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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Maharana Pratap | Who he was ? - Part-1


This post is an attempt to capture the personality of an exceptionally remarkable warrior in the history of Rajputana - Maharana Pratap..

The scion of the Sisodia Clan of Suryavanshi Rajputs of Mewar - Maharana Pratap, one of the most notable name among the Rajputs, a person whose name counts along the ranks of Bappa Rawal, Prithviraj Chauhan, Rana Hamir, Rana Kumbha, and Rana Sanga, to name a few Rajput warriors of the finest mettle who set their foot on the hot sands of Rajputana. In spite of countless barriers, this man coupled with indomitable spirit, stood up against the 'imperialism' throughout and lead his life in a manner which is remembered even today.

Born to Rana Udai Singh and Maharani Jaivanta Bai Sa, on May 9 1540, in the fort of Kumbhalgarh, the seat of his great grandfather - Rana Kumbha. He was born in the comforts of a palace but was destined to FIGHT and only FIGHT through out his life. He spent his childhood out of his palaces and got a first hand experience of the hardships of the citizens, of the problems which plagued the state. He declined a comfortable life and chose struggle,  for his love of Freedom and Respect which were his jewels - robbery of which was not acceptable to him. He stood up in times of all adversities, waged a lone battle against THE MOST powerful man of Hindustan - Mughal Emperor Jalal-ud-din Muhammed Akbar Padshah. What for? HIS ONLY demand - the freedom of HIS Matrabhumi, his motherland, his Mewar. Religious tolerance without political considerations, broadness of mind and tons of generosity with an ideal thinking, made him in possession of some qualities which gained for him the highest place in all spheres of lives of his people.

A successful general - who knew how to charge his handful of warriors against the better equipped enemy : numerically as well as in terms of weaponry, a self-taught minister - who formulated policies on his own, a theologian - whose guides were his shastras, an ideal military innovator - who invented every possible little strategy despite being resource less living in exile in forest, a man of fortitude, a man of dauntless courage, a man who NEVER bowed infront in anyone but his mother and HIS Ekling Ji.

Sterling in his domestic relations, loving and forgiving to his rebelling brothers, simple like an ascetic, fearless like a tiger, free like the King of Forest, he had a passion for freedom and a hatred for ease of the comfort. Even today one wonders how A SINGLE MAN kept the Mughal Emperor Akbar at bay from the satisfaction of being successful in making him bow before the Mughal Flag. 

His coolness and dauntless courage were famous throughout : no danger however great, no emergency how­ever unlooked for, could shake his heart or cloud the serene light of his intellect. Indeed, he regarded danger as only the legitimate risk of greatness. No amount of exertion could fatigue this 7 feet tall warrior. The privations of a campaign or forced ride had no terror for him. He lead his army from the front. Numerically, his forces were of no match with the never ending armies of the Mughal Emperor. He devised a sensible strategy new to those times - Guerilla Warfare - according to which the fight was conducted in the place which was suitable for HIS OWN SMALL army ; which was later implemented by Shivaji and also in Bijapur. Of diplomacy he was a past master, and could not be beaten in any kind of intrigue or secret manipulation. He was as much a “lord of the mind” as a “lord of the sword.” Though, amongst his most favorite battle weapons, his spear was the foremost. And his most trusted companion was HIS Chetak - his horse.

He possessed that warm generosity of the heart, that chivalry to fallen foes, and that moderation and easy familiarity of address in private life, which earned him the love and admiration of his citizens, other contemporaries and of all posterity.
Of the grants given by him, many are still preserved by the present Royal House of Udaipur, in the Udaipur Palace...

This series will be continued. Probably in one more part, i will be able to finish the "introduction" of Maharana Pratap.

For episode related discussions of Maharana Pratap show, here is a separate post, this would be continued in a series: Maharana Pratap | Episode Discussion

This article has been posted under the Rajputs section of history_geek's BLOG.

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  1. Abhay,

    A wonderful eulogy to a great warrior and king who never lost the common touch. The son of the soil who fended off the imperialist forces of the Mughals under Akbar, almost single-handedly and recaptured and retained most of his beloved Mewar throughout his reign. The son who dwarfed his father and went on to become one of the finest legends in Rajputana.

    It must have been something to have been able to witness the face-off between 2 legends - MP and Akbar, in those days. :)

    MP epitomizes every word and sentiment expressed in my favorite poem, If, by Rudyard Kipling:

    If you can keep your head
    when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;

    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

    If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;

    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;

    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;

    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

  2. WOW Abhay, what a great warrior. Thank you

  3. Radhika I looooooove this poem! so glad you referred to it. The last Stanza is my absolute favorite!!

  4. Wow, Maharana Pratap was 7' tall. A man of integrity, he dwarfed his adversaries not only with innovative Guerilla warfare but by smart political diplomacy too.

    I admire this simple, courageous, self-respecting warrior of Rajputana, who fearlessly stood up to the powerful Mughal emperor Akbar, to safeguard Mewar, his motherland.

    Abhay, thank you for sharing this awesome write-up applauding the great Maharana Pratap of Mewar

  5. thnk u abhay. 'tis writeup shows ur passion 4 maharana pratap n matches the name of 'tis warrior - maha rana . vry beautiful and grt job.

  6. Wow Abhhay .A great write up on a fearless warrior who always stood by his principles .he should have been an inspiration for many and still is ...a legend we could pride up on for ages to come .

  7. Thanks Abhay, sharing this,such a courageous, personaily, who spend his whole, life, for his Motherland.Such type of warriors, less Born.

  8. Awesome, Abhay Thank u fr this ode to the most courageous warrier king Every adjective u hv chosen to describe his personality was apt. It made my heart heavy, as such a patriot had to face so much adversity, n conspiracy throughout his life.
    Innovation of new tactics of guerilla war shows how intelligent he was! If we ever compare Akbar with MP all my votes to MP as numbers were always on Akbar's side.I feel like reading ur post again n again, history-geek, ur blog is becoming more n more colourful.

  9. Abhay, wonderful post on the Great Maharana Pratap. He along with Shivaji Maharaj still rules the hearts of the people, after centuries.

    I knew he was tall, did not know he was 7' tall!!! Wow what a sight he must have been riding majestically on Chetak.

    Abhay I am so glad you started the series on MRP.

    Abhay, my knowledge of MRP is very sketchy compared to all you experts but - I find it so interesting that for men who fought wars most of their
    lives Maharana Pratap and Shivaji Maharaj both passed away not on
    battlefield but in their homes on their own bed, after having achieved
    what they set out to achieve :))

    They ruled the land but more - they still rule the hearts of the people.

  10. History-geek,U hv written many names of gr8 warriors, starting frm Bappa Rawal. of these warriors I know only Prithviraj Chauhan.Can u give brief intro of these men, which clan they belonged to, fought against whom n their chronology?Being Indians, it won't be proper if we don't know our own warriors.!

  11. Geeta,
    Except Prithviraj Chauhan all these warriors are from Mewar region itself. :)
    These are ancestors of Maharana Pratap. :)
    You can ask here if you want to know more about them. I will try to tell as much as possible from my limited knowledge. :)

  12. abhay - i was watching maharana pratap online. last week they had shown his war. he was fighting wid a spear in tat. 'tis post came in my mind, as u mentioned spear as his favorite weapon. but how cn spear b very effective weapon? why not use sword.

  13. Thanks for answering Radhika. :D
    Iqra has asked a tricky question. As far as i know, Maharana Pratap used to fight battles personally. He used to attack the people while riding on horse in a battle field. And in this case, he had to fight multiple people at one time. I think that a spear helps in combating people from a distance also. :)

  14. Iqra

    You can throw a spear at someone from a distance but you can't throw a sword effectively. :)

  15. Can anybody enlighten me regarding,
    1.The history of Bandooks n Toafs, in which country they were experimented first?
    2. How n when did they come to India?
    3. They r referred to as Aagneyastra in MP. Did Rajputana anytime started producing such weapons or they relied totally on primitive methods?

  16. Hi Geeta,

    With reference to MP show..I would like to mention that, Babur had some artillery with him which he used against the Rajput confederacy in Battle of Khanua(late 1520's). So, Mughals had this, and this was one of the major reasons for their triumph.

    During the battle of Chittor(1567-68), Rajputs also had made use of muskets. :)

  17. help abhay or ny1...can tell me abt maharana pratap's majestic horse chetak. 'tis man iz very chivalrous...d mor i read..i am his fan... single handed struggle against gr8 emperor akbar...i respect him d mor i read him.

  18. Iqra,
    So you have also turned MP's fan. :-P
    Posts about MP and a post about Chetak is under preparation. :)

  19. abhay - take ur time. i ll wait. thnks.

  20. Akbar won the battle but Maharana Pratap's courage won heart till now.
    But it was very painful and shameful no Rajput became such great warrior afterwards.

  21. Circumstances play a major role in shaping a person. Perhaps, Maharana Pratap's case falls in this category. There are other warriors as well after Maharana Pratap. The case of Durga Das Rathore of Marwar is known, though not as famous as Maharana Pratap.