The First Frieze. Third Battle of PanipatThe Third Battle of Panipat was fought in January 1861, between the Marathas and the Afghan chieftain, Ahmed Shah Abdali.
About 100,000 men they say, died on that day.
Panipat is a dirty, stinking town in North India. I went there in November 2014.
I wrote about my trip there, and it is available on the Apple Book Store as well as on the Blurb Book Store! That’s my little of self-promotion! The magazine is part of a series called “On The Indian Highways”.
Panipat, for all its dirt, muck and pollution — in which its like any Indian town — is associated deeply with Indian history and mythology. Considering this, I would have thought that the townspeople would try their best to make it look good and presentable. But, I guess that they don’t give a damn about the money that can come in from tourism.
They say that Panipat was founded by the Pandava brothers. These brothers have been famous ever since our epic, “The Mahabharata” came to us from those who wrote and contributed to the epic.
Panipat is also home to three battles, each of which were pivotal in their effect on India’s history.
Aurangzeb, the last of the great Mughals, died in 1707. After his death, the Mughal Empire started to implode. The implosion lasted all of 151 years. In 1858, when the Great Uprising of 1857 (Brits call it The Great Mutiny) ended, and the last Mughal, Bahadur Shah Zafar was packed off to Burma.
Anyway, the Brits had started to make their inroads into India from 1757. Their 190-year-long stay in India has been called An Era of Darkness by Dr Shashi Tharoor, and I agree with Shashi.
Anyway, once Aurangzeb died, the Marathas from West India started to create their empire. Nadir Shah attacked India in the 1720s.
It was then, Ahmad Shah Durrani — or Ahmad Shah Abdali — founder of the Durrani Empire, and the modern state of Afghanistan who then started to make his incursions into India.
In 1761, Ahmad Shah Abdali crossed over from Afghanistan to Panipat. The Marathas and their allies travelled almost 1,000 km up from West India.
The battle was fought over a few days — some say one day — and resulted in the deaths of over 100,000 warriors.
Ahmad Shah Abdali, acknowledged the fighting spirit of the Marathas, and never returned to India.
However, over the next years, the power vacuum that developed in North India allowed the Brits to extend their power base from East India to North and North-West India.
I was at Kala Amb, which some people believe is the site of the battle. I shot this image — a stone frieze.
When I processed it in Nik Silver Efex Pro, I gave it a copper tone. Somehow, I think that this tone is the best for this image. Strong contrast helped, I believe, to tease out some drama and life in the somewhat flat image.
The drama of life, battles, death and glory. Men die so that kings and queens can gain and retain power.