Biography of Maharana Pratap

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Biography of Maharana Pratap

Maharana Pratap (also Rana Pratap Singh) was a great warrior and Rajput king of Mewar. He was the son of Maharana Udai Singh. He was born on 9th May, 1540.

Chitor and the eastern part of Mewar had been occupied by Akbar in 1568, but the major portion-of Mewar continued to be under Maharana Udai Singh. His son, the indomitable Maharana Pratap, ascended the throne of Mewar at Gogunda on March 3, 1572. He swore uncompromising resistance to the Mughals and recovery of Chitor.

The magnitude of the task of Maharana Pratap can be better understood when we note that without a capital and with only slander resources he had to oppose he organized strength of ‘immeasurably the richest on the face of the earth”. His fellow Rajput chiefs and neighbors and even his brother Shakti Singh who lacked the high Rajput ideals of chivalry and independence had allied themselves with the Mughals. No obstacle was too alarming for this national hero of Rajputana, who was of a much nobler stuff than his relatives. The magnitude of the peril confirmed the fortitude of Pratap, who vowed, in the words of the bard to make his mother’s milk resplendent and he amply redeemed his pledge.

Akbar, on the other hand, was bent upon wresting the remaining portions of Mewar from Maharana Pratap. He sent Man Singh assisted by Asaf Khan, with a powerful army to invade the remnant of Mewar in April, 1576. Man Singh reached the plain at the northern end of the pass of Haldighat. Here the imperial army was attacked by Maharana Pratap and a furious battle was fought in which the arrows and the bullets were shot indiscriminately as the Rajputs proved too much for the Sisodia heroes. Pratap was surrounded by the enemy and was about to be cut off. Bida Jhala, a faithful follower of Pratap, cleverly seized the crown from the head of the Maharana Pratap which gave an impression to the enemy that he was himself the Rana. As he was pursued, Pratap was taken out of the battlefield by some faithful soldiers. Bida Jhala proved his loyalty to Pratap by laying his life down in the battlefield. Pratap took shelter in the hills.

Next morning, Gogunda was occupied by Man Singh and Maharana Pratap’s strongholds fell into the hands of the Mughals one by one. The indomitable Sisodia king Rana Pratap, although reduced to starvation at times, would neither condescend to lower his pride and acknowledge Akbar’s suzerainty, nor to agree to any matrimonial alliance with the Mughals. It is wrongly supposed by some that Akbar due to chivalrous regard for Maharana Pratap, his great adversary, left him unmolested for the rest of his life. The fact is otherwise. Pratap was hunted from hill to hill and he and his family had to live on the fruits of the hills of his own native land. Instead of giving himself up to despair, Maharana Pratap Singh continued the war with the Mughals and before his death in 1597 (January) succeeded in recovering many of his strongholds.

Maharana Pratap’s death provided Akbar with an opportunity to reduce the remaining portion of Mewar, but his preoccupation in other quarters prevented him from doing so. Though Akbar did not stop sending more than one expedition against Amar Singh, son of Pratap, yet Mewar defied total annexation to the Mughal Empire.

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