" Meekily i pray to thee O My Creator!
Grant me in Charity the life of my Chetak,
If that be asking too much,
I beg at least for the loan of life of my Chetak that i may continue the struggle "
---- A teary eyed Maharana Pratap when
Chetak was breathing his last,
Battle of Haldighati, 18th June 1576
Today is 18th June -- the 439th Anniversary of the Battle of Haldighati, about which an article has been posted just now. Here is the Link : RARE 400 year old Inscription about the Battle of Haldighati ON it's 439th Anniversary
It also happens to be the 439th death anniversary of Chetak - the horse of Maharana Pratap - who was no ordinary horse, whose faithfulness to his master is still a thing talked about in Rajasthan. While we pay a lot of tributes to the rulers in history, let us spare some time and remember this horse who remained faithful to its master till its end.
On this day, posting an article about Chetak - the Maharana's legendary horse. The names of the Maharana and Chetak are inseparable & theirs is an eternal~~legend & an unforgettable tale.
Here's a story of a legendary king and his battle's'.
But it's also a story about a horse...
From a story of an eternal tree to an eternal legend. . .
Come, listen, to an unforgettable tale of a MAN and his HORSE!
Nearly a thousand years(800+) ago, the clan of Rathores moved into Marwar. There they found one of the greatest treasures of all times " the Marwari horse. Do you know that it is one of five indigenous horse breeds of India?
Well, on with my story. The beauty, spirit, intelligence and loyalty of the horse amazed the settlers; they went about the business of breeding them. In a few hundred years, Rathores and other Rajputs had an impressive cavalry of over 50,000 men. From then on began the great 'romance' of Rajput warriors and their marwaris.
|Maharana Pratap selecting horses for his army brought by the Arab traders. Chetak(on right side in white color) was also one of them.|
Rana Udai Singh, a Rajput ruler, was defeated at Chittor in 1568. He had to leave his capital to form a new one at Udaipur. Four years later his son Rana Pratap Singh took the reins of Mewar and for the next 25 years, ruled with courage, patriotism and determination.
Shall I now begin one of the greatest "love" stories, one of a warrior king and his horse?
Then came a supreme test of the Maharana's kingship.
In 1576 the imperial army of Mughal Emperor Akbar made its way to capture Udaipur. Maharana Pratap and his men waited at the entrance to a narrow one-km long pass in the Aravalli Mountains. The pass called Haldighati was the access to Mewar for the advancing army. A bloody battle was fought between the armies. People still remember the courage and loyalty of his men and his horse.
|Statue of Chetak in City Palace of Udaipur|
Chetak, for that was the name of his horse, proved to be a marwari horse and more. In the thick of the battle, the tusk of the elephant of Raja Man Singh(fighting for Akbar) tore through one of Chetak's rear legs and crippled it. But the horse would not give up. With his wounded king on the saddle, Chetak made his way back to safety on his three good legs and collapsed.
|Maharana Pratap in grief at the death of his 'Beloved' horse Chetak - Battle of Haldighati(1576)|
|Picture of portrait from the Haldighati Museum|
Another remarkable act of loyalty which the king could never forget was of his trusted aide Jhala Man Singh (not to be confused with Raja Man Singh of Amer) who grabbed the Maharana's royal crown and wore it, as the Mughal army closed in on him. The deception worked. While the enemy soldiers followed the "king" and killed him. Maharana Pratap was unharmed..
|Chetak's Tomb at the place of death|
|Maharana Pratap with Chetak breathing his last - Model from Haldighati Museum|
Beautiful, isn't it?
The years after the Battle of Haldighati were difficult for the ruler of Mewar. Living in the jungles, sleeping on straw and eating off leaf plates, the warrior king, his family and his subjects continued their fight to recapture their land from the MOST powerful MAN of his times - Mughal Emperor Akbar, but never surrendered. In 25 years, the king regained his kingdom except the Fort of Chittor & Mandalgarh.
|Picture from Haldighati Museum - Maharana Pratap on Chetak instilling confidence in his soldiers|
On his death bed, he made his successor and eldest son Amar Singh promise that as long as Mewar was not completely won back, no ruler should eat off gold or silver plates and sleep on mattresses. So, this was a MAN who lived and died up to his IDEALS.!
Even today, the Mewar Royal Family places a leaf under their plate and straw under their beds to keep the promise made to Maharana Pratap 400 years BACK.!!
|Info on Haldighati|
|Chetak Breathing it's Last in the Lap of Maharana - Slab at Haldighati Memorial|
|This was the moment when Chetak was injured by the weapons in the tusk of Raja Man Singh's elephant.|
1. Maharana Pratap used to carry 2 swords with him, always. It can be very well seen in each portrait posted here.
It is said that the 2 swords were kept by him for a special reason. In case his enemy was without a weapon, one of the swords was given to the enemy, as it was against 'Rajput' code of warfare to attack an unarmed person..
2. Some contents of this article have been borrowed from an article which appeared in The Hindu.
About brave battles and true grit
When all that history is writ
There will sit saddled, one great name
Within the heroes’ hall of fame
The horse Chetak’s, a Marwari
A breed that would the least tarry.
Folklore etched their names in gold
Paeans are sung, stories told
Of rider and the brave blue horse
Now, more renowned the horse of course
In harness he died, one great name
Years pass, but not that horse’s fame.
To be continued.....
|Info from Haldighati Memorial|
This article has been posted under the Rajputs section of history_geek's BLOG.