Khan went on bargaining without committing himself to the peace proposal.
Finally in the battle of Chausa (1539) he outwitted Humayun and destroyed
almost the whole Mughal force, and Humayun, while fleeing across the
Ganges, was forced to use an inflated skin offered to him by a poor water-
carrier. Humayun returned to Agra, where Kamran was awaiting him. Askari
was there, as well as Hindal. When the talks about the future course of action
failed, Kamran returned to Lahore, taking his army with him despite the
emperor’s request that they stay behind to fight Sher Shah. Consequently
Humayun again faced Sher Khan alone in the battle of Bilgram (1540), also
known as the battle of Kanauj, and was routed. Hotly pursued by the
Afghans, Humayun reached Agra. From there he returned to Delhi on his
way to Lahore. When his efforts to get help from Kamran failed, he left for
Sind in order to make it a base for further operations to regain his empire.
Thus began his fifteen-year exile from India.
THE SUR EMPIRE (1540–55)
The original name of Sher Shah, the founder of Sur empire, was Farid. He
began his career with the administration of his father Hasan’s iqta at
Sahasram in south Bihar. Later he moved to the court of the Afghan ruler of
Bihar, Sultan Muhammad Nuhani, who gave him the title ‘Sher Khan’ for his
Sher Shah learnt that Maldeva, the ruler of Marwar, had opened
negotiations with Humayun to overthrow Sher Shah, but the Afghan’s
conquest of Malwa frightened this Rajput ruler and him to retract his
undertaking to help Humayun. When Sher Shah marched towards Marwar,
Maldeva was so panic-stricken that he fled. The Rajput army nevertheless
fought stubbornly. Though Sher Shah emerged victorious, he often remarked,
referring to the barren Marwar territories, that he had nearly lost the empire
of Hindustan for a handful of millet.
Sher Shah captured the chain efforts from Malwa to Marwar, but the ruler of
Kalinjar, who sympathised with Humayun, remained defiant. So Sher Shah
decided to capture this fort and launched the attack. But he was very badly
burnt and died due to a freak accident in 1545. After Sher Shah’s death, his