Amar Singh Rathore

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Amar Singh Rathore was a Rajput nobleman affiliated with the royal house of Marwar, and a courtier of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in seventeenth-century India.[1] After he was disinherited and exiled by his family, he entered the Mughals' service. His legendary bravery and battle prowess resulted in elevation to a high rank in the imperial nobility and personal recognition by the emperor, who made him the subedar (governor) of a region that was directly ruled by the emperor himself, Nagaur.[1] In 1644, he was enraged by an attempt by the emperor to levy a fine on him for an unauthorized absence. In the emperor's presence, he stabbed and killed Salabat Khan, who had been asked to collect the fine.[2] He is celebrated in some popular ballads of Rajasthan, Western Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.[3]

Legend[edit]

Raja GajSingh ruling Marwar region under Mughul ruler ShahJahan. His son Amarsingh Rathore was great warrior and a patriot but was dis-inherited by his father and exiled for reasons unknown. Later, he joined Sha Jahan in Delhi Sultanate. Sha Jahan impressed by his gallantry, even made him Jagirdar of Nagaur. However Salabat Khan, bro-in-law of Monarch envious of Amar Singh Rathore rise within monarhy and was waiting for an opportunity to discredit Amar Singh. He got opportunity sooner when there was a trivia over AmarSingh's unauthorised absence. Salabat blown it up as an issue so much so Moghul Monarch asked Salabat to fine Amar Singh. Taking advantage of this, Salabat insisted Amar Singh to pay the penalty then and there itself. Salabat also warned he would not let go of Amar singh without paying penalty. Amar felt diceived and was furious over the way Salabat heckled at him. He took out his sword out and hacked Salabat on the spot. Monarch Sha Jahan taken aback and ordered his soldiers to kill Amar Singh. But valiant Amar shown his battle skills and killed almost all of those who came upon him and soon escaped from the Fort, safely returned to his place.

Sha Jahan was furious at Amar's misadventure and annoyed by the fact his force couldn't kill Amar. So next day in court, Monarch announced, a Jagir will be gifted to those who would kill Amar Singh but no one was ready to take chance with Amar Singh Rathore, as they faced his wrath just a day before. Arjun, Amar Singh's brother-in-law accepted the challenge, lured by Monarch's offer of Jagir. Arjun approached Amar claiming the Monarch realised his mistake and would not loose a warrior Amar. Even though Amar not convinced initially, but soon fallen to Arjun's art of treachoury.

In the meanwhile, a small dharwaja (Door) erected infront of the court of Sha Jahan, so as tall Amar Singh would have to bend before the Monarch to enter the court. Having watched Amar's valiant act earlier and also the present proceedings in the court, a curious Fakir wondered "Jahapana, how could we conquer Hindustan having so many Warriors" Sha Jahan replied "wait and see how we did". Bowing before anyone considered a form of showing respect and accepting his Kinship. Amar was unwilling to bow before Monarch, Arjun knowing Amar's view advised him to first enter with legs, lower torso of the body. While Amar heeded to this, Arjun from other side, stabbed him in the chest repeatedly until Amar Singh fallen to the ground, died. Then Arjun severed his head and took to Padusha (Monarch). Monarch turned to Fakir and said " Now you know, how we got rid of warriors". But Sha Jahan didn't keep his word to Arjun, later got him killed too.

On hearing Amar Singh's death, his wife along with Rajput soldiers headed by Bhallu Singh, Ram Singh attacked the fort where the body of Amar Singh was lying. However, thousands of Moghul soldiers surrounded Rajput forces but valiant forces resisted them until Amar Singh's body was taken away from the Fort. Though all of those Rajput fighters laid down their lives, but never bowed to Moghul Sultanate upmanship. Later on, it was popular as Amar Singh Dharwaja as it marked Rajput gallantary over Muslim army. Some historians claim Sha Jahan ordered the dharwaja to be closed permanently as it would remind him of his near defeat at the hands of Rajput forces. The folklore has this legend in heart rendering song-dance show in praise of Rajput Warriors who fought for self-respect and boast of self pride

Commemoration in popular culture[edit]

Amar Singh Rathore is considered an icon of extraordinary might, will, and freedom. Neither fear, nor greed were able to affect his decisions. He died as a free man. The bravery of Amar singh Rathore and Ballu Champavat is still remembered in folk songs in Rajasthan and around Agra. A Hindi movie based on Amar Singh was made in 1970, it was named as 'Veer Amar Singh Rathore' and directed by Radhakant. Dev Kumar, Kumkum and Zeba Rehman were the lead actors of the movie in Black and White. A Gujarati movie was also made on the same subject and the lead role was played by Gujarati Super-star Upendra Trivedi. A gate of Agra Fort was named after him as 'Amar Singh Gate' which is a major tourist attraction in Agra. A small excerpt from a Punjabi ballad on Amar Singh Rathore describes his angry entry into Shah Jahan's Diwan-i-Khas and Salabat Khan's attempts to hold him back[3] -

Original Translation

Dekhkar Shahjahan Badshah bharta hankare,
Kaha Salabat Khan nun: "Karo kam hamare.
Age auna na do, Rajput rakho atkare."
Salabat Khan un Bakhshi dida tare,
"Adab manke khara raho, Rajput bichare!
Teri bat digi Darbar men, main khara sidhare."
"Meri tu kya bat sanwarda, Kartar sanware!"
Amar Singh digaia, no dige, jaisa parbat bhari.
"Hatke khara ganwariar! Kya kare ganwari?"

Jabbal kadhi misri nikali do dhari:
Mare Salabat Khan di ja khili pari:
Lagi mard de hath di na rahi wo dhari.
"Eh le apne sat lakh, Salabat piare!
Kante dharke janch le, hor ghat hamare!"

As soon as he saw him Shahjahan the King called out,
And said to Salabat Khan: "Do my bidding.
Let not the Rajput come forward, keep him back."
Salabat Khan, the Controller, cast his eyes on him,
(And said): "Stand and be respectful, thou wretched Rajput!
Thy fame hath fallen in the Court, and I keep watch (over thee)."
"How can'st thou watch over me? God shall watch!"
Amar Singh, like a great mountain, was not to be kept back.
(Said Salabat Khan): "Stand back, thou boor! What wilt thou with thy boorishness?"

In his wrath he (Amar Singh) drew his dagger and struck twice:
He struck Salabat Khan and went through him:
Struck by a warrior's hand the blow stayed not.
"Take this for thy seven lakhs, friend Salabat!
Take thy scales and weigh them out!"

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See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Jeffrey G. Snodgrass, Casting kings: bards and Indian modernity, Oxford University Press US, 2006, ISBN 978-0-19-530434-3, ... Amar Singh Rathore was seventeenth-century noble belonging to Jodhpur's royal Rajput family during the reign of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan ... made the emperor's representative (subedar) of Nagaur district ... 
  2. ^ Thomas William Beale, A oriental biographical dictionary: founded on materials collected by the late Thomas William Beale, Kraus Reprint, 1881, ... Sala'bat Khan, صلابت خان, a nobleman who held the title of Mir Bakhshi or paymaster general in the time of the emperor Shah Jahan. He was stabbed in the presence of the emperor by a Rajput chief named Amar Singh Rathor the son of Gaj Singh ... 
  3. ^ a b R. C. Temple, Legends of the Panjab, Part 3, Kessinger Publishing, 2003, ISBN 978-0-7661-6349-2, ... Jabbal kadhi misri nikali do dhari, Mare Salabat Khan di ja khili pari ...