|Maharana Sangram Singh|
|The ruler of Mewar|
Depiction of Maharana Sangram Singh on horseback, 18th century.
12 April 1484|
Malwa, Rajasthan, India
|Died||17 March 1527
Maharana Sangram Singh (12 April 1484 - 17 March 1527) commonly known as Rana Sanga, was the Rajput ruler of Mewar, which was located within the geographic boundaries of present-day India's modern state of Rajasthan. He ruled between 1509 and 1527.
A scion of the Sisodia clan of Suryavanshi Rajputs, Rana Sanga succeeded his father, Rana Raimal, as king of Mewar in 1509. He fought against the Mughals in the Battle of Khanwa, which ended with Mughal victory, and died shortly thereafter on March 17, 1527.
Succession to throne
Prithiraj was subsequently banished from the fortified capital city of Chittor; their younger brother Jaimall was elevated to the throne. Jaimall, however, was ultimately slain by the indignant father of the girl he had been courting. In turn, Prithiraj was poisoned by his brother-in-law, whom he had earlier punished for allegedly mistreating his sister.
The resulting crisis of succession left Rana Sanga to ascend their father's throne.
Conquest of Malwa
After first ascending to the throne of his home kingdom, Mewar, then consolidating power there, Rana Sanga moved his army against the internally troubled neighbouring kingdom of Malwa.
Under the rule of Mehmod Khilji, Malwa was torn by dissension. Wary of his Rajput Wazir Medini Rai's power, the politically weak Mehmod sought outside assistance from both Sultan Ibrahim Lodi of Delhi and Bahadur Shah of Gujarat; whereas Rai, on his part, requested Sanga to come to his aid.[page needed] Thus began the prolonged war between Mewar against the Muslim sultans of North India.
Joined by Rajput rebels from within Malwa, Sanga's troops from Mewar beat back invading armies from Delhi, ultimately defeating Malwa's army in a series of hotly contested battles. Khilji was himself taken prisoner, only to be freed after leaving his sons as hostages in Mewar's capital, Chittor. Through these events, Malwa fell under Rana’s military power.[page needed]
Victories over Ibrahim Lodi
After conquering Malwa, Rana turned his attention towards north eastern Rajasthan, which was then under the control Khilji's ally, Ibrahim Lodi of Delhi. Rana invaded this province after a rebellion in Delhi had diverted Sultan Lodi's attention. Under Rana, the Rajputs scored several victories, capturing some key strategic assets in the process, including the fort of Ranthambore. In retaliation, Lodi invaded Sanga's home province of Mewar after having put down the rebellion in Delhi.[page needed]
Sanga counterattacked, invading enemy territory. Rajputs fought ethnic Afghans under Lodi at Khatoli (Gwalior) in 1517-18. Although Sanga lost his left arm and was crippled in one leg, he also won and captured land.
Lodi, reportedly stunned by this Rajput aggression (the extent of which was unprecedented in the preceding three centuries), once again moved against Sanga’s country in 1518-19, period but was humbled at Dholpur. Lodi fought Sanga repeatedly, only to be defeated each time, losing much of his land in present-day Rajasthan, while the boundaries of Sanga's military influence came to extend within striking distance of Agra.[page needed][page needed]
War Between Sanga and Babur
After his initial gains Rana Sanga became recognized within north India as a principal player in the power struggle to rule the northern territories of princely India. His objectives grew in scope – he planned to conquer the much sought after prize of the Muslim rulers of the time, Delhi, and bring the whole of India under his control.
He had crushed Gujarat and conquered Malwa and was now close to Agra. It was at this juncture that he heard that Babur had defeated and slain Ibrahim Lodi and was now master of the Delhi Sultanate.
Rana Sanga believed that Babur had plans to leave India, indeed from all the information he was getting it seemed that Babur was getting ready to consolidate his newly gained northern holdings, Rana Sanga decided, in a miscalculation of Babur's strength and determination, to wage a war against the Mughal invader.
As a first move, he coerced Afghan fugitive princes like Mehmud Lodi and Hasan Khan Mewati to join him. Then he ordered Babur to leave India. Initially he hoped to attain this by sending his vassal Sardar Silhadi of Raisen as his emissary.[page needed] Silhadi who went to Babur’s camp was won over by Babur. Babur accepted that to rule North India he may have to engage in battle with Rana Sanga and hence had no desire for retreat. Babur and Silhadi hatched a plot. Silhadi, who held a large contingent of 30,000 men would join Babur’s camp at critical moment of battle and thus defeat Rana Sanga. Silhadi who went back to Chittor, told Rana that war is a must.[page needed]
The Rajput forces of Rana Sanga, supplemented by the contingents of Hasan Khan Mewati and the Afghan, Mehmud Lodi and Raja Medini Rai of Alwar, met Babur’s army at Khanwa near Fatehpur Sikri in 1527. The battle, which lasted for not more than 10 hours, was bitterly contested and became an exceedingly brutal affair. At a critical moment of battle, the defection of Silhadi and his contingent caused a split in the Rajput forces. Rana Sanga while trying to rebuild his front was wounded and fell unconscious from his horse. The Rajput army thought their leader was dead and fled in disorder, thus allowing the Mughals to win the day.[page needed][page needed]
Rana Sanga was whisked away to safety by the Rathore contingent from Marwar and once he became conscious he learnt of the defeat. But Rana Sanga, unwilling to admit defeat, set out once more to rebuild his military and renew war with Babur. He vowed not to set foot in Chittor till Babur was defeated by him. In 1528, he once more set out to fight Babur at Chanderi to help Medini Rai who was attacked by Babur. But he fell sick at Kalpi and died in his camp. It is widely believed that he was poisoned by some of his nobles who quite rightly thought his renewal of war with Babur was suicidal.
It is suggested that had it not been for the cannon of Babur, Rana Sanga might have achieved victory. Pradeep Barua notes that Babur's cannon put an end to outdated trends in Indian warfare.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rana Sanga.|
- I. Austin, Mewar The World's Longest Serving Dynasty
- LP Sharma, History of Medieval India
- Satish Chandra, Medieval India
- LP Sharma
- LP Sharma
- BR Verma and SK Bakshi, Rajput Role in History
- Upendra Nath Day, Medieval Malwa: A Political and Cultural History
- Upendra Nath Day
- Refer LP Sharma, Bakshi & Verma, Upendra Nath Day
- Nilakanta Sashtri and Srinivasachari, Advanced History of India
- Barua, Pradeep (2005). The State at War in South Asia. University of Nebraska Press. p. 33-34. ISBN 978-0-80321-344-9.