Man Singh I
|Man Singh I|
|Raja of Amer|
Raja Man Singh I of Amer
|Reign||10 Dec 1589 – 6 Jul 1614|
|Born||21 December 1550|
Amer, Rajputana, Mughal empire
|Died||6 July 1614 (aged 63)|
Ellichpur, Mughal empire
|Mother||Rani Bhagwati Bai|
Raja Man Singh (Man Singh I) (21 December 1550 – 6 July 1614) was the Kachwaha Rajput Raja of Amer, a state later known as Jaipur in Rajputana. He was a trusted general of the Mughal emperor Akbar, who included him among the Navaratnas, or the nine (nava) gems (ratna) of the royal court of Akbar.
Early life of Man Singh I
He was the son of king Bhagwant Das and his queen Bhagawati of Amer. He was born on Sunday, 21 December 1550. He was about eight years younger than Mughal Emperor Akbar who was born on 15 October 1542.
Initially known as Kunwar (prince), Man Singh received the title of Mirza [Raja] and the mansab (rank) of 5000 after the death of his father on 10 December 1589 from Akbar. On 26 August 1605, Man Singh became a mansabdar of 7,000, i.e., a commander of 7,000 cavalry in the Mughal forces, which was the maximum command for anyone other than a son of the Mughal emperor and the guardian of Khusrau, the eldest son of Jahangir. Akbar called him Farzand (son). He fought many important campaigns for Akbar. Kunwar Man Singh led the Mughal Army in the well-known battle of Haldighati fought in 1576 between the Mughal Empire and Rana Pratap Singh and decisively defeated the mewaris and captured whole mewar.
Conflict with Maharana Pratap Singh
Man Singh was sent by Akbar to Maharana Pratap to make a treaty with Akbar and accept Mughal sovereignty. However Maharana Pratap, as a grandson of Rana Sanga, considered the Mughals as foreign invaders on Indian soil; he refused to accept Akbar's sovereignty and called the emperor a lowly Turk.
Man Singh was appointed by Akbar to lead the Mughal Army against Rana Pratap, Kunwar Man Singh started from Ajmer on 3 April 1576.
In the Battle of Haldighati, despite exaggerated figures, it is estimated that Rana Pratap had 3000 horsemen, some elephants and 400 Bhil warriors under Rao Poonja. A small artillery unit was also with him under Hakim Khan Sur. The force was divided into five wings. Advance wing was under Hakim Khan Sur, Bhim Singh Dodiya and Ramdas Rathore. The right-wing was under Bhamashah and Ramshah Tanwar. The left wing was under Jhala Man Singh. Rana Pratap was in the centre. Behind him was Rao Poonja with his Bhil warriors.
The Mughal army had 10,000 horsemen, some elephants and infantry. Among the horsemen 4,000 were Kachwaha Rajput warriors. One thousand other Hindu warriors and rest were Uzbeks, Tajiks, Kazakhs, Sayyids and other Turkics, . This force divided into five wings. There were two advance wings. The first was under Sayyid Hashim Barah son of Sayyed Mahmud Khan, Barah Jagganath Kachwaha and Asaf Ali Khan. The second advance troop was under Madho Singh Kachwaha. Behind this was Man Singh. To his right was Mulla Kazikhan Badkhsi and to left were Sayyeds of Barah. At first Rana Pratap attacked and scattered the advance and left wings of the Mughal army. Jagannath Kachwaha killed Ramshah Tanwar and Rajput warriors of both sides engaged in fierce battle. The Mughal army could not distinguish between friend and foe and killed Rajputs of both sides. The Mughal army surrounded Rana Pratap; so to save his life Jhala Man put the Rana's helmet on his head and died in his place. This provided Maha Rana Pratap a chance to escape. After this, Rana's army dispersed. The Mughal Army, expecting another attack, remained vigilant all night. Only in the morning they were able to judge their success. The battle was won by Mughals but the Maharana had survived. Yet historians are divided on the result of this battle or if there was really any winner.
Expedition to Kabul
In 1580 CE, some prominent Muslim officers of Akbar, displeased with his liberal religious policies, started to conspire against him. Qazi Muhammad Yazdi declared it the duty of every Muslim to rebel against Akbar. In Bihar and Bengal they declared Mirza Hakim, Akbar's stepbrother and Governor of Kabul, to be the emperor. Akbar sent armies to Bihar and Bengal to crush this rebellion, while he himself started towards Kabul; Man Singh with him. On 8 March 1581, Akbar reached Machhiwara and soon arrived on the banks of River Indus, he then sent an advance force led by Man Singh to Kabul. Although, Akbar's army was hesitating to cross the swelling Indus River, Man Singh was able to cross it first followed by troops. Hearing the news Mirza Hakim fled to Gurband. Following the army, Akbar himself arrived at Kabul on 10 August 1581. Hakim was pardoned by Akbar, but his sister "Bakhtunissa Begum" was appointed Governor of Kabul. After Akbar returned to Fatehpur Sikri; Bakhtunissa remained as the nominal head of state, while Hakim acted as the governor (Hakim died in July, 1582). Kabul was annexed by the Mughal Empire and Man Singh was appointed governor. He remained in Kabul for some years and built a fortress, used by succeeding Mughal governors. Man Singh brought many talented men with him when he returned from Kabul. Some of their descendants still live in Jaipur.
Again in 1585 CE, some Afghan tribes rose against the Mughal empire. The Yusufzai and "Mandar" tribes were the main ones among them. Akbar sent an army under Zain Khan, Hakim Abul Fateh and Raja Birbal to control these revolting tribes. However, they failed to control the revolting Afghans and Raja Birbal, friend of Akbar and one of his Navratnas was also killed in the battle with Afghans. Akbar then sent Raja Todar Mal to crush the revolt and called Raja Man Singh to help Todar Mal. Todarmal had some success in controlling the rebellious Afghan tribes, but the real source of the revolt was behind the Khyber Pass. It was hard to cross this pass which was dominated by Afghan "Kabailies". Man Singh was accompanied by "Rao Gopaldas" of Nindar in this expedition, who bravely made way for Mughal army in the past. After crossing the pass Man Singh decisively defeated five major tribes of Afghans including Yusufzai and "Mandar" tribes. The flag of Amber was changed from "Katchanar" (green climber in white base) to "Pachranga" (five colored) to commemorate this victory. This flag continued in use until accession of Jaipur state in India. This permanently crushed the revolt and the area remained peaceful thereafter.
In 1586 CE, Akbar sent another army under Raja Bhagwant Das, father of Kunwar Man Singh to win Kashmir. Kashmir was included in the Mughal Empire and made a Sarkar (district) of Kabul province. Man Singh and his father Raja Bhagwant Das are reputed to have brought the technology of cannon production to Amber.
Conquest of Bihar
When Akbar had conquered Delhi, many of his Afghan enemies had fled to the refuge of the eastern Raja's. Man Singh was sent by Emperor Akbar to bring the rebel Raja's to submission. Man Singhs first target was Raja Puranmal of Gidhaur whose fort was easily conquered by the Kachwaha army. Puranmals treasury was captured and his daughter was married to Man Singhs brother Chandrabhan Kachwaha. Man Singh continued his campaign and defeated the raja's of Gaya and Kargpur, both of them were forced into submission and paid tribute to the emperor. Some Afghan nobles of Bengal tried to invade Bihar during Man Singhs occupation, but were soundly defeated by Man Singhs son Jagat Singh. The invaders left their loot and fled back to Bengal, the spoils of war and 54 elephants were sent to the emperor. Abul Fazl has described Man Singhs campaign in Bihar in the following words. "The Raja united ability with courage and genius with strenuous action".
Conquest of Orissa
Man Singh after conquering Bihar was ordered to defeat the Afghan Sultan Qatlu Khan Lohani of Orissa, Man Singh set out for Orissa on April 1590, Jagat Singh Kachwaha was sent with an advance army to study the area, however he was attacked by Sultan Qatlu Khan and was badly defeated, several notable commanders of Amber were killed including Bika Rathor, Mahesh Das and Naru Charan. Jagat was saved by Raja Hamir Singh and escaped to the fort of Vishnupur. Qatlu however died after 10 days and the Afghans under his son Nasir Khan surrendered to Man Singh. Nasir bowed before Man Singh and promised to read the Khutba and stamp coins in the name of emperor Akbar. He further ceded lands and gave a tribute of 150 elephants. After this success Man Singh returned to Bihar. The Afghans however rebelled against Nasir after his regent Isa Khan died. The Afghans captured the lands that had been ceded and started another rebellion. Man Singh was once again forced to march to Orissa. On 9 April 1592, the two armies met near Jaleswar city and after a bloody fight Man Singh defeated the Afghans, Man singh followed the fleeing Afghans and forced the Afghan leaders to accept Mughal overlordship. The remaining Afghan chieftains fled to the Hindu Raja's of Orissa. Man Singh attacked these Raja's and captured several forts with ease and forced then to surrender, the strongest of these Raja's, the Raja of Khurda however refused and was pressed by Man Singh, several of his cities and forts were captured after which the Khurda Raja shut himself in his capital fort. Akbar denounced this rough behaviour towards such an ancient dynasty and ordered Man singh to show leniency after which the Khurda Raja surrendered and offered his daughter to Man Singh in marriage. The conquest of Orissa was thus complete. Man Singh was called to Lahore where the crown prince Salim personally received him and he was given robes of condolence by the emperor for his fathers death. Man Singh presented to the emperor three sons of Quatlu Khan Lohani and 2 nobles of Orissa.
Governor of Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha
On 17 March 1594, Raja Man Singh was appointed Subahdar (Governor) of Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha. He made his headquarters in Rohtas, in Bihar. In doing so, he renovated the fortifications and also built a Haveli (Palatial House) in Rohtasgarh Fort, which still stands to this date. On 9 November 1595 Man Singh laid the foundations of a new capital of Bengal Subah at Rajmahal, Jharkhand and named it Akbarnagar, after Akbar, the emperor. It appears to have been chosen as the site of the capital on account of its central position with reference to Bengal and Bihar and for its command of both the river Ganges and the pass of Teliagarhi. Man Singh built a palace, a fort, and also a Jama-i-Masjid (known as Hadafe Mosque) at Rajmahal. During his tenure as governor, Man Singh further expanded the Mughal Empire by defeating and subduing the old kingdoms of Bengal, Bihar and Odisha. He defeated Maharaja Pratap Aditya of Jessore, and brought the famous idol of "Shila Devi" to Amber. The temple of this goddess is still present in Amber fort. During Navratris lakhs of people gather here. Raja Man Singh served three successive terms as governor of this area, in 1594–98, 1601–1605, 1605–1606.
Jahangir and twilight of Man Singh I
Prince Salim was born, but he soon became addicted to alcohol and opium. He disobeyed royal orders and became infamous for torture such as murdering Abul Fazal. Akbar tried hard to reform him as well as his eldest son Khusrau Mirza. Two of Akbar's sons, Murad and Danial, died in his lifetime. The royal court was divided into two factions, one favoring Khusrau and the other Salim to be the next emperor. Raja Man Singh and Mirza Aziz Koka were in Khusrau's favour. In 1605, when Akbar fell ill, he appointed Salim to be his heir. Though Man Singh opposed Salim's accession to the throne during Akbar's lifetime, he never opposed Jahangir (Salim) after his coronation. After Akbar's death, Jahangir (Salim) became emperor. Man Singh was initially sent as Subahdar of Bengal on 10 November 1605 for a short period, but soon he was replaced by Qutb-ud-Din Khan Koka on 2 September 1606. Jahangir also ordered removal of some of the modifications which had been made by Raja Man Singh to his palace at Amber. But in 1611 CE, the southern provinces of Ahmednagar, Berar and Khandesh defied Mughal sovereignty under Malik Ambar. Jahangir sent Raja Man Singh and others to crush the revolt.
Man Singh died a natural death on 6 July 1614 at Ellichpur. Following his death, he was succeeded by his son Mirza Raja Bhau Singh. His direct descendants became known (to this date) as the Rajawats who had the privilege to the throne of Amber and subsequently Jaipur.
Raja Man Singh was a devotee of Shri Krishna. He had a seven-storied temple of Krishna constructed for Srila Rupa Goswami, disciple of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, in Vrindavan. The cost of construction was one crore rupees at that time. The four-storey temple is still present at Vrindavan. He also constructed a temple of Krishna at his capital, Amber. The place is now known as "Kanak Vrindavan" near Amber Ghati of Jaipur. He constructed the temple of Shila Devi at Amber Fort. He also constructed and repaired many temples at Benaras, Allahabad and various other places. He added much beautification to his palace at Amber. When Akbar called a meeting of his nobles at Fatehpur Sikri in 1582, to discuss Din-i-Ilahi, Raja Bhagwant Das was the only man to oppose this religion. Later, Man Singh also refused to convert to Din-i-Ilahi. It is believed his son Jagat Singh I received education from Goswami Tulsidas and Man Singh himself used to attend his religious lectures. Tulsidas was a contemporary of Akbar and author of Ramcharit Manas, known as Tulsi Ramayana, and much other famous poetry devoted to Rama and Hanuman.
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