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India, or Hindustan as it was known then, was once a fragmented nation with the Mughals ruling in the far North, the Kingdom of Vijayanagar to the South and many other kingdoms such as the Deccan Sultanate occupying the plateau in Central India.
In between all of this was the Hindu Raj, led by the popular Hem Chandra Vikramaditya. His popularity extended from Afghan warriors in the north, the Bengali warriors in the east and the Hindu warriors in between. All of these thought of Hindustan as their home, which stretched from the Hindu Kush in the north, to the Sunderbans Delta in the east and the Indian Ocean in the South. The Mughals were frowned upon by the populace as foreign invaders - with a relatively small foothold in the region as their rule was still limited to the north.
Imagine if they hadn't been allowed to extend to the south? What if the Mughal Empire stalled before it reached its full glory and a different India emerged? If Hemu won the Second Battle of Panipat.
What leads on? Well, the jewel in the British crown is missing.
Point of Divergence
See Main Article: Timeline
In November 1556, Hemu gathered his forces for an oncoming battle with the Mughal forces. A veteran of countless battles, he was an experienced commander - with an army which was well-trained and well-equipped. However, Hemu had become Maharaja by chance, originally serving as Afghan King Humayun's Chief of Army as well as his Prime Minister. Yet Humayun had died in January of the year, allowing Hemu to seize power through a rebellion and become the King of Delhi within a few months of Humayun's death. Attacking Mughal forces, such as those situated in Agra - he perceiving the Mughals as a threat and in October won a crucial victory against the Mughals, securing Delhi. The following day, he was crowned King of the city.
However, the Mughals had not given up, although they grew worried with the loss of Delhi and Agra to Hemu. Akbar (the current Mughal Emperor) was advised by most of his generals to retreat to Kabul than try to face the superior numbers of Hemu on the battlefield. In the end, it was Akbar's commander-in-chief took the fateful decision to march Akbar's army to Delhi and recapture the city and on November 5th, the armies met on the historic location of Panipat - where just 30 years earlier Mughal forces had triumphed over Ibrahim Lodi.
Hemu led the charge himself, looking to overrun the Mughal forces early on. However, Khan Zaman I had other plans. Directing archers to fire at Hemu's eye, he was hoping to hit the weak spot in his armour and render him unconscious. However, continuous arrows failed to hit Hemu's eye and he continued to fight the Mughals on the front line. The Mughal forces would buckle and be routed in the Battle of Panipat - leading to a great victory and ensuring his control over Delhi. Akbar would, however, escape to Kabul with some 5000 of his most loyal soldiers.
The battle would signal the end of Muslim India, in what would be followed by the Hindu Restoration Wars. Although choosing to first consolidate his hold on existing territories, Hemu would begin attacking the Mughals and other smaller Muslim kingdoms in the Spring of 1558. His army would be received as liberators by the local populace of the kingdoms - who had been brutally oppressed by former Muslim leaders. The Mughal campaign would last three years and would finally come to an end in 1561, when Hemu's forces captured Kabul after a bloody struggle. Akbar would die on the battlefield, and would be cremated with full military honours due to his bravery.
Hemu would then scout for other Hindu kingdoms needing his support, and would find an ally in Vijaynagar - who were beginning to come under pressure from the Deccan Sultanates. Although Hemu has to contend with a few minor rebellions led by some of his generals, by 1563, his empire would be well and truly entrenched on the Indian sub-continent. Hemu then led campaigns to the south, conquering small Orissan kingdoms - giving him a link with Vijaynagar by early 1564.
Yet the Deccan Sultanates would continue with their plans undeterred. Believing that the rebellion in Bengal would keep the Hindu Raj busy, they began a war with Vijaynagar in 1564. Although initially a stalemate, the Sultanates began to make gains against Vijaynagar. In the Battle of Rakshasi, taking place on the 21st of January 1565, the Sultanates managed to turn Muslim commanders in the Vijaynagar army against Rama Raya. Although initially successful, unknown to them Hemu had led many of his soldiers southward and intervened in favour of Rama Raya, using well-hidden artillery to cause chaos in the Muslim ranks. Although the battle ended in a stalemate, in the following Battle of Talikota, the Muslims would be routed by a much larger force and the Sultanates would end up being conquered by Hemu and Vijaynagar.
From there on out began the era of the Hindu Raj. Through the centuries, the nation would become a hotbed of science, politics and inventions and would transform itself into an Imperial Union through a bloody revolution and civil war. Uniting the whole of South and South East Asia, it would become one of the most powerful nations on the planet.
OTL vs ATL
- The current world population is 8.9 billion people (may be subject to change).
- The largest economy in the world belongs to the United Commonwealth.
- The largest country in the world is (maybe) the United Commonwealth?
- The largest army in the world belongs to the Union of Hindustan.
- The largest navy in the world belongs to the United Commonwealth.
- The largest air force in the world currently belongs to Germany.
- The lingua francas of the world are Hindi and English.
- The largest population in a nation is in the Union of Hindustan with 2.1 billion.
Want to contribute?
The timeline is currently not even a "timeline" so it is closed for now I'm afraid.