Hero of the Age – Maharana Pratap

Maharana Pratap

Today is Maharana Pratap Jayanti, birth anniversary of the great ruler of Mewar; a king who never got the Crown and the privilege to rule a state, but who remained king only on papers in his whole life; the Hindu ruler of Mewar, who is considered as the best example of bravery among the Rajput rulers of India and by whom all Mewar people are inspired.

Pratap singh, who is more famous as Maharana Pratap was the eldest son of Maharana Udai Singh, founder of Udaipur, and Maharani Jayawanti. Born on Jyestha Sudi third of Vikram Samvant 1597, he did his education and mastered in the skills of using arms and weapons at a very young age. He also learned horse riding during the time. He was married to Rajkumari Ajabade at the age of 17.

It was the year 1567 when Akbar, the great Mughal emperor, conquered  Chittorgarh, which was the capital of Maharana Udai Singh that time. Udai Singh’s followers and Generals of the kingdom advised him to abandon Chittorgarh. Udai Singh then moved to the valley of Aravali ranges and laid the foundation of the present Udaipur city. He wanted to give the crown of the kingdom to his beloved son Jagmal Singh, but his seniors and advisers wanted Pratap to be the king as per the customs.  And this was the beginning of competition, struggle and hardship for Maharana Pratap.

Maharana pratap never accepted Mughals as the rulers of his own country India, and for this very reason, he never bowed in front of Akbar and fought with him till his last breath. Meanwhile almost all of the other Rajput chiefs had surrendered to Akbar including Maharana’s own brothers. Akbar sent many proposals to Pratap, seeking some sort of peaceful adjustment that he had concluded with the other kings, but Pratap refused every proposal of Mughals to maintain his self esteem and honor. Maharana continued his struggle from the Aravali valleys from where he harassed the large force of Mughals and ensured that they were kept out of the valley during this crucial time.

Haldigahti Battle is a historical event in the Indian history, and in the annuals of Rajput and Mughal kingdoms. It was this battle in which Chetak, the beloved horse of Maharana Pratap essayed many brave moves but finally collapsed due to some critical injuries. In this battle, Pratap was also supported by the bhil tribes of the surrounding areas; the great contribution the bhil tribe in this battle is remembered till date and they are given an honor of contribution by the rajputs of mewar regimen. There was a significant impression of this war on the Mughal army. This battle is considered to be the first milestone of victory over the Mughal Emperors.

Pratap died at the age of 57, in the year 1597, because of multiple injuries in an accident during hunting. In his complete journey, the main goal of his life was not to surrender in front of the Mughals and even while lying in the lap of death he made his son and successors swear to maintain eternal conflicts against the Mughals.

Maharana Pratap is the best projected model of bravery, freedom fighter and patriotism against the Mughal rulers in India. It is because of this great fighter, that Mewar got the appreciation and honor to be the only kingdom to merge its state with the independent India. Sardar vallabhbhai Patel, India’s first Union Home Minister said that “If any ruler in India had any right to claim of independence it was Mewar, which gladly and readily merged with the Indian Union saying that it was fulfillment of 13 centuries of their mission but for Mewar no other ruler has that right.”

This is a great honor for all of us to be the son of the land to which the great Maharana Pratap belongs. He lived his whole life with great courage and self respect, never bowing down in front of any difficult situation. We being the resident of Rana ji’s Udaipur should follow the same footsteps and live our lives with the same bravery and self esteem. Jai Mewar!!

Photograph by : Mujtaba R.G.