9 May: Remembering Maharana Pratap on his Birth Anniversary
Maharana Pratap (9 May 1540 – 19 January 1597) was a Hindu maharaja (1572–97) of the Rajput confederacy of Mewar. He successfully defended his area against the Mughal emperor Akbar, and he is considered a hero in Rajasthan.
He was born on 9 May 1540, in Rajasthan, India. His mother Maharani Javanta Bai Songara, the eldest wife of Maharana Udai Singh II. Due to a Mughal invasion, the family had to leave Chittor and settle in Goganda. Pratap wasn’t happy. He wanted to reclaim their land.
According to that era’s norms, Udai Singh had 25 wives, and “more than a score of legitimate sons and daughters.”. However, his favorite was Jagmal, his second wife’s son, who he wanted to succeed him. Chiefs in the kingdom disagreed with Udai Singh. After his death, Jagmal was removed from the throne, and Pratap was given his ‘rightful’ place. Pratap became the 54th Mewar king. His only goal was to take Chittor back from the Mughals.
Maharana Pratap and Akbar
Chittor was taken over by the Mughals after the Rajputs left. However, they couldn’t annex Mewar. To make a deal with Pratap, Akbar sent a bunch of emissaries to negotiate.
Akbar sent six diplomatic missions to Mewar in 1573, but Maharana Pratap rejected all of them. Raja Man Singh, Akbar’s brother-in-law, led the last of these missions. After trying to negotiate a peace treaty and failing, Akbar went to war to claim Mewar.
In 1576, Akbar sent Man Singh and Asaf Khan I to fight against Maharana Pratap. The Mughal army had 80,000 men while the Rajput army had 20,000.
The Battle of Haldighati was fierce; the entire Mewar region fell to the Mughals, except for some Aravallis. However, they couldn’t get Pratap, who never gave up trying to reclaim the kingdom.
Kumbhalgarh is Pratap’s temporary capital after he retook Gogunda from the Mughals in 1576. Then Akbar personally started a campaign against Pratap, and occupied Udaipur, Gogunda, and Kumbhalgarh, forcing him into the mountains of southern Mewar.
Maharana Pratap was a fierce warrior and he kept trying to get back his lost territory. Within a few years he had reclaimed many of his lost territories, including Kumbhalgarh and the areas around Chittor. He also retook Gogunda, Kumbhalgarh, Ranthambore, and Udaipur eventually.
He died on 19 January 1597, in Rajasthan, India.