Monday, November 23, 2020
Home News Reports Maharana Pratap: A lion amongst men and the battle of Haldighati

Maharana Pratap: A lion amongst men and the battle of Haldighati

Mewar is a region that defies conventional ideas and modern beliefs. Its people are proud. People may wonder why so, but a peek into Mewar’s history and a visit to the area will give all the answers one needs. This land in the Aravalli range of Rajasthan has seen people who gladly embraced death to protect the honour of their land, women who preferred stepping into blazing infernos instead of surrendering to invaders and kings who defended its sovereignty till the last drop of their blood. Mewar gave birth to legends like Rani Padmini and warriors like Maharana Pratap.

Years ago, while touring through the region, one of my friends asked casually the driver cum guide, “why do you people take so much pride in being from Mewar?” His answer came with a sombre smile, “because we remained free”. It took me some time to realise the profoundness of his words. Indeed, Mewar was the only region which never gave up, it kept fighting back relentlessly.

We all are very familiar with the saga of Rani Padmini’s Jauhar and Allauddin Khilji’s victory over Chittorgarh. But few realise the fact that the story did not end there. Khilji seized Chittorgarh in 1303. A distant kin of the slain ruler Rawal Ratan Singh named Hamir Singh regained control after killing Maldeva, the proxy under whom Khilji has left Chittor. With Hamir Singh‘s ascension in 1326, the first chapter in the glorious saga of Sisodiya dynasty was written. Hamir was the first ruler to take the title of Rana (Prime Minister). The Sisodiya dynasty submits to Eklingji as the supreme ruler of Mewar and serves under his name. With Hamir began a dynasty that is unmatched with any other in the history of India. In was in this line of valiant kings that Maharana Pratap was born in 1540.

Rana Pratap ascended the throne of Mewar in 1572. Sadly his ascension did not happen in Chittorgarh, for the fort was under seize by Akbar’s Mughal army since 1567 and Pratap’s father, Rana Udai Singh II had shifted his capital to Gogunda. Akbar tried a lot to sway the chieftains and leaders of Mewar towards himself, but the people recognised only their Ranas as their rulers. When Rana Pratap took the throne, he was well aware of an imminent war with the mighty Mughals. Through 1573, Akbar is believed to have sent a number of truce offers to the Maharana, but Maharana Pratap was not willing to compromise with the sovereignty of Mewar. In the meanwhile, though surrounded and outnumbered, Maharana Pratap never stopped preparing for battle.

Maharana Pratap knew that the hills of the Aravali range were his best defence. He had urged the villagers of the area to leave for the mountains so the raiding Mughal armies are strapped for food and sustenance. He befriended the tribal leaders including the Bhils and kept taking into confidence regional rulers and groups. The trade routes of the Mughals to Gujrat passed through Mewar, so Maharana started ordering raids on trading caravans. Finally, Akbar decided to engage in full frontal battle and ordered his general Man Singh of Amber to attack Maharana Pratap.

Maharana Pratap had previous information of the marching army. The Mewari troops laid waiting in the Haldighati pass near Gogunda. What happened in the few hours of 18 June 1576 has inspired countless poems, paintings and stories.

courtesy: Rajras.in

There are different opinions about the exact numbers of cavalry and infantry in the Mewari and Mughal side. But one thing all historians agree upon is that the Mewaris were severely outnumbered. Both sides had horses, elephants and archers, but the Mughals possessed a significant advantage, they had guns. The only advantage Maharana Pratap possessed was the rocky, hilly terrain that his troops were accustomed to. The battle has been immortalised in the poem by Shyamnarayan Pandey:

चढ़ चेतक पर तलवार उठा,
रखता था भूतल पानी को।
राणा प्रताप सिर काट काट,
करता था सफल जवानी को॥

The bravery of Maharana Pratap and his beloved horse has been the inspirations for many artworks, paintings and folklore in the region. One of the prominent stories says Maharana Pratap’s strength and skills were so fierce he cut down one of the Mughal commanders and his horse with a single stroke of his sword.

 

The battle is believed to have lasted only a few hours. Maharana Pratap’s soldiers showed exemplary courage and skills in the battle. Though there are disputed opinions about the results of the battle with a considerable number of experts believing that Maharana Pratap lost on that day, an examination of the aftermath definitely suggests otherwise.

Maharana Pratap lost many of his brave leaders and commanders that day. One of the bravest was the warrior Jhala Man who, sensing imminent danger to Maharana’s life, took his silver chhatra and rushed over to fight the Mughal army. The silver chhatra made the enemies confused and they took Jhala Man as Maharana himself. Jhala Man bought Maharana precious time to escape and take refuge in the hills.

The results of the battle of Haldighati were inconclusive. Though the Mughals did occupy Gogunda and the nearby regions, Maharana Pratap was relentless. He expertly gathered the remaining leaders, engaged the Bhils and other tribals and kept on attacking enemy camps. He led guerrilla attacks and took Mughal troops by surprise, he raided trade parties and all the while he never let Akbar rest in peace. Maharana Pratap had sworn an oath that he will not enjoy royal luxuries till he had freed Mewar from the Mughal clutches and he made good on that promise. Maharana Pratap ate from leaf-plates, slept on floors and lived in huts all through the struggle with Akbar’s army. Throughout the years, he faced lack of funds, weapons and struggled with hardships, but he never gave up. The people of Mewar never gave up. Soon he was able to take back most of the territory Akbar had occupied and the clashes continued.

Finally, Akbar shifted his focus elsewhere and Mewar saw some years of peace. Maharana Pratap had slowly regained most of Mewar and he ruled for several years in peace. In a time when almost entire northern India was under Akbar’s rule, Mewar remained as the bright, tiny drop of Hindu Pride.

Modern Indian history books have been unfair to Hindu Kings including Maharana Pratap. While the Mughals are glorified beyond reason, the relentless and often successful battles of Hindu Kings never get their deserved place in history books. Modern history books may have ignored Maharana Pratap and his predecessors, but he lives on the minds and hearts of the people of Mewar, and all Indians who take pride in their heritage. The battle of Haldighati might have been inconclusive, but when it comes to honour and valour, Mewar had the last laugh. Maharana Pratap fulfilled his oath to his motherland.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Sanghamitra
reader, writer, dreamer, no one

Related Articles

Trending now

Anvay Naik suicide case for which Arnab Goswami was arrested: Letters exchanged, the closure report, and unanswered questions

On 4th of Nov, the country watched as Arnab Goswami was dragged out of his house by over 20 armed policemen for a closed 2018 suicide case

“They allowed only Rohingyas into old Hyderabad, not development”: BJP MP Tejasvi Surya hits out on Owaisi brothers

BJP MP Tejasvi Surya likened AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi to the founder of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah ahead of the GHMC polls in Hyderabad

Pratibha Patil is trending on Twitter and it is not what you think. Read details

Former President Pratibha Patil was trending on Twitter and it was not because of what people think.

“Bharat ko hai Bharat ko bachana”: Man praises PM Modi in his song creating awareness about coronavirus, video goes viral

A viral video of a man singing song to create consciousness among people about coronavirus was shared by many, including Information Consultant to UP government, Shalabh Mani Tripathi

Washington Post editor, who ranted against white women, lies about France targeting Muslim children: Here are the details

Global Opinions Editor at the Washington Post, Karen Attiah, is at the receiving end of great criticism after she spread fake news.

Journalist Tavleen Singh withdraws defamation suit against Twitter user PokerShash for his satirical tweet

A defamation suit was filed by Tavleen Singh against Twitter user @pokershash for his satirical tweet on Singh and others over their relentless support to hate-mongerer Sharjeel Imam

Recently Popular

Bharti Singh resisted initially but offered full cooperation once she realised NCB officials were treating her far better than Kapil Sharma ever did: OpIndia...

The NCB suspects that the widespread use of drugs also explains how movies such as Student Of The Year 2 was ever made.

Actress Sana Khan who quit bollywood for Islam marries a Muslim cleric who was introduced to her by hatemonger Ajaz Khan

Sana Khan married the Muslim cleric in a small intimate ceremony in Surat. The newly married couple also cut a cake after the wedding.

German police barge into the house of anti-lockdown activist Dr Andreas Noack, arrest him during YouTube livestream: Watch video

Dr. Andreas Noack, was arrested by the German Police on Wednesday in what appears to be a gross violation of personal liberty.

FIR filed against Netflix series ‘A suitable boy’ for hurting Hindu sentiments by filming multiple kissing scenes in temples

Gaurav Tiwari filed the FIR, saying that he is not against kissing scenes in ‘A suitable boy’, but against filming them in Hindu temples

WhiteHatJr and its founder slaps whistle-blower Pradeep Poonia with Rs 20 cr defamation suit over allegations of scamming customers: Read Details

Poonia had alleged that WhiteHatJr team is getting negative remarks against them removed on social media platforms

Pratibha Patil is trending on Twitter and it is not what you think. Read details

Former President Pratibha Patil was trending on Twitter and it was not because of what people think.
- Advertisement -

Israeli PM Netanyahu flies to Saudi Arabia to meet crown prince MBS and US Secretary of State Pompeo, Israeli sources claim

Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly flew in a private jet to meet with Saudi crown prince MBS and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Harassment over selling firecrackers: Haryana Police beats up people, security men of BJP leaders, protesting suicide of BJP Councillor

Harish Sharma committed suicide after he was booked for allegedly selling firecrackers during Diwali and misbehaving police officials.

Anvay Naik suicide case for which Arnab Goswami was arrested: Letters exchanged, the closure report, and unanswered questions

On 4th of Nov, the country watched as Arnab Goswami was dragged out of his house by over 20 armed policemen for a closed 2018 suicide case

Uttar Pradesh: Two Sadhus die after consuming tea at an ashram in Mathura, one admitted to hospital

Though prima facie it appears that the Sadhus in Uttar Pradesh were poisoned, an investigation into the case has been launched.

The Quad Tech Network, deteriorating trade relationship and war of words: Australia-China ties on a downhill track since pandemic began

One relationship that has undergone a profound transformation since the beginning of the pandemic is that between China and Australia.

Tamil Nadu: Hindu Mahasabha leader brutally murdered outside his house, was denied police protection

Hindu Mahasabha state secretary hacked to death in Hosur, Tamil Nadu.

Bihar’s newly elected AIMIM MLA refuses to say ‘Hindustan’ during the oath-taking ceremony

BJP leader Pramod Kumar had rebuked the AIMIM leader by saying that those who have a problem with the word 'Hindustan', can go to Pakistan.

Former Assam Chief Minister and Congress stalwart Tarun Gogoi passes away at 86

Former Chief Minister of Assam and Congress stalwart Tarun Gogoi has passed away on Monday due to Coronavirus complications.

“They allowed only Rohingyas into old Hyderabad, not development”: BJP MP Tejasvi Surya hits out on Owaisi brothers

BJP MP Tejasvi Surya likened AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi to the founder of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah ahead of the GHMC polls in Hyderabad

Pratibha Patil is trending on Twitter and it is not what you think. Read details

Former President Pratibha Patil was trending on Twitter and it was not because of what people think.

Connect with us

245,563FansLike
488,082FollowersFollow
20,100SubscribersSubscribe