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Maharana Pratap -The Great Patriot

Article by Sharad Lodha

History is full with stories of courage and honour about leaders those who were rich of material resources, but it’s rare to find a leader like Maharana Pratap and his loyal followers who had only hardships to offer. The name “Maharana Pratap” has always been held in great honour and respect. Maharana Pratap has always been projected as the premier of patriotism, freedom and independence.

 Birth and early life of Rana Pratap

Rana Pratap was born to father Maharana Udai Singh II and mother Maharani Javantha Bai Songara on 9th May 1540, (Jyestha Sudi), third day of Vikram Era 1597 in Ardh Naksatra. Though born at Kumbhalgarh fort, some historians believe it to be “Juni Kacheri” near Pali District. His birth was considered auspicious and predictions were made about the Glory he will bring to the clan. His education was worthy of a prince and early he mastered the warfare tactics and weaponry.

Jealousy among the queens of Udai Singh however, resulted in depriving Maharana Pratap from father’s love and royalty and forced him to live in village below the ridge of Chittorgarh. There he was raised by his maternal grandfather Akheraj Sonagar(pali) who soon died in a battle.

Maharana Pratap got married to Ajabade(daughter of Rao Ram Rakh Panwar), at the age of 17 and were soon blessed by a son named Amar Singh.

  Physique of Rana Pratap There is no confirmed source written in the history of mewar which would authenticate the physical structure of Rana Pratap.  

Coronation of “Rana Pratap”

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Maharana Udai Singh II died at the early age of 42 in “Gogunda”, leaving behind twenty-five sons. Setting aside the established laws of “Primogenitor”, he proclaimed his favorite son “Jagmall” his successor. But surprisingly, in a coronation performed at Gogunda Maharana Pratap was crowned the 54th king in the lineage of Sisodia Rajputs Girding Pratap with the sword, thrice touching the ground, hailed him the “King of Mewar” when Jagmall too was moved out of the seat by Rawat Kistna and ex-prince of Gwalior.

Akbars Motive

By the year 1573, Akbar the then Mughal king had control of Chittorgarh. But to realize his dream of being the Jahanpanah of Hindustan he needed to bring the ruling state of Mewar under him which wouldn’t be possible under the rule of Maharana Pratap.

Akbar sent six diplomats to get Maharana Pratap agree to the former’s servitude whereby the sovereignty and honor of Mewar would remain intact.

However, Maharan Pratap turned down each one of them. The last of these missions were headed by Raja Man Singh, the brother-in-law of Akbar and king of Amber (Jaipur).  Even the lack of recourses never lured him and he scorned comfort and luxury when they had to be bought at the cost of his independence.

For a quarter of a century he withstand the combined effects of the Mogul empire; at one time carrying destruction into the plains, at another flying from rock to rock, feeding his family from fruits of the jungle, and rearing the nursling Hero Amar Singh, amidst savage beasts, and scarce less savage men. Though wealth and fortune tempted the fidelity of his chiefs, not one was found enough to abandon him.

A Short Introduction of the battlegrounds

Warfare Tactics and the Heroes

“Guerrilla Warfare” had been in existence since times unknown, but Rana Pratap was probably the first to use “Organized Guerrilla Warfare” against a mighty enemy and very successfully administered a disastrous blow to the Mughal army.

ranapunjaMany, at times it seemed that Rana Pratap was on the verge of being victorious. To lead his battle against the Mughals Maharana Pratap has the bravest of all brave leaders- Jhala Bida, Hakim Khan Sur, Poonja Bhil ( in photo) including Raja Ram Shah of Gwalior, Rawat Netsi of Kanod, Kishandas Chundawat of Salumber, Bheem singh Dodiya, Ramdas Rathore of Badnore, Shankardas Rathore of Kelwa, Jhala Maan of Delwara, Ram Singh Sandoo, Jaisa Barhat and Keshav Barhat were few of the leaders who laid their lives for the brave Rana Pratap in his efforts to keep the lamp of Independence burning.

  The Brave Tribe of Bhils

Rana Pratap had the very strong support of the indigenous tribe of Mewar- Bhils, who fought with him to till end and sacrificed their lives for the Honor of their ruler.

Rana Pratap made his descendants Vow that until he brings back the glory of Chittor, he would sleep on straw bed and eat off a Pattras (leaf Plate). Rana Pratap could not win back Chittor and even today, many Rajput follows that promise and places a leaf under their plates and a straw under their bed.

 

Battle of Haldighati 1576 A.D.

pratap-jyanati-2011-2

Akbar launched an offensive against Rana Pratap in A.D. 1576 after all the efforts, to bring Rana Pratap to his servitude failed. Akbar established his headquarters at Ajmer and this became one of the 22 subahs of Akbar’s empire.

As a “Guerilla Warfare” tactic Rana Pratap restricted his region in the mountains of Aravali i.e from north to south, Kumbhalgarh to Rishabdev and from west to south Mirpur to Satola. The faithful aborigines “ The Bhils” took to field, with Rana Pratap with their ordinary weapon the Bow and Arrow and huge stones ready to roll upon the combatant enemy, above and below the Rajputs were posted and on the cliffs and pinnacles the “Bhils”.

To save the honor of their land against the mighty Mughal army with the strength of Two Lakh soldiers. There stood the Twenty Two thousand on that day 7th of Sawan Sanwat 1632(July 1576), for the defense of Haldighati and only eight thousand quitted the field alive.

The Turn around

The turning point again came in 1582 when Rana Pratap Inflicted a crushing defeat to the Mughal army in Dewair( the northern entry point of Mewar connecting Marwar, Gujarat, Malwa and Ajmer). From this battle onwards Rana Pratap moved from being defensive to Offensive and in a very short time he regained all the lost land of Mewar except Ajmer and Chittor.

 

The legend of Maharana Pratap

moti-magri

The Legendary Maharana Pratap’s Gratitude can be summerised in two incidents.

To save the honor of their land against the mighty Mughal army with the strength of Two Lakh soldiers. There stood the Twenty Two thousand on that day 7th of Sawan Sanwat 1632(July 1576), for the defense of Haldighati and only eight thousand quitted the field alive.

One day Raja Man Singh the commander in chief of the Mughal army was out hunting with a few hundred of his troops. Pratap’s Bhil spy reported this to him at his camp a few kilometers away and as he seems to be on a hunting sprawl he can be easily targeted but Maharana Pratap straight forwardly refused to back stab him and defeat him other than that on a battlefield. Other time the women from the family of Abdur Rahim Khankhana(Mogul commander) were captured by  Pratap’s son Amar Singh, and presented in front of the Rana.

At this point of time, Khankhana was actually on the march against Pratap, and was camping at Sherpur. Infuriated and not withstanding this act, immediately Pratap commanded his son Amar Singh to arrange for the safe conveyance of the mogul ladies to their camp. Khankhana was so affected by this incident that he refused to fight against such a chivalrous monarch. He petitioned Akbar to be relieved of his post and was subsequently (in 1581) appointed guardian of Akbar’s own son,Salim.

The After Story

chetak

After the Haldighati Battle, Mughal Emperor Akbar made repeated attempts to capture or kill Maharana Pratap, but he did not succeed. Where in the year 1576 he captured Udaipur and named it Mohammadabad and likewise Chittorgarh was named Akbarabad (source), both the names were never accepted. Maharana Pratap served (struggled) for 25 years and died a peaceful death on January 19, 1597 at Chawand, the capital founded by him in deep hills south of Udaipur, the reason of his death being injury caused during a hunting game.

Maharana Pratap’s arch foe Mogul Emperor Akbar is believed to have shed tears at end of this brave warrior, because he was the only ruler who refused to compromise his honor for comfort & safety and, in the end, he died a proud and free king. Maharana Pratap was affectionately called “KIKA” especially by the tribal’s and the poets.

Maharana Pratap left behind him 17 sons and 5 daughters. It is said that on his death bed the Rana made his eldest son, Amar Singh swear to keep the torch of independence burning and the “aan” of his motherland intact from the “Turks”.

It is a very sad saga; we do not have any original portrait of the person we worship so deeply. It is said that there was only one portrait of Rana Pratap made during his struggle against the Moguls, and that one was taken by the British.

This work is collection and research complied by the author from various sources including text and web, this website is not responsible for the authenticity of the content. All photos and pictures used in this article are works of respected owners and this site take no authority of any graphic material used.

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Comments

  1. says

    देश-भक्ति,स्वतंत्रता ,स्वाभिमान,सहिष्णुता,पराक्रम और शौर्य के लहराते सरोवर व प्रेरणास्त्रोत राणा प्रताप को मेरा शत-शत नमन |

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    • Satish Singh says

      देश-भक्ति,स्वतंत्रता ,स्वाभिमान,सहिष्णुता,पराक्रम और शौर्य के लहराते सरोवर व प्रेरणास्त्रोत राणा प्रताप को मेरा शत-शत नमन |

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  2. Dr Satya Prakash Mehra says

    Dear Writer & Readers,
    Greetings!

    It is indeed good article to know about the great personality of Maharana Pratap, pride of India.

    I would like to request a group, if anyone could furnish me reference for his life of exile after Haldighati War…..????????? Means where he lived after Haldighati War?

    Do respond me on my email

    Thanks in advance for all who will help me in my search….

    Regards
    Dr Satya Prakash Mehra
    Conservation Biologist
    Sudan

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    • Sharad Lodha says

      Dr. Mehra,
      Thanks for asking. I would like to enlighten you that after the escape from Haldighati, Rainy season had set in so the mughal forces impeded operations and Rana Pratap got a few months of repose.But in the spring the mughals again returned and Rana Pratap had to take post in Kumbhalgarh, where he made a gallant resistance and did not retire till their sole resourse of water the “naugun well” went impure.To the treachry of the deora chief of abu , who was now with Akbar, this deed is imputed.(anals of mewar by colonel todd pg.396). On the fall of kumbhalgarh, the castles of Dharmeta and Gogunda were invested by RajaMan and Udaipur was given under the posession of Mahabat Khan. Pratap thence withdrew to Chawand. and from then onwards he declared it his capital, he never stayed at one place though, because the mughal army was always behind him, but till the end of his life he did not evacuate chawand.

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  3. shiv says

    Battle of HALDIGHATI is more powerful and brave than the spartans battle shown in 300. Hope some INDIAN director provides justice to this brave story with his creative work.
    Also the brave CHETAK is truly inspirational.
    J HIND!!!

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  4. Naresh Sharma says

    Dear Freinds,
    Shri Maharana Pratap was a true and inspirational hero of India. He has become immortal and source of inspiration for us. What has happen to Indian people of today who are bringing disgrace to us. Some Indian directors should take up this subject seriously and present the people the PRIDE OF INDIA. SHREE MAHARANA PRATAP.

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  5. kantibhusan biswas says

    After the defeat H.ghat, THE GREAT RANA had to fled here and th grew hungry and thirstyere accompanied with Maharani AND his beloved tender aged daughter.WHILE WANDERING with broken heart even in jungles and rural walk-ways, his dtr grew hungry.at this tragic scene,his heartily moved and gathered a poor amount of some grass-seeds and made a roti and gave it his daughter.But alas! a squirrel suddenly snatched it.At this sight ,without breaking down,regained energy and tried to unified his soldiers and prepared himself face the mughal power .

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  6. Soumistha Banerjee says

    When Akbar is depicted as a benevolent & friendly person, it happens to be caricature of history. He neither spared Hindus nor the Muslims of his time.Remember the story of Habba Khatun (Kashmir). An extremely lecherous character with equally blood thirsty trait . Aurangzeb was a saint in comparison to this monster.He accommodated the greedy Hindu kings through marriage in his service as servants.
    It was only Maharana Pratap, who never allowed his Sun crested Ensign to bow down before this invader.And please remember also Pratapaditya of Jessore, Bengal, who gave life fighting the monostrous mughal army commanded by traitor Man Singh.

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  7. Dr.Bindeshwari Prasad Singh says

    Maqharana Pratap Bharatiya Swatantrya Samar ke ek Apratim Yoddha the jinhone apne jiteji Akbar ko sarva sammat Jahapnah nahi banane diya.
    DESHBHAKTI KE CHIR PRATEEK PRATAP AUR UNKE CHETAK KO KOTI KOTI PRANAM.

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    • ANANDSINGH SISODIYA says

      Weight of Talwar- 25 Kg Each x 02
      Weight of Bhala- 100Kg
      Clothing- 72Kg
      Mukut- 12kg
      All extra accessories if included the total weight of accessories is 225kg. Then after
      he use to ride his horse CHETAK.

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  8. govind solanki says

    salute to maharana pratap. idiol of rajput’s such a great person. koi mujhe chittorgarh ke bare main batayega mera waha jane ka bahut man h qki mere papaji batate h ki hamare purvaj wahi ke rehne wale the

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  9. Dheeraj Menaria says

    Truly divine Personalty That inspires Us today & Will be Till Dooms Day ,Kika Was Has Own so Much Love nd respect That Even Entire Encyclopedia Written About pratap Will Not Be Enough To Define Who Was Pratap

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  10. Vasu Bansal says

    अभी टीवी पर दो ऐतिहासिक सीरियल जोधा अकबर और महाराणा प्रताप दिखाए जा रहें है. कहीं कहीं पर इनके विरोध की भी खबर है. असली बात तो आज के युग में अगर इसके द्वारा कुछ प्रयास किया जा रहा है तो १९-२० को नज़रंदाज़ करना चाहिए. आज के सतही ज़माने में पुरानी संस्कृति और जानकारी का होना बहुत जरूरी है. अन्यथा हम अपने इतिहास को ही भूल जायेंगे. ये दोनों सीरियल एक ही समय काल के भी है.

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  11. Gaurab laskar says

    maharana pratap is the greatest hero ever.he is a true legend. we need to learn patriotism from him.he redefines the word patriotism.he was far better human being & brave warrior compair to akbar.

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  12. Gaurab laskar says

    maharana pratap the greatest hero of all time . he re-defined the word patriotism.we need to learn patriotism from him.he was far better human being & brave warrior compare to akbar.. mahana pratapji was a true hero.salute u SIR………………..

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  13. Anmol Jain says

    Maharana Pratap ko ko shat shat naman agar Maharana Pratap nahi hote to shayad Hindustan itni mushkilo me hota ki koi bhi Hindustan ko bacha na sakta lekin aaj Maharana Pratap ke hi Karen hum aram re rahe hai to ase desh bhakt ko mera Anmol Jain ka shat shat naman muje Maharana Pratap ke koi bhi foundection se judna hai my email adress skyway_intbsw@yahoo.co.in

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  14. Subir Sinharoy says

    I live in USA. Can anybody tell me how can I get the book on Rajputana History and detail history on the life of Maharana Pratap ? Is therew in book store that can ship to me from India ? Please let me know.
    Thanks.

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