rajput birth.

Baz Bahadur as sultan did not bother to look after his kingdom nor did he maintain a strong army, being devoted to the arts and to his paramour. The Mughals defeated him and captured his queen Roopmati, who killed herself at this turn of events.

In 1561, Akbar’s army led by Adham Khan and Pir Muhammad Khan attacked Malwa and defeated Baz Bahadur in the battle of Sarangpur on 29 March, 1561. One of the reasons for Adham Khan’s attack seems to be his love for Rani Roopmati. Rani Roopmati poisoned herself upon hearing of the fall of Mandu. Baz Bahadur fled[ to Khandesh. Akbar soon recalled Adham Khan and made over command to Pir Muhammad, who attacked Khandesh and proceeded up to Burhanpur but was soon defeated by a coalition of three powers: Miran Mubarak Shah II of Khandesh, Tufal Khan of Berar and Baz Bahadur. Pir Muhammad died while retreating. The confederate army pursued the Mughals and drove them out of Malwa, and thus Baz Bahadur regained his kingdom for a brief period. In 1562, Akbar sent another army led by Abdullah Khan which finally defeated Baz Bahadur, who fled to Chittor. Baz Bahadur remained a fugutive at a number of courts until he surrendered in November 1570 to Akbar at Nagaur and joined Akbar’s service.

Bahadur’s capital was Mandu (now in Madhya Pradesh), which then became an important city in the Mughal. The Jahaz Mahal is located in Mandu.

Jahaz Mahal

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One of the most popular monuments in Mandu, this ship-like structure was constructed by Ghiyas-ud-din, son of Mohammed Shah, for his harem. According to the legends, this harem was home to 15,000 maidens. There are two lakes on the east and west side of the palace that create a perfect illusion of a ship with its rectangular shape.

Hindola Mahal

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Near the Jahaz Mahal is the unusual Hindola Mahal (or Swing Palace). It’s a large hall supported by sloping buttresses which, presumably, resembled the supports of a swing. According to local legends, both the Jahaz and Hindola Mahal were popular with the Mughals who had parties here on monsoon evenings.

Baz Bahadur’s Palace

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Baz Bahadur’s Palace in Mandu

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The courtyard of the Palace

The Rewa Kund is actually a tank of sacred water from the river Rewa, another name for the Narmada. This is the place where the love of poet-prince Baz Bahadur and Rani Roopmati flowered. Baz Bahadur was the last independent king of Malwa who fell in love with an ordinary shepherdess called Roopmati. Unfortunately, their love had a tragic end when the great Mughal emperor, Akbar, spurned by Roopmati’s beauty, attacked Mandu and Baz Bahadur fled Mandu leaving his lover to poison herself. Baz Bahadur’s Palace was constructed in 1509 beside the Rewa Kund, well before he became the king. The palace displays a curious mix of Rajasthani and Mughal style of architecture. There was a water lift at the northern end of the tank to supply water to the tank.

Roopmati’s Pavilion

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Roopmati’s Pavilion, looking out over the distant river valley of the Narmada, is situated on the very edge of Mandu Fort. It is a very romantic building, a perfect setting for fairytale romance. From the pavilion at the end of the terrace of this palace you feel as if you are standing on the prow of a great ship, surging through a rising sea of clouds, with water streaming away in cascades as you ride the swell of your imagination. It’s a heady feeling!

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Mandu

Source:

A compiled article

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