The Language that killed an Emperor

The duals fought in historical courts between poets is a tradition still revered as one of the most intellectual and literary traditions. Not just poets, musicians, educators, all strived to make a mark on the mind donned by the royal throne.

The commonality between the above historical artists is the language. Language has been the showcase for religions, regions , mindsets and different realms. Today let’s look into one such realm.

In the book titled,” Adrishya” on the greatest spies of Indian history, the mention of Bardai opens up uniquely different dimension of spy craft. Most unassuming individuals hidden with most unassuming skills often make it to this strata of warfare. And when you read about Bardai, this is more evident.

The chapter speaks of the extraordinary skills of Bardai in spy craft, but most historically significant was the use of Brij Bhasha as a secure means of communication. As we commemorate Hindi Diwas today it’s imperative to know little more about this language.

As per Britannica ,” Braj Bhasha language, also spelled Braj Bhasa, Braj Bhakha, or Brij Bhasa, language descended from Shauraseni Prakrit and commonly viewed as a western dialect of Hindi. It is spoken by some 575,000 people, primarily in India. Its purest forms are spoken in the cities of Mathura, Agra, Etah, and Aligarh.”

Who knew this dialect would carve a great part of India’s Historic Journey? So back to Bardai. Bardai had the poetic skills which made his communications with Prithviraj Chauhan more worthy to etched into a book. And none other than Chand Bardai himself wrote the epic ,” Prithviraj Raso” in Brij Bhasa.

“In the world of intelligence-gathering, jargon acts as a much needed veil of secrecy. “-Web

Brij was that veil to the association of Bardai and Prithviraj especially while executing tactical activities. When Prithviraj was imprisoned by Mohammad Ghori , Chand Bardai strategised a plan to help Prithviraj kill his enemy as escape wasn’t possible. Bardai spread this rumour that Prithviraj can aim by hearing and the sold this to Ghori , who blindly believed Bardai as by then Bardai had established his influence on Ghori. An Archery competition was organised where Bardai played this ace of spades about Prithviraj’s skill. Ghori’s curiosity about his enemy coerced him to witness this skill. And that’s when Bardai recited,

“चार बांस चौबीस गज अंगुल अष्ट प्रमाण ता ऊपर सुल्तान है मत चूके चौहान !”

-Prithiviraj Raso by Chand Bardai

The same verse and the event has been narrated in this excerpt from the Book ‘Adrishya’.

Excerpt of the Chapter on Chand Bardai from the book ‘Adrishya’

This excerpt clearly brings out that how Brij was used as a secret language akin to signal codes of the modern era. The explanation of the enemy’s location in Brij gave Prithviraj the exact clarity which he needed to aim at Ghori. This brings out the need to have a very in depth understanding of the language.

This historical account of Chand Bardai and Prithviraj Chauhan is only one drop as a witness to the advancement and vision already seen by the ancient India in terms of how evolution of language can exceed beyond the spheres of mundane human communication to significant military craftsmanship!

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