Maharaja Jaichand: Reality and Falsehood!

We frequently hear the name “Jaichand” as a traitor in everyday conversation. It’s because in popular narratives he has been falsely portrayed as a ruler who backstabbed Prithviraj Chauhan in the second battle of Tarain (1192 CE). According to these narratives, Jaichand invited and assisted Muslim invader Muhammad Ghori in gaining a foothold in India by scheming to overthrow his arch-rival, Prithviraj. However, famous historians like CV Vaidya, Roma Niyogi, RC Majumdar, and others have dismissed such false claims and have proven that it is completely baseless to portray Jaichand as a Traitor.

The prevalent perception of Jaichand as a traitor stem from the Muslim text Ain-i-Akbari, which spread and propagated the legend of Jaichand siding with the Ghurids against the Chauhans.  Ain-i-Akbari was written 400 years after the battle of Tarain. It is not difficult to understand why authors of Ain-i-Akbari would want to peddle falsehood against great Hindu kings. They obviously wanted to create an anti-Hindu agenda. This false narrative was further rewritten without critical analysis in several other pieces of literature. Hence, this Muslim text served as the cradle for pushing this myth into the mainstream without any historical support. Even Prithviraj Raso (earliest and shortest recension), which mentions Jaichand and Prithviraj’s feud, never accuses Jaichand of inviting Ghurids!

Prithviraj Raso is a collection of uncritically edited writings rather than a single text. By all available evidence, it is clear that the Raso was compiled approximately 400 years after the time of Prithviraj Chauhan. The shortest (laghutam) recension has about 400 stanzas, whereas the short (laghu) recension has about three times as many. Similarly, the medium (madhyam) recension is three times as long as the short recension, and the long (brihad) recension is another threefold than previous. The vast majority of surviving Raso manuscripts derive from the long (brihad) recension, which some academics date to the 17th century. The 1703 long-recension text is especially well-known. This recension was the first in modern times to be printed, and it is still the most well-known version of the epic. The shortest (laghutam) recension of Raso, according to Namwar Singh, is undeniably older. Only two manuscripts of the shortest recension (laghutam) exist, dated in 1610 and 1640 CE. Mata Prasad Gupta has examined Prithviraj Raso’s Laghutam recension. He has stated unequivocally that there is no friendship in Prithviraj Raso (laghutam recension) between Ghurids and Jaichand.

Jaichand was the son of Gaharwar King Vijayachandra and the grandson of Govindachandra. Kamauli inscription informs that in 1170 CE, while encamped in the village of Vadaviha and after performing the mantra-snāna at his coronation, Jaichand granted the village of Osia to his purohit (family priest) Prahlad Sharma. Jaichand was one of the most generous rulers of his time, with many land donations to the priestly class recorded in his inscriptions. He is said to have maintained a formidable army to defend his kingdom (corroborated from both Persian and Indic sources). A. Fuhrer found an inscription at Ayodhya in the debris of the Treta Ka Thakur temple which mentioned that Jaichand built this temple. According to the Vishnu Hari Inscription, Govindachandra (grandfather of Jaichand) was the monarch during whose reign was erected the famed Ram Temple of Ayodhya (Ram Janam Bhumi). The Taj-ul-Ma’asir, a contemporary work, claims that after the defeat of Jaichand, the Turkish soldiers destroyed at Banaras alone “nearly one thousand temples and raised mosques on their foundations”. These claims of destructions, although exaggerated, prove that Gaharwars built a large number of temples in their Kingdom. In the literary world, Jaichand is known as the patron of Shri Harsha, the author of the Naishadhiya Charita. Shri Harsha flourished at Jaichand’s court and wrote the Naishadhiya Charita, which is considered one of Sanskrit literature’s five traditional Mahakavyas.

(Treta ka Thakur inscription discovered by A. Fuhrer)

The Gahadavala (Gaharwar) dynasty had a long history of opposing Muslim invaders, and they were successful in defending the Antarvedi region from Muslim incursions. Furthermore, we learn from Gaharwar inscriptions that a tax called Turushkadanda was levied in their realm to cover the requirements for the war against Turushka (Muslim) invaders. Jaichand continued his family’s Turushka-fighting legacy. The Rambhamanjari, written in 1400 CE by Nayachandra Suri, claims that Jaichand defeated the Yavanas (Muslims). The Purusha-Pariksha of Vidyapati fully supports this viewpoint.

There is no evidence contemporaneous to Prithviraj and Jaichand which proves that he invited Ghurids. Jaichand is depicted as a Hindu monarch who fought the Ghurid army at Chandawar in all the contemporary Persian chronicles like Taj-ul-Ma’asir, Kamil-ut-tawarikh, and Tabaqat-i-Nasiri. The exaggerated contempt for Jaichand in these texts reflects the fact that Muslims despised him and considered him as the ENEMY of Islam. Thus, we can deduce from contemporary evidence that Jaichand never urged the Ghurids to invade the Chauhans; in fact, he died fighting the Ghurids on the battlefield to protect his motherland. Moreover, amongst the Indic sources, the entire section dealing with Prithviraj and Muhammad Ghori in the Hammira Mahakavya (written approximately in 1400 CE) does not even mention the name Jaichand.

Further, there’s no reason to believe Raso’s version of Prithviraj’s marriage to Sanyogita (the reason for enmity between Prithviraj and Jaichand) either. From the shortest to the medium recension (version) of Raso, the number of wives of Prithviraj changes. It’s apparent that these stories of marriages are added in various recensions of Raso, similar to Sanyogita’s story. In Raso, it’s falsely claimed that Prithviraj and Jaichand were cousins. It is unfathomable and impossible to even imagine that Hindu Kings like Prithviraj would even think about marrying a niece. To do this would be a major sin, which nobody including Brahman priests would permit. Raso even gets the Prithviraj family’s genealogy wrong. Raso makes Pṛthvīrāja the grandson of Anangapal Tomar who gave the rule of his kingdom to Prithviraj while the facts are that neither Prithviraj was the grandson of Anangapal Tomar nor could Delhi be given to him by Tomar ruler because it had already been conquered in 1163 CE by Vigraharaj-IV. The 16th-century work Prithviraj Raso is an untrustworthy source for tracking the dynamics of the 12th century, as it is filled with historical inaccuracies and hyperboles.

In summary, King Jaichand was a brave ruler, not a traitor. Ignorant politicians, journalists & public need to stop abusing this righteous/virtuous (धर्म परायण) king for something which he never did. It’s about time we do Justice to the Maharaja Jaichand! The Hindu community, especially the Kshatriya community must demand that historians come forth and remove the unjustified blemish from this great king’s record. It is a Dharmic (sacred) duty for all of us to not only refrain from labeling a heroic, generous, and devout ruler with an entirely unjustified and unfair label but also challenge anyone who, due to their ignorance or agenda, tries to use an obscene, hurtful and false label on Maharaja Jaichand.

(This is an opinion piece and the views expressed are the author’s own. NEO POLITICO neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)


  1. Thank you so much for writing this detailed article. I hope we can do justice to Maharaj Jaichand’s legacy 🙏

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