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प्रताप गौरव केन्द्र राष्ट्रीय तीर्थ, मनोहरपुरा-बड़गांव, उदयपुर 313001 (राज.)

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History Of Pratap

Maharana Pratap, the lover of freedom, saintly king, may succeed in instilling patriotism in us and may inspire us to exert for the protection of Dharma, culture and society. It is with this aim that this picture gallery is being presented. Let us go through it with a feeling of reverence.

Udaisingh was saved thanks to the incomparable sacrifice of Pannādhāy. He was married to Jayavanti Devi, daughter of Akherāj Sonagarā. From the womb of this queen Pratap was born on May 9, 1540 (Jyestha Shukla 3, V.S. 1597). The birth of Pratap coincided with the capture of Chittorgarh by Udaisingh after vanquishing Banbeer.

Pratap stayed near Kumbhalgarh with Jayavanti Devi. The later inculcated love of freedom in Pratap. She taught him not to attack an enemy who did not have weapon. It was at her instance that Pratap kept two swords so that he could give one to the weaponless enemy. He acquired the weapon training and literary education under her guidance.

Pratap began mingling with Bheel boys at Kumbhalgarh. He became known as Keekā among them. Close relation of Pratap with the Vanavāsi boys led to their enthusiastic participation in the war of independence.

Pratap came to Chittod with his mother in C.E. 1552. He was lodged in Jhāli Mahal in Chittod. He received weapon training under the guidance of Meghsingh. Very soon he became adept in swordsmanship, wielding spear and horse riding.

Pratap acquired advanced training in warfare by Jaimal Rathode of Medta when the later came to Chittod around this time. He learnt the art of field fortification and various methods of overcoming the superior enemy including guerrilla warfare.

Pratap began to be entrusted with military campaigns at the young age of sixteen. He defeated Sānvaldās and his brother Karamsi Chauhan of Vāgad on the banks of river Som and the Rathodes of Chhappan region and Godwād. He was highly praised for his conduct of war on these occasions.

Pratap was married to Ajabade the daughter of Māmrakh Panwār around this time. He began surveying political condition of the country at this time. He gathered a group of friends and began training them with a view to the future needs.

Amarsingh was born to Pratap from Ajabade on March 16, 1559. Pratap married 16 girls and from them he had 17 sons and 5 daughters. He had 24 brothers and 20 sisters.

Now Pratap was designated heir apparent. He began brooding over political condition of Rajputana and the country in company with Bhāmāshāh, Tārāchand Jhālā Mānsingh etc. The empire of akbar was expanding. All the rulers of Rajputana had accepted his over- lordship. Only Mewad refused to bow down. Invasion of Akbar was feared any time. Planning began for the struggle in the offing.

Younger brother of Pratap Shaktisingh went over to Akbar because of internal differences. When Akbar began planning move against Mewad, he came back to Chittod and informed of the design of Akbar. In accordance with the decision of war council Udaisingh left Chittod with royal family. Pratap also had to abide by the decision. Jaimal Rathode and Patta Chundavat were entrusted with the defense of Chittod.

Akbar besieged Chittod in October 1567. Siege operation continued for four months without any success. The emperor had to eat the humble pie against resistance of Mewad. Todarmal was sent to purchase loyalty of Jaimal. But Jaimal spurned the offer.

When supply of grain dwindled in the fort the garrison decided for Jauhar. On February 25, 1568 about 7000 ladies of fort committed sati led by Rani Phulkunvar wife of Pattā Chundāvat. This was the third Jauhar resorted to in Chittod. The garrison came out to give final battle to the enemy with the battle cry of Har-har Mahadev.

Jaimal Rāthode led the army riding on the shoulders of his nephew Kallāji as his knee was wounded. They butchered the enemy in the manner of Chaturbhuj (four armed deity). Akbar was dumbstruck when he saw this spectacle. Every attempt was made to stop them. Flesh of cow and cow blood was thrown upon them.

This weakened them and heads of Jaimal and Kallāji were severed by attacking them from behind. Jaimal fell near Pādan Pol. The torso of Kallji continued to fight even after his head had been severed. He fell after killing large number of enemies.

Mother of Pattā Chundāvat and wife fought in the battle donning male attire and died fighting. Pattā Chundāvat, fighting near Rampol, caused great damage to the Mughal army and died after killing large number of enemy soldiers.

Akbar infuriated because of resistance offered by the garrison for such a long time had about 30,000 innocent people including men, women and children put to sword. This is the real character of Akbar popularized as ‘Akbar the Great’.

Maharana Udaisingh now made Gogundā in hill region his capital. He was crestfallen by the great loss of men and large portions of Mewad. He breathed his last on February 28, 1572 on the day of Holi festival. The grandees of Mewad were disconcerted on seeing Pratap at cremation ground. It soon became known that the Maharana had declared Jagmāl the son of Bhattiyani Rāni as the heir.

According to tradition, primogeniture was the rule in Mewad. The grandees decided to abide by this rule and Rāwat Krishnadās and Rwat Sanga put on vermilion mark on the fore head of Pratap, signifying his choice as the heir.

On reaching the palace Jagmāl was unseated forcibly from the throne and Pratap coronation as the ruler by the chief in the age of 32 years. Pratap thus put on the crown full of thorn. Mewad had greatly shrunken in respect of territory, men and material. Pratap devoted himself to reorganization of army and administration.

In order to arouse the people Pratap took a vow that until he succeeded in freeing his patrimony of the enemy he would not reside in palaces and not eat in gold and silver platters and bowls. He would sleep in the bad of grass and eat from the plate made of leaves.

This astounding vow had desired effect. The Bheels began to gather under his banner from entire Vanvāsi belt of Mewad. Bheelu Rana, chief of Merpur-Panarwa, came to Pratap with his Bheel army. These brave soldiers stood by Pratap during the period Pratap had to live in the jungle.

The Afghans had an old relationship with Mewad. Bappa Rawal had married the princesses of Gazni and Gaur and from them he had 140 off springs. These Pathans became known as Noshera Pathans. They always sided with Mewad during struggle with enemies. Now Hakim khan Suri came to Pratap with his army.

The empire of Akbar had expanded in large parts of India by this time but Mewad did not succumb. Akbar tried diplomacy to bring Mewad under his dominance. In Nov.1572 Jalal khan Korchi was sent to ask Pratap to accept Mughal suzerainty. Pratap needed time for preparation for war. Therefore he gave diplomatic reply to gain time and Jalal khan was sent away with ambiguous reply.

Next Mansingh prince of Amer was sent in June 1573 by Akbar. Pratap welcomed him on the bank of Udaisagar lake. This diplomatic effort was also a failure.

The killing of thousands of innocent men and women and flame of the fire of Jauhar had created a wedge between Pratap and Akbar. It was impossible for Pratap to forget the heinous crimes perpetrated by Akbar in Mewad. Therefore the third attempt made by Akbar through Raja Bhagvantdās of Amer in September 1573 also failed.

Now Todarmal, one of the nine jewels of the court of Akbar, was sent in December 1573. He was also sent away with beguiling words by Pratap. Pratap gained necessary time for preparation for war with Akbar by diplomatic reply to diplomacy of Akbar and utilized this time in the best manner possible.

Pratap called the meeting of war council. The council concluded that it would be advisable to resort to guerrilla warfare. Akbar came over to Ajmer and sent a force of 5000 under Mansingh and Asifkhan against Mewad. Mansingh reached village Molela at banas river through Māndalgarh.

Pratap camped his army near village Losing. People of Mewad were told to vacate the plain areas and shift to hilly terrain for safety. Army of Pratap had fighters from all the 36 sections of community. His army of 3000 was in readiness to pounce on the enemy. 400 Bheels had taken position on the hills.

June 18, 1576 is remembered in history as the day battle of Haldighati was fought. On this day army led by Pratap issued from the narrow pass of Haldighati and attacked the Mughal force. This army had been commanded by Jhālā Mn, Hakimkhan Sūr and Rāmsingh Tanwar of Gwaliour etc. Mughal army could not give a stand and broke away.

The Mughal force had Shāhjādā of Sikari Shaikh Manjur and Gajikhan Badakhshi in the frontal position. When Pratap charged this force, it ran away for about 15 miles and reached close to its camping place. There was consternation in Mughal army because of this first encounter with the army of Pratap.

Mihattarkhan who was placed in the rearguard position of the Mughal army re assembled this army by announcing that Akbar was himself coming with an army. This lie had the desired effect and the army which was in disarray was brought in the battleground of village Khamnor. A close encounter took place between the two forces here now known as Rakt Talāi (the pool of blood).

Swords of the Rajput army tasted blood after these were for long in the scabbard. Hundreds of Mughals were killed in the battle. Pratap charged on Mansingh seated on elephant. Chetak rested his front legs on forehead of the elephant. 32 kilogram heavy spear of Pratap pierced the mahaut and broke howdah of the elephant. Pratap threw his dagger at Mansingh but he hide behind the howdah. Pratap now signaled Chetak to withdraw from the scene taking Mansingh to be dead.

A hind leg of Chetak was cut by the sword carried by the elephant.Even then it continued to carry Pratap in the battle field. Pratap cut Bahlolkhan in two pieces along with his armour and the horse.

Elephant of Mansingh ran away without Mahaut from the battle ground. Mughal army began to run helter-skelter and extra cannons were deployed. Under changed circumstances Pratap divided his army in two parts and took position on the hills. Jhala Man took the charge of rearguard action and halted the Mughal force till the plan was executed.

A pool of blood formed at the battle ground. Rāmdās Medtiā,Hakimkhan Suri, Rāmsingh Tanwar and hills three sons sacrificed their life. About 150 soldiers of Pratap and 500 of the Mughal side were slain. As Mughals feared that the army of Pratap may ambush them they could not venture to pursue Pratap.

While retiring from the battlefield Chetak negotiated a 20 feet wide rivulet with Pratap on his back and after that this wounded horse fell down close by a tamarind tree and breathed its last. Pratap was crestfallen at the death of faithful Chetak.

A cenotaph was constructed for it after suitable burial close by the existing Shiv temple. The cenotaph of Chetak still inspires the visitors. The Mughals reached Gogundā two days after Pratap had left this place. They dug a ditch and fortified the town fearing sudden attack by Pratap. Pratap disrupted supply line of the Mughals. At this the Mughal soldiers began to rebel.

The Mughal soldiers returned to Ajmer in September 1576. The war that began in June ended in September with the withdrawal of Mughal army from Gogunda. The battle of Haldighati dealt a severe blow to belief about invincibility of the Akbar and Pratap came to be recognized all over the country as the winner who had trounced the Mughal army.

The army of Pratap on its way from the battle tended the wounded near village Kālodā. When Pratap and the wounded soldiers were being attended a strange incident came to light. A woman was spotted among the wounded attired in male dress.

She was brought before Pratap after she regained consciousness. On being enquired she informed that she was the queen of Koshithal and she had come to participate in the struggle in obedience to the order of Pratap. As there was no male member in the family old enough to participate in the struggle she had come herself. Everyone present was dumb founded at her sense of duty.

In the first bout on 18 June in the Mewad-Mughal struggle that lasted for about four months, end on September the Mughals were unsuccessful against the tiny kingdom of Mewad. Akbar was so annoyed at this failure that he barred the attendance of Mansingh and Asifkhan to the Mughal court. After this Akbar personally advanced from Ajmer in 11 October 1576 to subdue Pratap.

Akbar camped in the Shāhibgh in village Khamnor. He failed in combing operation against Pratap as the later had retired into hill region. He also returned without success in December. From October 1577 to Nov.1579 between Shahbajkhan was sent to capture or kill Pratap. The former devastated Mewad but he could not succeed in attaining his purpose of laying hand on Pratap and returned unsuccessful.

After Shahbaj Abdurrahim Khankhana was sent to invade Mewad.This was the sixth Mughal invasion of Mewad. He also failed miserably. Amarsingh son of Pratap attacked the Sherpur camp of Khānkhānā and captured his retinue including whole family and his wife Anibegum. Pratap admonished Amarsingh for this act and told him that for a Hindu woman other than wife was like a mother. He was asked to escort them back to Khānkhānā.

Amarsingh requested forgiveness for his act and did as he was ordered by Pratap. The begum related the event of griping of hand of Kirande by Akbar in the Meenābzār and the later being forgiven by the former on her being called mother by Akbar. This had a great impact on Khānkhānā.

Character of Pratp so impressed Khānkhānā that he was constrained to say-

Dharam rahasi rahasi dharā khap jāsi khursān

Amar vishambhar oopare rākh nihacho ran.

After this Khānkhānā refused to continue war with Pratap and turned back.

The struggle between Pratap and the Mughals lasted for eight years (from 1576 to 1584). During this period Pratap continued to harass and harm the Mughals through guerrilla tactics. His main centers at this time were hill region of Ābu, Sirohi, Īdar, Merpur-Pānarvā, Kumbhalgarh and Āvargarh. Āvargarh fort was constructed near Jhādol above the Kamalnāth Mahādev hill and made capital for the period of conflict.

After the battle of Haldighati his close associate Bhāmāshāh (born on June 28, 1547) and his brother Tārāchand presented at village Chulia vast riches which consisted of the booty collected from Mālwa and the wealth accumulated by his forefathers. This amount, Rs 25,00,000 and 20,000 gold ahsarphis, was almost enough for the expenses of 25,000 soldiers for 12 years.

This treasure relieved Pratap of financial worries. Till now the defensive guerrilla tactics had been resorted to. Now it was decided to wage offensive warfare and the Mughal post of Diver commanded by Sultānkhān, an uncle of Akbar, was attacked under the leadership of Bhamashah and Prince Amarsingh. When a leg of the elephant of Sultānkhān was wounded he rode a horse. Amar singh was fight him.

Spear thrust by Amarsingh pierced Sultānkhān and dug in the soil. The later began to wriggle with pain. There was no one who could extricate the spear. Amarsingh took out the spear with a single jerk. Dyeing Sultānkhān saluted Amarsingh with great relief.

Now Sultānkhān asked for water. Pratap gave him Ganga water to drink. After this Sultānkhān died. Compare this with the cold blooded killing of innocent people of 30,000 at Chittod in C.E. 1568. Let us ask ourselves whom should we designate ‘Great’?

Akbar now made one more attempt to kill or capture Pratap under the command of Jagannath Kachhavaha. He also returned without success. Pratap continued to attack the Mughal posts in Mewad and had them vacated. Pratap was able to fulfill his vow of liberating Mewad. Chittod and Mandagarh were allowed to remain under the control of his brother Sagar.

After seven all out efforts Akbar decided to put a stop to his efforts to conquer Mewad. Pratap now made Chavand his capital in C.E. 1585. Now he was free to launch a programme of reconstruction and development. Attention was paid to agriculture, road building, and reorganization of army. He had books written on subjects relating to people’s welfare. Chakrapani Mishra wrote a treatise ‘Vishvavallabh’ in Sanskrit dealing with agriculture.

The period of 12 years between 1585 to 1597 was one of prosperity time for Mewad. Many temples palaces and forts were constructed. Ptratap proved as great in peace as in war. In the year 1597 he killed a predator tiger which had started killing cows.

In this effort his intestines were damaged. He became bad-ridden. While in bad he was concerned for the future of Mewad. He called the grandees of Mewad and Price Amarsingh was made to swear in their presence that he would remain devoted to the security of Mewad.

Now Pratap was at peace. In this state of mind he breathed his last at the age of 57 on {Magh sukla ekadashi} January 19, 1597 in Chavand. On hearing of his demise there was profound grief all around. People from every walk of life flocked to Chavand from every part of Mewad to pay their obeisance to Pratap.

Amarsingh performed last rites of Pratap in the traditional manner at the lake of Bandoli, about 3 K.m. from Chavand. Tears were welling profusely down the cheeks of those present. Whole expanse around reverberated with the slogan of ‘Ekling nath ki jai’.

The news of sad demise of Pratap reached to Akbar also. Poet Dursa Adha describes the sentiments of Akber on hearing this news “O Pratap on hearing of your demise Akbar bit his tongue, he took long breath. His eyes were full of tears. He uttered Gahlot Rana {Pratap} you have been victorious”. The emperor honoured Dursā. Pratap you are blessed. This glorious story of yours may inspire us. We may devote our life for the cause of nation.

Pratap Gaurav Kendra Rashtriya Tirtha