Battle of Chittorgarh

Battle of Chittorgarh(1567-1568): Jaimal Rathore and Patta Sisodiya The Forgotten Defenders of Chittor

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The land of Mewar had given India countless warriors who had protected the ancient civilization of this sub-continent for many centuries. After the downfall of Sindh, Mewar along with the whole of India became a rallying point for the invaders like Arabs and the Turks.

Battle of Chittorgarh
Chittorgarh Fort

In this article, we will cover the story of Chittorgarh’s third Jauhar (The Battle of Chittorgarh) and the forgotten story of Jaimal Rathore and Patta sisodiya

Background: Conquests of Akbar

Akbar realized that the conquest of northern India cannot be achieved without the support of allies. He wanted to form a strong alliance with the Rajputs.

He was a strong follower of expansionist policy and was eager to expand his empire to the sea coast of Gujarat and Bengal.

Akbar in 1562 went to Ajmer for the pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint Khwaja Muin ud din Chishti. Here later Raja Bharmal of Amber signed the treaty with Akbar. Later Akbar married the daughter of Raja Bharmal after which Mughal Rajput’s friendly relation began to grow.

For Akbar establishing a strong Mughal, Rajput alliance was a diplomatic move to achieve the desired goals. After the death of Maldev Rathore in 1562 Mughals annexed Marwar. In the same year, Malwa was also conquered.

In the year 1564, the Mughal under Akbar began to attack Gondwana. Asaf Khan was given to charge to conquer the land of Gondwana. The small kingdom was under the rule of Rani Durgavati.

The Gond queen had an army of 20,000 and had already defeated the strong opponents like Baz Bahadur of Malwa. The queen fought bravely but in the end, she attained martyrdom and the kingdom of Gond was captured by the Mughals.

Later several rebellions occurred which harassed the Mughal king but in the end, he stabilized the situation.

Mewar against Mughals

In a very short time, king Akbar brought all the neighboring kingdoms under the Mughal flag. But there was one place which from its origin never bowed in front of invaders and that was Mewar. Its independence always haunted the Mughals and to finish the matter of Mewar once and for all king Akbar made his move.

The expedition to Chittor was a campaign that didn’t catch the attention of many historians. The Rajputs of Chittor bravely fought against the superior Mughals.   

Chittor was the capital of the Mewar kingdom. This land had produced many heroes that had bravely fought against the invaders. From the reign of Bappa Rawal to Ratna Singh and from Rana Hammir to Rana Sanga all these personalities had protected the pride and independence of Mewar for centuries.

Akbar by now had made strong and friendly relations with the Rajputs. But now he had to face the tide of Rajputs of Mewar. Mewar had a huge influence on the Rajputs it is believed that it was Mewar which motivated other Rajput provinces to remain independent and protect it at all cost.  

Towards Chittorgarh

Akbar sent Mirza Sharaf ud din Husain to subjugate (invest) the fort of Merta. The fort at that time was under Jaimal who was protecting the fort for Maharana Uday Singh of Mewar. 

After resisting the Mughals for several months the fort surrendered and was captured by the Mughals.

But Mewar remained independent and to further raise the eyebrows of Mughals Maharana Uday Singh gave shelter to Baz Bahadur of Malwa and Jaimal Rathore of Merta. This enraged Akbar and it can be said that this was a message from Mewar’s to challenge the Mughal king.

Also for the better control of the Mughal throne and its administration, Akbar needed strong connectivity throughout his empire. Without Mewar, this was not possible.  

Mewar was the connecting route to Gujarat, Deccan, and Narmada valley.

According to Kaviraj Shyamaldas when the news of Mughals attacking the city of Chittor reached Uday Singh he called a council of war. The Rajput nobles told Uday Singh that at present their army is not in a position to conduct large-scale war against the Mughals.

Their previous wars with the Gujarat sultan had widely affected the economy and they haven’t recovered from it. That’s why the nobles suggested or urged Maharana to leave Chittor.

The people of Mewar decided to put Jaimal Rathore and Fateh Singh (Patta) to defend the fort of Chittor with an arm of 8000 Rajputs.

Historians like Shyamdas vir Vinod, Col. James Tod, condemned the policy of Maharana Uday Singh. However, as we know that Mewar was not in the position to sustain large wars. Also, historians like Gopinath Sharma supported the move of Maharana Uday Singh

8000 Rajput’s Against Mighty Mughals

On 23 October 1567, the Mughals via Mandalgarh reached Chittor. He set his base at Kabra, Nagri, Pandoli. Akbar placed Shujat Khan, Kassim Khan, Todarmal for artillery on the eastern side of the fort.

Hussain kuli Khan was sent to find Uday Singh. Mines were set up to blow up the walls of the fort.

Battle of Chittorgarh
Jaimal Rathore
Patta Sisodiya
Battle of Chittorgarh

The handful of defenders retaliated strongly. The artillery bombardment from the Mughals was immense. They relentlessly targeted the walls of Chittorgarh. But all these attacks resulted in a setback as the defenders were quick in repairing the walls.

In return, the Mughals lose about 200 men each day and soon the number of casualties started to worry the Mughal king Akbar.

Due to this, he ordered his men to start the construction of mines and Sabats. This too turned out to be a disastrous decision as it cost them the lives of 100 men each day.  

According to R.C. Majumdar on the day 17 December, there was an explosion in the mines and the Mughals rushed towards it but suddenly then another mine exploded which killed around 200 Mughals.

It is difficult to believe that the Rajputs lost only 40 men and were very determinant in repairing the fort walls.

On the night of 22 February 1568, the Mughals were able to breach the fort walls from different sides. Later Jaimal Rathore was commanding the repairing of the fort walls and defense work. When Akbar saw him from his camp he immediately fired at him from his musket gun (Sangram).

Due to this The Lion of Chittor i.e Jaimal Rathore who fought audaciously for the past five months attained martyrdom.

Some sources suggest that Akbar shot Jaimal Rathore and the leader of the Rajputs died there and due to this the defenders lost their hearts. The remaining Men’s decided to make a heroic last stand while women prepared for Jauhar.  It was the third Shaka of Chittorgarh.

Jauhar at Chittorgarh

Some sources suggest that Akbar’s shot hit the foot of Jaimal Rathore. Later when Rajputs came out of the fort Jaimal Rathore sit on the shoulders of Kalla Rathore and both fought till their last breath. With swords in both hands Jaimal and Kalla.

After the fall of Jaimal, the charge of the Chittor was taken by a 16-year-old youngster. The gallant Patta of Kailwa. An immense fire broke out in several places which indicated that the brave women of Chittorgarh had committed Jauhar in order to save their honor.

The remaining Rajput’s done their part and fought till their last breath. On 25 February 1568 war ended. 

The battle resulted in a victory for the Mughals but what happen after this was complete tyranny.

Massacare

The tolerant Akbar ordered a general massacre of innocent men, women, and children. The gallant Patta did everything he could to protect the honor of the helpless. He died fighting and earned his freedom. 

Each bazaar, street, and house inside the fort resisted boldly. Thirty thousand people were massacred which including men women and children. This act of barbarism by Akbar hasn’t caught the attention of historians who had made him the champion of Hindustan.

Note: According to Kaviraj Shymaldas around 40,000 people were slain of which around 39,000 died fighting after the fall of Chittor.

Akbar erected the statures of Jaimal Rathore and Patta mounted on elephants at the gate of Agra fort. 

Jaimal Rathore
Patta Sisodiya
Battle of Chittorgarh
Statues of Jaimal Rathore (The Lion of Chittor) and 16-year-old gallant Patta Sisodiya

The point that had to be noted is that it took Mughals almost five months to take Chittor. The courage shown by men like Jaimal Rathore and Patta was something that we as Indians should always remember.

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