Neelam and Manek Guns, Uparkot Fort, Junagadh

photo

The Neelam and Manek Guns, Uparkot Fort, Junagadh, Junagadh District, Gujarat, India

In the early sixteenth century, when Portuguese arrived on the western coast of India, Bahadur Shah was ruling Saurashtra. Initially Bahadur Shah was able to thwart any Portuguese attempt to occupy Indian Territory. Soon he got in conflict with the Mughal Emperor Humayun, probably after Bahadurshah’s attack on Chittorgarh. Humayun inflicted heavy losses on him and his empire was repeatedly pounded by incessant barrage of Mughal attacks.
Pressed hard by the Mughals at one side and the Portuguese at another, he made a peace pact with the Portuguese. The Portuguese agreed to assist him against Humayun and in exchange Bahadur Shah accepted their rule on a part of Diu and allowed them to construct a fortress. He had unwittingly provided them a foothold.
In the meantime, Mughal threat receded as Humayun got engaged in battles with the smart and shrewd Sher shah. Bahadurshah seized the opportunity and tried to regain his strength. And then he realized his mistake in allowing the Portuguese to build the fortress as by that time the Portuguese had a complete control on Diu.
Bahadurshah got support from Turkey and a Turkish fleet arrived on the coast of Gujarat in an attempt to expel Portuguese and to reestablish the trade between India and Turkey. These two canons Neelam and Manek were brought by that convoy, led by Suleiman. The canons were cast in Egypt in 1531. Neelam the larger among the two is 17 feet long.
One day the Portuguese anchored their ship on the coast of Gujarat and invited Bahadurshah for a peace treaty. Bahadurshah boarded it, but never returned. He was killed on the ship and his body was thrown into the Arabian Sea. These two canons are witness to that lost war, the beguiling way in which Bahadurshah was ensnared and to the Portuguese occupation on Diu that lasted from 1538 till 1961. This is an example of a long saga of small accession allowed by local Indian kings to imperial powers eventually leading to colonial rule.

 

photo

The Neelam and Manek Guns, Uparkot Fort, Junagadh, Junagadh District, Gujarat, India

Neelam Tope was molded in 1531 in Egypt, and is 17 ft in length. It is marvelously wrought and elaborately meticulous (and was likely implausibly destructive in its heyday). The inscription on it makes its function clear, "to fight the in cursive Portuguese, who are the infidel enemies of State and religion".

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Jaivana, world's largest cannon

Ancient Indian Weaponry, Indian History

Ppistol used by Shri Chandra Shekhar Azad