Kanhadade Prabandha

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Kanhadade Prabandha is a book by Indian poet Padmanābha written in 1455, in a western Apabhramsha dialect. The book tells the story of Raval Kanhadade (Kanhadadeva), the Chahamana ruler of Jalore.


  • I have composed and narrated in Prakrita this account of fearless chivalry and sacrifice in this Kaliyuga, befitting the great renown and prestige of the Chauhana kula.
    • Padmanābha, ., & Bhatnagar, V. S. (1991). Kānhaḍade prabandha: India's greatest patriotic saga of medieval times : Padmanābha's epic account of Kānhaḍade. New Delhi: Voice of India.
  • [It was composed in mid-fifteenth century and records the exploits of King Kanhardeva of Jalor against Alauddin’s General Ulugh Khan who had attacked Gujarat in 1299 and taken a number of prisoners. In the Sorath (Saurashtra) region] “they made people captive - Brahmanas and children, and women, in fact, people of all (description)… huddled them and tied them by straps of raw hide. The number of prisoners made by them was beyond counting. The prisoners’ quarters (bandikhana) were entrusted to the care of the Turks.” ... “During the day they bore the heat of the scorching sun, without shade or shelter as they were [in the sandy desert region of Rajasthan], and the shivering cold during the night under the open sky. Children, tom away from their mother’s breasts and homes, were crying. Each one of the captives seemed as miserable as the other. Already writhing in agony due to thirst, the pangs of hunger… added to their distress. Some of the captives were sick, some unable to sit up. Some had no shoes to put on and no clothes to wear. …Some had iron shackles on their feet. Separated from each other, they were huddled together and tied with straps of hide. Children were separated from their parents, the wives from their husbands, thrown apart by this cruel raid. Young and old were seen writhing in agony, as loud wailings arose from that part of the camp where they were all huddled up… Weeping and wailing, they were hoping that some miracle might save them even now.”
    • Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 5
  • [Padmanabh, in his Kanhadade-Prabandh (written about the middle of the fifteenth century) has this to say about the Rajput warriors:] “They bathed the horses in the sacred water of Ganga. Then they offered them Kamal Puja. On their backs they put with sandal the impressions of their hands… They put over them five types of armour, namely, war armour, saddles acting as armour, armour in the form of plates, steel armour, and armour woven out of cotton. Now what was the type of Kshatriyas who rode these horses? Those, who were above twenty-five and less than fifty in age,… shot arrows with speed and were the most heroic. (Their) moustaches went up to their ears, and beards reached the navel. They were liberal and warlike. Their thoughts were good… They regarded wives of others as their sisters. They stood firm in battle, and struck after first challenging the enemy. They died after having killed first. They donned and used (all the) sixty-six weapons. If any one (of the enemy ranks) fell down they regarded the fallen person as a corpse and saluted it.”
    • Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 4
  • A farman (firman) was now given to Gori Malik (to sack Bhinmal).... The Turkish [Muslim] invaders entered the town making dreadful din and clamor. Orders were issued clear and terrible: `The soldiers shall march into the town spreading terror everywhere! Cut down the Brahmanas [Brahman priests], wherever they may be-performing homa or milking cows! Kill the cows-even those which are pregnant or with newly born calves!" The Turks ransacked Bhinmal and captured everybody in the sleepy town. Thereafter, Gori Malik gleefully set fire to the town in a wanton display of force and meanness.
    • V. S. Bhatnagar, trans., Kanhadade Prabandha (New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan, 1991), p. 49, quoted in Bostom, A. G. M. D., & Bostom, A. G. (2010). The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims. Amherst: Prometheus.

About the Kanhadade Prabandha[edit]

  • Padmanabha's Kanhadade prabandha, completed in 1455, is one of the most striking works of Old Gujarati literature-a bardic tale that begins with the conquest of Somnath and Anahilvad Patan by Ulugh Khan, the general of Ala-ud-din..... The English of the translation is somewhat quaint but is on the whole very faithful to the original...
    • Review by: I. M. P. Raeside, Source: Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol.55, No. 3 (1992), p. 623.
  • The publication of this work may be looked up as quite an event in Gujarātī and Rājasthānī studies. Here we have at last a very careful and well-authenticated edition of what may be considered to be a great classic in New Indo-Aryan Literature...
    • Reviewed Work(s): Kānhaḍade-Prabandha by Padmanābha: an early Western Rājasthāni poem: critically by Kantilal Baladevaram Vyas and Kantilal Baladevaram Jinavuayaji Review by: Suniti Kumar Chatterji Source: Bulletin of the Deccan College Research Institute, Vol. 17, No. 3 (December 1955), pp. 234-236 Published by: Vice Chancellor, Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute
  • This book, although not free of difficulties, is an extremely valuable addition to the sources of religious and literary history of medieval India. It is an English translation, accompanied by copious notes, of the epic poem Kanhadade Prabandha....This text represents the Hindu version of those events and is of one piece with the general Hindu view of Muslim rule in India-that this period represents a phase of heroic struggle and cultural survival on the part of the Hindus in the face of military defeat and political oppression, a view also represented by such works as Prithviraj Raso and Hammiramahakavya.
    • Review by: Arvind Sharma Source: The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 51, No. 2 (May, 1992), pp. 408-409 Published by: Association for Asian Studies
  • Hindus found it very hard to understand the psychology of this new invader. For the first time in their history, Hindus were witnessing a scene which was described by KãnhaDade Prabandha (1456 AD) in the following words: “The conquering army burnt villages, devastated the land, plundered people’s wealth, took Brahmins and children and women of all classes captive, flogged with thongs of raw hide, carried a moving prison with it, and converted the prisoners into obsequious Turks.” That was written in remembrance of Alauddin Khalji’s invasion of Gujarat in the year 1298 AD. But the gruesome game had started three centuries earlier when Mahmud Ghaznavi had vowed to invade India every year in order to destroy idolatry, kill the kãfirs, capture prisoners of war, and plunder vast wealth for which India was well-known.
    • Goel, S. R. (2001). The story of Islamic imperialism in India.

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