Invasion of Muslim Ruler
There had been foreign conquerors in India before ; and they had all been quickly absorbed and assimilated in the body of Hindu society. But these new Turkish fanatics were of an entirely different type.
They were not content with the acquisition of mere political power. They descended upon the plains of Hindustan not as mere conquerors and plunderers. But as crusading warriors bent upon spreading their holy faith in the land of the infidels.
Soon they overthrew the Hindu kingdoms of the north and established themselves in the land. They set about systematically to force their religion upon the people. Invaders desecrate the Hindu temples and their magnificent edifices, to break down the idols, mutilate statues and works of art, disfigure stone inscriptions beyond recognition.
Out of the material obtained by such wanton destruction, they erected prayer-houses for the use of the Faithful. In order to stamp out heathenism and gather the Indian people within the fold of Islam. These ruthless vandals prohibited the public exercise of the Hindu religion and subjected its devotees to disabilities and penal laws.
The Muslim Rulers don’t allow Hindus to dress well, live well or appear prosperous. They impose Vexatious taxes upon them and destroyed Hindu seats of learning.
Fall of Kingdom of Warangal
A dynasty of the Kakatiyas ruled the coastal region between the Godavari and the Krishna with Warangal as its capital . It was first attacked in 1303 by Ala-ud-din’s general Malik Fakhruddin Juna, who later figured as the notorious Sultan Muhammad Tughlaq of Delhi.
He was routed with heavy loss by the valiant ruler Prataparudra Kakatiya, who then became an eyesore to the Muslim conquerors. Years passed. The Tughlaqs succeeded Khiljis who sent a strong expedition against Warangal in 1321. For two years the struggle continued unabated.
Prataparudra was defeated and captured alive. He was being taken to Delhi as a trophy of the war, when, finding the insult too bitter to bear, he put an end to his life in 1323. This sad end of their valiant leader roused the people as nothing else would have done.
Revolt of Kampli
After a year’s time Muhammad became the Sultan of Delhi and at once removed his capital to Deogiri(1325) ; and from his seat in that strong fort he started measures to put down the rising opposition of the Hindus.
The fall of Warangal had spread the infection of revolt to the neighbouring region of Kampli on the Tungabhadra. Here another brave Hindu warrior Kamnath, inflicted crushing defeats upon the forces sent against him by the Sultan from Deogiri.
Exasperated by this disgraceful reverse, the Sultan sent another and more powerful expedition for the conquest of Kampli in 1327. Kampildeva finding resistance hopeless, prepared a huge fire. They along with all his women folk burnt himself alive in it in order to escape the disgrace of falling into the enemy’s hands.
A large number of prisoners was however, captured and carried in chains to the Sultan. His joy at this success was unbounded. He returned to Delhi with his booty and prisoners.
Rise of Harihar and Bukka
Among these latter were two brothers, Harihar and bukka. They had formerly served as ministers at Kampli and helped Prataparudra of Warangal.
The Sultan knew their worth, converted them to Islam. He used them well with a view to employing them in the event of any Hindu revolt in the south.
These spirited brothers had witnessed the changing fortunes of the Hindus ever since the fall of the Yadavas. He secretly nursed in their hearts a feeling of revenge, and they waited for a suitable opportunity.
Sultan Muhammad Tughlaq soon found himself involved in serious troubles as much in the north as in the south. He was not a bit inclined to relent in his resolve to put down the Hindu Kafirs.
During 1330 and 1331, one Kapaya Nayaka of Warangal and another Somdevraj of Kampli rose against the Sultan, put the Muslim governors to flight and asserted independence
in their respective localities. The news reached the Sultan at Delhi. He held a council of war with his advisers and decided upon their suggestion to employ the services of the two brothers Harihara and Bukka. Muslim converts and as such expected to do their best to uphold their adopted faith in the same manner as their predecessor Malik Kafur had done.
The two brothers accepted the mission readily and fully provided with men and materials soon appeared before Kampli.
Reconversion to Hinduism
The Hindu felt bitterness against ruling political elite. The learned and influential head of the Shringeri Math Shankaracharya Madhava Vidyaranya took the lead in politics for putting down Muslim aggression.
Madhava Acharya and his two equally competent brothers held deliberations with the two heroes Harihar and Bukka. He persuaded them to renounce their newly accepted faith. After bringing them back to the Hindu fold by means of certain penances, made them lead the whole movement to a successful issue.
Thus were politics and religion put to the highest test in the nation’s cause. The example proved highly rousing. Thus brothers foiled Sultan’s plans entirely.
The holy Guru Madhava Acharya took up his residence at Anagondi where the two brothers Harihara and Bukka Rai paid him due reverence. They conceived a fresh plan in mutual consultation for founding the seat of a new Hindu Empire at the bend of the river Tungabhadra, just opposite Anagondi.
This was the origin of Vijayanagar which rapidly grew into a well-protected, wealthy and powerful city. Guru Madhava Acharya in this new capital crowned the two brothers as kings on 18 April 1336.
Muhammad Tughlaq had the mortification to lose his southern provinces for good.
Vijaynagar Empire- an inspiration
This newly created Empire of Vijayanagar gradually increased in power and extent. For more than two hundred years stemmed the tide of Muslim conquest in the south.
Although thereafter Vijayanagar was itself destroyed by the combined power of the Muslim rulers in the famous battle of Talikota (January 22, 1565), the various local powers that survived, were never crushed altogether, but continued to drag on a submerged existence in different localities right up to the British conquest of India.
Historically, however, this experiment of Vijayanagar served as a source of power and inspiration to the genius of Shivaji, since his father Shahji had his life’s activities concentrated upon the region of Bangalore, Kampli and Kanakgiri.
We may be sure, that Shivaji took his cue from the example of Harihara and Bukka, of personal valour joined to the spiritual power of the Shankaracharya.
Shivaji closely followed this model and revered his gurus Tukaram and Ramdas. The Hindus always attached greater importance to the preservation of their religion than to political freedom. Herein lies the importance to Maratha history of the Hindu revolt which led to the foundation of Vijayanagar.