Rebellion of Mewar(1679): Maharana Raj Singh and his Forgotten Rajputs

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On 3 September 1679 the Rajput kingdom of Mewar braced itself to halt the Mughal hordes of Delhi. The tyrannical and bigoted decisions of Alamgir had deeply affected the Hindu sentiments. Thus Mewar which for centuries had fought relentlessly against the foreign menace once again honed its shield and swords to safeguard the people of Aryavarta.

Under the command of Maharana Raj Singh who from the inception of reign wanted to wipe out the Mughal influence, Mewar declared war against Aurangzeb and his Mughal allies. The war between Mewar and the Mughals proved to be disastrous for the Imperial forces. They couldn’t achieve the desired success despite plunging immense resources in terms of men and money.

Raj Singh I 
Mewar Mughal War
Image of Maharana Raj Singh

But most people don’t know exactly how Mewar and its handful of Rajputs were able to defy the Mughals which ruled most of the Indian sub-continent. Here we will shed light on the forgotten allies and brave hearts which joined Mewar and laid down their lives for the sake of their motherland.

Causes of Conflict: Bigotry of Aurangzeb

Aurangzeb after declaring himself the emperor of Hindustan took aggressive measures against the non-Muslim community. He even prohibited Music in his court and later re-imposed religious tax like Jaziya in 1679.

mewar mughal war
Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb

Furthermore, the emperor also passed a Farman to desecrate the Hindu temples which generated great resentment among Hindu kings and one of them was the Maharana of Mewar. When Raj Singh refused to impose Jaziya on Mewar Aurangzeb initiated a full-fledged invasion of Mewar on 3 September 1679.

But the Rana of Mewar and his handful of troops offered stiff resistance and inflicted heavy damage on the invaders.

Mewar Mughal War

The Mughals entered Mewar from the eastern portion and subdued the region of Chittor, Mandalgarh, Mandsaur, Jiran, etc after a tough fight. On the other hand, the Rana decided to conduct the war in a Guerrilla strategy and divided his Rajput army into three parts. Prince Jai Singh was placed in charge of the Aravalli region.

The second unit was under the control of Prince Bheem and was placed in the suburb of Gujarat. Maharana Raj Singh commanded the third unit and cut the supply lines of the invaders to starve them.

Garib Das the chief of the Saktawats who fought against the Mughals during this war advised the Maharana to trap the enemy inside Mewar’s deserted region to starve them. Rana Raj Singh appealed to all the possible Hindu warriors who could help to stop the Mughal hordes.  

The Forgotten Warriors of Mewar

Aurangzeb initially gained success and subdued several provinces of Mewar. However, later things became bleak for the imperial forces when Mewar made its move. Alamgir stationed himself at Uday Sagar and sent his son Prince Akbar to march towards Udaipur.

Furthermore, Mughal general Dilher Khan also moved towards Desuri Pass (in the Aravalli hills). The young prince swiftly reached Udaipur without any difficulty and fell into the trap of the Rajputs. Prince Jai Singh who had placed himself between the region of Udaipur and Debari attacked the imperial army with full force.

The attack was so severe that the Mughal Prince decided to retreat. But the retreat of the Prince became a complete nightmare as the Bhils which were placed to harass the retreating Mughals inflicted heavy causalities on them.

In the end, the Mughals under Prince Akbar reached Chittor losing most of his resources in terms of men and money. Dilher Khan who reached Desuri Pass was taken down by the joint forces of Marwar and Mewar.

Bikram Solanki of Roopnagar and Gopinath Rathore decimated the troops of Dilher Khan and captured immense booty from the Mughals. Aurangzeb contingent was also raided by the dauntless Durgadas and the latter placed himself in the safe zone of Ajmer from 1679-1681.

Things were becoming out of control for the Mughals and the emperor called his son Muazzam from Deccan to get rid of the Rajputs. To aid Prince Akbar at Chittor who had been surrounded by spirited Rajputs Aurangzeb sent a force of 12000 under the guidance of Rohilla Khan.

Sawaldas who traced his lineage from the gallant Jaimal Rathore who died fighting during the third Jauhar of Chittor defeated the army of Rohilla Khan and chased the invaders to Ajmer.


The Attack of Prince Bheem

The war and the plundering done by the imperial forces inflicted heavy damage to the Mewar treasury. Even before this confrontation, Mewar economy was depleting due to continuous wars and famines. To generate immediate wealth Prince Bheem decided to invade the neighboring Mughal provinces.

He invaded Gujarat which at that time was one of the rich economic centers of the Mughals. Prince Bheem raided the region and even expelled its Mughal garrison. Later he plundered the region of Patan and Sidhpur and was planning to march towards Surat.

However, the invasion of Surat had to be abandoned due to the call of Maharana. Dayal Singh who was a minister in Mewar completely decimated Malwa. The regions of Dewas, Sarangpur, Sironj, Mandu, Ujjain, etc shattered in front of him and a huge booty fell into the hands of Rajputs.

He behaved in the same manner as Aurangzeb had behaved towards non-Muslims. Dayal Singh ordered the Kazis to shave their heads in order to give Aurangzeb his own medicines.

Later he joined Prince Bheem and their Rathore and Kinchi allies and defeated Prince Azam who retreated to Ranthambore. Maharana Raj Singh even planned to dethrone the Mughal emperor and place the young Prince Akbar on the throne of Delhi.

However, the plan couldn’t achieve its objective and the prince with the support of the Rathors of Marwar retreated towards Deccan in the Maratha territory. Later Mewar signed a truce with the Mughals in the year 1681 ending the struggle.

The story of Mewar has always inspired the people of this nation. They were the ones who continuously defined the tyranny and horrors of the invaders. Maharana Raj Singh and his forgotten soldiers stood up against the injustice and intolerance of Alamgir and gave him a befitting reply.   


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