Glory of Jainism: Vikramaditya Hemu

Published: 12.10.2012
Updated: 02.07.2015


Vikramaditya Hemu

Vikramaditya Hemu is renowned in history as a powerful warrior and an adept strategist. For his matchless prowess, he earned the title of 'God of war'. The story of his life is like an oasis in the Mugal history. Historians like Badauni and Abul Fazal have praised the reign of Vikramaditya Hemu who ruled Delhi for six months. The son of a Jain layman of Mandovar, he started as an ordinary merchant but reached the pinnacle by dint of hard work and daring spirit. He became an ace jeweller and simultaneously reached the highest post in the army. He was a gallant fighter, adventurous and a fine strategist. His expertise in matters of military and his honesty endeared him to emperor Mohmed Adilshah. He, then, became the dewan (Prime minister of the king) of Delhi. Adilshah was killed in an encounter with the Pathans and the mantle to rule fell on Hemu.

In those days courtly patronage was sought after by religious leaders of all denominations. They would all try to please the king and get a few concessions in return. But Hemraj was made of different stuff. He expanded the state and suppressed the rebellion in Chunara and Bengal. He defeated all those who opposed him and was firmly in the saddle as the ruler of Delhi, and was known as Vikramaditya (one who was triumphant). His experience in warfare, his mastery of statecraft and expertise in the art of fighting earned for him great renown. His presence would send shivers down the spine of his opponents. He stood by Shershah who was his friend and who had undertaken many people-oriented projects. After king Prithviraj, Vikramaditya Hemu became the most famous Hindu ruler of Delhi. His enemies and opponents called him the wizard of the battlefield for the way he planned and executed his strategies to defeat the enemy. His elephant called hava would also strike terror in the hearts of enemies.

Well-known historian Vincent Smith praised his competence as a ruler and his insight into administration. He writes:

"Hemu a consummate general and statesman who displayed organising capacity and valour of a high order. Originally a petty shopkeeper of Rewari of Mewat... Even Abul Fazal admits that he managed the affairs of state with rare ability and success. He was one of the greatest men of his day and among Akbar's opponent through out Hindustan there was none who could excel him in valour, enterprise and courage. He had earned himself unique military distinction by winning 22 pitched battles."

Vikramaditya Hemu nurtured many dreams but not all his dreams were realised. In A.D. 1556 a fierce battle broke out in Panipat between the Mugal Army and the army of Vikramaditya Hemu. Akbar had launched his expedition to capture Delhi and Agra. Akbar had never encountered such stiff resistance as he did from Hemu's army. But an arrow pierced through Hemu's eye and he lost the battle. Akbar refused to behead him but Behramkhan's sword cut him into two. Hemu's reign as an emperor of Delhi for six months forms a glorious chapter in the history of India. Not much literature is available about Vikramaditya Hemu, who belonged to the sixteenth century. There are stray references about him in the works of English, Arabic and Persian writers. Late Shri Jaybhikkhu, author of about 300 volumes, wrote a novel which vividly resuscitates the life and times of Vikramaditya Hemu, popularly known as 'God of War'.

Title: Glory Of Jainism

Ashok Saha and Prathana Saha


Shri Anilbhai Gandhi (Trustee),
Palitana - 364270 (India)

Edition: 1998

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  1. Agra
  2. Akbar
  3. Delhi
  4. Panipat
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