Maharana Pratap

maharana,pratap

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mewar,rajputana,chetak,haldighati,shivaji,udaipur,personality

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Maharana Pratap


Vir Shiromani Maharana Pratap Singh, attributed among the greatest warriors of Bharatvarsh, was the 54th custodian of the House of Mewar, a chivalrous state in Rajputana. His sheer resistance to Mughal invader Akbar, and his freedom struggle to protect his motherland continues to inspire millions.

Maharana Pratap

Portrait of Maharana Pratap Singh, City Palace & Museum, Udaipur

Portrait of Maharana Pratap Singh, City Palace & Museum, Udaipur

Children Maharana Amar Singh
Relatives Maharana Sanga (Grandfather), Maharani Karnavati (Grandmother), Mirabai (Aunt), Shakti Singh (Brother), Jagmal (Brother)
Predecessor Maharana Udai Singh II
Death place Chawand, Rajasthan
Birth place Kumbhalgarh Fort, Rajasthan
Date of birth 9th May, 1540
Kingdom Mewar
Date of death 19th January 1597
Coronation 28th February, 1572; Gogunda
Mother Maharani Jaiwanta Bai
Dynasty Sisodia Rajputs of Mewar
Successor Maharana Amar Singh
Spouse Ajabde Panwar; Phool Kanwar Rathore and others
Capital Gogunda, Chawand
Father Maharana Udai Singh II

Vir Shiromani Maharana Pratap is among the greatest warriors of Bharatvarsha. An utmost patriot, he fought and resisted against Islamist expansion over Indian territory during the times of the Mughal invader Akbar with chivalry of the highest order. He was the 54th Maharana or the custodian of the House of Mewar, a chivalrous Hindu state in the region of Rajputana. The Maharana's struggle for freedom and his devotion to protect his motherland continues to inspire millions.

Early Life

Maharana Pratap was born on 9th May 1540 to Maharana Udai Singh II and Maharani Jaiwanta Bai in Kumbhalgarh, Rajputana. Maharana Udai Singh II  ruled the kingdom of Mewar, with his capital at Chittorgarh. Kunwar Pratap was the eldest among the twenty-five sons of Udai Singh and hence was given the title of Baojiraj or the Crown Prince. He was destined to be the 54th custodian of Mewar, carrying forward the royal lineage of the brave Sisodiya Rajputs. [ref]

Accession

Kunwar Pratap Singh was the eldest son and the rightful heir to succeed to the throne and become the 54th custodian of the House of Mewar (the Maharanas of Mewar aren't rulers, but custodians who rule on behalf of Shri Eklingji) upon the death of his father, Maharana Udai Singh II. Udai Singh passed away in the February of 1572. Pratap was to rightfully ascend the throne at Gogunda on February 28, 1572. 

But Maharana Udai Singh, in influence of of his favorite queen, Rani Bhatiyani, disregarding completely the well-established rule of primogeniture, had, with his last breath, proclaimed his son with Bhatiyani - Jagmal, as his successor to the throne of Mewar. When this became known at the funeral of the deceased Maharana, Jaiwanta Bai's brother and Kunwar Pratap's uncle - Sonigara Man Singh of Pali, desirous of seeing his sister's son have his just and lawful right, beeseeched Rawat Krishna Das of Saloombar, the scion of Choonda, to intervene in the matter and prevent the perpetration of this injustice and the consequent ruin of Mewar, which was inevitable if internecine disaffection further caused its already diminished state to deteriorate. [ref]

It is important to note that although this decision of Mewar Nath Maharana Udai Singh was against the conventions of the Mewar family, Kunwar Pratap did not show any type of displeasure towards his late father and his decision, and respected it as an obedient son. [ref]

Rawat Krishna Das pledged his support to Kunwar Pratap, and he along with Raja Ram Shah, the erstwhile prince of Gwalior proceeded forthwith to where Jagmal had beseated himself on the 'gaddi' amidst some of the nobles of the realm. Each of them took an arm of Jagmal and with gentle violence removed him to a seat in front of the cushion remarking - "You have made a mistake, Maharaj; that place belongs to your brother". Girding Kunwar Pratap with the sword (the privilege of his house), Rawat Krishna Das thrice touching the ground, hailed Kunwar Pratap as the Maharana of Mewar - Maharana Pratap Singh of Mewar. [ref] [ref]

After a few days, the usual coronation ceremony was performed at Kumbhalgarh, which was witnessed by all chiefs of Mewar and Rao Chandrasen of Marwar. [ref]

Jagmal, smitten with the insult and having no supporters left to the court of Akbar, who was fascinated at the this rift in the House of Mewar, gave him audience and bestowed on him the district of Jahajpur as his Jagir. [ref]

The Maharana of Mewar

The chiefs of Mewar proclaimed Maharana Pratap as the ruler of Mewar at 1572 A.D. Pratap, for a  long period of 25 years, maintained the independence of his country, single-minded. His path was beset with thorns and he had to undergo many obstacles and tribulations. His two brothers had already joined the Mughals and most of the Rajput rajas had fallen in line with the prince of Amber. In the last sack of Chittorgarh, many Rajput warriors had been killed and the fertile plains of Mewar had been devastated or seized. There was a dearth of both men and money and safer courses for Pratap would have been to succumb to the foreign rule and live in peace and plenty. But Pratap disdained this sort of life and preferred that of hardships and hazards. With his a few faithful followers, his warhorse Chetak, strong and sturdy Bills, and in the later period of his life, his generous minister Bhama Shah, he could turn the tide in his favor and pushed back a colossal army of the Mughals.

The Maharana of Mewar denied any kind of submission to the Mughal Empire. Emperor Akbar desired to expand his empire all over India but failed in his pursuit as he could not conquer Mewar, one of the most important states of Rajput kingdom. Mewar was a connecting link between the territories of Akbar and the trading territories in Gujarat. Akbar managed to bring all other Rajput states and provinces under his ascendancy however; Pratap remained firm and did not compromise his independence.

Battle of Haldighati

Diplomatic Missions 

As Akbar was aware of the valor and prowess of Mewar, he restrained from direct military action, but tightened his hold on the already seized territories. The Rajput princes of Marwar, Amber, Bikaner and Bundi allied with Akbar, sealing the boundaries of Pratap's domain on the north, east and west.

From the year 1572 to 1576, Akbar sent four diplomatic missions to the Maharana and asked him to surrender to the Mughal supremacy. The very first peaceful mission was dispatched under one of Akbar‟s beloved courtiers, Korchi Jalal Khan. He returned to Akbar in November 1572 at Ahmedabad, reporting his incapability to impress the Maharana despite all efforts. Akbar then sent other envoy of distinguished eminence, Man Singh, Prince of Amber. Though he was received with great hospitality, he too failed to convince Pratap to concede to Mughal suzerainty. Not only this, Pratap did not accept the invitation for the feast sent by Man Singh; instead sent his son Amar Singh explaining his absence due to indigestion. Though the event infuriated the emperor, he decided to send yet other mission. The third mission was sent under the father of Man Singh, Raja Bhagwan Dass of Amber who too returned disappointed. The last peaceful mission was dispatched under Raja Todar Mal in winter. However this too proved futile.

Battlefield

On April 3, 1576 Raja Man Singh departed from Ajmer with the able assistance of Asaf Khan, Paymaster General, Sayyad Hashim, Barha, Sayyad Ahmad, Raja Jagan Nath Kachhwaha, Mehtar Khan, commander of Ranthombore and Rai Lun Karan Kachhwaha. The forces pushed on to Mandal Garh to garner chiefs and army along with the organization of the line of Communication.

The Maharana discovered about Man Singh‟s preparations and began with his. Pratap had the support of staunch men comprising of Raja Ram Shah of Gwalior along with his sons, Salivahan Bhawani Singh and Pratap; Jhala Man Sajjawat of Delwara, Jhala Bida alias Mana Sultanot of Sadri, Dodiya Bheem of Sardargarh, Rawat Krishna Dass Choondawat of Saloombar, Rawat Sanga of Deogarh, Rwat Netsi Sarangdevot of Kanod, Rathor Ram Dass of Badnor, Barhats Jaisa and Keshav of Soniyana, Sandoo Ram, Sonigarha Man Singh, Bhama Shah and Tara Chand, Purohits Gopinath and Jagannath, Parihar kalian, Mehtas Jaimull, Ratan Chand Khetawat, Rathor Shankar Dass, Rana Poonja, the Bhil Cheifatin of Merpur; and the Afghan, Hakim Soor.

Since, Maharana Pratap had left waste the plains, nothing germane could be extorted and the imperial armed forces had to depend on Udaipur which was already under their rule. In the mid June, Man Singh advanced to Gogunda. The best alternative available with Mewar was to tempt the imperial forces into the hilly terrain, considering the fact that Rana was the champion of Guerilla Warfare. Moreover, the cannon power of Mughals was also futile in the hilly terrains. However, with his astute Pratap gave up the advantage as they were not in a position to undergo the experimental risk. Man Singh‟s strategy was to entice Pratap in the open plains also because it was very near to Akbar and he could reinforce any amount of army men as and when required, but all went in vain. Man Singh was left with no choice and had to advance at the foot of Haldi, Molela. 

The Bhils always kept Rana Kika (Bhils affectionately referred Maharana Pratap as Rana Kika, Kika meaning son) well-informed about each movement of the rival power. The mughal army then pressed on to Loseeng, some 8 miles south-west of Haldighati. On the night preceding the battle, the Mughal army pushed north eastward to Balicha, separated merely by 6 miles from the rival.

Man Singh subsequently planned to head to Gogunda in a three-pronged movement. 

1. The Central forces would take the direct route through Badshahi Bag and the tapered passage of Balicha, Sangath, Haldighati, Kaloda and Loseeng.

2. The Left Wing would proceed from a route running south of it via Unwas and Sembal which would amalgamate with the central forces near Kaloda.

3. The Right Wing would forge ahead from the right bank of river to Daboon and would merge with the central forces near Kaloda.

This three-pronged movement was not only beneficial to circumvent undue delay but also the possibility to run into forces of Pratap in the hilly track which could then be encompassed due to the narrow confines of the valley.

Honouring Women

Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan was appointed as the Governor of Ajmer on June 16, 1580 also the commander of Akbar's Mewar campaign. He was sent by Akbar to capture the Maharana, abduct Hindu women and destroy temples. The Khan-i-Khanan leaving his family at Shcrpura led an expedition against the Rana. The Maharana withdrew to his hilly head-quarters of Dholan as the Mirza was proceeding further and fruther to capture him.  In the meantime Kunwar Amar Singh by his daring efforts invaded Shernura to divert the attention of the Mughal general. He was also successful in capturing the Rahim's contingent and family inlcuding women. He brought the captured women before Maharana. But Maharana Pratap was very furious. [ref] [ref]

"Why did you capture these women. Do you not know that we fight Dharmayuddha? If we do this, what is the difference between us (Hindus) and them (Muslims)?"

Maharana ordered Amar Singh to set the women free and return them back to the Mirza's place with all the necessary honour and respect. [ref] [ref]

When Rahim heard of this, his entire attitude towards his enemy changed. He had a genuine change of heart. He praised the Maharana and Mewar. He also began exploring Hindu Dharma and India. He began writing poems in praise of Krishna. He became more Hindu than Muslim. All the Rahim's Dohas were penned by him. This was the impact of the Maharana. [ref]

First Battle of Dewair

The First Battle of Dewair, a forgotten war for freedom, was fought between Maharana Pratap and the Mughal in 1582. The Maharana attacked the Mughal stations camped at the village of Dewair. Behlol Khan, the Mughal Commander at Dewair, retaliated against the Mewari forces.

A fierce battle followed, and Behlol Khan was brutally killed by Pratap. His death caused commotion in the Mughal camp, and soon the Mughal soldiers started fleeing the battlefield. The Mewari forces brutally destroyed the Mughals and avenged the damages of Haldighati. The Maharana emerged as the glorious victor, while his son Kunwar Amar Singh also showed exemplary valour in the battlefield.

After victory was sought at Dewair, the Maharana with the vision of recovering and reestablishing his control over Kumbhalgarh, camped at the bamks of a bank near the fortress. The outcome of Dewair frightened the imperial Mughal army to such an extent that they also fled Kumbhalgarh without a fight. The mighty fortress of Kumbhalgarh was regained and restored to the pride of Mewar. [ref]

Consolidation and Death

With his powerful army, Pratap led many battles and conquests. He managed to regain control over many forts including Pinsahra, Devair, Udaipur, Komalmir, etc. He relentlessly tried to regain control over Chittor for twenty years but he didn't manage to occupy the fort. And on 19th January 1597, the brave Rana Pratap took his last breath. 

Succession

Legacy

Literature

In one of his writings on Pratap,  the famous British antiquarian Col. James Tod mentioned that, “There is not a pass in the Alpine Aravalli that is not sanctified by some deed of Maharana Pratap – some brilliant victory, or oftener, more glorious defeat.” [ref] [ref]

Pratap Gaurav Kendra Rashtriya Tirth 

Pratap Gaurav Kendra
World's Largest Metal Statue of Maharana Pratap at Pratap Gaurav Kendra (Height - 57 Ft.)

The Pratap Gaurav Kendra Rashtriya Tirth is located at Tiger Hills in the city of Udaipur, Rajasthan. The Pratap Gaurav Kendra aims at providing detailed information about the history and achievements of the 54th custodian of Mewar - Maharana Pratap Singh. The Tirth enables one to contemplate over Hindu Dharma & culture and revisit the inspiring life of great personages of our society. One can cruise through the awe inspiring history of Maharana Pratap, Mewar, Rajasthan and Bharat as a whole. In the Kendra, idols of the great personalities of Mewar including those of Bappa Rawal, Maharana Kumbha, Maharana Sanga, Maharani Padmini Devi, Mirabai, Panna Dhay, Udai Singh and others have been installed in the centre which will also have a light and sound show. [ref]

This project was the brainchild of  Veteran Sangh Pracharak Shri Sohan Singh, who aspired Maharana Pratap to become the icon for the youth of the country. To materialise his vision, the Veer Shiromani Maharana Pratap Samiti was formed in 2002 and 25 bigha land for the project was purchased in 2007.

The first phase of the project was inaugurated by RSS Sarsangchalak Mohan ji Bhagwat on 28 November 2016. The then Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje & Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria were present on the occasion. [ref]

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