Maharana Pratap

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Maharana Pratap Udai Singh
The Ruler of Mewar
RajaRaviVarma MaharanaPratap.jpg
Reign 1572–1597
Coronation March 1, 1572
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 Punwar [2]
(11 wives)
Consort to Maharani Ajabde Punwar
Issue Amar Singh
Bhagwan Das
(17 sons)
Royal house Sisodia
Father Maharana Udai Singh
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 Sisodia 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 Maharana Udai Singh, Maharana Pratap's father, Chittor was conquered by the Mughal Emperor Akbar after the third Jauhar at Chittor.[citation needed] 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 Maharaja Udai Singh had already founded the city of Udaipur in 1559.[5] The Bhatiyani Queen wanted her son Jagmal to succeed Rana Udai Singh.[6] But the senior nobles wanted Pratap, the eldest son, to be their king as was customary. During the coronation ceremony, with Rawatji and other senior noble's help, Pratap Singh was made the king of Mewar.

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. 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 a bit personal.

Battle of Haldighati[edit]

On June 21, 1576 (June 18 by other calculations), the armies of Pratap and Akbar (led by Mansingh) met at Haldighati, near the town of Gogunda.

Pratap's army had a contingent of Afghan warriors led by his commander, Hakim Khan Sur. 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 Raja Man Singh 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 along-side 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” [1] (O Rider of the Blue Horse)

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 from the Mughal rule .[7] 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.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Rana Pratap had 11 wives his first wife was Maharani Ajabde Punwar, . Maharana Pratap was married to Ajabde when he was 17. Maharani Ajabde was the favourite wife of Rana Pratap. Maharani Ajabde was the biggest support to Maharana Pratap during his hardship days. Maharana Pratap loved Maharani Ajabde throughout his life. Maharani Ajabde gave birth to Amar Singh Who was the sucsessor of Rana Pratap. [9] He had 17 sons[10] and 5 daughters. Of his children, Amar Singh[11] was the eldest.

Final days[edit]

Pratap died of injuries sustained in a hunting accident[12] at Chavand, which served as his capital,[13][14] on 19[15] January 1597, aged fifty-seven.[16] A chhatri, commemorating Pratap's funeral, exists at Chavand and is an important tourist attraction.[17] 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.[18] 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 horsed in the Mughal service.[19] Besides Amar Singh would not have to be present at any of the Mughal Darbars.[20] 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, Moti Magri, 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 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[21][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. ^ Maharana Pratap By Bhawan Singh Rana. 2005. p. 80. 
  8. ^ Mann, Rann Singh (1989). Tribal Cultures and Change. Mittal Publications. p. 159. ISBN 9990056730. 
  9. ^ Sharma, Dashrath (1990). Rajasthan Through the Ages: From 1300 to 1761 A.D:Volume 2 of Rajasthan Through the Ages. p. 274. 
  10. ^ Meininger, Irmgard (2000). Chittaurgarh. p. 38. ISBN 9788124601501. 
  11. ^ Shashi, S.S (1996). Encyclopaedia Indica: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Volume 100. p. 185. ISBN 9788170418597. 
  12. ^ Sharma, Sri Ram (2005). Maharana Pratap. p. 91. ISBN 978-8178710037. 
  13. ^ Chandra, Satish (2005). Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals Part - II. p. 122. ISBN 8124110662. 
  14. ^ Niraj, Jaysimha (1991). Splendour Of Rajasthani Painting. p. 15. ISBN 8170172675. 
  15. ^ plaque at Maharana Pratap Smarak Samiti, Udaipur
  16. ^ Bakshi, S.R. (2008). Studies In Indian History: Rajasthan Through The Ages The Heritage Of Rajputs (Set Of 5 Vols.). p. 46. ISBN 9788176258418. 
  17. ^ "Maharana Pratap Ki Chhatri". Indira Gandhi National Centre for the arts. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  18. ^ Dutt, Romesh Chandra (1943). Pratap Singh, the last of the Rajputs: a tale of Rajput courage and chivalry. p. 180. ASIN B0006AVRDI. 
  19. ^ Sharma, Sri Ram (1971). Maharana Raj Singh and his Times. p. 14. ISBN 8120823982. 
  20. ^ Nicoll, Fergus (2009). Shah Jahan. Penguin Books India. p. 89. ISBN 9780670083039. 
  21. ^ Medieval India – 1000 AD to 1740, L.P Sharma

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