Harakeli Nataka is a Sanskrit drama written by the Chahamana (Chauhan) king Vigraharaja IV alias Visaladeva. He ruled north-western India from 1153-1163. This drama is based on Kiratarjuniya of writer Bharavi. The play is also called- Lalita Vigraharaja Nataka.
The only extant parts of Harakeli Nataka were discovered inscribed in the ruined Sanskrit college and Sarasvati temple at Ajmer, which was converted into the Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra mosque by Qutb al-Din Aibak, the first sultan of Delhi. It tells of his love with princess Desaldevi, and his war preparations against a Turushka (Turkic) king named Hammir.
|Name of Play||Harakeli Nataka|
|Author||Vigraharaja IV, the Chahamana King|
Who was Vigraharaja IV?
Vigraharāja IV, also known as Visaladeva, was a king from the Chauhan (Chahamana) dynasty in north-western India.
His kingdom covered major parts of present-day Rajasthan, Haryana, and Delhi, and also some parts of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh too. Vigraharaja commissioned several buildings in his capital Ajayameru (modern Ajmer), most of which were destroyed or converted into Muslim structures after the Muslim conquest of Ajmer.
Vigraharaja patronized a number of scholars and was a poet himself. Jayanaka, in his Prithviraja-Vijaya, states that when Vigraharaja died, the name kavi-bandhava (“the friend of the poets”) disappeared.
Plot of Harakeli Nataka
The plot of Harkeli Nataka holds Vigraharaja’s preparations against a Turushka ruler named Hammira (Emir). In the story, his minister Shridhara advises him not to risk a battle with a powerful enemy. But Vigraharaja is set to fight the Turushka king. He sends a message to his lover Desaladevi, telling her that the upcoming battle would soon enable him to meet her.
The play depicts Desaladevi as the daughter of prince Vasantapala of Indrapura. The play is available only in fragments, so the details of the ensuing battle are not known.
Historian Dasharatha Sharma identified Hammira with Khusrau Shah of Ghazna, and assumed that Vigraharaja revolted his invasion.
Historian R. B. Singh, on the other hand, thinks that no actual battle place between Vigraharaja and Hammira. According to Singh’s theory, the “Hammira” on the play might have been Bahram Shah, who fled to India after the Ghurids defeated him at the Battle of Ghazni (1151). Bahram Shah invaded the Tomara territory of Delhi after coming to India.
Vasantapala might have been a Tomara ruler, possibly Anangapala. Indrapura may refer to Indraprastha, that is, Delhi. Vigraharaja determined to send an army in support of the Tomara king. But before an actual battle could take place, Bahram Shah returned to Ghazna as the Ghurids had gone from that city.
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