maharana pratap: First freedom fighter

Maharana Pratap and his decade-long war for Independence of Mewar: The Soldier of Liberty

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Background:

Maharana Pratap this name is taken with the utmost respect throughout the Indian subcontinent. A man who stood for his people, community, and nation when they needed him the most.

Many of us may remember Rana Pratap for his dauntless courage which he had shown in the battle of Haldighati. But that’s not all. His life and legacy are far greater than that. For decades Maharana Pratap kept fighting and carried out wars through guerrilla tactics to stop the influence of the alien Mughal Empire in India.

Maharana pratap
Image of Maharana Pratap: The mountain man.

For centuries the Rajputs of Mewar had fought titanic wars against foreign invaders. They had crossed swords against the Arabs, Turks, and Mughals. The legends like Bappa Rawal, Rana Kumbha, and Rana Sanga had fought unending wars against these invaders.

During the period of Maharana Pratap, the Mughal Empire had absorbed half of the Indian subcontinent into its dominion and almost every Rajputs chief had also submitted to them. At that time it seemed that the Mughals will conquer the whole of India under their emperor Akbar.

But the dauntless spirit of the Sooryavanshi clan of Rajputs thrashed their ambition and it was possible because of one man i.e. Maharana Pratap.

Maharana Pratap: The Beginning of a Hero

In this article, we will try to cover the forgotten story of the most incredible son of Maa Bharti who guarded the Pride of Hindus and Rajputs.   

When the great Maharana Pratap ascended the throne of Mewar on 28th February 1572 the condition of his nation was in utter disarray. For decades Mewar had fought prolonged wars against the foreign menace which largely depleted its economy, trade organization, social life, and many more.

The Mughals had already subjugated Chittor through barbaric massacre and their influence over the border areas of Mewar kept on increasing day by day.

Maharana Pratap: The soldier of liberty
Maharana Pratap: The Soldier of Liberty

The great Rana of the royal lineage of the Sisodiya Rajput clan was prepared to fight a long war for the prestige of Mewar and Rajput chivalry.

Maharana Pratap immediately started to initiate his tactics to defy the attempt of Mughal emperor Akbar. He shifted his capital from Gogunda to Kumbhalgarh. Later he pumped up his men and loyal nobles to fight for their independence.

Another example of his leadership acumen was that Maharana Pratap was the first one who realized the importance of the Bhils, a native tribe who had settled in the southwestern part of Mewar.

Under his bold and strong leadership, the Mewari Rajputs stood shoulder to shoulder to stop the expansion of the powerful Mughal Empire.

Mughal King Akbar

The Mughal Emperor Akbar remained imperialist throughout his reign, which meant that the various states including Mewar should lose their independence. But after the fall of Chittor Akbar decided to handle Mewar through peaceful negotiations. The emperor sent three peaceful negotiation offers to Mewar.

Three different Rajput leaders headed all three missions. Raja Man Singh of Amber, Raja Bhagwan Das, and Raja Todar Mal all was sent to change the mind of the Valiant Rana in order to accept the suzerainty of the Mughals.

But the great and Chivalrous Maharana Pratap rejected all three missions and chose freedom for Mewar and its people. After this war between Mewar and Mughals became inevitable.

Pratap’s Struggle & strategy to fight the huge Mughal army

Maharana Pratap knew that the Mughals sooner or later will invade Mewar and for this reason, the Rana took some measures to defend his territory.

First Rana Pratap shifted the civil population of Mewar to Kumbhalgarh and Kelwara. He also used scorched earth tactics to stop the supply lines of the invading army.

On the other hand, Akbar decided to send Raja Man Singh to invade Mewar. On 3 April 1576, he left Ajmer to meet the Mewaris for a titanic clash.

The invading army reached Mandalgarh and the Rana took his position at Lohsingh eight miles west of Haldighati.

The two armies met on the mountain pass of Haldighati. The battle was tough and ruthless. The outnumbered Mewari Rajputs fought with rare bravery inflicting heavy losses on their opponent. The Mughal army ,although being many times greater in size could neither capture Maharana Pratap nor take over his kingdom.

Everyone in our country is aware of the result of the battle of Haldighati. However, the brave Rana didn’t stop his struggle. He was prepared to carry out a long war against the alien empire. 

ArtStation - Maharana Pratap with his extraordinary horse Chetak
Maharana Pratap and his famous horse- Chetak

Aftermath of Haldighati: Maharana Pratap and his resurrection

After the battle, the Maharana took new measures to counter the Mughal onslaughts on his kingdom. Rana Pratap also put various troops around the imperial army’s camp in order to cut their supply lines.

Furthermore, the Maharana also initiated a plan to unite some of the local chiefs against the Mughals.

He decided to form a strong coalition with those chiefs who were preparing to revolt against the Mughal authority.  Narain Das of Idar who revolted against the Mughal had cordial relations with the Rana of Mewar.

Rao Surtan of Sirohi and Rao Chandrasen were also in the league of Maharana Pratap. It looked like this alliance between Udaipur, Idar, Jhalor, and Sirohi would be enough to shake the Mughal foundation in and around Rajputana.

Later Rana Pratap captured Gogunda and expelled the Mughal garrison from there. 

But on October 11 1576 Akbar himself left Ajmer for Gogunda. The emperor took Gogunda and made it headquarters for some time. Raja Man Singh, Kunwat Man Singh, and Kutbuddin Khan were sent off in order to find out the whereabouts of the Rana.

The Mughals did everything to block the routes of the Rana. The Mughals put several troops in different places to counter the Gurriella tactics of Rana.

For example, the Mughals placed 3000 troops at Mohi, and 500 troops at Madaria. Akbar did everything to encircle Rana Pratap but failed in the end because in the land of Mewar the law was made by the Rana. After this Rana recaptured Gogunda and even took Udaipur.

Rana raided the Mughal outposts and frustrated them. In 1577 Shahbaz khan was sent to Mewar. He did achieve some success by taking Kumbhalgarh but it was later taken by the Pratap.

Note: Four times the Mughals sent their forces and four times they were repulsed.

Shabaz khan then invaded Mewar a second time in 1578 but failed and a third time in 1579 but failed again.

Later Abdul Raheem Khan who became the governor of Ajmer invaded Mewar on 1580. The Mughal governor placed his family at Sherpura and kept moving in the territory of the valiant Maharana Pratap.

Maharana Pratap followed a tactical move and retreated into the hills. But his son i.e. Kunwar Amar Singh launched a brilliant attack on Sherpura and even captured Abdul Raheem’s family.

But as soon as this news reached Rana he immediately ordered to send the women and children of Abdul Raheem’s family back to Raheem’s place with full honors.  

On 1582 The Mewaris charged the fields of Dever or Diber (Dewair) near Kumbhalgarh. In this battle, Amar Singh the son of Maharana showed great valor and killed the Mughal commander with a single stroke of his spear.

On 1584 the Mughals sent Jagannath Kachawaha 1584-85 but this resulted in failure. All in all a total of 6 attacks on Mewar after Haldighati. Furthermore, in the later year when the Mughal king was busy in Lahore, Rana Pratap sacked the north-western, northeast, and central parts of Mughal territories.

On 1585 Chavand was made a new capital and tried to stabilize Mewar’s administration and economy. He also constructed a Hindu temple dedicated to Chamunda Devi and a royal palace.

By now Mewar enjoyed the peace and it was possible only because of the gallant Maharana Pratap.

Throughout his tough struggle, the Rana had freed a total of 36 territories including Kumbhalgarh, Gogunda, Udaipur Mandal, Pindwara, etc from Mughal authority.

Maharana Pratap was born free and remained freed his entire life. His is still for the noble cause for which he fought for decades and that was FREEDOM.

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