Second Battle Of Dewair





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Second Battle Of Dewair

This very infamous battle was fought in the year 1605 between Rana Amar Singh I and Mughals in the Aravalli hills near Kumbalgarh . Although Rajputs emerged victorious in this Battle but after this battle a series of campaigns were launched by the Mughals in order to capture Mewar .

Accession of Maharana Amar Singh

In sharp contrast to the failure of Mughal arms and policy in Bangash stands the reduction and conciliation of Mewar, the sole remnant of Rajput independence. The Rajput spirit appears in its very quintessence in the chequered annals of Mewar.[ref]

Although Pratap’s work of reform and consolidation had done much to improve the tone of the administration in Mewar and added to the security and safety of the people, yet there remained certain problems which demanded immediate attention. The prolonged warfare with the Mughals had squandered all the peaceful economy that was accumulated over the years and led Mewar to the edge of financial crisis ( ruin ).The long wars with the Mughals had enhanced the importance of feudal order and had led to mutual rivalry among the most prominent loyal serviceman  of the mewar state  i.e - between Chundawats'- and Saktawat. Such was the condition when Maharana Amar Singh, the eldest son of Pratap became the ruler of Mewar after the death of his father Maharana Pratap in Chavand on 19 January 1597.[ref]     

Amar singh had been his fathers  constant companion and the partner of his toils and dangers. Initiated by his noble sire in every act of mountain strife, familiar with its perils, he entered on his career in the very flower of manhood, already attended by sons able to maintain whatever his sword might recover of his patrimony. [ref]

He swore to take care of their fight against the Mughals and to re-conquer Chittorgarh. [ref]

While the liana was engaged in putting his house in order and making preparations for defence he had to face in 15 99 A. D. an encounter with prince Salim, who was ordered by the emperor to proceed with a view to subdue Amar Singh.  The prince loitered in ease and paid  a short visit to Udaipur  and spent the rest of his time roaming in and around Ajmer. However his lethargy was more than counterbalanced by his lieutenants who exerted themselves with vigour and succeeded in establishing strong outposts at Ontala, Mohi, Bagore, Mandal, Mandalgarh, Chittor and several other places. [ref] 

But the Rajputs offered a gallant resistance. Amar Singh led the attack on all the hostile outposts. The war took its usual course. The Rajputs plundered Balpur and several other places in the Imperial territory, but were repulsed by the Mughals who retaliated by ravaging their fields and burning their habitations. Several thousands of the natives were made prisoners. The Rajputs retreated into the hills. The operations were, however, suddenly brought Interrupted  to a  sudden standstill as  Raja Man Singh was urgently called to Bengal and the disaffected Salim marched away towards Agra. [ref]

The news of the failure of this expedition highly displeased the emperor, who in 1605 A. D. again ordered  Salim to resume the enterprise with vigour. A large force was placed at his disposal and several Amirs and Omras like Jagannath, Madho Singh, Sadiq Khan, Hashim Khan, Islam Kuli, Sher Beg, Amir Beg etc., were ordered to accompany the prince to accomplish the conquest of Mewar. [ref]

But the liturgical prince practically refused to move. The emperor contemplated sending prince Khusrav and Sagar to conduct the campaign, but owing to his illness and his subsequent death it came to nothing  [ref]  

Second Battle of Dewair

The proudest achievement of Jahangir was the subjugation of the Rana of Mewar. Jahangir had a guilty conscience about Mewar, for the task of subduing Rana had been twice entrusted to him by Akbar, and on both occasions he had shirked the responsibility. The issue between the emperor and the Rana was largely one of face, not of territory or power. The Mughals had already seized the plains of Mewar, and had driven the Rana deep into the mountains, so there was nothing more for them to take from him, except his pride. Yet the Rana, despite all his hardships and his near total isolation, would not submit. So on his accession to the throne Jahangir at once adopted his father’s foreign policy on all fronts of the empire. [ref] 

When jahangir became the emperor in his  very first year of his reign, Nov. (1605 A. D.)  dispatched an army of 22,000 horse well equipped with artillery and treasury against the Rana under the command of Parviz and Asar Khan Jafar Beg.  Abdur Razzaq Mamuri was appointed Bakhshi and Mukhtar Beg, paternal uncle of Asaf Khan, diwan to Parvez. Raja Jagannath, son of Raja Bhar Mai, and a high nobleman of the rank of 5,000, was to add his contingent to the force. Rana Sagar, uncle of Rana Amar Singh, 11 too was deputed to accompany the expedition against Amar Singh .  The Mughal forces were commanded by Sultan Khan. The Mughal army was received by Mewar’s army at passage around Dewair. [ref]  In 1606, Rana Amar Singh defeated and killed the imperial commander  Sultan Khan, the Mughal prince Muhammad Parviz fled from the battlefield along side his commander Asaf Khan.The imperial army was disgracefully beaten and fled towards Ajmer.[ref] 

The Rana who had made remarkable progress in the occupation of his lost parts, organized his military power in such a way as to meet the enemy from the fronts of Deo Suri, Badnor, Mandalgarh and Maadal. From the Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri it appears (that the Mughal commanders could make no fair progress. The bards  claim a crushing victory for the Rajputs over the Mughal forces at the pass of Dewair while the persian historians clearly state that the campaign ,  inclined decidedly in favour of their patrons  ( Mughals). As a matter of fact while each side did win solitary engagements, there was no decisive battle at all The borderland was, of course, mercilessly ravaged and the inhabitants driven from their abodes[ref]Finding the affairs arduous, prince Parviz opened peace negotiations with the Ranas men at Mandalgarh . But at this juncture Khusrau's revolt and the imperial forces were recalled  by the emperor . So Jagannath  was left in charge of the campaign, but nothing substantial came out of this expedition.  So with this the second  battle of Dewair was ended[ref]


Short Summary

Jahangir didn't stop after the successive defeat in Battle of Dewair and in 1608, sent another army under Mahabat Khan during which the Mughals won but they may not make any decisive change to the ground situation. Seventeen pitched battles were fought by Amar Singh after the death of Maharana Pratap, when Jahangir assembled a yet more mighty army under prince Khurram (Shah Jahan). Rana Amar Singh alongside his son Karan Singh again resolved to fight, but the forces were unmatched and caused much damage to life and property of Mewar. Ultimately in 1615, Amar Singh entered into a treaty with Emperor (who negotiated on behalf of Jahangir).[ref]

Mughal Campaign under Mahabat Khan 

In order to bring the Mewar campaign to a successful conclusion  the emperor sent another contingent  comprising  of 12,000 ‘ fully-armed  expeditionaries  which had  500  ahadis, 2,000 musketeers, sixty  elephants, eighty pieces of small artillery mounted on camels and elephants, with a sum of twenty lakhs of rupees for expenses. under the command of a great leader, Mahabat Khan  In order to exalt his position a high rank was conferred upon him and those who were' ordered to follow him were also rewarded. Being helped by some of the ablest officers and an efficient army,  Mahabat Khan opened the campaign with great vigour and energy. The impression which he produced on the brave Rajputs contributed to the growth of the legend that he himself was a Rajput by birth. He marched through the country breaking through Rajput defences and carried death and destruction wherever he went. Several soldiers were slain in the action and a large number of Rajput warriors were imprisoned. His victorious arms reached up to the Girwa which made the Rana retreat into the hilly tracts of Mewar . Raja Kishan Singh, one of the subordinates of Mahabat Khan, inflicted a severe defeat on the Rajputs, slaying twenty of their nobles and capturing about 3,000 of their soldiers.[ref]

But while success leaned to the Mughals was short-lived as the Mughals neither failed to make head against the forest-covered hills and vales of Mewar ; nor could they effectively meet the guerilla tactics of their foes. The Rajputs did not desist from making surprise attacks on the enemy[ref]

The daring action of Bagh and Megh Singh as described by the local peoples, which checked the progress of the enemy and turned the tables against him.  One of the most famous incident  was that - During one night Bagh Singh dispatched his followers in the disguise of melon-sellers with their buffaloes loaded with artillery pretending to sell melons. When they reached the portals of Mahabat’s camp, an equal number of the buffaloes who were made to lurk in the forest rushed out with oil-soaked rags tied to their horns and set fire to the artillery and the camp of the enemy. This created confusion in the Mughal camp. Amid such chaos and confusion three hundred Rajput soldiers attempted a night attack and made the confusion worse. Mahabat was forced to retreat, leaving his baggage and other materials of war at the mercy of the Rajputs who plundered them. The success that the Mughals acquired in more than one place was thus foiled by Bagh’s daring night attack on the Mughal camp.[ref] 

The campaign thus ended not in a complete defeat but a confused rout of the Mughals who could not meet the guerilla tactics of the foes. Mahabat left Mewar in despair under the command of  Sagar and Jagannath Kachhawaha .

Mughal Campaign Under Abdullah Khan

So in  1609 Mahabat Khan was replaced by Abdullah Khan who was a valorous soldier, a rash commander, and a cruel ruthless sort of man. For  him a  large force consisting of 12000 men were deployed to carry out the war against Mewar . With Abdullah as dieir chief leader, the Mughals  assumed the offensive with full vigour . From his military station of Kumbhalmer, Abdullah Khan opened the campaign with characteristic force and also at the same time  He attacked Mihrpur, the refuge of Rana and though he failed to capture But  compelled the Rajputs to retreat in the wild forests[ref]

On hearing the reports of this success the emperor was pleased and granted honour and awards to meritorious and deserving men of the army.  As the author of the Maasir-ul-Umara Samsam ud Daula Shah Nawaz Khan observes, Abdullah made a name for himself as  the emperor  raised him to the rank of 5,000 and bestowed on him the lofty title of Firoz Jang.  But the imperial success was short-lived.  The Rajputs in their part retaliated by devastating the Mughal territory in Malwa, Gujarat, Ajmer and Godwad .  As Mukand Das and Bhim inflicted a severe defeat on Abdullah at the sacred pass of  Ranpur, near Kumbhalgarh. Although Abdullah suffered a heavy defeat at the pass of the sacred Ranpoor, on the whole, it must be admitted that he was able to manage the  campaign remarkably  well [ref]

The next commander to be sent to Mewar was Raja Basu46 (1612 A. D.). He was a careless general who made no headway against the Rajputs. He was suspected of being in alliance with  Rajputs . He was recalled and his post was filled by Mirza Aziz Koka (1613 A. D.) [ref]'

Prince Khurram and Mewar Campaign 

But as there was no improvement in the situation Jahangir resolved to take the command in his own hands. Therefore, he invested Khurram with the supreme command of the army unbinded for service against the Rana. Aziz Koka and Mirza Khan Azam were sent along with him. A reinforcement of 12,000 cavalry was also dispatched to join him. Fidai Khan  was appointed as pay master of this army and other officers of repute were ordered to join the prince with their  contingents . He made out a plan so as to cover the whole of Mewar as a theatre of operation, and directed the die movement of the entire army to a common end [ref]Prince Khurram conducted his campaign with consummate ability, ruthless severity, and extraordinary  good fortune. Reinforced by Abdullah Khan  Prince Khurram and other Deccan offiecres  Khurram  detached a body of 5,000 soldiers  under the command of  Muhammad Taqi, to march in front and ravage the country. Fields and orchards were burnt, villages and towns were plundered, and temples were demolished. But the distinctive feature of Khurram’ s campaign was his plan to starve out the Rajputs in their mountain retreats.   So  Military stations were established all over the country, specially about  the entrances to passes,  and valleys were blocked , to cut off all supplies of Rajputs  .He instituted six military stations under different commanders Jamal Khan Turki at Mandal, Dost Beg at Kapasin, ayyid Kazi at Ontala, Arab Khan at Nahar Magra, Shiliab Khan at Debari and some other general at Dabok[ref] .

After occupying these   places, the prince proceeded to Udaipur. He established lines of communication between the various Mughal posts and posted his trusted followers at various key-points in Mcwar. His pressure made the Rajputs run to their hilly shelters. But Khurram did not allow them any rest there either. He sent his four officers of repute at the head of a contingent of troops to the hilly parts of the interior of Mewar. The Rajputs, on their part displayed great courage and vigour in the face of the grim spectre of defeat that started them in the face. Kunwar Bhim repelled the march of the imperialist troops led by Taqiand bewildered them by night attacks. At other points Dungar Singh, Mohan Das, Duda Sangawat etc. showed their gallant action and died a heroic death while defending the land. But this was nothing before the superior military tactics employed by the prince as the Mughals succeeded   in capturing seventeen elephants including ‘Alara Kaman', and sent them to the emperor on 9th March, 1614 A. D. The prince's troops began covering themselves with glory in all quarters and every important part of Mewar was slowly going down before his military organization and power of diplomacy[ref]The Mughal historians frankly acknowledge the undaunted heroism which Rajput bands of warriors always displayed and which struck terror into the heart of many  Mughal officers. A night attack led by one of the sons of Rana Amar Singh was repelled only with the utmost difficulty by Muhammad Taqi[ref]

Peace Treaty of 1615

Yet, in spite of all that the Rajputs did and in spite of the ravages of the climate, and the inclemencies of the weather, the Prince persisted in the operations regardless of the burning heats and torrential rains, wild forests and pestilential swamps and compelled the Rana to enter into an open negotiation   because  the war had an immediate effect in the interior organization of the country as the  long war of attrition had already exhausted the Rana’s scant resources, and now relentless military pressure broke his will to fight. The whole structure within was loosening itself by the loss of veteran warriors. At last dismayed by the heavy odds arrayed against them, the nobles of Mewar, who saw their lands devastated, their villages burnt, their associates killed or wounded urged the Rana to enter into a peace with the prince.  So in 1615  Amar Singh accordingly opened negotiations with Prince Khurram through his uncle, Shubh Karan, and his confidential officer Hari Das lal . The prince sent the Rajput representatives to the imperial head-quarters at Ajmer in company of Mulla Shukrullah Shirazi and Sunder Das recommending that there was no surer way of earning the approbation of the Rana than by maintaining friendly relations with the Sisodias[ref]

Terms and Conditions

Jahangir gave his consent to the proposal but only one irksome condition was imposed  Mewar  including the fort of Chittor was to be restored to rana as his watan jagir ( which was a great gain for the Rana ) but the Mughals secured their interests by laying down the conditions that the fort of Chittor should never be repaired or fortified .The treaty of 1615 A. D. terminated almost a century old struggle between the two ruling houses. It must be regarded as a political triumph for Jahangir and a personal triumph for Khurram. The treaty between Amar Singh and Jahangir stands on a different plain from that between a Mughal ruler and any other Rajput chief of Rajasthan. As per this treaty, the Emperor Jahangir, to his infinite credit, adopted a most conciliatory policy towards the vanquished foe, abstaining from all interference in the internal politics of Mewar, fully respecting the Rana’s sense of honour . Whereas other Rajput rulers were required to attend the imperial Durbar in person, the Rana was exempted and it was agreed to the emperor that he would be represented by his crown prince. The humiliating practice of a matrimonial alliance which other Rajput chiefs had entered with the Mughal ruling family was not included in the terms of the treaty. The treaty not only accorded special treatment to theRana but at the same time it reflected statesmanship and generosity on the part of Jahangir and his son Khurram[ref]

Like his father, the Prince Khurram  rose equal to the occasion and treated the fallen foe with all possible courtesy and esteem. He performed the usual salutations. Prince Khurram embraced the rana , seated him by his side, and conversed familiarly with him, honouring him and his officers with superb dresses, jewelled swords, horses and elephants[ref]. After Amar Singh’s formal surrender, Khurram and Karan Singh, the crown prince of Mewar, set out for Ajmer, where the emperor was then encamped. Jahangir appointed Karan Singh as a commander of 5000, a high rank. Jahangir commemorated his victory over Mewar by installing full-size marble statues of Amar Singh and Karan Singh in his palace [ref].

Critical Analysis of Peace treaty of 1615

Amar Singh has often been condemned for tameness and cowardice. It may be admitted at once that he. was not made of the same mettle as Maharana Pratap, but even the latter could  not have done anything more than hold out a few years longer. The interest of the people of Mewar demanded peace at the sacrifice of independence as that sacrifice meant nothing more than the bare recognition of Imperial suzerainty. Some casual observers find fault with Amar Singh for giving up the struggle and entering into a treaty with the Mughals. According to them the restoration ofChitor was hedged with conditions and, therefore, was worse than useless. The sending of a Rajput contingent at the Mughal court from Mewar was a humiliation to the people of the state and betokened subservienceThe above criticism is based on sentiment and ignores the sufferings to which Mewar had been subjected by the prolonged warfare. The country had to pay a price for peace. Those who condemn the treaty do not seem to realize the consequences of the prolonged struggle. It was an unequal war in which eventually Mewar was bound to perish sooner or later. If, as the critics say, war was bound to recur, two generations of peace gave the Rana enough of strength to fight with a better chance of success. Hence barring sentimental satisfaction the treaty proved to be beneficial for Mewar.

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