Maharana Pratap

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Maharana Pratap Singh
The Ruler of Mewar
RajaRaviVarma MaharanaPratap.jpg
Reign 1568–1597
Coronation March 1, 1568
Born (1540-05-09)9 May 1540
Birthplace Kumbhalgarh Fort, Rajasthan, India
Died 19 January 1597(1597-01-19) (aged 56)
Predecessor Udai Singh II
Successor Amar Singh I[1]
Consort Maharani Ajabde[2]
(11 wives)
Issue Amar Singh
Bhagwan Das
(17 sons)
Royal House Sisodia
Father Udai Singh II
Mother Maharani Jaiwanta Bai[2]
Religious beliefs Hinduism

Maharana Pratap (About this sound pronunciation ) or Pratap Singh (May 9, 1540 – January 19, 1597) was a Hindu Rajput ruler of Mewar, a region in north-western India in the present day state of Rajasthan. He belonged to the Sisodiya clan of Rajputs.[3][4] In popular Indian culture, Pratap is considered to exemplify qualities like bravery and chivalry to which Rajputs aspire, especially in context of his opposition to the Mughal emperor Akbar.

Accession[edit]

In 1568, during the reign of Udai Singh, Maharana Pratap's father, Chittor was conquered by the Mughal Emperor Akbar after the third Jauhar at Chittor.[citation needed] However, Udai Singh and the royal family of Mewar had left before the fort was captured and moved to the foothills of the Aravalli Range where Udai Singh had already founded the city of Udaipur in 1559.[5] Rana Udai Singh wanted his son Jagmal to succeed him,.[6] But after his death while fighting with the mugals the senior nobles wanted Pratap, the eldest son, to be their king as was customary. During the coronation ceremony,pratap singh was made the king of merwar by senior nobels.

Conflict[edit]

Chittorgarh Fort which Rana wanted to reclaim. Also seen is Vijay Stambha along with Gaumukh Reservoir.

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, served Akbar. Indeed, many Rajput chiefs, such as Raja Man Singh of Amber (later known as Maharaja of Jaipur) served as army commanders in Akbar's armies and as 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. This is clearly evidential of the ends sought by each of the two rulers.

Battle of Haldighati[edit]

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 outnumbered Pratap's men.

However, the numerical superiority of the Mughal army and their artillery began to tell. Seeing that the battle was favoring Akbar and with the huge amount of death of soldiers on both sides, Pratap's generals prevailed upon him to flee the field so as to be able to fight another day. Myths indicate that 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, Pratap was able to successfully evade captivity and escape to the hills.

It is said that Shakti Singh, Pratap's brother, who was fighting from side of Mughals, came to Pratap's side at this time and gave him his horse Unkar to escape when Chetak died . He also killed two Afghan horse riders, who had followed Pratap to the spot.[7][8]

The battle of Haldighati has commanded a lasting presence in Rajasthani folklore, and the persona of Pratap Singh, is celebrated in a folk song “O Neele Ghode raa Aswaar” [1] (O Rider of the Blue Horse)

Aftermath[edit]

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 guerrilla warfare. Using the hills as his base, Pratap continued small raids and skirmishes.

During Pratap's exile, he received much assistance from Bhamashah, a trusted general and aide of Pratap, who along with his brother Tarachand looted Mughal territory of Malwa and offered this large loot to Pratap to carry on his fight against Mughal.[9] Bhamashah was promoted to post of Prime Minister after this by Pratap.[9]

With the large booty at his disposal, Pratap organized another attack and Battle of Dewar followed in which army of Mewar was victorious and Pratap was able to claim back much of the lost territories of Mewar and freed much of Rajasthan except Chittor from the Mughal rule .[9] 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.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Rana Pratap had 11 ranis (queens)he was married for the first time to Ajabde Punwar when he was 17,[11] 17 sons[12] and 5 daughters. Of his children, Amar Singh[13] was the eldest followed by Chandawhen Singh, Sahas Mal, Shekha Singh and others.

Final days[edit]

Pratap died of injuries sustained in a hunting accident [14] at Chavand, which served as his capital,[15][16] on 19 [17]January 1597, aged fifty-seven.[18] A chhatri, commemorating Pratap's funeral, exists at Chavand and is an important tourist attraction.[19] It is recorded in historical annals that as he lay dying, Pratap made his son and successor, Amar Singh, swear to maintain eternal conflict against the Mughals.[20] Amar Singh fought 17 wars with the Mughals. Since other Rajput states in Rajasthan had submitted to Akbar Mewar was fighting alone. In due course Mewar kingdom was depleted financially and in man-power. After much convincing from his core commanders Amar Singh conditionally accepted Mughals as rulers. The subsequent treaty between Amar Singh and Mughal King Jahangir had some obligations that fort of Chittor would not be repaired and Mewar would have to keep a contingent of 1000 horse in the Mughal service.[21] Besides Amar Singh would not have to be present at any of the Mughal Darbars.[22] At Amar Singh's laying down of arms many members of Maharana Pratap's family of Sisodias, band of loyal Rajputs became disillusioned by the surrender and left Rajasthan. This group included Rathores, Deora Chauhans, Pariharas, Tanwars, Kacchwaha and Jhalas. They are called Rors and settled mostly in Haryana, with some in Uttar Pradesh.

Legacy[edit]

Statue of Maharana Pratap of Mewar on his horse Chetak, commemorating the Battle of Haldighati, City Palace, Udaipur.

Most important of Pratap Singh's legacy was in the military field – after Haldighati, he increasingly experimented and perfected guerrilla warfare and light horse tactics. His innovative military strategy- use of scorched earth, evacuation of entire populations along potential routes of enemy march, poisoning of wells, use of mountain forts in Aravallis, repeated plunder and devastation of enemy territories along with harassing raids on enemy baggage, communications and supply lines- helped him recapture most of Mewar (except Chittor) by time of his death and enabled him to successfully tackled vastly stronger armies of Akbar. Harassing warfare perfected by Pratap Singh would in due course was adopted by Malik Ambar of Ahmednagar [23][page needed] who taught and deployed local Marathas to fight invading Mughal armies, thus preparing them for future warfare against Mughals.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sarkar, Jadunath (1994). A History of Jaipur : c. 1503 - 1938. Orient Longman. p. 83. ISBN 9788125003335. 
  2. ^ a b Rana, Bhawan Singh (2004). Maharana Pratap. Diamond Pocket Books. pp. 28, 105. ISBN 9788128808258. 
  3. ^ Sarkar, Jadunath (1994). A History of Jaipur. p. 48. ISBN 9788125003335. 
  4. ^ Daryanani, Mohan B. (1999). Who's who on Indian Stamps. p. 302. ISBN 9788493110109. 
  5. ^ Mathur, Pushparani (1994). Costumes of the Rulers of Mewar. p. 22. ISBN 9788170172932. 
  6. ^ Lal, Muni (1980). Akbar. p. 135. ISBN 9780706910766. 
  7. ^ Know Your Rajasthan University Students Appearing in Competitive Examinations and Interviews, and for Officials, Planners, and Government Departments by J. R. Kanungo - 1965 - Page 44
  8. ^ Maharaj Shakti Singh and the Shaktawats of Boheda:a history of Boheda Thikana by D. L. Paliwal, Surendra Singh - 2004 - Page 42
  9. ^ a b c Maharana Pratap By Bhawan Singh Rana. 2005. p. 80. 
  10. ^ Mann, Rann Singh (1989). Tribal Cultures and Change. Mittal Publications. p. 159. ISBN 9990056730. 
  11. ^ Sharma, Dashrath (1990). Rajasthan Through the Ages: From 1300 to 1761 A.D:Volume 2 of Rajasthan Through the Ages. p. 274. 
  12. ^ Meininger, Irmgard (2000). Chittaurgarh. p. 38. ISBN 9788124601501. 
  13. ^ Shashi, S.S (1996). Encyclopaedia Indica: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Volume 100. p. 185. ISBN 9788170418597. 
  14. ^ Sharma, Sri Ram (2005). Maharana Pratap. p. 91. ISBN 978-8178710037. 
  15. ^ Chandra, Satish (2005). Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals Part - II. p. 122. ISBN 8124110662. 
  16. ^ Niraj, Jaysimha (1991). Splendour Of Rajasthani Painting. p. 15. ISBN 8170172675. 
  17. ^ plaque at Maharana Pratap Smarak Samiti, Udaipur
  18. ^ Bakshi, S.R. (2008). Studies In Indian History: Rajasthan Through The Ages The Heritage Of Rajputs (Set Of 5 Vols.). p. 46. ISBN 9788176258418. 
  19. ^ "Maharana Pratap Ki Chhatri". Indira Gandhi National Centre for the arts. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  20. ^ Dutt, Romesh Chandra (1943). Pratap Singh, the last of the Rajputs: a tale of Rajput courage and chivalry. p. 180. ASIN B0006AVRDI. 
  21. ^ Sharma, Sri Ram (1971). Maharana Raj Singh and his Times. p. 14. ISBN 8120823982. 
  22. ^ Nicoll, Fergus (2009). Shah Jahan. Penguin Books India. p. 89. ISBN 9780670083039. 
  23. ^ Medieval India – 1000 AD to 1740, L.P Sharma

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