Maharaja Chhatrasal (4 May 1649 – 20 December 1731), was a medieval Indian warrior who fought against the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, and established his own kingdom in Bundelkhand, becoming a Maharaja.
Revolt against the Mughals
Inspired by Chhatrapati Shivaji's advice Chhatrasal raised the banner of revolt against the Mughals in Bundelkhand at the age of 22, with an army of 5 horsemen and 25 swordsmen, in 1671. During the first ten years of his revolt he conquered a large tract of land between Chitrakoot and Panna on the east and Gwalior on the west. His domains stretched from Kalpi in the north to Sagar, Garah Kota and Damoh in the south. Some of the Mughal generals who were defeated by him were Rohilla Khan, Kaliq, Munawwar Khan, Sadruddin, Sheikh Anwar, Sayyid Latif, Bahlol Khan and Abdus Ahmed.
Chhatrasal captured Mahoba in 1680. In the second phase of his struggle between 1681 and 1707, Chhatrasal suffered a few reverses.
Alliance with the Marathas
The Maratha Peshwa Baji Rao I's second wife Mastani was Chhatrasal's daughter. In his book Mastani, the historian D. G. Godse states that the relationship between Chhatrasal and Baji Rao I was like that of father and son.
Before his death on the 20 December 1731, Chhatrasal bequeathed Mahoba and the surrounding area to Baji Rao I in return for Baji Rao's assistance against the Mughals.
Patron of literature
Chhatrasal was a patron of literature, and his court housed several noted poets. His eulogies written by Kavi Bhushan, Lal Kavi, Bakhashi Hansaraj and other court poets helped him gain lasting fame.
The Chhatarpur town and its eponymous district in Madhya Pradesh are named after Chhatrasal. Several places in Chhatarpur, including the Maharaja Chhatrasal Museum, are named after him. The Chhatrasal Stadium in Delhi is also named after the Maharaja Chhatrasal. The Royal family still resides in Chhatarpur, Including Kunwar Vikram Singh also known as Nati Raja and was a member Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly in 2008. The other successors include Kunwar Gajraj Singh who expired in 2012, leaving behind a family of 9 sons and daughters namely Jagdish, Ashok, Raj, Viraj, Shankar, Mamta, Kritika, Maya and Rekha. The Arya family includes Jay, Vikram, Ansh, Anshul, Abhimanyu/Apoorv, Vikas, Vivek. The ownership of the state is still in dispute.
- Bhagavānadāsa Gupta, Life and times of Maharaja Chhatrasal Bundela, New Delhi, Radiant (1980). ISBN 1-135-47177-0
- Bhagavānadāsa Gupta, Contemporary Sources of the Mediaeval and Modern History of Bundelkhand (1531-1857), vol. 1 (1999). ISBN 81-85396-23-X.
- "Mastani" by D. G. Godse
- Dharmika Teja, a Kannada language historical novel; the story revolves around Maharaja Chhatrasal's youth
- Bundela Rajas of Bundelkhand (Panna)
- K. K. Kusuman (1990). A Panorama of Indian Culture: Professor A. Sreedhara Menon Felicitation Volume. Mittal Publications. p. 157. ISBN 978-81-7099-214-1. Retrieved 10 December 2012.