Prithviraj Chauhan: Our very own Lochinvar

Lochinvar is a lake (called Loch in Scottish) which is now a reservoir. It is located in the hills of Dumfries and Galloway to the north-east of St. John’s Town of Dalry. It is drained by the Lochinvar Burn, which flows south to the Water of Ken.

Lochinvar is also the poem written by Sir Walter Scott. This is a romantic poem about the gallant youth who carries away his sweetheart from amidst the marriage function in which the girl’s father was marrying her off to a man whom she did not like. The hero crosses and overcome so many obstacles like crossing the rivers and proceeding on a horse back without any arms. He succeeded in taking away his girl from under the very noses of so many security persons.

We in India also have our Lochinvar in the person of Prithviraj Chauhan. Young Prithviraj was the ruler of Ajmer and Delhi. He belonged to one of the major Rajput clans active in North West India mainly modern day Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh and Parts of Uttar Pradesh. These clans were known as Chahamanas (chauhans), Chalukyas (known as Solankis) and Parmaras. In the times of Mauriyas Magadh was the most important place and modern day Patna was their capital. Slowly and slowly the Kannauj gained the prime position. Various different kingdoms who were almost balanced in power vied to take control of Kannauj. These internal strife amongst the equally matched opponents resulted in the instability in the region and bled all the parties badly. This made the the job of external aggressors very easy and thus Arabs, Afghans and Turks found it easy to defeat the small warring kings in the North West and overrun the entire northern India. Mahmood of Ghazni made it an annual feature to attack India and plundered the wealth from temples like Somnath in Gujarat and other effluent sources. He had no intention of staying here in India.

Prithviraj had great animosity with King Jaichand of Kannauj but whose daughter Sanyogita loved him very much. Jai Chand arranged a Swayamvara : a ceremony held in ancient India in which the girl chose husband for herself from among the best in the called Princess, for the marriage of his daughter. Not only he did not invite Prithviraj to take part in the ceremony but also to belittle him he installed a lookalike statue of Prithviraj as the gatekeeper to the swayamvara. Sanyogita during the swayamvara went and garlanded the statue; Prithviraj, who was hiding nearby, took Sanyogita on his steed and eloped with her.

It is another matter that Jai Chand nursed a big grudge against Prithviraj and played a role in the war of Prithviraj with Shahabuddin Ghori and Prithviraj paid the price with his life.

You can read the Lochinvar poem by going to this page.

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