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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Madho Singh - Maharana Pratap - Akbar - Salim/Jahangir | Few Observations

Hi all.

This is a quick post about Madho Singh, a Kachwaha Rajput, who was the younger brother of Raja Man Singh of Amer. He was the second son of Raja Bhagwan Das. He was a staunch loyalist of Mughal Emperor Akbar and fought many battles with him, in person. His son & grandsons died fighting for Mughal Emperors. His loyalty had been praised by almost every Mughal chronicler. Mughal chronicler Shamshudaulla says - "Madho was always present with His Majesty(Akbar) in his wars".

Below, i am listing a few incidents which connect Madho Singh with Maharana Pratap - Akbar - Salim/Jahangir..

Madho Singh was present in the fight at Sarnal in 1572 along with Akbar when the latter was surrounded by thousands of men of Ibrahim Hussain Mirza of Gujarat. Akbar was attended by only 200 men that time. This included Raja Bhagwan Das and Raja Man Singh of Amer also. Raja Bhagwan Das's brother Kunwar Bhopat died defending Akbar in this war. This was the time when Akbar sent his wife Mariam-Uz-Zamani to Amer, to mourn the death of her brother Kunwar Bhopat.

In 1576, Madho Singh served under Raja Man Singh in the Battle of Haldighati against Maharana Pratap. Abu'l Fazl proclaims him a distingushed warrior in this battle, who engaged with MahaRana. Madho tried his level best NOT to allow Maharana come near Raja Man Singh of Amer with whom the Rana had to settle a score. Madho Singh was leading the centre back of Mughal forces on an elephant, and it was to his credit that Maharana was heavily wounded by a "rain of arrows" in the Battle of Haldighati. Abu'l Fazl writes - "Showers after showers of arrows were poured on the Rana (by our archers) who was heavily wounded by our sharp arrows & spears." Though, Rana still managed to reach Man Singh.

In 1585, he accompanied Mirza Shahrukh on his expedition to Kashmir, a battle took place with Yaqub Khan, in which Madho Singh distinguished himself. 

In the 1586, when Sayyid Hamid Bukhari was killed in Peshawar, Madho Singh joined his father Raja Bhagwan Das from Thana Langar (now called Langarkot) and reached Ali Masjid, where his brother Raja Man Singh was present, to suppress the rebellious tribes. It was against these tribes that Raja Birbal lost his life. 

By 1603, he was a commander at the rank of 3000 / 2000. Abu'l Fazl describes him as one of the most confident officers of Akbar.

Akbarnama, Persian Text, Vol-3, Pg-831 says -
In 1599-1600, after the death of Maharana Pratap, Akbar sent Mughal forces under Salim/Jahangir against Rana Amar Singh to take Udaipur. But Salim's love of ease, encouraged by his improper companions, induced him to spend some time at Ajmer in pleasure. After a while, Salim hastened to Udaipur, but the Rana then leading his forces in another direction, launched a counter assault on Balpur and other places. Then, Salim moved to Punjab, induced by evil counsellors, and also following his own sense of pleasure.

When Akbar came to know of this, he did not sense anything amiss on Salim's part & sent Madho Singh against Rana Amar Singh. 

Just then, news came about the outbreak of the rebellion of Afghans in Bengal, and upon the advice of Raja Man Singh, Salim proceeded towards Bengal to "suppress the rebellion"* .On his way, he crossed the Yamuna river, and refused to meet his grand-mother Mariam Makani Hamida Bano Begum, when that old lady came to meet him. When she tried to follow him, he sped away as fast as he could, from her, in a boat. This act greatly pained the old lady. Salim went to Allahabad, and seized many Jagirs.  He appro­priated the revenues of Bihar, amounting to more than 30 lacs of rupees, and assumed the royal title. The Emperor, in his kindness and forbearance, did not believe all this, and his great nobles agreed with him. Letters were sent to the Prince ques­tioning him upon his irregular proceedings, and he replied that he was doing good service, and was innocent of any wrong.

* - From what i have collected after reading various historians is that -  Salim was refusing to go against the Rana because, he was suspicious of Akbar's actions. He did not want to be left behind in the race for Mughal throne. He was right. As soon as he left Agra for Udaipur, he came to know that Akbar has bestowed the favor of red tents to Prince Danial - an Imperial favor reserved for Emperor. He was then searching an opportunity to go away from Akbar's hold. When he came to know from Raja Man Singh that Afghans had rebelled in Bengal, this was like a golden opportunity for Salim. Under the cover of proceeding for Bengal on an Imperial duty, Salim stopped at Allahabad and set up a parallel government there.

* - On the other side, Akbar was grooming son of Salim - Khusrau since an early age. Read this old Blog Post : Khusrau | Struggle for Power - The Unfortunate Mughal Prince Part-I . Khusrau was quite close to Akbar. Also, Danial was also preferred over Salim for the throne. It is opined that Akbar was trying to send Salim away from Imperial court, though the latter was resisting such attempts of Akbar since 1595.

Though, Jahangir writes in his autobiography that his wife Maan Bai was distressed at the actions of her brother Madho Singh as he was against Salim. But, i do not see much merit in this argument because, after coming to throne in 1605, Jahangir himself rewarded Madho Singh and raised his rank. Also, in December 1623 - January 1624, Salim himself bestowed an Imperial title of Raja on Madho Singh along with a robe of honor and a distinguished horse.

Madho Singh was a staunch loyalist of Akbar. He fought pitched wars for him, including the ones against the Ranas of Mewar, as we saw above

Madho Singh's son Chattra Sal died fighting from the side of the Mughal forces of Shah Jahan in May 1630, in Deccan. Along with Chattra Sal, his 2 sons - Anand Singh and Bhim Singh also died fighting. They were fighting against a force of 12,000 Pathans under Khan Jahan Lodi. Mughal army consisted of 50,000 soldiers consisting of Kachwaha Rajput contingents & also Mughal sodiers. There was a fierce slaugher, ultimately Mughals emerged victiorious but sustained very heavy casualities. {From Lahori's Padshahnama, Vol -I, Pg-294}

Madho Singh was the one who esstablished a beautiful strategic fort of Bhangarh. Presently, this area has a 'distinction' of being the most haunted place in Asia.

This was a quick post, based on what i remember & some old resources with me.
More details can be found by the readers on further digging.

This article has been posted under the Rajputs and Mughals (Akbar) section of history_geek's BLOG.

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