Maharana Pratap, the eldest son of the founder of Udaipur Maharana Udai Singh was born to Sonagari Queen Jayawanti on Jyestha Sudi third day of Vikram Era 1597 (i.e. May 9, 1540) Sunday at 47 Ghati 13 Pal past sunrise. Born is Ardra Naksatra, his birth was considered not only auspicious but the astrologers also made the prediction that the child will bring shining glory to the name of the clan.
He was initiated into education and leasing worthy of a prince and, when adult, he mastered the skills in the use of arms and weapons including horse riding. But owing to mutual jealousy among the queens of Udai Singh, he was deprived of his father’s have and affection, and was forced live in a village below the ridge of Chittorgarh. His maternal grand father Akheraj Sonagar (pali) had died in the battle of Sumel Girari in 1600 Vikram Era. Thus, neither he received the from his father nor did he get maternal grand father’s care for long.
First Marriage of Pratap and Founding of Udaipur
At around age of 17 years Pratap was married to Ajabade, the daughter of Rao Ram Rakh Panwar. Amar Singh was born to her in the month of Chaitra Sudi 7, Thursday of Vikram Era 1613 (i.e. 16 March, 1559). At this time Maharana Udai Singh had gone to Ekaling Ji for Darshana (holy Vision of the lord) and from there he moved towards village Ahar in the cause of hunting. After consultations and discussions with his chieftains and advisers he started construction of a palace and establishment of a city towards the north of present day Udaipur the ruins of which exist to-day, known as Moti Mahal
Hero of the Age – Maharana Pratap
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.
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”. Thus, on 28 feb, 1572- the day of Holi Pratap’s coronation was performed at Gogunda Afterward, the coronation ceremony was celebrated at Kumbhalwer which was attended by Rao Chandra Sen (Jodhpur) the brother-in-low (Sister’s husband) of Pratap as Nell.
Making Kumbhalmer and Gogunda as centres, Pratap started ruling over Mewar. He conquered the CHHAPPAn area, defeating the rathors, then he ensured full protection of entire Godwad and the Arawali ranges. At that time, the territories lying to the North-east and South-east of Mewar had fallen to the hands of Akabar and almost all the kings of Rajasthan had accepted authority of Akabar, the only exception being Pratap who never bowed his head before the emperor. After Pratap’s coronation, Akabar kept sying over his activities for one year. Hoping that Pratap too will follow the path of other kings and will himself join the Royal service but this did not happen and Akabar decided to send emissaries to Pratap to prevail upon him
Akabar Sends three Emissaries to make Pratap accept his authority
First of all, at the orders of Akabar, Prince Man Singh Kachhawah came to Pratap lowing Gujarat in april 1573 and traveling via Eedar and Dungarpur, Pratap come to Udaipur from Gogunda and extended an affectionate wel-come to Man Singh near Udaipur. Though, Man Singh tried his best to prevail upon Pratap to come to the Royal court but Pratap did not agree. Tension developed between the two at the time of taking food and maan Singh left angrily and reported the mother to Akabar. On eruption of rebellion again in Gujarat, Akabar invaded Gujarat and suppressed the rebellion on 2 Sep. 1573 and from there ordered some army generals two under the leadership of King Bhagawan das (Amer) to go to the Rana.
Elderly bhagwan das , it was hoped, will succeed in prevailing upon Pratap to accept subjection Bhagwandas reached Eedar after first conguering the strong fort of Badanagar. The ruler of that place Narayan Das Rathore, who was Pratap’s father-in-low, accepted subjection under Akabar there after Bhagawan das went to Gogunda to meet Pratap. Although, Pratap welcomed Bhagawan das with due respects, he tactfully sefured the proposal to present him self in the court of Akabar. After two months itself, under orders from Akabar king Todarmal, while returning from Gujarat met Pratap, but had to return disappointed. This fully convinced Akabar to believe that Pratap can not be pressed down without using military might, he resolved to send Army on Pratap.
Despite efforts having been made to prevail upon Pratap, he did not accept subjection of Akabar, rather remained firm on his earlier decision. What will be the consequences of all this? Pratap know this very well. Therefore, he quickened his campaign of organizing the soldiers. He stored food- items in Forts like Kumbhalmer and established many posts to protect Gogunda his main centre.
The Battle of Haldighati
Prince Mana Singh left Ajmer on 2 April, 1576 and reached Mandalgarh to launch attack on maharana Pratap. Staying there fore two months he organized the Royal Army and then moved his army towards Gogunda. On the way , he encamped at Mohi and Molela – the two villages. Onreceiving this information Pratap came to lohsing from Gogunda. This place is 9 miles away to the south-west of Haldighati From here to Haldighati the path is so narrow that not more than two men could walk together on this at a time.
It Pratap had preferred to stay here and wait for the arrival of the Royal Army, they would have had no other option but to move through this narrow path and would have been killed in the narrow valley. But Pratap and his soldiers were very eager and deprecate to fight in the open area. So, Pratap alongwith his soldiers reached khamnor though the inaccessible path. The battle was fought in the morning of 18 June, 1576 in the wide open area between Haldighati and village Khamanor. In Man Prakash, written in the praise of Man Singh it is stated – Pratap said to Madhav Singh – the younger brother of Man Singh Kachhawah, don’t feel happy in this battle field, I am soon going to end your happiness with alongwith king Man Singh in a moment. I say this under oath in the name of lord vishnu that you can not cherish the thought of Victory, so leery as I am alive.” And for the first time launched such a severe attack that the Mughal army ran miles away, but soon the scenario changed. Fighting from Pratap’s side many warriors in cluding Ramdas Medaliya, Tanwar Ram Shah of Gwalior alongwith his three sons, Jhala Beeda Jhala Mansingh, Man Singh Sonagara, Dodiya Bheem Shankar das Rathore, Rawat Naitsee, charam Jaisa and many others sacrificed their lives fighting fiercely. At last Pratap and his remaining soldiers had to abandon the battle field. Although the Royal army won, but the purpose, for which the bottle was fought- was not achieved, neither Pratap could be captioned nor did his attitude charge.
Post Battle Activities
The Royal army moved forward after the battle of Haldighati captured Gogunda the place of Pratap there they dug around a moat as they were afraid of the Mewar army. Pratap now made his stay in the strong fort of Kumbhalmer. After a short while Pratap reached Gogunda via village Kolyari, re-captured Gounda after forcing the Mughals to flee from there and placed Mandana Kumpawat there for its protection. He had good neighborly relations with the rulers to Sirohi, Jalore and Eedar. So to weaken the friendly ties the Royal army attacked them and brought Taj Khan of Jalore and Surtan of Sirohi under subjection – still, they continued supporting Pratap and they did not become averse to Pratap.
Attack by Akabar
In Oct., 1576 Akabar himself resolved to invade Mewar. He was confident of accomplishing the task which his generals could not do. So Akabar left Ajmer on 13 oct., 1576 with a huge army. King Bhagawan das and prince Man Singh were sent to Gogunda under the command of Kutubuddin Khan. When Pratap got this information, he left Gogunda and went into the mountains. The Royal army went searching for Pratap in the caves of mountains but he could not be traced. Staying at village Mohi, Akbar made several efforts to capture Pratap but he did not succeed. Army generals were placed in the areas of Mohi and Madariya, and the campaign to search Pratap was given impetus. But all efforts failed. About Fazal writes while attempting to hide the failures of army generals – “They went into the territory of the Rama, but finding no clue to trace him returned back. Akabar got angry with them and suspended them from royal duties, and re-instated them when the begged for pardon. Hararred as he left, aKabar finally left Udaipur on 27 Nov, 1576 and went to Mahawa via Banswara. Thus, staying in Mewar for about a month and a half Akabar put all his might and skills in actions to suppress Pratap, but he did not get success. Rawal Pratap Singh of Banswara and Rawal Aasakaran of Dungarpur accepted subjection lender Akabar but Pratap Continued to give thorny pricks to the heart of Akabar. Soon after Akabar left, Pratap not only re-captured the Royal posts, but also closed all important exit points of Mewar people under the Mughal areas stopped cultivating lands with the reruls that Royal army stanted failing grant hardships due to non-supply of rations and restrictions of movements. Akabar sent his huge army those and came himself as well, to suppress Pratap but failures did not part campany with him.
Pratap was annoyed with the rulers of Dungarpur and Banswara because they did not support and stand by him ceramal the son of Dungarpur ruler Aasakaran aligned with Pratap and persuaded Pratap to send his army on Aasakaran and promised to pay Pratap 4000 Memudi for this favour Pratap at that time, was in dire need of money and he saw in this offer an opportunity to suppress his opponent therefore Pratap immediately sent his army to invade Dungarpur. When the army besieged the fort, Parvati, the wife of Dungarpur Rawal Aaskaran infomed her brother Rao Chandrasen of Jodhpur about this envision. At this Rao Chandra sen came to Dungarpur with his prominent warriors and entered the fort through the back-gate of thefoot when sesamal informed Pratap of this development, Pratap ordered his army not to take any action against Rao Chandra sen and removed his army from Dungarpur. Rao Chandrasen called Aaskaram in and handed him over the fort when Akabar invaded Dungar, Chandrasen went to Banswara, then came to village Kotara and lived there, Pratap met him there.
Invasions by Shahabag Khan against Pratap
On 15 oct., 1577 army was again sent to attack Pratap under the command of Shahbag Khan and Mir Baksi, king Bhagwandas and prince Man singh were also with them. The army, this time, intended to occupy the strong fort of Kumbhalmer. Shahbag first captive Kelwara, situated at the ridges of Khumbhalmer and then laid siege of khumbhalmer. Facing shortage of food items Pratap left the fort in the night and assigned to task of Protecting the fort to his maternal uncle Bham Sonagae. The ammunition got destroyed by the fire from a big cannon that cracked. Bham and other Rajput worriers came out opening the Fort Gate and made the supreme sacrifice while fighting on 3 April, 1578. Kumbhalmer was captured but Pratap was not caught therefore, instead of dying stationed in the fort, Pratap thought it better to abandon the fort and continue with the struggle in the style of his fathers paticies.
Pratap left kumbhalmer and went to Ranapur and then stayed for quite long in village choolye under the state of Eedar. Bhamashah and Tarachard went to Rampura and took shelter. After shahabag khan left mewar, bhamashah returned from rampura and after plundering villages of malwa and mewar, offered good amount of wealth to Maharana Pratap. For this favour Bhamashah was made Prime Minister replacing Rana Mahan see. After returning from chooliya, Pratap spent his time in mountain terrains around Kamalnath and Awargarh. After about 8 months, Akabar again ordered Shahabag Khan to invade Mewar with the warning that if you will not bring Maharana under subjection, you will be beheaded. So, he left fatehpur sikari on 15 Dec. 1578 for Mewar. Despite the exhaustive efforts for three months, no where about of Pratap could be known Tarachand fell down from horse while fighting with shahabag Khan but Devara Saindas of Runija sawed his life.
Third attack by Shahabag Khan and Pratap leaves for Godawad
On 11 Nov., 1579 Shahabag Khan moved from sambhar to launch third attack on Pratap this time many Rajputs were killed fighting with shahabagkhan. Royal posts were established at many important places and strict vigil was enforced to moniter movements of Pratap, Pratap went to the mountains of Soondha in Godawad where Dewal Padihars were ruling. Thkur Raydhawal Dewal of loyana extended warn welcome to pratap and gave his daughter to Pratap in marriage. Pratap got dug a well (Bavadi) and stabled a garden at Soondha, Decorated Raydhawal with the title of Rana. When in May 1580 Shahabag Marched to Bengal, Pratap came back to Mewar and lived at village Dholan (sayara area).
Shahabag Khan had stabled authority over Jawar Chhappan and Vagad in addition to kumbhalmer and established Royal posts there. Pratap suspended action against the mughals for some time due to fall in military strength. He territories under his control and increasing the strength of his army. After three years he chalked out plans to attack the Royal posts making Dholan as his main centre of activities
The Battle of Dever and Victory of Pratap
Pratap launched an attack on the Royal Post at Dever a village situated in Dever valley of Arawali ranges north east of kumbhalmer. The post commander Sulteen Khan lead the Royal off the legs of the elephant with blows of swards and the elephant fell down. Then sultan khan fought riding a horse. Prince Amar Singh demonstrated great bravery in this battle the Amar Kavya states – He pierced his spear through Sulteen Khan and the house together. Other soldiers ran away and Pratap got victory. Pratap got the triumphing victory in this battle. James To & describes Dever as the marathon of Mewar. Marathon is a place in Greece where the Greeks foxed the inamains to flee away from the war
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 and thus came the end to a golden era of struggle for freedom.
Chetak – The Royal Horse
Chetak was the famous horse of Rana Pratap, whom Pratap rode during the gruesome Battle of Haldighati (June 21, 1576). Chetak died in this battle and since then has been immortalized in the ballads of Rajasthan. This famous warhorse was of Kathiawari breed. Folklore has it that Chetak’s coat had a blue tinge. That is why Rana Pratap is sometime referred as the “Rider of the Blue Horse” in ballads.
No story of this famous battle can be complete without mentioning the exploits of Chetak in this battle. It was while mounted on Chetak that Pratap made that daring attempt on the life of Imperial Mughal Commander Man Singh. Again it was Chetak who carried away Pratap to safety from the lost battle even though being grievously wounded himself.
During the course of the battle When Pratap saw that the battle’s tide was turning against him, he decided to settle the issue one way or other in a spectacular and quintessentially Rajput manner. Imperial commander Man Singh was directing the battle seated on an elephant. Pratap charged frontally at the Imperial army, hacked his way through the massed ranks of enemy combatants and reached in front of Man Singh’s elephant. Once there, Chetak reared high in the air and planted his hooves on the forehead of Man Singh’s elephant. Pratap threw his lance at Man Singh, who had the necessary quick reflexes to duck in time. The blow fell on the mahout (elephant driver) instead, who was killed instantly. In the general melee that followed, Chetak received a fatal wound on one of his legs. This was the turning point of the battle. Mewar’s bold gamble to siege the battle in its favor had failed. As Man Singh was whisked away to safety, Pratap found himself surrounded by enemy soldiers.
This was the moment of decision for Pratap, whether to seek personal glory by embracing martyrdom on the battlefield, or to live and keep the flame of resistance burning. If he lived, Mewar stood another chance. In fact every rebel anywhere in India against the Mughal empire would have a rallying figure. But with him gone, the sun would set on Indian aspirations forever. Mewar own fate would be sealed.
Maharana was loath to leave a battle in between, but was prevailed upon by his faithful followers. By some accounts one of the Jhala sardar literally snatched the Royal Insignia from Maharana’s person and wore them himself, thus making him a target for the Mughal Army.
As Mughal army fell upon the Jhala sardar mistaking him for Maharana, Maharana left the battlefield with some of his loyal followers. Chetak was exhausted and seriously wounded, but labored on carrying his master. About 2 miles from the site of the battle he came across a small stream. It was here while trying to leap across the stream Chetak collapsed.
Maharana erected a small and beautiful monument for his beloved companion at the place where Chetak fell. This cenotaph still exists near the village of Jharol in in Rajsamand District. Chetak lives on in poetic traditions as the epitome of loyalty.
Bhama Shah ––– The Saviour Minister
Bhama Shah, the son of Bharmal –– Kiledar of Ranthambhore, came of the Oswal family of Chitor and was born on the 25th June, 1547 A.D. By dint of merit and ability, he won the favour of his young master and rose by degrees to higher position and ranks. He under the leadership of Pratap, fought gallantly at the fierce and famous battles of Haldighati (1576 A.D.) and made several desperate attacks upon the divisions of the Mughal army at Nadol, Diver, Ranakpur, etc., being impressed with his valourous actions and rare ability of civil and military acumen, Pratap entrusted the management of Finances and the State forces to him. He well stood to the task. He not only consolidated Pratap’s authority in Mewar but also overran nearly the whole of Malwa. In this exploit he exacted tribute amounting to 25 lakhs of rupees and 20 thousand Asharfis and presented the entire collection to the Rana at the village of Chulia. Besides this huge amount he was providing countless concealed hordes of silver, gold and jewels, of which he maintained confidential notes with him, time and again, to lessen the financial stringency of the State, occasioned by frequent wars and aiding in Pratap’s scheme of the consolidating programmes of his new capital –– Chawand. For all this Bhama is remembered with esteem as a brave and benevolent ‘Saviour’ Minister of the State.
After Bhama Shah’s death on the 16th January, 1600, his son and grandson also served the State as ministers in three successive reigns of P
ratap, Amar and Karan Singh, with efficiency and honesty. The loyalty, fidelity and rare status enjoyed by Bhama Shah and his successors was duly recognized by the State by allowing the main head of the progeny of Bhama to be honoured by Tika mark on the occasions of the community dinners of the Oswals. This practice continued to our own days, in one form or the other. By virtue of his conspicuous ability, and successful military operations, he earned the name of an unrivalled minister of Mewar.
(Courtsy: hindu history)