Causes of the Battle of Khanwa (1527):
1. Ambitions of Babur and Rana Sanga:
Both had very high ambitions of name and fame. Both had an eye on the whole of India. Each wanted to become the supreme power.
2. Charge of breach of faith:
Both accused each other of breach of faith. From records it is not clear whether any agreement was made between the two when Babur invaded India.
Babur’s accusation was that Rana Sanga was one of the rulers of India to invite him to attack India but he rendered no help to him in the first Battle of Panipat. Rana Sanga, on the other hand accused Babur of not accepting his claim on Kalpi, Dhaulpur and Agra.
The armies of Babur and Rana Sanga met at Khanwa, about forty Kilometers away from Delhi. Babur arranged his army almost in the same manner as he had done at Panipat. Several important Rajput rulers and Afghan chiefs rallied to Rana Sanga. About Rana’s army, Lane- Poole has observed, “Whatever the exact number might have been, a more gallant army could not be brought into the field”.
The battle started at 9 A.M. on March 17, 1527 and continued for about ten hours. The Rajput began to bring havoc upon Babur’s army that seemed to have been reduced almost to their last gasp. At this moment Babur made a stirring speech before his soldiers: “Noble men and soldiers, every man that comes to this world is subject to dissolution. How much better is it to die with honour than to live with infame. Let us then with one accord swear on God’s holy ‘Quran’ that none of us will ever think of turning his face from this warfare till his soul is separated from his body.” The stirring appeal had the desired result. The bloody war followed. As observed by Dr. R.P. Tripathi, “The ruthless slaughter closed the bloody episode.”
The Mughals won the battle. Rana Sanga was badly wounded and taken away from the battle field. He wanted to take revenge of his defeat but his nobles did not want to take risk. He is said to have been poisoned to death by his own men.
Causes of Rana Sanga’s Failure and Babur’s Victory:
1. Rana Sanga not a diplomat like Babur:
Rana Sanga showed vacillation and was not a good strategist. He did not capture Agra and Delhi when Ibrahim and Babur were fighting the battle of survival. Had he done so, he would have acquired enormous treasures and resources.
2. Rana Sanga’s failure to estimate the strength of Babur:
Rana Sanga underestimated Babur’s strength.
3. Holy war (Jihad):
Babur had declared the struggle with Rana as a holy war of the Muslims against the Hindus. His stirring speech infused a new vigour among his soldiers. Everyone swore of the holy Quran.
4. Time for formation and consolidation:
Rana Sanga did not attack when Babur was making fresh preparations. Babur was able to form the ‘Tuluguma’ on protective lines.
5. Babur as a commander:
Babur was a very capable commander. In the face of adverse situation, he exhibited rare patience and courage.
6. Babur’s artillery:
Babur’s artillery wrought havoc on the Rajput army.
7. Babur’s disciplined army:
Babur’s army, though small in number but it was experienced and well-disciplined. On the other hand Rana Sanga’s army consisted of heterogeneous elements comprising armies of several Rajput rulers as well as Afghan rulers. It lacked unity of command.
Consequences of the Battle of Khanwa:
1. Strengthening of the Mughal rule in India:
The foundation laid at the battle of Panipat for the establishment of the Mughal empire in India was strengthened and based on firm bases.
2. Set back to the superiority of the Rajput’s:
In the words of S.R. Sharma, “Defeat of the Rajput’s, at Khanwa ended the superiority of the Rajput’s which they had established successfully in the last ten years and which was an eyesore to the Muslims”. However, in contrast to this, A.L. Srivastva observed, “Rajput military power was no doubt crushed in the battle of Khanwa but it was not totally crushed. Within a few years they again raised their heads.”
3. Weakening of the Afghan power:
The power of the Afghans was almost crippled.
4. Marwar and not Mewar:
According to Dr. Lunia, “After the defeat and death of Rana Sanga, Mewar lost its prestige and in its place Marwar started gaining the power.”