Updated | April 30, 2017 19:07 IST
Maharana Pratap was one of the greatest Emperors of India and he was the true son of Mother India. Undoubtedly, he was the first freedom fighter of India who fought against the Mughal rulers to protect the motherland despite many Rajput and other Hindu Kings bowed down the before the military strength of Mughal Emperor, Akbar The Great.
He was the only King who stood against Akbar and he didn’t surrender to the Mughal Emperor despite Akbar The Great sent peace treaty. Maharana Pratap was the true symbol of Indian’ valor and self-respect.
Maharana Pratap was born on 9th May 1540 in Kumbhalgarh Fort, Rajasthan. His father, Maharana Udai Singh II, and mother, Maharani Jaiwanta Bai, ruled the kingdom of Mewar, Chittor as capital. He was the 54th ruler of Mewar in the line of Sisodia Rajputs and the eldest son of their parents.
In 1567, Chittor was surrounded by Mughal Emperor Akbar’ Army. Instead of capitulating, Maharana Udai Singh II decided to leave Chittor and move his family to Gogunda. But, Ranapratap the Crown Prince didn’t agree with his father on the decision and wanted to stay in Chittor. Later he was convinced to leave to Chittor. He became Maharana under dramatic situations.
The situations how Maharana Pratap enthroned reminds the story of Lord Rama and Bharath. His father who was under the influence of Rani Bhatiyani had decided to enthrone Jagmal. Despite Rana Pratap decided to fulfill his father’ wish, the Maharana’ nobles especially the Chundawat Rajputs forced Jagmal to leave the throne. Jagmal who was not Bharath wanted to avenge was joined Akbar’ army and there he served as Jagir to the town of Jahazpur.
Pratap Singh had become the Maharana of Mewar in 1572. His biggest enemy was Akbar. Besides other Rajput rulers, his own brothers Shakti Singh, Jagmal, Sagar Singh allied and served the Mughal Emperor. But Maharana Pratap never bowed down before Mughal Empire which was alien to India, the Hindu Country.
The Mughal Emperor had sent six diplomatic missions to Maharana for the peaceful alliance. Among those, the fifth which led by Bhagawan Das was fruitful. Maharana who didn’t like to present personally before Akbar had sent his son, Amar Singh and agreed to put on a robe which presented by the Mughal Emperor.
The peace treaty had failed due to Pratap’ dislike to present personally before the Akbar and made the war between Mewar and Mughal’ inevitable.
On 18th June 1576, The Battle of Haldighati fought for around four hours in a traditional way using cavalry and elephants. The Akbar had deputed Man Singh and Asaf Khan to lead a force against Maharana Pratap. Earlier the Rajput’ who took an advantage in the traditional fight had made Rana retreat from the battlefield after the Mughal Army attacked the Rajputs hiding from the hills, which resulted in a defeat for Rajput’ and Maharana Pratap.
On 23rd June 1576, Man Singh conquered Gogunda and it was recaptured by Maharana Pratap in the same year and made Kumbhalargh his temporary capital. In this context, Akbar who decided to lead the army personally had captured Gogunda, Udaipur, and Kumbhalgarh. Besides this, he put pressure on those Kings who were supporting Rana Pratap. Akbar had isolated Rana Pratap. Even he was losing his alliances one by one, Rana was steady and gone through many hassles to protect the self-respect of Indian’ not to bow before the foreigner, Akbar, who came from another land.
Mughals put pressure on Afghan Chief, Jalor and the other Rajput Chiefs of Idar, Sirohi, Banswara, Dungarpur, and Bundi. These powerful states on the borders of Mewar with Gujarat and Malwa had submitted to the Mughals.
The pressure of Mughals on Mewar had lifted up post-1579 subsequent to the rebellions in Bengal, Bihar and Mirza Hakim’ incursion into Punjab. Rana Pratap recovered many of his lost territories including Gogunda, Udaipur, Kumbhalgarh, Ranthambore and the areas around Chittor after Akbar stopped Mughal expedition and moved to Lahore. He builds a new Capital, Chavand near modern Dungarpur.
But Maharana Pratap’ goal to conquer Chittor remained unfulfilled, where their Kingdom glittered like a diamond. His Guerrilla Strategy was the inspiration to great figures like Shivaji and many great Kings in the later generation. It also an inspiration to anti-British revolutionaries in Bengal.
At the age of 57, Maharana Pratap died in an accident during the hunting at Chavand on 29th January 1597. A Chhatri, monument at the site of Pratap’ funeral site was the major tourist attraction. Pratap had eleven wifes, 17 strong sons and 5 daughters.
Maharana Pratap’ life was an inspiration. His fought alone with Mighty Mughal Emperor’ depicted the valor of Pratap and his self-sacrifice for the cherished principles. He stood tall till the end of his believed principles whatever the hassles came in his way despite he was isolated from all the other Rajput Kings.
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