Maharana Pratap | Rajput king of Mewar | Complete history and

English हिन्दी മലയാളം मराठी தமிழ் తెలుగు

Maharana Pratap | Rajput king of Mewar | Complete history and

Who was Maharana Pratap?

Maharana Pratap Singh Sisodiya or Maharana Pratap was the Rajput king of Mewar during the 16th century. Maharana Pratap is popularly known for being a strong opposition to the Mughal Empire and also for playing a major role in great wars like the Battle of Haldighati and Dewair. Maharana Pratap and Mughal forces of Akbar met several times on the battlefield, although the Mughals didn’t succeed in capturing Maharana Pratap[1]

Maharana Pratap I

Famous statue of Maharana Pratap at Moti Magri, Udaipur

Reign – 1 March 1572 till 19 January 1597

Predecessor – Maharana Udai Singh II (Father of Pratap)
Successor – Amar Singh I (eldest son of Pratap)
Born – 9th May 1540, Badal Mahal, Kumbhalgarh (Present-day Kumbhalgarh fort, Rajsamand, Rajasthan)
Died – 19 January 1597, Chavand, aged 56 (Present-day in Udaipur)
Siblings – 4 brothers, 2 sisters (including Jagmal and Shakti Singh)
Father – Udai Singh II
Mother – Jaiwanta Bai
Ministers – Bhamashah
Wives – 11 wives (including Maharani Ajabde of Bijolia)
Children – 17 sons, 5 Daughters (including Amar Singh I)
Religion/Caste – Hindu Rajput
Popularly known for – Defending Mewar as a small kingdom and being a strong resistance to the Mughal Empire
Weaponry – Swords, Spears, Bows, and arrows
    [2] [3]

Introduction :

Maharana Pratap throughout his life proved his military skills along with inspirational events still amenable in modern life.

Unlike other Rajput kingdoms, the Mewar kingdom did not accept Akbar’s supremacy and never agreed in forming a marital relationship with the Mughals. Akbar subdued all the Rajput kingdoms of Rajputana except Mewar. On orders of the Mughal Emperor, the Mughal forces started a campaign against Mewar and arrived Chittorgarh and led a siege on 20th October 1567 which lasted till 23rd February 1568 which resulted in ‘Shaka’ by the Rajputs. After this victory, the Mughals handled control over the eastern belt of Mewar.

But Udai Singh II who was the father of Maharana Pratap Singh already got the clue of the Mughal attack and already planned to shift in hilly regions. After the Mughal victory over Chittorgarh, Gogunda became the next capital of Mewar. [4]

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Personal Life of Maharana Pratap

( FAQs answered in the section) 

  • When was Maharana Pratap born?
  • Who was the father of Maharana Pratap?
  • Who were the sibling of Maharana Pratap?
  • Maharana Pratap’s wife
  • Who was the horse of Maharana Pratap?
  • Maharana Pratap children
  • Maharana Pratap’s Jayanti
  • Maharana Pratap’s childhood

Maharana Pratap was born on 9 May 1540 in the Royal Rajput family of Mewari Sisodiyas. Maharana Pratap’s Jayanti is celebrated on this day of 9 May across India. Maharana Pratap’s father was Udai Singh (1522-1572) and his mother was Jaiwanta Bai. Maharana had 4 brothers: Vikram Singh, Jagmal Singh, Shakti Singh ,and Hari Singh ,and 2 sisters: Man Kanwar and Chand Kanwar. He was lovingly called Kika or Kuka. Maharana had 11 wives. Maharana Pratap married his first wife, Maharani Ajabde of Bijolia in 1557. He had 17 sons and 5 daughters. The eldest son, Amar Singh (1559-1620) later succeeded Rana Pratap Singh. Rana Pratap on 1 March 1572 became the 13th Maharana of Mewar.

Maharana Pratap had a horse known as Chetak. He bought Chetak from a trader at a young age. This horse, Chetak later became a heroic character in the story of Maharana Pratap and Haldighati. The story of Chetak is mainly passed on with the tradition. [2] [5]

Accession to the throne

  • When did Maharana became king?
  • How did Maharana Pratap ascended the throne of Mewar? 
  • Jagmal and Maharana Pratap
  • Maharana Pratap’s second coronation

After the death of Maharana Udai Singh II on 28 February 1572, a small dispute arose for the successor of Mewar’s throne. Before the death of Maharana Udai Singh Singh, he declared Jagmal, son of Dheera bai (also referred to as ‘Bhaitiyani Rani’ ) to be the successor. The reason behind this is known that Udai Singh loved Dheera Bai, the most and she wanted her son to be the next king of Mewar. She convinced Udai Singh and he declared Jagmal the next ruler of Mewar.

Many courtiers disagreed and were not satisfied with Maharana Udai Singh’s decision. On the day of Udai Singh’s funeral, courtiers and rulers present at the funeral preferred Maharana Pratap as the ruler. Jagmal was rejected by Mewar’s officials and Rana Pratap Singh was crowned king on 1 March 1572. Maharana Pratap’s second coronation was organized in Kumbhalgarh.

What happened to Jagmal after being rejected as a king? 

Jagmal left for Ajmer and joined Akbar’s forces to revenge this disgrace. He got the authority of Jahazpur and half Sirohi as a Jagir from the Mughal Emperor. [4] [6] [7]

Early reign 

  • Maharana Pratap’s early life
  • Envoys sent by Akbar for Maharana Pratap
  • Maharana Pratap and Akbar
  • Why do Akbar wanted to capture Mewar?
  • Dispute of Akbar and Maharana Pratap
The Mewar kingdom had lost its eastern belt to the Mughals after the Siege of Chittorgarh (1567-68). Although, the Maharana Pratap still had control over the hilly regions of Aravali. The kingdom of Mewar was struggling for rebuilding its prestige after the death of Maharana Sanga. All the Kingdoms of Rajputana had belief in the Kingdom of Mewar to stand as a sovereign state against the Mughals. Mewar’s defeat in the Siege of Chittorgarh had harmed its prestige among the Rajput states. Maharana Pratap’s aimed to regain Mewar’s prestige by becoming a resistance against Mughal Emperor Akbar in his early reign. [4]
Vintage-Painting-of-Maharana-Pratap, Old-painting-of-Maharana-Pratap
Vintage Painting of Maharana Pratap

Mughal Emperor Akbar wanted to subdue Maharana Pratap in intent to make a stable route to Gujarat and to demonstrate a strong Mughal resemblance among the Rajput states.

Emperor Akbar desired to subdue Mewar without any war and he sent many envoys enjoining Maharana to become a vassal of him like other Rajput rulers. The envoys sent by Akbar were Jalal Khan, Man Singh, Bhagwant Das, and Todar Mal. In November 1572, Akbar sent the first envoy, Jalal Khan to Mewar. But Jalal Khan failed to convince Maharana Pratap. In June 1573, He sent Man Singh of Amer (1550-1614) to convince him. Akbar personally sent Man Singh with a letter for Maharana.

According to Historian James Tod, When Man Singh arrived in Mewar, Maharana organized a special feast for Man Singh near Udai Sagar Lake. Maharana Pratap did not attend this feast. When Man Singh asked Amar Singh I about Maharana Pratap, Amar Singh told that Maharana can’t attend the feast because he is sick of a stomachache. Man Singh thought that Maharana doesn’t want to attend this feast with Man Singh because the Amer Kingdom had marital relations with Akbar. Man Singh left for Agra in outrage and provoked Akbar for battle against Maharana Pratap. This story was supported by many other historians.

But according to Historian Gopinath Sharma, the reliability of this story is doubtful as there are no sources of Maharana’s time that narrate this story. Many sources like Akbarnama and many others state that Maharana and Man Singh met in Gogunda and not Udai Sagar Lake, which appears more reliable. [10]
The last two envoys after Man Singh were Bhagwant and Todarmal. Pratap refused to become a vassal of Akbar even after elder rulers like Bhagwant Das tried to assure him. After being refused by Maharana, war became ineluctable by Akbar’s side. [2] [4]

Military records

Maharana Pratap struggled for reviving Mewar. During this time, Maharana had numerous clashes with the Mughal Empire which is considered in the conquest of Mewar, but the two immense battles fought between the Mewari Rajputs of Maharana and Mughal forces of Akbar were the Battle of Haldighati and Battle of Dewair. [4]

Battle of Haldighati

After the declaration of inevitable war between Mewar and Mughals, both the Kingdom’s forces began their preparation. Maharana Pratap before the battle of Haldighati moved his citizens from the plains to the hilly regions of Aravali. Maharana also took support from the Bhil tribe, who were always disposed to serve the Rajputs of Mewar.

On the other hand, the Mughal forces under the leadership of Man Singh and Asaf Khan departed from Ajmer and reached Khamnor. On 18 June 1576, the forces of Mughals and Rajputs met between the hills of Khamnor and Gogunda. The region between these two hills is Haldighati thereby, this battle was called the Battle of Haldighati (Haldighati ka yuddh) . There had been controversies related to the date of this battle. The battle of Haldighati took place on 18 June 1576 The strength of the forces in this battle (cavalry in The Battle of Haldighati) is still debatable, Veer Vinod by Shyamaldas states 20,000 cavalries of the Mewari Rajputs and 80,000 of the Mughals, while some sources state Maharana carried the cavalry of 10,000 and Mughals of 40,000. Ultimately, the ratio of the forces was 1:4 in the Haldighati Battle. [4] [8] [9] 
Old-painting-of-Battle-of-Haldighati, Haldighati-ka-yudhh
A painting describing about the battle of Haldighati

Who won the battle of Haldighati?

The result of Haldighati War is still contentious. After a great clash between the sides, the Mughals were likely to claim the victory, but after the Mughal army reached their camp in Gogunda, the Bhilas and Rajputs under the leadership of Punja and Maharana led a siege. Routes were blocked by Maharana and the Mughal army’s food supply was stopped. The lucky ones escaped and the rest died of starvation. Moreover, Man Singh was suspended from the Mughal court for some days possibly because of failure in the Mewar campaign. [4] [10] [11]
Soon after this battle, Maharana took Kumbhalgarh in power and reconquered the regions under Akbar’s control. He secured control over Gogunda and gave the authority to Mandad Kumpawat. When the news of Maharana’s counter against Mughals spread throughout the Mughal capital, Akbar decided to lead the campaign against Mewar along with Bhagwant Das, Man Singh and Qutubbudin Khan. He arrived in Mewar on 13 October 1576. Maharana Pratap instead of being combative on plain grounds, decided to use the Guerrilla warfare tactics. Akbar subsequently failed to imprison Maharana Pratap but gained the regions of Udaipur, Gogunda ,and Kumbhalgarh. He appointed Mujahid Begh in Gogunda and ended his campaign. [4] [10]

Battle of Dewair (1582)

During the period of the reconquest of Mewar, Maharana Pratap attacked the strongest Mughal stronghold of Mewar in Dewair. This stronghold provided supplies to the Mughal army in the campaign against Mewar. Maharana Pratap wanted to assure a win over the stronghold of Dewair which was later very helpful for the kingdom of Mewar. In 1582, Maharana along with Bhamashah and Amar Singh charged at Dewair which was under the supervision of Sultan Khan. This Battle of Dewair took place in 1582.

Who won the battle of Dewair?

During the war, Maharana propelled his spear towards Sultan Khan’s elephant. Sultan Khan fell off his elephant and Amar Singh I struck the spear on Sultan Khan which prompted it to penetrate throughout his chest. Eventually, the Rajputs won the Battle of Dewair and took the authority of Dewair. This led to the increase in morale and prestige of the Mewar and Maharana Pratap. The other 36 Mughal outposts collapsed after Maharana’s victory over Dewair stronghold. Colonel James Tod described the Battle of Dewair as ‘The Marathon of Mewar”. [4] [10] [12]

The conquest of Mewar

  • Mughal Invasions on Mewar
  • Akbar’s campaigns against Maharana Pratap
  • Mughal campaign of 1576,1577,1578,1579,1580,1584 against Mewar
  • Maharana Pratap’s reconquest of Mewar 
After Akbar’s campaign on Mewar (1576-1577), the territories of Gogunda, Kumbhalgarh ,and Udaipur were under Mughal control. Akbar gave the authority of Gogunda to Mujahid Begh. After Akbar had withdrawn his campaign and left Mewar, Maharana Pratap killed Mujahid Begh and reconquered Gogunda and other regions occupied by Mughals. Later on 15 October 1577, Akbar sent his General Shahbaz Khan to invade Mewar and imprison Maharana. Maharana Pratap picked the hilly region of Chappan ( Present-day part of Pratapgarh and Banswara ) as his center. Shahbaz Khan failed consecutively three times in 1577, 1578, and 1579. Although, Shahbaz Khan captured Kumbhalgarh. [4] [10] [12]
Akbar again sent a campaign against Mewar in 1580 under the leadership of Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khanan. But again, Khan-i-Khanan was not competent enough to imprison Maharana. Akbar’s campaign on Mewar was stopped for 2 years because of rebellions from the North East. This made Maharana construct a strong resistance to the Mughals and again attain rule over the Mewar region. In 1582, Maharana attacked Dewair and victoriously fleed most of the Mewar from Mughal rule. On 5 December 1584, Akbar sent a huge army lead by Jagannath Kachawaha, but he was unsuccessful and died in Mandalgarh ( Present Day Bhilwara ). [4] [10]
Maharana Pratap begins re-capturing all the territories lost to Mughals. He dominated Chavand in 1585 by defeating Luna Chavandiya and later Chavand became the capital of Mewar. Akbar’s desire to capture Rana Pratap was not fulfilled and he withdrew campaigns from Mewar. The economy of Mewar started developing. Maharana recovered a large part of Mewar except for Chittorgarh. He lived in peace for a short time before his death. The agriculture in Mewar grew up once again. The migrants returned to Mewar and Maharana was glorified. After so many invasions by Mughals on Mewar, The reconquest of Mewar by Maharana Pratap was successful. [4] [12] [13]

Death

How did Maharana Pratap died?

Maharana Pratap death

When did Maharana Pratap died?

Maharana Pratap’s life before death?

Maharana Pratap died on 19 January 1597 in Chavand. Maharana Pratap’s death anniversary (Punyatithi) is said on this day. There are debates between historians regarding Maharana Pratap’s death. Apparently, the reason behind Maharana Pratap’s death is believed in battle injuries. According to Dr. Chandrashekhar Sharma, inscriptions on a copper plate found in Mewar states that Maharana died while he was pulling the string of his bow, he faced spasm in intestines and later died because of it.

Maharana lived in peace before his death as there were no major campaigns on Mewar. Maharana Pratap’s only wish was to never submit Mewar to Mughals even after his death. The Ministers and Amar Singh I promised Maharana that Mewar will be a sovereign state even after his death. Amar Singh I succeeded Maharana Pratap after his death. [10] [12] [14]

Memorable tales

  • Shakti Singh abducted female members of Rahim’s family and outrage of Maharana.
  • Man Singh and Maharana Pratap
  • Maharana Pratap and Bahlol Khan
  • Maharana cut Bahlol khan
  • Bahlol Khan’s death
  • Bhamashah and Maharana Pratap
  • Bhamashah Jayanti
  • Jhala Man/ Jhala Bida

Maharana Pratap’s struggle for Mewar was indeterminable. Many stories from the life of Maharana Pratap must be justified by being propounded in his history. Historians have their particular opinion about these stories. These stories can be debatable but reportedly found true.

Tale of Amar Singh I abducting female member’s of Abdul’s family and facing outrage of Maharana

In 1580, Akbar sent Abdul Rahim khan-i-Khanan to lead a campaign against Maharana. Abdul Rahim also had his family along with him. He left his family in Sherpur before the war. When Kunwar Amar Singh (Amar Singh I) got the info of Abdul’s family in Sherpur. He abducted female members of his family. This compelled Maharana Pratap and in consequence, Amar Singh faced the outrage of Maharana.

Maharana ordered Amar Singh to drop them back to their palace with complete respect. After this event, the esteem of Maharana grew, and possibly respect would have arisen in Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khanan for Maharana. [4] [15] [16]

Tales from The Battle of Haldighati

Statue-of-Maharana-Pratap-attacking-Man-Singh-at-Haldighati-Museum
A statue of Maharana Pratap attacking Man Singh at Haldighati

Maharana Pratap in the Battle of Haldighati (1576) attacked Man Singh with his spear by jumping onto the head of Man Singh’s elephant. But Man Singh survived by hiding behind the Mahout. The Mahout died by the propelled spear of Maharana. While Chetak ( Maharana’s horse ) was landing on the ground, his leg got injured by the knife tied on the trump of the elephant. This tale of Maharana Pratap attacking Man Singh is a source of Mewar’s reply to the Emperor Akbar

A soldier named Jhala Bida/Jhala Man was spectating the whole scenario. Maharana Pratap continued fighting. He pierced the soldiers who appeared in front of him. The Mughal commander Bahlol Khan counter-struck Maharana. In conclusion to Bahlol Khan, Maharana with his strength chopped Bahlol Khan into two pieces with his sword.

Maharana-Pratap-and-Bahlol-Khan, Maharana-Pratap-piercing-Bahlol-Khan-painting
A painting describing Maharana Pratap piercing Bahlol Khan
This historic movement was an integral part of the Battle of Haldighati. Many historians admired this act of Maharana. By this time, Maharana’s body was full of wounds. Jhala Bida/ Jhala Man Singh requested Maharana Pratap to leave the battlefield as the survival of Maharana Pratap was important for the freedom movement of Mewar. Maharana agreed and Jhala Bida wore the crown and engram of Maharana. Jhala Bida later martyred in the battle. [4] [15]

The truth of Bhamashah’s assets 

Painting-of-Bhamashah, Cover-Image-of-Danveer-Bhamashah
Cover image of the book ‘Danveer Bhamashah’

Chronicles states when Maharana Pratap was struggling in forests, he ran out of funds and met Bhamashah who helped Maharana financially. Bhamashah gave all his intrinsical property and assets to Maharana. Maharana got the funds to enlist an army of 25,000 soldiers for 12 years. Bhamashah is renowned for his sacrifice to Mewar.

According to Dr. Gaurishankar Hirachand Ojha, the authenticity of this story is doubtful. This might have been misled by the Charans and Bhats. He states the property may not have belonged to Bhamashah. Instead, this was according to the tradition of ancient times when the royal treasure was hidden before the war and used in times of need. Bhamashah might have kept this treasure hidden and gave the property which belonged to Mewar’s royal family in the time of need. Bhamashah’s Jayanti is celebrated on 29 April.[4] [17] [15]

Armor and Weaponry

  • Maharana Pratap’s height (in feet)
  • Maharana Pratap’s sword
  • Maharana Pratap’s armor
  • Maharana Pratap’s spear
  • Maharana Pratap’s weight

Maharana-pratap-armor-at-Museum, Maharana-Pratap's-sword-and-spear
Maharana Pratap’s armor at City Palace, Udaipur


Maharana Pratap was a mighty warrior with a height of 7 feet 5 inches and weight of 110 kgs. Maharana Pratap wore armor of 72 kgs and carried a spear of 80 kgs. He carried two swords with him encase if an opponent was unarmed, he would offer him his second sword. The weight of the sword of Maharana Pratap was 50 kilograms, 25 kilograms each. This whole weight of Maharana was sustained by Chetak skilfully. [18] [19]

Legacy

  • Maharana Pratap’s Legacy
  • Maharana Pratap’s Serial (Bharat ka Veer Putra Maharana Pratap)
  • Maharana Pratap’s history
  • Maharana Pratap’s skill

Maharana Pratap demonstrated his valor and devotion towards Mewar by serving his country till his last breath. He handled Mewar in its dreadful times. He had become a renowned historical figure in the history of India. Many television serials like Bharat ka veer putra Maharana Pratap, movies, poems, books have been based on his life. Maharana Pratap was the first Indian warrior to use the Guerilla warfare tactics in an organised manner, revolutionaries like Chatrapati Shivaji took inspiration from his Guerilla warfare tactics. Many historians including Gopinath Sharma, Satish Chandra ,and Hirachand Ojha applaud Maharana for his approach. Just like Maharana, Chetak is also honored for playing an important role in Maharana’s life. Maharana Pratap Jayanti’s date is 9 May and it is celebrated all across India, on this day Maharana Pratap is widely regarded as one of the greatest warrior of India. Many historians describe Maharana Pratap as the first freedom fighter of India. Similarly, Maharana Pratap Punyatithi (Death Anniversary) is said on 19 January.

Some chronicles state Maharana as an Avatar of Eklingji. Many statues of Maharana are erected across India. Abundant Organizations, roads, cities, and districts are derived from his name. Principles from the life of Maharana had become a source of motivation for the generation after Maharana Pratap. Although Maharana Pratap’s history is not much mentioned in school textbooks.

                                               [9] [12] [4]

Was Maharana Pratap defeated by Akbar? 

No, Maharana Pratap was not really defeated by Akbar. Maharana Pratap struggled for Mewar in it’s bad times and successfully regained Mewar. Many historians glorify Maharana Pratap for his strategies he used in the clash against Mughals. At Last, Maharana was ruling Mewar with his authority and the result of Battle of Haldighati is insinuated by historians. The topic of Maharana Pratap vs Akbar’ influenced many tourists to visit India. The fight between Maharana Pratap and Akbar is an integral part of Indian history. [4] [10]

Why is Maharana Pratap so famous? 

Maharana Pratap  had became a so famous figure in Indian history because of his excellence at the warfare. Whether it using Guerrilla warfare in a stable manner or forming alliance by testing people with own’s knowledge and following the goal of freedom with ethics. 

References

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