|Maharana Pratap Singh|
|The Ruler of Mewar|
|Coronation||March 1, 1572|
|Predecessor||Udai Singh II|
|Successor||Amar Singh I|
|Spouse||Maharani Ajabde Punwar
|Father||Maharana Udai Singh|
|Mother||Maharani Jaiwanta Bai|
9 May 1540|
Kumbhalgarh Fort, Rajasthan, India
Maharana Pratap ( pronunciation (help·info)) or Pratap Singh (May 9, 1540 – January 29, 1597) was a very popular Hindu Rajput ruler of Mewar, a region in north-western India in the present day state of Rajasthan. He belonged to the Sisodia clan of Rajputs. 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.
In 1568 during the reign of Maharana Udai Singh, Maharana Pratap's father, Chittor was conquered by the Mughal Emperor Akbar after the third Jauhar at Chittor. However, Maharaja 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 Singh had already founded the city of Udaipur in 1559. Rani Dheer bai wanted her son Jagmal to succeed Rana Udai Singh. However, the senior nobles wanted Pratap, the eldest son, to be their king as Primogeniture was and still is customary among Hindu royalty in India. So with the help of the Senior noble, Rawatji, and other senior nobles , Pratap Singh was Crowned the king of Mewar.
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. Each time, however, Pratap politely refused to accept Akbar's suzerainty, arguing that the Sisodia Rajputs had never accepted any foreign ruler as their overlord, nor will he. It is worth noting that both these rulers' grandfathers, Rana Sanga and Babur, had previously fought against each other. Thus the enmity was not only political, but was also personal.
Battle of Haldighati
Pratap's army had a contingent of Afghan warriors led by his commander, Hakim Khan Sur.Hakim Khan Suri (also known as Hakim Soz Khan Afghan) was an Afghan warrior and chief of artillery in Rana Pratap's army. He fought valorously with him in the Battle of Haldighati and died in 1576. A small army of the Bhils, whom the Rana had befriended, also joined the battle against the Mughals. On the other hand, the Mughal forces led by Syed Hashim boasted of numerical superiority, which vastly outnumbered the Rajputs.
At first, the Rajputs by their sheer bravery of orchestrating a full frontal attack took the Mughals by surprise. However, the numerical superiority of the Mughals and the efficiency of their artillery soon began to tell. Seeing that the battle was favoring the opponents and with the huge amount of death of soldiers on the Rajput side, 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.
Pratap was riding his trusted horse, Chetak, which despite being seriously wounded and utterly exhausted, carried his master till about 2 miles away from the battle, eventually succumbing to its injuries while jumping a nallah (stream). It is said, that Pratap's younger brother Shakti Singh, who until then was fighting on behalf of the Mughal army, followed Pratap until this point, and upon a change of heart, gave him his own horse to escape away. The other lesser-known heroes of Haldighati were the Bhil Adivasis of the Aravallis, whose valour, knowledge of terrain and intensive arrow showers made the battle far from one-sided. In recognition of their extraordinary contribution to Rajputana and to protecting these lands, a Bhil stands alongside a Rajput on either side of the Royal Coat of Arms of Mewar.
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”(O Rider of the Blue Horse)
With the large funds 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 from the Mughal rule . 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.
Battle of Gorwar
After the victory of Battle of Dewar Pratap attacked the Mughals in 1578 with an army of 250,000 Mewar soildiers and an ancillary force of 50,000 Bhils to defeat the Mughals. But emperor Akbar had a huge army of 500,000 Mughals. Pratap fought bravely and outnumbered the Mughals with so much confidence Pratap and his son Amar Singh killed most of the Mughal soilders with a loss of 80,000 Mewar soilders and 49,000 Bhils. Pratap finally defeated the Mughals thus expanding much of his territories.
Rana Pratap had 11 wives the first being Maharani Ajabde Punwar. Maharana Pratap was married to Ajabde when he was 17. She was his favorite wife. Maharani Ajabde was Maharana Pratap's biggest support during his days of hardship. Ajabde studied astrology and went on to develop a 100 year calendar of Maharana Pratap's life. Maharani Ajabade was Maharana's true love, he married all other princesses for political reasons. Maharani Ajabde was learned and level headed. She always led Maharana Pratap into making the right decisions using strategic wisdom and her core values. Ajabde gave birth to Amar Singh who later on succeeded Rana Pratap to the throne of Mewar. He had 17 sons and 5 daughters. Of his children, Amar Singh was the eldest. Apart from Ajabde Punwar, he had 10 other wives  – Solankhinipur Bai, Champabai Jhati, Jasobai Chauhan, Phool Bai Rathore(phool kanwar), Shahmatibai Hada, Khichar Asha bai, Alamdebai Chauhan, Ratnawatibai parmar, Amarbai Rathore and Lakhabai.
Maharana Pratap died of injuries sustained in a hunting accident  at Chavand, which served as his capital, on 29 January 1597, aged fifty-seven. A chhatri, commemorating Pratap's funeral, exists at Chavand and is an important tourist attraction. 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. Amar Singh submitted Mewar to Akbar.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 horsed in the Mughal service. Besides Amar Singh would not have to be present at any of the Mughal Darbars. 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. Amar Singh himself regretted letting down his people so much that he was never publicly seen outside his palace again.
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 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[page needed] who taught and deployed local Marathas to fight invading Mughal armies, thus preparing them for future warfare against Mughals.
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24. Maharana Pratap: The First Freedom Fighter (2012) mentions Prataps victory of battle of Gorwar located in the plot.
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