Our Indian history boasts of many Kings who gallantly fought wars and even laid down their lives for the sake of their kingdom and people. One among them is the Lion of Mewar. We were at Udaipur palace yesterday and our guide was telling us about the famous Mewar King, Maharana Pratap Singh of Chittor. He holds a unique place among the heroes of Mewar. He was a descendant of Sisodia dynasty od Suryavanshi lineage.
Maharana was contemporary to Akbar and it was the time when Akbar had established Mughal supremacy in India and no one dared waging war against him. The Rajput Kings had surrendered before Akbar and even some had given their sisters and daughters in marriage to the Mughal czar to build compromise. At such a time, Maharana Pratap Singh alone stood defying the Mughal empire and even ridiculing the overtures for friendship with them. The Lion of Mewar would not make friends with invaders and infiltrators.
He had his capital at Chittor and a fort on a hill ruling over a tribe called Bhils and other hilly tribes. He did not covet for furthering the frontiers of his kingdom. He did not want to attack other kingdoms to extend his empire. He was only interested in peace and prosperity of his subjects. But he was never allowed to live peacefully by the Mughals. Every now and then they would attack Chitoor.
Once a large army contingency under an able army chiefs was sent by Akbar to subdue the Lion of Mewar. Maharana's own younger brother, Shakti Singh who had differences with Rana had gone over to the side of the enemy. Maharana collected his army of handful of soldiers and came out of Chittor fort to face the enemy in the battlefield of Haldighati.
A fierce battle ensued and the Rajputs and Bhils fought with unparalleled bravery. The Mughal soldiers who supported the Rajputs were taken aback at the unmatched fighting skills of Maharana's army. The battle went on till each and every soldier of the Chittor army was martyred. Chetak, the loyal & royal horse of Maharana wanted to take away its master to safety. Though it had lost one of its leg, with only three legs it carried Maharana out of the battlefield. After leaping the 22 foot river it fell dead. The Battle of Haldighati was a futile victory for the Mughals, as they were unable to oust Maharana.
It was the worst phase of life for Maharana. He had to wander in the forest hiding in the hills. One day a few people from Chittor came to see him and among them was Bhama Shah.Bhama Shah was a great general, adviser, minister of Mewar Kings. He laid all his money, ornaments and jewels at Maharana’s feet and requested him to organise an army. Very reluctantly, the Maharana accepted the offer and with the help of freshly organised army recaptured his kingdom.
The history which our guides at the Udaipur palace and the Kumbalgarh fort told us was enthralling. We could realise that there are only few daredevils like Maharana and only a few loyals like Chetak and Bhama Shah.
Jai Ho Maharana.