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, a noble who had been asked to collect the fine.[2] He is celebrated in some popular ballads of Rajasthan, Western Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.[3]

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!"

See also[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 ..."