Akbar’s reign has been romanticized a lot in India through movies like Jodha Akbar and multiple TV serials dedicated to him. But it was this war which laid the foundation of the reign and the 300 year long Mughal Empire. The fact that it required a stroke of luck for Akbar to defeat Hemu makes it all the more interesting. Bairam Khan with Akbar defeated Hemu’s forces at Panipat where thirty years earlier, Akbar’s grandfather, Babur had slain Ibrahim Lodi.
After death of Emperor Humayun, he was succeeded by his son Akbar, who was only 13 years old at that time. The Mughal rule was only limited to Kabul, Kandhar, Delhi and Punjab. Hemu was the king in Delhi and belonged to Rewari, in present day Haryana. He had earlier on been an advisor to Sher Shah Suri’s son and had won 22 wars as prime minister and chief if army of Islam Shah.
The Stray Arrow
Before the war, Hemu had defeated Mughal armies in every war that he had fought with them. At Panipat, one of the greatest blunders Hemu made during the battle was directing the forces personally sitting on an elephant in the battle field. He has not prepared anybody to be a stop gap leader in case of his absence. He was hit by a stray arrow during the war and became unconscious. When Hemu was wounded by an arrow in his eye and was suffering, the driver of the elephant took him away from the battle field which sent wrong signals to the army. They thought that there king is wounded and is escaping. As a result, the Mughal armies won the battle and even though Akbar was sitting far away from the battlefield at the time of the war.
Akbar, after the Battle of Panipat, won over Agra and Delhi without much resistance. The victory of Akbar at the Battle of Panipat in 1556 was the reinstatement of the Mughal Reign to Power in India. It fulfilled the fate of the Timur’s descendants in India as rulers.