I have read it ever where that Maharana Pratap fought the Mughals for the people of Mewar in today's Western India. Did these fights have historical significance? There is really very less information available on the internet about these fights.
Who was Maharana Pratap and what does history say about the Battle of Haldighati?
After Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Padmavati’, it’s now the truth behind the Battle of Haldighati that has hit headlines. Now, you must wonder how a battle between Maharana Pratap’s army and Akbar’s forces fought way back in the 16th century is back in news. To set your doubts to rest, three ministers of the Vasundhara Raje government in Rajasthan reportedly came together to demand history books declare Maharana as the winner of this battle.
The series of events which led to this whole controversy are as follows. BJP MLA Mohan Lal Gupta started it off last week with his suggestion that history books be rewritten to protray Maharana Pratap as the winner of the battle. Former Minister for Higher Education and present Health Minister Kalicharan Saraf and School Education Minister Vasudev Devnani backed the proposal and were soon joined by Urban Development and Housing Minister Rajpal Singh Shekhawat. Now that you know what led to this chaos, we shall help you through the facts of the battle as cited in several reliable texts on history written by scholars on the subject.
In this battle fought in 1576, Akbar’s forces were led by the famous Man Singh 1 and among Pratap’s main commanders were Gwalior’s Ram Singh Tanvar and Mansingh Rawat. The Afghans in Pratp’s army were led by Hakim Khan Sur. If you notice carefully, this was one of the earliest examples of Hindu-Muslim unity and how armies did not seem to be bothered much with religious identity.
While there is some confusion among historians regarding Pratap’s army’s strength in numbers, most seem to agree Akbar’s army had 40,000 soldiers. There is also general agreement between historians about how Maharana’s army had less than half the number of people as Akbar’s.
As long as the war being fought in a traditional manner, the Rajputs were at an advantage but things changed with rumours of Akbar himself getting involved in the battle. The Rajput army, historians believe, retracted into the hills even though they had crippled the Mughal army. Thereafter, the Mughal army followed them into the hills but decided not to follow the Rajput army into the hills probably due to fear of ambush and the heat.
Not one to give up, Akbar decided to follow up this battle with Maharana Pratap. Man Singh captured Gogunda during the battle, only to have it recaptured by Pratap who made it his temporary capital. In continuation of the stalemate, Gogunda, Udaipur and Kumbhalgarh were occupied by the Mughals and Maharana retreated further into the hills.
As is clear by all of this, the battle ended on as indecisive a note as possible and it’s unclear who won. Prominent historian Satish Chandra puts it aptly when he says this battle could barele be considered a battle between Hindus and Muslims. He also says this was not an assertion of Rajput power over the Mughals but more about local independence. Who does not know every ruler wanted to keep his provinces to himself, right?
Higher Education Minster Kalicharan Saraf has said that Akbar was a foreign invader and Maharana clearly won the battle. While sentiments have always differed from history, it remains a fact that facts cannot be changed. Even though Akbar did come in from outside the country, he was anything but an invader. He did not ravage the country or strip it of all its gems and jewels and take off, unlike Mahmud of Ghazni’s attack on the Somnath temple.
It is common knowledge that Maharana Pratap was known for his valour and as Satish Chandra writes,
“Rana Pratap’s defiance of the mighty Mughal empire, almost alone and unaided by the other Rajput states, constitute a glorious saga of Rajput valour and the spirit of self sacrifice for cherished principles. ”
This however does not mean Maharana Pratap won ever battle and that Akbar was the absolute villain India did not need. Whether the change indeed takes place or not in history books remains to be seen, but history so far agrees that the Battle of Haldighati failed to end the stalemate and remained indecisive.
It matters not if Maharana Pratap lost to Akbar - or Haldighati
Maharana Pratap remains, undoubtedly, a unifying factor amongst Rajputs, ousting Maharana Sangha in living memory. When most Rajput kings had accepted Emperor Akbar as their overlord, Pratap held out!
The story of a battle is never the complete story and it matters little as to who won. A warrior must be judged keeping the entire background in mind and the accomplishment must be gauged keeping the advantages and disadvantages in mind.
Pratap&rsquos father was Maharana Uday Singh, the youngest son of Maharana Sangha who had fought Babar, and for whom Panna Dhai had sacrificed her own son.
He was the last link, for his brother Maharana Bikramjeet was murdered. The line of the illustrious Sangha was preserved at great cost.
Chittaurgarh suffered a Saka made famous by the story of jauhar. Illustration from Hutchinsons History of the Nations
Chittaurgarh, the prized fort of Rajasthan, had suffered two Sakas, the one made famous by the story of Rani Padmini and the second by the story of the rakhi sent by Rani Karnavati to Humayun.
The long and short of it: when Uday Singh ascended the throne of Chittaurgarh soon after the second Saka, there were no royal women by his side. He sent for the only one that had escaped Sati (courtesy Maharana Sangha) and the Jauhar that accompanied the second Saka (courtesy Maharana Bikramjeet, who had driven her away).
She was his eldest brother&rsquos widow: the royal saint Mira Bai. But she failed to return to her "devar", her body having mysteriously disappeared. The escort returned with her jewellery and the golden idol of Krishna, whom she worshipped.
Had she been murdered, did she commit suicide or did the royal saint give up her soul to merge with Lord Krishna?
Bereft, Uday Singh kept the image in his private temple. (It remains in the family&rsquos private temple at the City Palace in Udaipur.)
Maharana Pratap remains a unifying factor amongst Rajputs, ousting Maharana Sangha in living memory. Photo: Raja Ravi Varma
Within four years of Uday Singh&rsquos accession, Sher Shah &mdash founder of the Sur empire &mdash having defeated Rao Maldeo of Jodhpur (the capital of Marwar), arrived to set up camp in the vicinity of Chittaurgarh.
Choosing discretion, Uday Singh presented the keys of Chittaurgarh to the Afghan. Sher Shah accepted, leaving a deputy behind and Mewar in peace.
The bards lamented Uday Singh&rsquos lack of kingly qualities. For when others die, bards gain a livelihood.
Sher Shah soon died and the keys of Chittaur remained with the Sisodias. But with the Afghan's restraining influence gone, Rao Maldeo of Jodhpur began flexing his muscles. Also waiting to test his strength was the 25-year-old Akbar, who longed to be known as the conqueror of Chittaurgarh.
Chittaurgarh&rsquos vulnerability was obvious and, in 1559, Maharana Uday Singh began the construction of his new capital city, Udaipur.
Akbar&rsquos conquest of Chittaurgarh was a long and ferocious battle from which the royal family of Chittaurgarh was conspicuously absent. Crown prince Pratap, then two months short of his 28th birthday, kept himself and his nine-year-old son, Amar, away. "Crown prince" is a wrong term to employ, for Uday Singh had named Jagmal, the son of his youngest queen, the heir. When the moment to crown the prince arrived, the nobles of Mewar took Jagmal by the arm and removed him from the throne. Pratap was then girded and crowned Maharana.
Chittaurgarh had already been lost. Maharana Pratap had inherited all the titles and glory, but no capital city and no money. All he was left with were the forts of Kumbhalgarh, Dharmeti and Gogunda.
But he was Maharana Pratap! And Akbar needed his personal surrender to validate the Mughal&rsquos right to rule the Rajputs. For 25 years, Pratap successfully engaged the Mughals and their Rajput allies in guerrilla warfare fought from the mountainous tracts of Mewar.
It is said that both Raja Bhagwan Das of Amber and Raja Todarmal, Akbar&rsquos revenue minister, took turns to persuade Pratap to give in. In hindsight, Bhagwan Das and Todarmal were wise counsellors.
At last, the final engagement took place at Haldighati on the 7th of Sawan (July 1576). The Mughal army was led by General Asaf Khan and the crown prince of Amber (new capital city Jaipur) Kanwar Man Singh. Akbar wasn&rsquot present at the battle for he was busy with the conquest of Bengal &ndash an extremely wealthy province and an asset to the empire.
Pratap&rsquos army had the faithful Bhils and the mercenary soldiers of Hakim Khan Sur. Songs have been written about Pratap&rsquos reunion with his brother Sakta on the battlefield. Sakta had long defected to Akbar&rsquos camp.
Immortalised is the valour of Raj Rana Mana (Bida), the Jhala chief of Bari Sadri who, in an act reminiscent of the Battle of Khanua, snatched the royal umbrella from the nearly overwhelmed Pratap and made off with it, drawing the enemy away.
With the royal umbrella raised above his own head, the faithful Mana bore the brunt of the battle.
Also celebrated is the Tomar prince of Gwalior, who had been granted sanctuary in Mewar since his expulsion by Babar. With his son and clan members, Mana paid the debt of gratitude.
The rains saved the day and the Mughal army left the hills, only to return with the spring.
Kumbhalgarh was lost due to treachery. The Deora chief of Abu, instigated by Raja Rai Singh of Bikaner, poisoned the only well in the fort. With the source of drinking water gone, it had to be abandoned. Dharmeti and Gogunda were lost to Kanwar Man Singh, and Udaipur to Mahabat Khan.
Pratap was cornered in the south of Mewar. Unaccustomed to guerrilla warfare, the Mughal army was frustrated. And in the midst of adversity, Pratap held court with all the dignity reminiscent of Mewar in her days of glory. When the spies reported what they saw at the Mughal court, Khan-e-khana Abdur Rahim reportedly remarked:
All is unstable in this world. Land and wealth will disappear, but the virtue of a great name lives forever. Pratap abandoned wealth and land, but never bowed his head.
When Pratap despaired, the Rajputs at the Mughal court bolstered his courage. Prithviraj of Bikaner wrote to him:
The hopes of the Hindu rests on the "Hindu", yet the Rana forsakes them. But for Pratap, we would have all been reduced to the same level by Akbar. Our chiefs have lost their valour and our women their honour. Akbar has purchased us all from the flesh market, but the son of Uday proved far too expensive. Despair drove many of us to permit ourselves to be sold but from such infamy the descendant of Hamir alone has been saved. Our race will look to Pratap and his children to provide a pure breed of Rajputs with which we shall rebuild Rajasthan.
Akbar let Pratap live out his final days in peace. Maharana Amar Singh, who succeeded his father, fought 17 battles and was finally overcome by the forces of Prince Khurram (later Emperor Shah Jahan), fighting on behalf of Emperor Jahangir. Akbar had not realised his desire: the surrender of the Maharana or Mewar.
Khurram, with Rajput blood still strong in his veins, did not humiliate Amar Singh. He was allowed to live as the last independent king of Mewar.
It is the good soldier who wins the war. And a good soldier is never a dead soldier. The Mughals are long gone, so are the martial Rajputs. The course of history meandered its way into the inevitable outcome.
Akbar versus Maharana Pratap: What really happened at Haldighati
In the year 1568, all of Rajasthan (and almost all of what we now know as Punjab, Pakistan, Central India all the way to Bengal) had been conquered by the Mughals led by Akbar. It was either a direct rule or vassals ruled on behalf of the Mughal court.
In Rajasthan almost all major kings/chieftains had accepted Mughal suzerainty except Udai Singh (Maharana Pratap's father and the founder of. you guessed it, Udaipur). Akbar, who was a brilliant military commander, was quite annoyed at this pesky little kingdom holding out against his forces. In terms of scale, think about the little Gaulish village of Asterix and Obelix holding out against mighty Caesar.
There is another reason he wanted to crush this resistance movement. This kingdom of Mewar had a history of producing great leaders (Rana Kumba, Rana Sangha, Udai Singh, among others) who had a habit of holding out repeatedly against invasions, retreating into the hills and coming back stronger than before. Many guerrilla leaders, from Shivaji to Scottish kings including Bruce and William Wallace to Fidel Castro and Che Guevera, all adopted pretty much the same tactics.
In 1568, Akbar grew tired of his generals failing and led his armies himself, crushed all opposition and sieged Chittorgarh. Akbar was a giant in the league of Caesar or Napoleon when it came to military and administrative skills, and when he took to the field, his opponents mostly fled. but not the Sisodia's of Mewar - the clan Maharana came from.
They chose to make one last sally - every able man - against the numerically overwhelming Mughals while the women after exhorting the men to not return jumped onto mass funeral pyres. To look at historical parallels, this is kind of similar to what some Gallic tribes did against Caesar, the Teutons and Cimbri took it to another level with the women killing any retreating soldier and in the end killing themselves. It must be pointed out here that Maharana Udai Singh II survived the battle, and lived out the rest of his life in Gogunda.
Rise of Maharana Pratap, bloody intrigue, brother betraying brother and a lot of drama
Akbar went back to Delhi thinking there was peace in his eastern territories. but nope, a greater leader than the previous Rajput leaders took charge. He was Maharana Pratap.
His ascension was not that easy as his elder half-brother Jagmal Singh had been promised the throne, but in a coup Udai Singh's advisers removed him - he fled, with his army to Akbar where he was given a Jagir (title and land) and swore revenge on his brother.
Peace offers and war
Pratap Singh became Maharana Udai Singh and took charge of Mewar. Akbar wanted to avoid war and unnecessary loss of life. He did of course want Pratap Singh to become his vassal - this was non-negotiable. As expected, this was not acceptable to Pratap Singh. Akbar is said to have sent eight messages of peace, in one he even offered to marry a woman from Pratap Singh's household and become relatives, this was a tactic Akbar had mastered, marrying into Rajput royal houses to make peace.
Pratap Singh rejected them all. outright. Akbar STILL did not want war, so he played what he thought was his trump card (bad miscalculation on his part) and sent the leading Rajput in his court, Raja Man Singh, as his emissary.
The Maharana was insulted, he saw Man Singh as an absolute traitor (and again, from his perspective. rightly so) and even refused to see him, let alone break bread with him. On this though, the sources are rather confusing, some of the oral traditions and stories suggest the meeting was charged and contentious, Mughal sources however suggest the meeting was cordial, but the Maharana point blank refused to accept Akbar's overlordship, let alone present himself in the Mughal court.
All this while the Maharana was not quiet. He used guerrilla tactics and hit Mughal supply columns or weaker Mughal outposts, vanishing before reinforcements could arrive.
Chess moves before the war, pawns gained and pawns lost
Akbar finally lost it and decided on war. Akbar used his strategic guile and using money, diplomacy and bribes got some of the Mewars&rsquo leading allies to turn against the Maharana. He mobilised his troops and started marching on Mewar and Chittorgarh.
The Maharana struck back diplomatically by offering refuge to the kings (and their armies) who had been dispossessed by Akbar's conquests of Gujarat/Pakistan (what is now known as), so he lost allies, but gained allies as well.
Now strategically, Chittorgarh is not very easily defensible (which is why Akbar took it rather easily) also, based on different sources, the Maharana&rsquos army was outnumbered by Man Singh's (Akbar still hadn't taken the field yet) by almost 1:5, so he decided that a field battle or a siege battle would result in his annihilation and he abandoned it, and continued ruling from a strategically more defensible place called Gogunda - which was accessible only via the pass of Haldighati.
Even today, looking at Gogunda on a satellite map tells us how impregnable it must have been. Surrounded on three sides by the hills, and thick forests in front of it, it would have been a formidable stronghold back then.
Akbar's armies marched from Delhi while an advance army (of around 50,000 to 1,00,000 based on various sources) led by Man Singh camped near Haldighati. The belief among the Mughals was that, outnumbered, the Maharana would prefer to play a defensive game like the previous rulers of Mewar. They were wrong.
The Maharana took to the field with between 15,000 to 30,000 men, and marched on Man Singh - this in hindsight was a very Napoleonic manoeuvre - if there are two strong forces marching on you, attack the weaker of the two (even if they outnumber you), then use manoeuvre to get to the second force in a geographically weaker point and then destroy that also).
A word of caution on the numbers - these numbers could still be inflated and might in reality have been around 10,000 Mewarians versus some 30,000 Mughals, but ancient and medieval sources had a tendency to exaggerate army sizes, and hence we might never get a reliable figure for the Battle of Haldighati.
However, the contemporary source, Abul Fazl in his Akbarnama, estimates that the causalities were 150 Mughals dead for 500 Mewarians. However, given that there never was a rout, which is when most medieval armies took massive casualties, this is not indicative of the size of the armies.
Man Singh got intel that the Maharana might take to the attack, and he formed his ranks. Man Singh took the prestigious and all important centre Barha Saiyids (a Mughal vassal group) on the right, Generals Ghazi Khan and Rai Lonkarn on the left, other capable generals on the all-important Altamash. In addition to these standard formations, Man Singh also had a contingent of Uqci (cavalry archers) and lastly, the all-important reserve.
Opposed to him, the Rana took the centre, the Raja of Gwalior on the right and presumably a Bhil/tribal force on the left. Maharana Pratap, according to Fazl, was eager to get to grips with the enemy and left the arraying of his men (a process that could take hours) into battlelines to his subordinates. Man Singh then sent an advance party uphill (he was camped on a plain) - no sooner had he done this when the first wave of Mewar cavalry came crashing down on the Mughal vanguard and destroyed it. Round 1 to Mewar.
To picture this scene, think of the charge of the Rohirrim in The Lord of the Rings. You had this massive army on a plain, a much smaller, but larger in heavy cavalry formed up in the heights of the Aravalis. The Maharana himself led the charge.
With their blood-curdling Rajput war cry (the Indian Rajput regiment uses &ldquoBajrang Bali ki Jai&rdquo, so it might still have been the same), they crashed onto the left flank of the Mughal army. For those not into battle and tactics, it might help to understand how battles in that era (and indeed from the first battle till gunpowder came to the scene) were fought.
In the meantime, the right wing of the Rajputs had made contact with the left wing of the Mughals and defeated them - but the line did not break.
Digression into tactics 101
Battles in the medieval era (and before that) were not the stylised 1-1 fights you see in Hollywood movies. Armies formed up in lines, typically they were massed three-four lines deep (to prevent the first line from crumbling and running). Once formed up, they pushed, jostled and slashed in a group against the opposition till they forced a gap. Once a gap was forced, troops would be forced into this opening to exploit it. If the line was exploited, it was game over. Most casualties happened during the chase or the slaughter after the gap was forced.
Now, the centre was usually heavily reinforced, but they also usually had the newer units placed there while the thinner flanks had the more veteran units. The objective of any army was to encircle the enemy (check battle of Cannae in the Roman eras for a classic encirclement battle. The Germans adopted this brilliantly to modern times in WW-II) as any enemy army was most vulnerable in the rear.
To this aid, most generals tried to "turn the flank" of the enemy. This meant destroying the units in the flanks and then turning on the harder centre. To counter this, the more advanced armies held reserves. Units they could use to plug a breach in the line. The Mughals planned for this contingency by having a special unit called the Altamash, this unit was placed between the centre and the vanguard (forward elements) and if the vanguard was separated from the centre (thus weakening the centre), the Altamash would fill in the gaps.
One of the few generals who used an opposite tactic was Raja Hemu, he preferred to use shock troops to break through the enemy centre as opposed to the flanks, but he was an exception to the rule.
Back to the battle
The initial line shattered, but the Mughal reserves held. The Maharana's gambit had failed. He needed to break through the Mughal lines to create a gap to introduce his limited war elephants into the rear of the Mughal lines. They pulled back, reformed and charged again. More cavalrymen died, the Mughal line held. The Maharana now introduced his infantry.
The battle was being lost - the Maharana led his cavalry in YET another charge, this time against what he knew was overwhelming odds. No dice, the Mughal line held. He then threw his elephants into the mix, Man Singh countered with his own elephants.
The elephants according to Fazl performed marvels. The Rajput elephant, Lona, took to battle, and disrupted the Mughal lines to counter Lona, the Mughals deployed Gajmukta, and just when it looked like Lona was winning and the Mughal frontline troops were losing heart, a bullet took the mahout of Lona and Lona took to flight.
At this point, the Rajputs introduced Ram Prasad, the head of their elephant force and this elephantine warrior again caused distress in the Mughal lines when the Mughals introduced Gajraj into the fight when the mahout of Ram Prasad was killed and shortly, the mighty Tusker also slain.
Maharana Pratap spots Man Singh in the field and charges at him, mano-a-mano, and overall at this juncture, the battle was tilting towards the Maharana and Mewar, but it is important to note that the Maharana had no reserves, while Man Singh had fresh reserves he could throw into the fray, and this is exactly what he did.
Along with the reserves, also went up a cry that Akbar himself was leading the reserves, which shored up the morale of the Mughal army. The Rajputs saw the way the wind was blowing and began one of the most difficult tasks in any battle, ancient or modern - a tactical retreat under fire.
At this stage, sources again vary - the Maharana was either wounded badly or his advisers persuaded him to flee the field and continue the fight. What we do know is that the Maharana retreated with his core group while a rearguard held off the Mughals.
The bards and poets will say that he was alone, chased by the entire Mughal army etc, etc. but it was not that dramatic. The distraction followed by Man Singh's (correct?) guess that the narrow pass of Haldighati might hide an ambush, the Mughals decided to not give chase and retired for the night. Fazl also says the Mughal forces were exhausted and tired and saw no merit in chasing down a still powerful force, in unknown terrain, in the dark.
He retreated into the hills of the Aravali, and took his now famous vow of penury and penance, that till he retrieved Mewar he would eat from the floor, sleep on the floor, not shave or indulge in any pleasures of the body.
Akbar (once again) sent emissaries offering peace, and all of Mewar but the Maharana had to declare themselves a vassal. No dice, the Maharana now once again gathered his allies about him his army which had been totally destroyed in the battle of Chittorgarh (his father fought it) and Haldighati was rebuilt, and all this time he initiated guerrilla warfare against Mughal camps and supply trains and made their life an absolute misery. Akbar himself took the field for a short while, but the Maharana did not engage him in open battle and once again took refuge in the hills.
He gathered enough troops and when Akbar and his army were busy in Bengal, Bihar and later Punjab, he struck. Defeated a stronger Mughal army in the battle of Dewair, gained more allies and won back most of Mewar. the castle of Chittorgarh though forever remained Mughal.
He towards the end gave up the fight (the offensive battle) and took to governing his territories. Akbar, busy by now in what is Afghanistan (and I like to believe as a mark of generosity and respect which he was eminently capable of) backed off his campaigns in Mewar and the Maharana ruled in peace. till a fall from a horse on a hunting expedition (Robert Baratheon anyone?) killed him.
You might wonder, why didn't the Maharana simply surrender?
Academically, integration into the Mughal empire under Akbar was a solid positive. This is how it roughly worked. You retained your lands, the right to farm them, tax them and administer them. You had to commit to a certain number of soldiers to be sent to the Mughal army if it was on a campaign and you paid a portion of the tax revenues (which under Akbar was very fair) to the central treasury.
In return you were guaranteed peace, you were not harassed for your religion which tyrannical despots like Aurangzeb or even Babar did, and he would even call you into court and you could have debates on life, religion, philosophy, eat good meals and retire peacefully.
However, look at it from the Rajput perspective. They were losing their freedom, they had to call a Muslim an overlord, and this tested their martial nature to the maximum. It was not even a notion, but an absolute belief and a willingness to die in battle for that belief (or jump into a fire if you were a woman). I think we must respect them for that. They fought for what was right - their freedom.
To answer the question, did Maharana Pratap lose Haldighati and is it revisionist to suggest otherwise ?
Definitely yes, by any yardstick, Mewar lost that battle. The fact that Maharana Pratap did not surrender, and he would go on to defeat the Mughals in other battles and take back a lot of his territory, is besides the point as the unequivocal fact is that the Maharana lost the battle, and to suggest otherwise is sheer revisionism.
- James Tod, Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan - Volume 1
- John F Richards, The Mughal Empire - pp 25-27
- Carl Waldman and Catherine Mason - Encyclopedia of European Peoples, Volume 2 - pp 177
- Irmgrad Meininger - The Kingdom of Mewar: Great Struggles and Glory of the World's Oldest Ruling Dynasty
- Dr Kaushik Roy - Military Transition in Early Modern Asia, 1400-1750: Cavalry, Guns, Government and Ships - pp 67
- Daniel Coetzee - Philosophers of War: The Evolution of History's Greatest Military Thinkers - pp 45
- Dr Bhawan Singh Rana - Maharana Pratap
- Satish Chandra - Medieval India, from Sultanate to the Mughals
Maharana Pratap History in English
Maharana Pratap (also known as Rana Pratap) was a ruler of Mewar, a state in north-western India. He belonged to the Sisodia clan of Suryavanshi Rajputs.
Rana Pratap was born at Kumbhalgarh on Sunday the May 9, 1540 to Maharana Udai Singh and Maharani Javanta Bai Songara (Chauhan).some historians believe it to be “Juni Kacheri” near Pali District.Pratap was eldest of 25 brothers and 20 sisters.
Maharana Pratap got married to Ajabade(daughter of Rao Ram Rakh Panwar), at the age of 17 and were soon blessed by a son named Amar Singh. Rana Pratap had 17 sons and five daughters.
Coronation of Maharana Pratap:
Chittorgarh (Chittor fort), Pratap’s ancestral home, was under Mughal occupation. Living a life on the run, the dream of reconquering Chittor (and thus reclaiming the glory of Mewar) was greatly cherished by Pratap, and his future efforts were bent towards this goal.
Nearly all of Pratap’s fellow Rajput chiefs had meanwhile entered into the vassalage of the Mughals. Even Pratap’s own brothers, Shakti Singh and Sagar Singh, were serving Akbar. Indeed, many Rajput chiefs, such as Raja Man Singh of Amber (later known as Jaipur) were serving as army commanders in Akbar’s armies and members of his council.
Akbar sent a total of six diplomatic missions to Pratap, seeking to negotiate the same sort of peaceful alliance that he had concluded with the other Rajput chiefs. Pratap roundly rebuffed every such attempt.
For the new capital-Udaipur, Maharana Udai Singh constructed a water reservoir–Udai Sagar in 1565. It was on its dam that in June 1573 Kunwar(Prince) Man Singh of Amber, as the emissary of Mughal Emperor Akbar, arrogantly demanded that Maharana Pratap should give up protocol and be present at the feast in his honour.
Pratap and Man Singh were of the same age, both were born on May 9, 1540, but one was king while the other a prince. Pratap, following the protocol, sent his son Kunwar Amar Singh to dine with Kunwar Man Singh Akbar’s special envoy.This incident precipitated the Mughal-Mewar conflict.
(Man Singh was a Kunwar, his father Raja Bhagwan Das led another unsuccessful peace mission to Maharana Pratap in October 1573 at which Maharana Pratap was personally present).
Raja Bhagwan Das and Kunwar Man Singh won Kashmir for Mughals in 1586, that is Man Singh was NOT the Raja of Amber, later Jaipur, till 1586. Man Singh was confied the title of Mirza Raja in 1590.
Battle Of Haldighati : On June 21, 1576 (June 18 by other calculations), the two armies met at Haldighati, near the town of Gogunda in present-day Rajasthan. While accounts vary as to the exact strength of the two armies, all sources concur that the mughal forces greatly outnumbered Pratap’s men.
The battle of Haldighati, a historic event in the annals of Rajputana, lasted only four hours. In this short period, Pratap’s men essayed many brave exploits on the field. Folklore has it that Pratap personally attacked Man Singh: his horse Chetak placed its front feet on the trunk of Man Singh’s elephant and Pratap threw his lance Man Singh ducked, and the elephant driver was killed.
Rana Pratap Attaking On Man Singh
However, the numerical superiority of the Mughal army and their artillery finally began to tell. Seeing that the battle was lost, Pratap’s generals prevailed upon him to flee the field so as to be able to fight another day. To facilitate Pratap’s escape, one of his lieutenants, a member of the Jhala clan, donned Pratap’s distinctive garments and took his place in the battlefield. He was soon killed. Meanwhile, riding his trusty steed Chetak, Pratap made good his escape to the hills.
But Chetak was critically wounded on his left thigh by a Mardana (Elephant Trunk Sword) while Pratap had attempted to nail down Man Singh. Chetak was bleeding heavily and he collapsed after jumping over a small brook few kilometers away from the battle field.
While Pratap’s General donned Pratap’s clothing and armour, it went unnoticed thanks to the chaos of the war but for two Turkic people, Turk knights from the Mughal army. They could not communicate it with others in their group, due to linguistic barrier (the appropriate language would have been Persian, Marwari or Arabi).
They immediately followed Pratap without wasting time. The moment they started chasing him Pratap’s younger brother Shaktisingh who was fighting from the Mughal side (he had some disputes with Pratap at the time of Pratap’s coronation hence he had defected and gone over to Akbar’s court) realized that his own brother was under threat.
Prataps’ general’s sacrifice had already been discovered by him. He could not help but react against a threat to his
own brother. He followed the Turks, engaged them in single combat and killed them. In the meanwhile, Chetak collapsed and Pratap saw his brother Shakti Singh killing the two Mughal riders. Saddned by the loss of his beloved general and horse, he embraced his brother and broke into tears. Shaktisingh also cried and asked for his brother’s pardon, for having fought as his enemy. Pratap pardoned him (later on he was given a huge estate near Chittor).
Shaktisingh them offered him his own horse and requested him to get to a safe place. This incident is famous in Rajasthani folklore, a song “O Neele Ghode re Aswar” (O Rider of the Blue Horse) mentions it.
The impact of the battle on the Mughal army was also significant. In terms of numbers the Mughal army suffered heavier losses. This was also because of the intensive arrow showers by the Bhil tribes of the surrounding mountains who had aided with Pratap. To honour their contribution, a Bhil warrior was placed next to Pratap in the Royal Coat of Arms of Mewar.
The battle of Haldighat is considered to be the first Major breakthrough of Rajputs aginst the Mughals since the Second Battle of Khanwa in 1527, which was fought between Rana Sanga great grand uncle of Maharana Pratap, and the Mughal Babur. It is regarded with a degree of significance by many Rajput families.
“To save the honor of their land against the mighty Mughal army with the strength of Two Lakh soldiers. There stood the only Twenty Two thousand soldiers for the defense of Haldighati and only eight thousand quitted the field alive.”
Aftermath: – Pratap retreated into the hilly wilderness of the Aravallis and continued his struggle. His one attempt at open confrontation having thus failed, Pratap resumed the tactics of guerilla warfare. Using the hills as his base, Pratap harassed the large and therefore awkward Mughal forces in their encampments.
He ensured that the Mughal occupying force in Mewar never knew peace: Akbar despatched three more expeditions to ferret Pratap out of his mountainous hideouts, but they all failed. During this era, Pratap received much financial assistance from Bhamashah, a well-wisher.
The Bhil tribals of the Aravalli hills provided Pratap with their support during times of war and their expertise in living off the forests during times of peace. Thus the years passed. As James Tod writes: “There is not a pass in the alpine Aravalli that is not sanctified by some deed of the great freedom fighter, Maharana Pratap Singh some brilliant victory or, more often, some glorious defeat.”
On one occasion, the Bhils saved the Rajput women and children in the nick of time by conveying them into the depths of the mines at Zawar. Later, Pratap relocated to Chavand in the mountainous southeastern area of Mewar. Still harassed by the Mughals, the exiles survived in those ravines for many years by subsisted on wild berries and by hunting and fishing.
The Turn around: The turning point again came in 1582 when Rana Pratap Inflicted a crushing defeat to the Mughal army in Dewair( the northern entry point of Mewar connecting Marwar, Gujarat, Malwa and Ajmer). From this battle onwards Rana Pratap moved from being defensive to Offensive and in a very short time he regained all the lost land of Mewar except Ajmer and Chittor.
Akbar’s Expeditions: Akbar kept sending expedition after expedition against Maharana Pratap but never succeeded. He lost lot of money and men in trying to defeat Maharana Pratap. For 30 years Pratap remained ahead of Akbar and in last ten years of his life was able to free most of his kingdom. The only fort Pratap could not recover was Chittor and that saddened him a lot. His son, Amar Singh, won that fort after Pratap’s death.
Maharana Pratap died of injuries sustained in a hunting accident. He died at Chavand, on January 19, 1597, aged fifty-six. It is said that as he lay dying, Pratap made his son and successor, Amar Singh, swear to maintain eternal conflict against the Mughals. Thus, his strained circumstances did not overpower Pratap even in his declining years he remained intrepid to the end.
He also did not sleep on a bed because of a vow he took that until Chittor was freed he will sleep on the floor and
live in a hut despite the fact that he had reconquered almost his entire kingdom back from Akbar. Maharana Pratap is a great hero in the eyes of Indians, much respected and loved by his people. During a dark chapter of Hindu history, Pratap alone stood firmly for his honor and dignity he never compromised his honor for safety. He died a proud and free man. “Maharana Pratap’s arch foe Mogul Emperor Akbar is believed to have shed tears at end of this brave warrior, because he was the only ruler who refused to compromise his honor for comfort & safety and, in the
end, he died a proud and free king.”
Maharana Pratap was affectionately called “KIKA” especially by the tribal’s and the poets.
Character:Before the Battle of Haldighati started, Man Singh Kacchwaha was out hunting with a few hundred retainers. Pratap’s Bhil spies reported this to him at his camp a few kilometers away. Some of Pratap’s nobles suggested that they seize the opportunity to attack and kill Man Singh. Pratap refused, demonstrating his sense of rectitude.
In another incident, the womenfolk of Abdur Rahim Khankhana, a mughal officer, fell into the hands of Pratap’s son Amar Singh. At this point of time, Khankhana was actually on the march against Pratap, and was camping at Sherpur in order to make preparations for an assault against Pratap. Nonwithstanding all this, Pratap commanded his son Amar Singh (eldest of 17 sons and 5 daughters) to arrange for the safe conveyance of the Mughal ladies to their camp.
Khankhana was so affected by this incident that he refused to campaign against such a chivalrous monarch. He petitioned Akbar to be relieved of his post and was subsequently (in 1581) appointed guardian of Akbar’s
own son, Salim. Also it is considered that the slogan ” jo dridh rakhe dharm ne tahi rakhe kartar is given by abdul rahim khankhana who is also known “Rahim das” in Hindi poetry.
Maharana Pratap Memorial (Moti Magari)
Maharana Pratap Memorial(Moti Magari) : An impressive bronze statue of Maharana Pratap on his favorite horse Chetak, stands atop the Moti Magri (Pearl Mount) overlooking Fateh Sagar. Local people climb up the hill to pay homage to Rana Pratap and his faithful charger “Chetak” who was fiercely protective about its master and stood by him till its last breath. This loyal steed sacrificed his life while carrying his master to safety from the battlefield of haldighati.
Picture Of Maharana Pratap On 1 Rupee Coin
Pictures Of Brave Maharana Pratap On Coins And Stamps:
Picture Of Maharana Pratap On Stamp
Maharana Pratap has always been held in great esteem in India and was projected as model of patriotism and freedom struggle against the British rule in India.
Maharana Pratap History and Achievements
Maharana Pratap was born on May 9, 1540, A.D. His father Maharana Udai Singh and mother Sonagari Queen Jayawanti. He born on an auspicious day and the astrologers predicted that the child will bring glory to the name of the clan and treat him one of the famous Indian kings. The king Maharana Udai Singh had 33 children, among them the eldest was Maharana Pratap Singh. At the early age, he had mastered the skills in the use of arms and weapons. He was very efficient in horse riding and intelligent in education and brave right from the childhood.
Maharana Pratap Enthrone:
Maharaja Uday Singh appointed Jagammal the son of his youngest wife as his heir although Pratap Singh was elder to Jagammal. With the Raja’s decision Maharana Pratap Singh go away from the kingdom Mewar but the chieftains did not agree with the decision of Uday Singh and reveal their opinion about the lack of qualities of courage and self respect in Jagammal. The collective decision made Jagammal would have to sacrifice the throne. In this way, Maharana Pratap Singh respects the wish of Chieftains and accepted to become the ruler of the Mewar people.
Maharana Pratap Oath:
After his coronation as a king of Mewar, he faced a big problem from the Mughal emperor and his brothers. Sakthi Singh and Jagammal, his two brothers had joined Mughal Emperor Akbar , and the enemy had surrounded Mewar. Pratap Singh had not enough money and not enough soldiers to fight with the enemies face to face. His coffers empty whereas Akbar had a large army, a lot of wealth. But Maharana Pratap Singh never loses his heart. His main concern was to free his motherland from the fatal chains of the Mughals. One day he arranged a meeting among his trusted chieftains and said,
“My brave warrior brothers, our Motherland, this holy land of Mewar, are still under the clutches of the Mughals. Today, I take an oath in front of all of you that till Chittod is freed, I will not have food on gold and silver plates, will not sleep on a soft bed and will not stay in the palace instead I will eat food on a leaf platter, sleep on the floor and stay in a hut. I will also not shave till Chittod is freed. My brave warriors, I am sure that you will support me in every way sacrificing your mind, body, and wealth till this oath is fulfilled.”
With the inspirational speech and oath, the other chieftains promised him to join him in fighting the Mughals. They said that ‘Rana, be sure that we all are with you waiting only for your signal and we are ready to sacrifice our life.”
Maharana Pratap married eleven princesses from various kingdoms. He had seventeen sons and five daughters. Among his eleven wives, Maharani Ajabde Punwar was his favourite wife. The first marriage with Punwar held in 1557 and Amar Sing I, the first son born in 1559. In those days the kings follow the matrimonial relations with neighbouring kingdoms to strengthen their own kingdoms. So that Maharana Pratap Singh also married another ten princesses in order to strengthen the Rajput Unity. However, he spent many years in the forest to defy Mughal Empire in order to protect the Mewar Kingdom. During the period of spending in the forest, the family struggle even to get proper food to appease the starvation. Some scriptures said that his family made the chappatis with grass to survive in life.
Famous Battle at Haldighat:
Akbar declared the war against Rana Pratap Singh. Pratap Singh also started preparations for the war. He shifted his Capital to Kumbhalgad in the Aravalli range of Mountains and recruited tribal people and trained them how to fight in the battle. Maharana requested all the chieftains to unite in the battle for the sake of Mewar’s independence.
Akbar army was 2,00,000 soldiers and Rana Pratap’s had only 22,000 soldiers. Rana Pratap and his soldiers fought with great courage like a great warrior but Akbar’s army did not completely succeed in defeating Rana Pratap Singh. Rana Pratap’s horse named ‘Chetak’ also became immortal in this battle. ‘Chetak’ was seriously injured in this battle but it saves his master’s life by jumping over a big canal. As soon as the canal crossed, ‘Chetak’ fell down and died. Akbar himself participated in the war but in 6 months period of fighting the battle, he could not catch Rana Pratap and went back to Delhi. Again in 1584, Akbar sent a huge army to Mewar, that time also they did the fight for 2 years, even Akbar could not catch Rana Pratap Singh.
Maharana Pratap and Mughal Generals:
Akbar sent another army on 15 Oct 1577 under the command of Shahbag Khan and Mir Baksi, King Bhagwandas and prince Man Singh were also with them. This time, the army seized Khumbhalmer. Unfortunately, the shortage of food items caused Pratap Singh left the fort in the night later the fort was destroyed by the fire from a big cannon. Finally, in the war, Kumbhalmer was captured but not Pratap.
Later Rana Pratap left kumbhalmer and went to Ranapur and stayed in a village called choolye which was under the rule of Eedar. Then he was helped by Bhamashah to recapture Mewar. After heard the news Akbar again sent Shahabag Khan to invade Mewar with the warning that if you will not catch Rana Pratap, you will be headed.
The Battle of Dever and Victory of Maharana Pratap:
Pratap’s first target was to attack the Royal post at Dever. It was a village situated in Dever Valley of Aravali ranges. Dever Royal post commander Sultan Khan fought against the Pratap’s army. In this war Prince Amar Singh showed his great bravery and courage the Sultan’s soldiers, finally, Pratap got the triumphing victory in this battle.
Maha Rana Pratap Death and Last wish:
Maharana Pratap fought for 12 years against Mughal emperor Akbar to save Mewar. Akbar tried many times to defeat Maharana Pratap but failed to catch Pratap. Besides, Pratap freed a large portion of land in Rajasthan from the Mughals. But his dream of freeing Chittod was not still fulfilled. At the final days from the dying bed, he took his son Amar Singh’s hand and handed over the responsibility of freeing Chittod to his son and died in peace.
Interesting facts about Maharana Pratap who is an inspiration for all and is a symbol of Rajput valor and faith:
1. Maharana Pratap’s family
1.1 Maharana Pratap’s Birth
Maharana Pratap was born on May 9, 1540, at Kumbhalgarh Fort in Mewar. He was the eldest son of Maharana Udai Singh II and Maharani Jaiwanta Bai. Maharana Udai Singh II was the ruler of the Kingdom of Mewar with Chittor as its capital and the founder of Udaipur city in India’s present-day state Rajasthan.
1.2 Maharana Pratap’s first wife – Ajabde Punwar
Maharani Ajabde Punwar was the first wife of Maharana Pratap. She was his best friend and lifelong companion who supported him in both pleasures and pains. She is considered as the symbol of immortal love because of her immeasurable love and respect for Pratap. Both were known to each other for quite a long time, and they fall in love before marriage. Pratap’s mother also liked her for her sharp intellect and simplicity.
For political reasons, Maharana also married ten more women. Although she was not happy and in full support of this decision, she stood faithfully along with Pratap fulfilling all her duties as the principal queen. She understood that Pratap is not only his husband but also the king of Mewar. He has to take these uncomfortable decisions for the well-being of his people and kingdom. Unfortunately, she died at a very early age due to illness.
1.3 Pratap’s complete family
In all, Maharana Pratap had a total of 11 wives: Ajabde Punwar, Solankhinipur Bai, Champabai Jhati, Jasobai Chauhan, Phool Bai Rathore, Shahmatibai Hada, Khichar Asha bai, Alamdebai Chauhan, Ratnawatibai Parmar, Amarbai Rathore, and Lakhabai.
He had 17 sons and five daughters from 11 wives. His successor Amar Singh was the son of his first wife and principal queen, Maharani Ajabde Punwar.
2. Pratap’s physique and his armor
Maharana Pratap was one of the greatest kings and warriors in history who defended his homeland Mewar, till his death. He was almost 7.5 feet tall (2.26 m) and weighed more than 100 kg. He used to carry two swords, a spear, and armor with a heavy shield on the battlefield.
3. Maharana Pratap becomes the King of Mewar because of meritocracy
Rani Dheerbai Bhatiyani, Pratap’s stepmother and Maharana Udai Singh II’s favorite wife, wanted his son Jagmal Singh to become the king of Mewar. According to the tradition, Pratap was the rightful successor of the throne as he was the eldest son. Besides, he also possesses all the qualities of a leader and a king. Despite this, Udai Singh named Jagmal as the next Maharana on his deathbed.
Pratap was ready to give up his rights, but Mewar’s chieftains disagree with the king’s decision. They believed that Jagmal did not possess the qualities of being a king and a leader, and only Pratap deserved to be the king of Mewar. Finally, meritocracy over personal preference prevailed, and Pratap accepted the responsibility of leading the people of Mewar and thus was crowned as the king of Mewar.
Jagmal Singh being unhappy with this decision left Mewar. Later on, he, along with his brothers Shakti Singh and Sagar Singh, served Akbar.
Maharana Pratap was the son of the soil. He never discriminated against different groups of people. His army consists of people from all sections of society.
4. Utmost Respect for Women
Maharana Pratap has the utmost respect for women. No women of his kingdom could ever be sent to Akbar’s Harem.
When Rahim Khan-e-Khana, a Mughal military general, was campaigning against Mewar, Amar Singh arrested all the womenfolk of Rahim Khan-e-Khana. When Pratap came to know about women’s captivity, he rebuked his son for such a mean act. He said that disrespecting women is not in our culture. Pratap commanded his son to set them free and escort them safely till their camp with the utmost respect.
This gesture from Maharana Pratap melted Rahim Khan-e-Khana’s heart. Pratap’s generosity touched him, and he refused to campaign against such a kind-hearted king and pledged not to raise a single weapon against Mewar from then onwards.
Abdur Rahim Khan-e-Khana was the son of Bairam Khan, Akbar’s guardian and mentor. After Bairam Khan’s death, his second wife and Rahim’s stepmother Salima Sultan Begum married Akbar. In this way, Rahim was Akbar’s stepson.
Abdur Rahim Khan-e-Khana is none other than the Rahim who is famous for his Hindi dohe (couplets).
5. Maharana Pratap’s bravery in Haldighati War
Once Akbar sent Raja Man Singh as his representative to Mewar. He wanted Maharana Pratap to acknowledge him as the emperor and became subservient to him.
During his stay in Mewar, Man Singh was invited to a royal dinner. But Pratap instead of going himself sent his son Amar Singh for dinner. He considered Raja Man Singh as the crown prince of the vassal state of the Mughals.
Raja Man Singh felt insulted and left. He then advised Akbar to attack and capture Mewar. This is the opportunity Akbar was looking for. He always used Hindus against Hindus to create further division between them. Akbar immediately ordered an attack on Mewar.
I think the British have created their “Divide and Rule” policy after taking inspiration from Akbar.
The heroic Battle of Haldighati was fought between Pratap’s army and the Mughal army in June 1576. Despite a numerically smaller army of around 20,000 warriors pitted against almost 5 times larger Mughal army, Pratap and his warriors gave a tough fight.
Since the battle’s main aim was to imprison Pratap, it ended in a stalemate as Pratap tactically retreated from the battlefield safely through a 40 km long pass with the help of his horse Chetak.
6. Chetakwith a fake elephant trunk
In the above painting, you can see Chetak with a fake elephant trunk attacking the enemy. Rajputs used this technique during battles. They put a fake elephant trunk on their horses. The elephants carrying the enemy get confused as the horses would appear like baby elephants and would not spontaneously attack them.
Maharana Pratap also used this technique during the Battle of Haldighati. He put a fake elephant trunk on Chetak. The elephant of Akbar’s general Raja Man Singh gets confused. In the meantime, Chetak put his hooves on the head of the enemy elephant, allowing Maharana Pratap to throw a spear at Man Singh. Man Singh ducked the spear, but his mahout died because of the spear.
7. Chetakbecame immortal along with Maharana Pratap
Chetak was Maharana Pratap‘s faithful horse. His agility and strength allow Pratap to slay his enemies and win numerous battles.
During the Battle of Haldighati, although severely injured, he miraculously leaped over a big canal to save Pratap and carried him safely away from the battle. But unfortunately, he died after this because of his battle wounds. Pratap mourned over the death of his faithful companion.
There are several statues and monuments dedicated to Chetak and Pratap. There is also a memorial of Chetak known as Chetak Smarak in the Rajsamand district of the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is said to have been built at the spot where Chetak died after saving Pratap.
8. Jhala Mann’s sacrifices himself to save Maharana Pratap
Jhala Mann had a close resemblance in terms of physique. During the Battle of Haldighati, Jhala Mann advises Pratap to retreat as the Mughal army outnumbered their army.
To save Pratap and buy time so that he could safely leave the battlefield, he wore the crown of Maharana Pratap. The Mughal army misunderstood him to be Pratap and attacked him. In the meantime, Pratap left the battlefield along with his remaining soldiers safely.
Unfortunately, he was killed by the Mughal army during this time. This way, he sacrifices his life to save Pratap so that he could regain their lost territory and honor.
9. Maharana Pratap’smighty elephant Ramprasad
We have learned about Pratap’s loyal horse, Chetak, who sacrificed his life while rescuing his master from the battle. But Maharana Pratap has a faithful and mighty elephant too named Ramprasad (or Ram Prasad).
During the Battle of Haldighati, he created havoc and crushed numerous Mughal soldiers, horses, and several war elephants too. After hearing about Ramprasad, Akbar wanted to own him. So he ordered his commander in chief Raja Man Singh to capture Ramprasad. Man Singh devised a strategy and deployed seven war elephants to capture Ramprasad.
After being caught by the Mughal army, Akbar changed his name to Pirprasad (or Peerprasad). He facilitated exceptional food for him. But Ramprasad was so loyal to Pratap that he refused to eat or drink anything and died after 18 days of imprisonment.
10. Maharana Pratap once thought of surrendering to Akbar
After the Battle of Haldighati, when Pratap was forced to lead his life in Aravalli’s forest to continue his fight against the Mughal forces, he was moved by an incident.
During his struggle in the jungle, he and his family had nothing to eat. They used to eat rotis made of grass. Once, the grass roti made for his daughter was snatched by a cat. He became emotional after seeing the condition of his family and his people. He decided to surrender to Akbar and wrote a letter regarding the same. Akbar was delighted after receiving the message from Pratap.
He sends this letter to Prithviraj, who was the Rajput poet and warrior, working under Akbar. Prithviraj was shocked and was not able to believe that Pratap has decided to surrender before Akbar. To clear his doubt, with Akbar’s permission, he wrote a letter to Pratap to confirm this.
Prithviraj wrote back to Maharana Pratap in a poetic way, giving him the strength and asking him not to accept defeat and surrender before Akbar. This letter jolted Maharana Pratap, and he changed his mind and reversed his decision of surrendering before Mughal forces.
Pratap wrote a letter back to Peethal (Prithviraj) saying he would never accept Akbar as an emperor. For him, he was always a mere Turkish invader.
11. Maharana Pratap, a man of principles, refused to backstab Man Singh, the Commander in Chief of Mughals
Once Pratap got the news through his Bhil spy that Raja Man Singh, the commander in chief of the Mughal army, was on a hunting expedition in the jungle along with a few hundred soldiers.
If Pratap wanted, he could have easily defeated Raja Man Singh in the jungle. But he refused to do so and told his forces that he would prefer to face Raja Man Singh on the battlefield rather than backstabbing him in the jungle where he is unaware of the danger.
12. First warrior to use guerrilla warfare
Although guerrilla warfare had existed before Maharana’s time, he was the first warrior of Bharat who used it against the Mughals in an organized form.
13. Bhamashah’s financial help to Maharana Pratap
Even after the Battle of Haldighati in 1576, Mughal forces continued their attacks on the Rajput army. Pratap’s army got weaken day by day because of these attacks. When Pratap has no resources left to sustain his army, his minister Bhamashah came to his rescue.
Bhamashah was Maharana’s minister. He gave all his accumulated wealth to Pratap, which was enough to sustain and maintain an army of 25,000 men for 12 years. Bhamashah’s financial help boosted Pratap’s morale and enabled Pratap to form an army of around 40,000 soldiers.
14. When Maharana Pratapdefeated Mughalsin the Battle of Dewair (1582)
After the Battle of Haldighati, Pratap was only left with 7,000 soldiers. After getting financial help from his Bhamashah, he forms an army of around 40,000 soldiers to regain his lost territory from the Mughals.
In 1582, on the day of Vijayadashami (Dussehra), the Battle of Dewair, Maharana and his army attacked the Mughal outpost in the village of Dewair, situated about 40 km northeast of Kumbhalgarh.
After the decisive victory in the Battle of Dewair, Pratap recovered complete Mewar except for Chittor, Ajmer, and Mandalgarh. Additionally, 36,000 soldiers of the Mughal army surrendered before Pratap, and all 36 garrisons (check posts) of Mughals in Mewar were closed.
15. Maharana Pratap’s death
Maharana Pratap never surrendered to Akbar. He bravely fought numerous battles in his life against all odds and never succumbed to the Mughals. Unfortunately, he passed away at 57 in Chawda (or Chawand) on 19 January 1597 because of injuries inflicted in a hunting accident.
Even on his death bed, Pratap told his son, Amar Singh, to never succumb to Mughals and win their lost territory of Chittor back.
16. Death of Maharana Pratap made even Akbar cry
The news of Maharana Pratap’s death made even Akbar cry. In 1597, when Akbar was in Lahore, the news of Pratap’s death reached to him. The man Akbar battled for 20 years and tried everything to subdue him but failed to do so, was no more.
The famous poet of Marwar (or Mewar), Dursa Adha spontaneously composed and recited a poem on Maharana Pratap. He described the effect that Pratap’s death has on Akbar as follows:
“And now as the Badshah learns of your passing
He does not rejoice
Behold all, see how he has fallen into deep silence…
And he has bowed his head in sorrow
Even as tears well up in his eyes.”
17. Abdur Rahman praised Maharana after his death
Mughal poet Abdur Rahim Khan-e-Khana praised Pratap after his death and wrote,
“All is unstable in this world land and wealth will disappear, but the virtues of a great name live forever. Pratap abandoned wealth and land, but never bowed his head. Alone, of all the princes of Hind, he preserved his honor.”– Abdur Rahim Khan-e-Khana
18. Some more facts about Maharana Pratap
18.1 Pratap’s Nickname
Maharana Pratap’s nickname was “Kika.” He got this name from the Bhils. In Bhils dialect Kika means son.
18.2 Pratap – The Rider of the Blue Horse
We have talked about Chetak and Pratap’s affection for him. Chetak had blue eyes, and because of this, Maharana Pratap is often referred to as “The Rider of the Blue Horse.”
Certainly, there was one incident came when Maharana Pratap’s loyal horse named “Chetak” climb on with its hooves on proboscis of war elephant of Man Singh-I, Pratap used to attack Mann Singh-I with the spear, but stroke hit to elephant driver instead.
This attack was so powerful that spear was gone through elephant driver and pierce into Umbrella of Man Singh-I. Man Singh-I was saved by his luck. For the second attack, there was no time as Maharana Pratap encircled by Mughal forces.
Consequently, Bida Jhala who appeared very similar to Maharana Pratap took the Pratap’s royal crown quickly and told Maharana Pratap to escape out from the battlefield.
As Maharana Pratap had to keep continue his campaign against Mughal he escaped out from the battlefield with the fully wounded situation.
Mughal ruler Akbar always looked opportunities to use Indians against Indians in battle to create further divisions between them. While most kingdoms surrendered to his supremacy and became vassal rulers, Maharana Pratap neither recognized Mughal supremacy nor agreed for any meetings or alliances.
Akbar decided to use Rajputs against Rajputs. To quote from Saffron Swords, Akbar “sent Man Singh as his emissary to Mewar. He wanted Rana Pratap to acknowledge him as the emperor and wanted Pratap to be his vassal, just like Man Singh. Maharana Pratap did not pay heed to any of the logics and schemes put forward by Man Singh. The mission failed then something happened which brought war to the gates of Mewar even earlier than predicted”.
“During his stay in Mewar, Man Singh was invited to a royal dinner. Maharana Pratap refused to join him on the pretext that kings dine only with kings and Man Singh was just a crown prince and that too, of a vassal state of the Mughals. Pratap sent his son Amar Singh for the dinner. Man Singh considered this to be an insult and left. He started advising Akbar to attack and depose Maharana and capture Mewar. Akbar was already looking for a moment like this. He quickly ordered an attack on Maharana Pratap. Akbar himself did not lead the army. He entrusted the task to Syed Hashim of Barrha along with his brothers and Man Singh.”
It was the year 1576. In the Mughal Army, Man Singh himself was a commander ranking 5000 horse and other ancillaries. Syed Hashim was another commander matching him in stature. Mughal army was also supplemented by the Kachchwaha forces. Rao Lunkaran of Sambhar brought his Rajputs to the Mughal fold too. Gazi Khan of central Asian provinces joined Akbar. And the kinsmen of famous Salim Chishti of Fatehpur Sikri were also there present with their followers.
Mewari forces were heavily outnumbered compared to Mughals. Mewar army was commandeered by Maharana Pratap Singh himself along with lieutenant Ram Das Rathore, commanders Ram Shah Tanwar of Gwalior, his sons, Shaliwahan, Hakim Khan Sur, Bhama Shah and his brother Tara Chand, Bhim Singh of Dodia, Rao Punja, the Bhil commander, Jhala Maan, to name a few.
Maharana Pratap organised his army with himself commanding the centre. Soon a river of blood started to flow. Ultimately the Battle of Haldighati was a stalemate. Neither party won. Here are four memorable events from the Battle of Haldighati pertaining to Maharana Pratap.
Rana Pratap Vertically Cutting Behlol Khan into Two
A scene from the Battle of Haldighati is depicted in many old art works and has been made immortal by bards and poets. The scene is a description from the Battle of Haldighati. Maharana Pratap is seen vertically cutting Mughal commander Behlol Khan into two pieces along with his helmet, armour and even his horse.
Here is an excerpt from Saffron Swords on this scene:
“Advance reserve and vanguard of Mughals had been already pressed into service. Vanguard of Mewar under Ram Das Rathore, Hakim Khan Sur and Bhim Singh clashed head on into the rushing Mughals. After decimating the Mughal left flank, Ramshah Tanwar wheeled to his left to join Pratap in the centre. The Mughal van managed to attack Rana Pratap with Behlol Khan leading the charge.
Pratap himself came forward to counter him what happened next froze the blood in the veins of onlookers. Before Behlol Khan could even complete his blow, Pratap seated on his favorite horse Chetak delivered a sword blow on the helmet of Behlol Khan. The blow was struck with such ferocity and precision that Behlol Khan was vertically cut into two pieces along with his helmet, armour and even his horse.”
This martial art technique is an ancient art passed down from Mahadev, Kali and the Sanatan deities – the art now known as Sanatan Shashtra Vidya. Mughal army was petrified and their charge withered. Pratap found the right opportunity to move to the Mughal centre after this.
Rana Pratap Attacking Mughal Commander Man Singh
After the Mewari king cut Behlol Khan into two pieces, the Mughal army was petrified and their charge withered. Here is an extract from Saffron Swords on this scene. Maharana Pratap found the right opportunity to move to the Mughal centre. Bhim Singh of Dodia was ahead of him already cleaving his way into the centre of Mughals. Bhim Singh reached there first and charged Man Singh who was seated on an elephant. In the ensuing tussle, Bhim Singh was killed.
Sensing trouble, the rearguard led by Mehtar Khan came to the fore to aid Man Singh. Meanwhile, Maharana Pratap had reached the scene, seeing Man Singh. Pratap attacked him. Chetak was a fearless steed and planted its front legs on the trunk of the elephant. He threw his spear at Man Singh. The mahawat of Man Singh came in between and was pierced. The force of the blow broke even the howda of the elephant. Man Singh was saved due to the sacrifice by his mahawat. This incident rattled him but his dwindling forces were bolstered by the arrival of Mehtar Khan whose soldiers now surrounded Pratap.
Chetak Saves Maharana Pratap
Chetak was already wounded by a sword cut on hind leg which was caused by the sword tied to the trunk of Man Singh’s elephant. Maharana Pratap was also wounded by now by a musket shot as well as a spear and a sword cut. Ram Shah Tanwar tried to come to aid of Maharana. While trying to reach there, he was killed by Jagannath Kachchwaha in the melee.
Meanwhile, sensing his Maharana in danger, Jhala Maan raced to his help and reaching there, he quickly snatched the royal banner from Pratap which confused the Mughals. They thought of Jhala to be Pratap and fell upon him. Jhala attained his martyrdom fighting meanwhile Pratap retreated from the battlefield.
Pretty quickly Mughals realised their fault and pursued Maharana Pratap. Chetak was wounded badly but still took his master to safety. Pratap reached a rivulet which was quite wide for a horse to jump still Chetak jumped and crossed it but died soon after. There is a cenotaph erected in the memory of this most famous horse of Indian history at the spot.
Maharana Pratap’s Elephant Ram Prasad in Akbar’s Custody
The Battle of Haldighati between Maharana Pratap of Mewar and Akbar’s Mughal forces introduces us to two extraordinarily loyal animals – Chetak, a horse and Ram Prasad, an elephant. Chetak is a name synonymous to Maharana Pratap, but not many of us know about Ram Prasad. While a badly wounded Chetak carried his master Pratap to a safe place away from the battlefield of Haldighati and attained martyrdom, Ram Prasad was caught by the Mughals.
It was not easy to subdue the battle-hardened Ram Prasad in the Haldighati battlefield that had facilitated wound and death of many Mughal soldiers and elephants. A chakravyuh of several mahouts with their elephants led to capture of Ram Prasad and was taken to Akbar.
Akbar was so awestruck after listening to Ram Prasad’s feat in battlefield that he wanted to own him. He changed Ram Prasad’s name to Pir Prasad. He ordered that special care be given to Pir Prasad. The Mughals gave juicy sugarcanes and special food to the elephant but he was so loyal to Maharana Pratap that from the day he was caught he did not eat anything, not even water! Ram Prasad died of hunger after 18 days. Seeing the loyalty of Ram Prasad, Akbar had said that when he could not overpower even an animal loyal to Rana Pratap, it was impossible to overpower Rana Pratap.
Maharana Pratap was one of the bravest Rajput warriors who never recognized Mughal supremacy and never agreed for alliances to be vassal rulers. After the Battle of Haldighati, he regained major parts of Mewari territory from the Mughals.
Key Ref (most text put as it is from the book): Saffron Swords (click here for the book) by Manoshi Sinha Rawal and Yogaditya Singh Rawal.
Haldighati is a mount path in the Ranges of Aravalli in Rajasthan State which joins the districts of Pali and Rajsamand in India . Haldighati is situated at a distance of 40 km from Udaipur City . The name ‘Haldighati‘ is believed to have arisen from the turmeric-colored yellowish soil of the mountain path. Get the detailed information about the Battle of Haldighati from here.
War Haldighati was fought between Mughal Emperor Akbar and Maharana Pratap between Jun 18, 1576 AD. This war between Akbar and Rana proved to be devastating like the Mahabharata war. It is believed that neither Akbar could win in this war nor did Rana lose. When the Mughals had more military power, then Rana Pratap had no lack of belligerent power. For the last time, he did not accept the treaty of Akbar and he fought the battles while living with honor.
Uday Singh was the Rana of Mewar in the year 1541 when a few days later, Akbar attacked Chittor , the capital of Mewar. The Mughal army had besieged Chittoor, but Rana Uday Singh did not accept Akbar’s submission. After the death of thousands of Mewari soldiers, when he thought that Chittorgarh would no longer survive, then Uday Singh left Chittoor in the hands of the brave warriors like ‘Jaimal’ and ‘Patha’ and went to the dense jungles of Aravali himself. There he built a lake called ‘Udayasagar’ which was a river stop flood. At the same time, Uday Singh made his new capital Udaipur . Uday Singh died after four years of the demolition of Chittor. After them, Maharana Pratap also continued the war and did not accept Mughal subjugation.
Battle of Haldighati’ is famous in Indian history. After this war, Maharana Pratap’s war strategy was under the guerrilla battle. Akbar to win the whole Mewar on June 18, in 1576 AD sent the Mughal army led by Amer’s king Man Singh and Asaf Khan to attack. Between the two armies, there was a war at the Haldighati branch of the Aravali hill near Gogunda.
Rana Pratap defeated in this war. During the fight, Akbar defeated Maharana Pratap from Kumbhalimar Durg and made many attacks on Mewar, but Pratap did not accept the submission. War could not be decisive in favor of Rana Pratap. The open war over but the conflict was not ended. In order to carry out the struggle in future, Pratap and his army moved from the war zone to the hill state. When the Mughals had more military power, then Rana Pratap had more fighting power.
Struggle with Jahangir
At this entrance at Haldighati, Rana Pratap with his chosen soldiers started waiting for the enemy. As soon as the two armies were confronted, the war started gently and the knight warriors on both sides got injured and fell on the ground. Pratap, riding on his horse, quickly reached within the army of the enemy and began searching for the enemy of Rajputs Mansoor Singh. He did not get it, but the glory reached the place where ‘Salim’ (Jahangir) was sitting on his elephant.
Pratap’s sword killed many bodyguards of Salim, and if there was no thick iron sheet in the middle of Pratap’s spear and Salim, then Akbar would have lost his heir. Pratap’s horse Chetak tried his best to defeat by understanding his master’s wishes. In all the historical paintings, a raised foot of Chetak and Pratap’s spear on the slopes of Salim’s elephant has marked by Mahavat’s chest strain. When Mahavat killed, the warrior elephant escaped from the war land, including Salim.
At this time the war had become terrible. On seeing the attack of Rana Pratap on Saleem, numerous Mughal soldiers mounted on the same side and surrounded Pratap and started attacking from all four sides. At the head of Pratap, there was the crown of Mewar. That is why Mughal soldiers were targeting him. Rajput soldiers were also struggling to keep Pratap alive. But gradually they trapped in a crisis. After examining the seriousness of the situation, Sardar sacrificed his life while presenting an unparalleled ideal of self-sacrifice.
Sardar Mannaji went ahead with speed and took the crown from Pratap’s head and kept it on his head and went on a short distance with a swift battle to start boasting. Mughal soldier considered him as a glory and broke upon him and Pratap got an opportunity to get away from the war land. His whole body blown away by countless wounds. while Going from the battleground, Pratap saw Mannaji’s death. Rajputs fought bravely with the Mughals, but the entire power in front of the huge army of enemies equipped with plain artillery and gunmen sterilized. Out of twenty-two thousand Rajput soldiers present on the battleground, only eight thousand soldiers survived in some way from the battleground.
Battle of Haldighati and Chetak
Rana Pratap’s beloved horse Chetak played an important role in the battle of Haldighati (1576). At Chetak’s mausoleum in Haldighati, Pratap and his brother Shaktisingh had cremated the horse with their own hands. It said that Chetak was also brave like Rana Pratap. Chetak was a horse of Arabic breed. He was an expert in long-hitting spikes. In the case of integrity, Chetak counted among the best horses in the world. He was a unique collaborator of Pratap in the battle of Haldighati.
In the battle of Haldighati, Chetak jumped like an eagle to the height of the head of Manasi Singh ‘s elephant, the commander of Akbar. Maharana Pratap then attacked Man Singh. When the Mughal army had followed the Maharana, Chetak, carrying them on his back, crossed the 26-feet-long canal, which could not cross any Mughal army cavalry. In the battle with Pratap, the injured Chetak got Martyrdom. It was an Arab-breed blue horse. In Rajasthan, people still remember him with the same respect which he gives to Maharana. After Martyrdom, Maharana himself performed the last rites of Chetak. On his mausoleum in Haldighati, Mewar people’s sing folk heroism of the thalamus.
Death of Maharana Pratap
On January 19, 1597, due to severe injuries, while hunting at Chavand, Mewar lost its diamond Son Maharana Pratap. At that time the age of Rana Pratap was 56 years. He protected the Mewar region from many wars.
How to reach the Glorious Haldi Ghati?
Haldighati can reach easily from Udaipur by Bus (by RSRTC ) or car as it only 40km away. The nearest airport is also in Udaipur. There are many direct trains to Udaipur, Pali Marwar from major towns of India. From Udaipur to Haldighat distance is bearable distance by road.
The Rajasthan Tourism also providing the Tourism packages to the Tourists through the RTDC . Check the list of RTDC hotels near to the places in Rajasthan.
Maharana Pratap was a renowned Rajput warrior and a king of Mewar, Rajasthan, in north-western India. One of the greatest Rajput warriors, he is recognised for resisting the attempts of the Mughal ruler Akbar to conquer his territory. Unlike the other neighbouring Rajput rulers, Maharana Pratap repeatedly refused to submit to the mighty Mughals and continued fighting courageously till his last breath. A symbol of Rajput gallantry, diligence and valour, he was the only Rajput warrior to take on the might of Akbar, the Mughal Emperor. For all his courage, sacrifice and fiercely independent spirit, he is honoured as a hero in Rajasthan.
Childhood and Early Life
Maharana Pratap was born on May 9, 1540, in Kumbhalgarh Fort to Jaiwanta Bai and Udai Singh II. He had three younger brothers and two stepsisters. His father, Udai Singh II, was the king of Mewar and his capital was Chittor.
In 1567, the Mughal forces surrounded Mewar’s capital, Chittor. Instead of fighting with the Mughal forces, Udai Singh left the capital and shifted his family to Gogunda. Though Pratap resisted this decision and insisted on staying back, but the elders were able to convince him that leaving the place was the right decision. A temporary government of the kingdom of Mewar was set by up by Udai Singh and his courtiers in Gogunda.
In 1572, after the demise of Udai Singh, Rani Dheer Bai insisted that Uday Singh’s eldest son, Jagmal, should be crowned as the king, but the senior courtiers felt that Pratap was a better choice to handle the prevailing situation. This is how Pratap succeeded his father to the throne.
Image Credit : https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/maharana-pratap-7006.php
Accession & Reign
When Pratap succeeded his father to the throne, his brother Jagmal Singh, who was nominated as the Crown Prince by Udai Singh swore revenge and joined the Mughal army. The Mughal king Akbar rewarded him with the town of Jahazpur for the help he rendered.
When the Rajputs left Chittor, Mughals took control of the place, but their attempts to annex the kingdom of Mewar remained unsuccessful. A number of envoys were sent by Akbar tried to negotiate with Pratap to strike an alliance, but that did not work. Six diplomatic missions were sent by Akbar in 1573 but were turned down by Maharana Pratap. The last of these missions was lead by Akbar’s brother-in-law Raja Man Singh. When the efforts of signing a peace treaty failed, Akbar made up his mind to face the mighty Mughal army.
The Battle of Haldighati
On June 18, 1576, the Rajput army stood face-to-face with the Mughal army (under the command of Asaf Khan I and Man Singh) at Haldighati. According to historians, it was one of the fiercest battles ever fought, with the Mughal forces outnumbering the Rajput army. The army of Mewar was under the command of Ram Shah Tanwar and his sons namely, Chandrasenji Rathore, Rawat Krishnadasji Chundawaat and Maan Singhji Jhala.
The battle lasted for four hours and resulted in huge loss of lives on the Mewar side (approximately 1600 soldiers), while the Mughals lost only 150 soldiers and 350 wounded. Maharana Pratap was badly wounded but escaped to the nearby hills. Though Mughals were able to claim several parts of Mewar, including Gogunda and the nearby areas except some regions of Aravellis, but they were unable to oust Maharana Pratap who continued to harass the Mughals through guerrilla tactics.
The moment Akbar’s focus shifted to other places, Pratap along with his army who came out of the hiding and successfully regained the control of western regions of his province.
Image Credit : http://newsofrajasthan.com/politicsonpratap-will-celebrate-maharana-pratap-birthday-28th-may-claims-rajasthan/
In the wake of Mirza Hakim’s incursion into Punjab and rebellions in Bihar and Bengal, Akbar diverted his attention to deal with these problems. I resulted into slackening of Mughal pressure on Mewar. In 1582, the Mughal post at Dewair was attacked and occupied by Maharana Pratap. Akbar moved to Lahore in 1585 and stayed there to keep an eye on the situation in the north-west for next twelve years. During this period no Mughal expedition was sent to Mewar. Pratap took advantage of this situation and regained control over western Mewar, including Gogunda, Kumbhalgarh and Udaipur. He built a new capital at Chavand, near Dungarpur.
The great warrior left for the heavenly abode on 29th January, 1597, at the age of 56, as a result of injuries sustained during his incessant struggle against the Mughal Empire. His eldest son, Amar Singh I, succeeded him to the throne of Mewar.
Image Credit : http://www.dvinews.com/dvinews/maharana-pratap-prediction-in-love-jihad/
Maharana Pratap had eleven wives, five daughters, and seventeen sons. However, his favourite wife was his first wife named Maharani Ajabde Punwar. He tied the knot for the first time in 1557. In 1559, his first son Amar Singh I, who later succeeded him, was born.
It is said that Pratap married ten more princesses in order to strengthen the Rajput unity. Pratap spent a large part of his life and forests and it is also said that there was a time when his family had to survive on chappatis made of grass.
Maharana Pratap is often considered to be ‘India’s first freedom fighter,’ as he did not surrender to the Mughal armies led by Akbar. A number of television shows have been made on the life and achievements of Maharana Pratap.
A historic site dedicated to Maharana Pratap, Maharana Pratap Memorial, is situated at the top of Moti Magri, Pearl Hill in Udaipur. It was built by Maharana Bhagwat Singh Mewar and showcases a life-sized bronze statue of the gallant warrior riding his horse ‘Chetak.’