Born: May 9, 1540 in Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan
Father’s Name: Maharana Udai Singh II
Mother’s Name: Rani Jeevant Kanwar
Died: January 19, 1597 in Chavand
Maharana Pratap was born on May 9th 1540 in Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan. His father was Maharana Udai Singh II and his mother was Rani Jeevant Kanwar. Maharana Udai Singh II ruled the kingdom of Mewar, with his capital at Chittor. Maharana Pratap was the eldest of twenty-five sons and hence given the title of Crown Prince. He was destined to be the 54th ruler of Mewar, in the line of the Sisodiya Rajputs.
The Third Saka (Supreme Sacrifice) of Chittor and Pratap
When emperor Akabar evivaded Chittor in 1967, Maharana Udai Singh abandoned Chittorgarh following the advice of his chief cans and Generals. Though Pratap desired to stay back and protect the fort but the chief fans and Generals did not agree to expose the future king of Mewar to the jows of death and sent him to mountains alongwith his father on the night of 23 febuary 1568 the last Jauhar (a ritualistic self emulation by the women in order to protect their chastity and honour before their warrior husbands march for the final and last assault) was organized and in the morning of the following day the warriors threw open the Fort gates and wade the supreme sacrifice (the Saka, in popular lane). With the fort fell to the hands of Akabar. Akabar not only ordered the killing of innocent residents women and children but also offended sentiments of Hindus by destroying and desecrating the temples and idols in the fort.
This incident of Jauhar and Saka at Chittor made a deep impression on the heart of Pratap. He was full of hatred for Akabar who indulged in this merciless killing. The Supreme Sacrifice made by the women and the warriors for upholding the honour and respect of their nation family, clan and religion because the source of expiration for Pratap to resolve for a struggle ful life
Repression of the Vagadiya Chauhans
Pratap first demonstrated his bravery by attacking the Vagadiya Chauhans. In the battle at the banks of Som river Karansi the cousin of Rana Sanwaldas was killed. Being defeated the Vagadiya Chauhans Conceded a large part of Vagad lard to Mewar. This enhanced the fame of Pratap and the attention of the common masses and feudal heads started centering towards the browsing of Pratap.
Statements were made by Pratap Singh himself. Pratap is said to have lamented that “If there had been no Udai Singh between himself and Rana Sanga, he would not have let Turks master Hindustan.” He saw Mughals as foreigners who had invaded India and that is why he refused to surrender. His own father Udai Singh had condemned the house of Man Singh for their marriage with unclean foreigners and Pratap Singh himself said that he would call Akbar only a “Turk” and not an emperor. Also Pratap Singh’s dogged resistance, even when he had to wander in the jungles of Aravallis and his persistent refusal to surrender even after being reduced to starvation while pursuing Haldighati, do not point to a person who fought for power politics, but rather to a person with a sacred mission. His own vow giving up all comforts of palace life till he recaptured all his kingdom from Mughals and his lifelong observance of that vow also speak of his steadfast patriotism and determination rather than power politics. Similar kinds of observation can be pointed out to his repeated refusal to accept lucrative offers from Akbar in shape of jagirs and suberdaris.
Coronation of Pratap
Living for a while in the difficult mountain terrains at Kumbhaner alongwith his father, Pratap made his residence at Gogunda where Maharana Udai Singh died on 28 Feb.,1572. In accordance with the desire of Bhatiyani queen Dheer bai, Maharana Udai Singh had declared his son Jagamal as his heir apparent but despite strong desires of the queen and the Maharana, Jagamal could not realize his dreams. After the death of the Maharana Jagamal occupied the Royal Throne but he did not participate in the funeral rites the former ruler of Gwalior Ram Singh Tanwar enquired about Jagamal after which the noble heads came to know about Jagamal having been made the heir-apparent. At this point Man Singh Sonagare, the maternal uncle of Pratap raised objection and said to Rawat Sanga ( the predecenor of Devagarh nobles) – you Belong to the clan of Chunda therefore, this ought to have been decided after consultation with you. Then, Rawat Krishna das and Rawat Sanga said – “pratap is the eldest son, and worthy also, hence, he will be the Maharana.” After completing the last rites, the noble chieftains made Pratap to occupy the Royal Throne and spoke to Jagamal – “In your capacity as the younger brother, your seat is in front of the Royal Throne”
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. This is clearly evidential of the ends sought by each of the two rulers: for Akbar, having an independent or semi independent kingdom, within his otherwise consolidated empire was politically unsound and militarily dangerous; for Pratap Singh, on the other hand, to accept vassalage with little in return was a political suicide, and a steep fall for Mewar in the region’s power structure.
On June 21, 1576 (June 18 by other calculations), the two armies met at Haldighati, near the town of Gogunda in present-day Rajasthan.
However, the numerical superiority of the Mughal army[80000 vs 20000 soldiers] and their artillery began to tell. Seeing that the battle was favouring Akbar and with the huge amount of death of soldiers on both sides, 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, riding his trusty steed Chetak, Pratap was able to successfully evade captivity and escape to the hills. However, Chetak was critically wounded on his left thigh by a mardana (Elephant Trunk Sword, with spear of weight 263 kg.) while Pratap had attempted to nail down Man Singh. Chetak was bleeding heavily and he collapsed after jumping over a small brook a few kilometres away from the battle field. A famous couplet narrates this incident of the battle:
Aage nadiya padi apaar, ghoda kaise utare paar Rana ne socha is paar, tab tak chetak tha us paar
English Translation :
Lies the boundless river ahead, How will the horse cross it? While Rana thought on his side, Chetak was that side!
The battle of Haldighati has commanded a lasting presence in Rajasthani folklore, and the persona of Pratap Singh is celebrated in a famous folk song “O Neele Ghode re Aswar” (O Rider of the Blue Horse).
A monument to Chetak is at the site of the steed’s death. The impact of the battle on the Mughal army was also significant.
Maharana Pratap continues to inspire generations of Indians reeling under gradual Islamization of the country and gives them courage.
Pratap retreated into the hilly wilderness of the Aravallis and continued his struggle. His one attempt at open confrontation having thus failed, Pratap resumed the tactics of guerrilla warfare. Using the hills as his base, Pratap continued small raids and skirmishes against the outlying check-posts, fortresses and encampments of his adversaries; some of whom included the Hindu vassals appointed by the Mughals in the wake of Pratap Singh’s defeat.
During Pratap’s exile, he received much financial assistance from Bhamashah, a well-wisher. The Bhil tribals of the Aravalli hills also provided Pratap with their support during times of war and their expertise in living off the forests during times of peace.
Demise of Pratap
In January 1597, while pulling the sting of bow to hunt a tiger he developed pain in his intenstine and fell sick. Seeing him grim faced, the Rawat of Salumber asked him for the reason, I am worried and doubtful at the prospects as to weather my son Amar Singh, who, I know, is prone to a comfortable life-style will be able to up hold the glory of Mewar and the tradition of my family and clan. It you nobles make a promise to protect the glory of the kingdom of Mewar, I may die in peace, All the chieftains of Mewar, present there at that time, when took the oath in the name of the throne of Bappa Rawal, then Pratap breathed his last on 19 January 1597[at Chavand] and thus came the end to a golden era of struggle for freedom.
The foremost names of the generals and allies of Maharana Pratap are given here:
Jhala Man Singh:-
Jhala Man Singh (also known as Jhala Sardar) set an example of extraordinary valour, bravery and sacrifice in the struggle for freedom. In the battle of Haldighati in 1576, upon seeing Maharana Pratap wounded (three wounds were inflicted, sword, spear and shot by a musket) and unconscious on his horse, Chetak; Jhala immediately took the Crown and royal emblem of Pratap, thus confusing the enemy into thinking that he was Pratap and took the entire attack of the Mughal hordes upon himself. Ultimately he lost his life to save the life of Pratap . It is because of this sacrifice that Pratap continued to fight on against the Mughals and eventually reestablish and liberate all of Mewar except Chittor.
In present day Udaipur, the descendants of Jhala still carry the emblem of Mewar as their coat of arms as conferred upon them by Maharana Pratap.
Raja Ram Shah Tomar of Gwalior was married to a daughter of Rana Udai Singh and sought refuge in Mewar after he lost Gwalior to the Mughals. He, along with 300 of his men, fought the battle of Aliphatic. His only remaining son was sent to Bikaner so the line could survive; everyone else gave up their life for the cause of Warmer.
Bhama Shah (or Bhamashah)
Bhamashah made a mark in the history of Mewar. Son of Bharmal Kawadiya and born 450 years ago, he set an example of honesty, faith and duty. He was not only Pratap’s treasurer, but also fought like a soldier when the need arose. Maharana Pratap was able to properly maintain his army of 25,000 soldiers for 12 years only because Bhamashah had gifted not only his property, but also a collection of 25 lakh rupees and 20,000 gold coins from Maalpura during a financial crisis. Bhamashah also served Maharana Amar Singh. Thereafter his son Jeev Shah was treasurer of the Maharana. At the time of his death, Bhamashah asked his wife to hand over the detailed record of royal treasury to Maharana Amar Singh; then he left for heavenly abode.
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 (except Chittor) 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 who taught and deployed local Marathas to fight invading Mughal armies, thus preparing them for future warfare against Mughals. Though Pratap Singh failed to overcome Mughals in his lifetime, indirectly and in long run, his military techniques paved way for downfall of Mughal empire.
He was truly noble and valiant and desrves respect of whole nation…_/\_