Friday, April 29, 2016

Durga Das Rathore

Durgadas Rathore (Durga Das Rathore) (13 August 1638 – 22 November 1718) is credited with having preserved the rule of the Rathore dynasty over Marwar, India, following the death of Jaswant Singh in the 17th century. In doing so he had to defy Aurangzeb, a Mughal emperor.

Durgadas was the son of Askaran Rathore, a Rajput minister of Jaswant Singh, the ruler of Marwar.
When Jaswant Singh Rathore died he had no son and this gave Aurangzeb a chance to appoint a Muslim as the ruler of Marwar. This upset Rathore Rajputs a lot. Two of Jaswant Singh's queens were pregnant when he died. One queen gave birth to Ajit Singh and other to Dalathamban. After Ajit's birth, Rathore generals, chief among them was Durga Das Rathore (a Karnot Rathore) went to Delhi along with the queens and the infants, and asked Aurangzeb that crown of Marwar should be given to Ajit Singh. Aurangzeb was very cunning and he had no intention of handing over the throne of Marwar.

He suggested that Ajit should grow up in his harem but internally he wanted to kill them all. Durga Das sensed this and they smuggled Ajit Singh out of Delhi to the outskirts of the city. When Mughal army came to capture them in Delhi, Durga Das and his men attacked the Mughals and started riding out of Delhi. Raghunandan Bhati and others soaked the streets of Delhi in crimson by flowing the blood of Mughal pursuers. There were about three hundred Rajputs with Durga Das and there were thousands of pursuing Mughals. Every so often 15 - 20 Rajputs would fall behind attack the Mughal pursuers and in the process get themselves killed but it allowed the forward party to create some distance between Ajit and the Mughals.

This continued till the evening by which time the Mughals had given up and Durga Das was left with just seven men out of three hundred he started with and reached Jaipur along with Ajit Singh. Thereby started the 30 year Rajput rebellion against Aurangzeb. Mewar and Marwar forces combined together and almost killed Aurangzeb when he was trapped in the mountains of Rajasthan but the Mewar king out of magnanimity allowed Aurangzeb to escape. All the trade routes were plundered by Rajputs and they started looting various treasuries of Rajasthan and Gujarat. To crush them Aurangzeb sent many expeditions but no success. These expeditions and drying up of revenue from trade routes running through Rajasthan had severe effect on his resources. In addition the lion of Maharashtra, Shivaji, had freed almost all of Maharashtra and was at constant war with Aurangzeb. Shivaji had some Rajput ancestry. Finally, on his death-bed Aurangzeb complained that his life had been a complete failure.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Maharaja Jaswant Singh

Maharaja Jaswant Singh (26 December 1629 – 28 December 1678) was the ruler of Marwar in the present day Indian state of Rajasthan. He was the Rajput belonging to the Rathore Clan. His father was Maharaja Gaj Singh.

Jaswant Singh succeeded his father on his death by special decree of the Emperor Shah Jahan, in accordance with his father's wishes, on 6 May 1638.

He was installed on the gaddi at Sringar Chowki, Mehrangarh, Jodhpur, on 25 May 1638. He was granted the personal title of Maharaja by the Emperor Shah Jahan, on 6 January 1654.

In the Battle of Dharmatpur, Jaswant Singh opposed Aurangzeb. The battle was fought on 15 April 1658, fifteen miles from Ujjain. Jaswant could have attacked Aurangzeb but he allowed Murad's armies to join Aurangzeb. He was desirous of beating both mughal princes at once. This delay allowed Aurangzeb to win over the mughal general, Kasim Khan, who was sent by Shah Jahan to help Jaswant. Kasim Khan defected as soon as the war started but 30,000 Rathores of Jaswant decided that they would not leave the field. Some prominent generals in Maharaja's army were Mukund Singh Hara of Kotah and Bundi, Dayal Das Jhala, Arjun Gaur of Rajgarh in Ajmer province and Ratan Singh Rathore of Ratlam. Jaswant attacked both Aurangzeb and Murad and they barely escaped.

Finally the unequal contest ended and Aurangzeb named the place of victory Fatehabad. In this battle Durga Das Rathore changed four horses and lost about half a dozen swords (they broke due to intense fighting) and he finally fell down half dead. Maharajah ordered him to be carried away.

Prithviraj Singh was Jaswant Singh's son. It is chronicled in Marwar khyats that Aurangzeb presented Prithviraj Singh a dress which was poisoned. On wearing this dress Prithviraji died in great pain at Delhi, 8 May 1667. Prithviraj was a good leader and a brave prince. Jaswant could not get over the shock of his son's death.

Maharaja Jaswant died at Jamrud, near Peshawar, on 28 December 1678. At the time of his death two of his wives were pregnant, and both would later bear sons. This led to a war in which there were attempts to install Jaswant Singh's elder surviving son Ajit Singh Rathore as ruler of Marwar.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Prithviraj Chauhan

Rai Pithora, popularly known as Prithviraj Chauhan (1149-1192 CE), was the Rajput king of the Chauhan dynasty, who ruled the kingdoms of Ajmer and Delhi in the northern India during the latter half of the 12th century.

Prithviraj Chauhan was the 2nd last Hindu king to sit upon the throne of Delhi before the Hemu. He succeeded to the throne in 1179 CE at the age of 13 and ruled from the twin capitals of Ajmer and Delhi which he received from his maternal grandfather, Arkpal or Anangpal III of the Tomara dynasty in Delhi. His elopement in the 1175 with the Samyukta (sanyogita), the daughter of the Jai Chandra Rathod.

1st Battle of Tarain, 1191

In 1191, Shahabuddin Muhammad Ghori captured the fortress of Bhatinda in the East Punjab, leaving the garrison of 1200 men, which was located on the frontier of his domain. He marched to Bhatinda and met his enemy at the place called as Tarain near the ancient town of Thanesar. The Ghurid army initiated battle by attacking with the cavalry who launched arrows at the Rajput center. The army of Prithviraj counter- attacked from three sides and dominated the battle, pressuring the Ghurid army into the withdrawal. Prithviraj succeeded in stopping the Ghurid advance towards the Hindusism in the 1st battle of Tarain. Prithviraj did not pursue Ghori’s army not wanting to invade hostile territory or misjudging Ghori’s ambition, instead electing to retake the fortress of Bhatinda.

2nd Battle of Tarain, 1192

In the 1192, Ghori reassembled the force of 120,000 men and returned to challenge the Chauhan at the Second Battle of Tarain. When he reached Lahore, he sent his surrogate to demand surrender but Chauhan refused to comply. Chauhan then appealed to his fellow Rajput rulers and the aristocracy to come to his aid against Ghori.

Prithvi raj assembled the very large army with the aid of approx 150 Rajputs rulers and aristocrats. According to the Persian historian Firishta, it consists of 3,000 elephants, 300,000 horsemen and considerable infantry.  The force was larger than that of Ghori, the armies met in Tarain where the Ghori delivered an ultimatum to Chauhan that he convert to Islam or be defeated. Chauhan countered with an offer that Ghori should consider a ceasefire and to retreat with his army. Ghori decided to attack.

Ghori then divided his army into the five parts and attacked in early morning hours, sending waves of mounted archers. They retreated as the Chauhan elephant phalanx advanced Ghori deployed the 4 parts to attack the Rajput on four sides, keeping the fifth part of his army in reserve. The general Khande Rao of the Chauhan forces was killed. At the dusk, Ghori himself led the army of 12,000 heavily armoured horsemen to the centre of the Rajput line, which collapsed into the confusion. Chauhan attempted to escape but was captured. The Rajput army broke ranks and fled thereby conceding victory to Ghori. Chauhan was put to death.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Rana Kumbha

Maharana Kumbhakarna (Rana Kumbha) was the ruler of Mewar, the state in the western India, between the AD 1433 and 1468. Rana Kumbha was the Rajput belonging to the Sisodiya clan. Kumbha was the son of Rana Mokal of Mewar by his wife Sobhagya Devi, the daughter of Jaitmal Sankhla, the Parmara fief-holder of Runkot in the state of Mewar.

Maharana Kumbha was vanguard of the fifteenth century Hindu resurgence in the north-western India. A very tall and powerful man, he held the Mewar flag flying high in an age when several Indian Kings like Kapilendradeva of east India, Deva Raya II of the south India and Man Singh Tomar of the central India defeated the Turkic invaders in different parts of India.

After being overrun by the armies of Alauddin Khilji at the turn of 13th century, Mewar had become relatively insignificant. Rana Hammira is credited with the casting off Muslim yoke and establishing the second Guhila dynasty of Chittor in 1335.

Rana Hammira’s grandson, Maharana Mokal was assassinated by the 2 brothers Chacha and Mera in 1433. Lack of support, however, caused Chacha and Meera to flee and Rana Kumbha ascended the throne of Mewar. Initially, the Rana Kumbha was ably assisted by the Ranmal (Ranmalla) Rathore of Mandore. In November 1442, Mahmud Khilji, Sultan of Malwa, commenced a series of attacks on Mewar.

On April 26, 1443, Maharana Kumbha attacked the Sultan’s encampment, following an indecisive battle the Sultan returned to Mandu. The Sultan again attacked in November 1443, capturing Gagraun and adjoining forts but the capture of Chittor eluded him. The next attack was on Mandalgarh in October 1446 and was also unsuccessful. The sultan did not attack Mewar for another ten Years. In order to commemorate his resounding victory over the combined armies of Malwa and Gujarat in 1440 AD, Rana Kumbha got the famed 37 meter, 9 storeys high ‘Vijay Sthambha’ erected at Chittorgarh which was completed in 1448 AD.

In a patricide, Rana Kumbha was killed by his son Udaysimha (Udai Singh I). His achievement, however still continues to inspire successive generations of Indians.

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Rana Sanga

Maharana Sangram Singh (12 April 1484- 17 March 1527) popularly known as Rana Sanga was the Rajput ruler of Mewar. He ruled between 1509 and 1527.

The scion of the Sisodia clan of Suryavanshi Rajputs, Rana Sanga succeeded his father, Rana Raimal as the king of Mewar in 1509. He fought against the Mughals in the battle of Khanwa, which ended with the Mughal Victory, and died shortly thereafter on March 17, 1527.  He was married to Rani Karnavati who latter committed Jauhar on the March 8, 1535 AD inside Chittor Fort. She was the mother of next two Rana’s, Rana Vikramaditya and Rana Uday Singh and Grandmother of the legendary Maharana Pratap.

Maharaja Sangram sigh was not only the great warrior who fought gallantly but also a visionary. Under the maharaja many Rajput states united together and fought the foreigners.

Rana Sanga was the warrior with a resolute as strong as his grandfather Rana Kumbha. It is also said that despite of losing his one arm, one eye and number of other injuries, he continued fighting with his enemies.

Maharana Sanga is also remembered for his Chivalry, when he restored the kingdom Of Mandu. After defeating the Sultan Mahmud of Mandu and taking his as a prisoner of war, he treated him and his kingdom with the generosity and bravery.

Mahraja Sanga fought with rulers of Delhi, Gujarat and Malwa many times during his life defeating them on various accounts. After the assassination of the Ibrahim Lodi by Babur, the power in Delhi declined. He emerged as the strongest Hindu king of North India and then he decided to conquer Delhi and bring complete India under his rule.

 Maharaja Sanga, united with Rajputs fought Babur in the battle of Khanwa which proved to be extremely brutal and deadly. With the initial advantage, the Rajput lost and Rana Sanga fell unconscious. He was whisked away to safety by his men, after gaining the consciousness and knowing about the defeat. Maharana Sanga death established the Mughal rule in India marking the new beginning to the history of Indian subcontinent.

Read more about Rana Sanga here:

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Rani Padmini

Rani Padmini (died 1303 CE), was the queen of Chittor, the wife of King Rawal Ratan Singh  and the daughter of the contemporary Sinhala king.

Padmini or Padmavati spent her life in Singhal under the care of her father Gandharvsen and mother Champavati. Padmini had a talking parrot named "Hiramani". Her father arranged a swayamvara and invited all the Hindu kings and Rajputs to ask for her hand (request to marry her by showing their eligibility). Malkhan Singh, a king from a small state came to her swayamvara to marry her. King Rawal Ratan Singh of  Chittor who had another queen Nagmati, also went to Singhal, defeated Malkhan Singh and married Padmini as the winner of the swayamvara. He returned to Chittor with his beautiful second queen Padmini.

The Sultanate of Delhi- In the 12th and 13th centuries, the kingdom set up the invaders were nevertheless grow in power. The Sultans made the repeated attack on the Mewad on one pretext or other. Here you can recollect the story of Rani Padmini who was the pre text for the Allah-ud-din-khilji’s attack on the chittod.

During those days chittod was under the Rule of king Ratansen, the brave and the dignified warrior king. Apart from being the loving husband and the the just the ruler, Ratansen was also the patron of the arts. In his court were many talented people one of was the musician named as the Raghav Chetan

On hearing this King Ratansen was very enraged and he banished Raghav Chetan from his kingdom after blackening his face with the face and making him to ride a donkey. This harsh Punishment earned king Ratansen the uncompromising enemy. After his humiliation, Raghav Chetan made his way towards the Delhi with the motive of trying to ignite the Sultan of Delhi Ala-ud-din Khilji to attack Chittor.

On reaching Delhi, Raghav Chetan settled down in one forests near to Delhi which the Sultan used to frequently come for hunting deer. One day on hearing the Sultan's hunt party entering the forest, Raghav-Chetan started playing the melodious tone on his flute. When the attracting notes of Raghav-Chetan flute reached the Sultan's party they were surprised as to who could be playing a flute in such a masterly way in a forest.

Sultan dispatched his soldiers to summon the person and when the Raghav-Chetan was brought before him, the Sultan Ala-ud-din Khilji asked him to come to his court at Delhi. The wily Raghav-Chetan asked the king as why he wants to have the ordinary musician like himself when there were many other beautiful things to be had.

But to his dismay, on reaching the Chittor, Allah-ud-din found that the fort to be heavily defended. Desperate to have the look at the legendary beauty of Padmini, he sent word to King Ratansen that he looked upon Padmini as his sister and wanted to meet her. On hearing this, Ratansen asked Padmini to see 'brother'. But Padmini was more wordly-wise and she refused to meet the lewd Sultan personally.

Persuaded by her husband Rana Ratansen, Rani Padmini accepts to allow Ala-ud-din to see her only in the mirror. On the word sent to Ala-ud-din that Padmini would see he if came to the fort with his selected his best warriors who secretly made the careful examination of the fort's defenses’ on their way to the Palace.

On seeing Padmini, in the mirror, the lascivious 'brother', Allah-ud-din Khilji decided that he will save Padmini himself. While returning to his camp, Allah-ud-din was accompanied by King Ratansen.

The Rajput generals decided to beast the Sultan at his own game and sent back the word that Padmini would be given to Ala-ud-din the next morning.

On hearing that his designs had been frustrated, the Sultan was furious and orders his army to storm Chittor. But hard as they tried Sultans army could not able to break into the fort. Then the Ala-ud-din decided to lay blockade to the fort. The siege was the long drawn one and gradually supplied within the fort were depleted. Finally the King Ratnasen gave orders that Rajputs would open the gates and fight to finish with the besieging troops.

On hearing this decision, Rani Padmini decided that with their men-folk going into the unequal struggle with the Sultan's army in which they were sure to perish, the women of Chittor had either to commit suicides or face dishonor at the hands of the victorious enemy.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Rao Maldeo Rathore

Rao Maldeo Ji Rathore (r.1511-November 7, 1562) was an Indian ruler of Marwar, which was later known as Jodhpur. He was the scion of the Rathore clan. His father was Rao Ganga Ji and his mother was Rani Padmavati of Sirohi.

The then Muslim historian Ferishta calls him as the “most Potent Prince of Hindustan”.
Humayun, Babur’s son was defeated by the Sher Shah Suri, a Pathan. Humayun was forced to leave India and he took refuge within the Safavid King of Persia. Sher Shah became the ruler of Delhi. The sisodia’s of Mewar had not yet recovered from the Rana Sanga’s defeat. The Rathore King Rao Maldeo had extended his territory to within the couple of hundred Kilometers of Delhi.

Sher Shah attacked Maldeo. Maldeo came with the force of 40 thousand and Sher Shah had 60 thousand. In the evening Sher Shah sent forged letters to Maldeo’s camp. In the letters it was stated that few generals from Maldeo’s army were buying arms from the Sher Shah’s army. This caused great consternation in Maldeo who thought there was no treachery. Later when Maldeo’s generals Kumpa (his progeny are Kumpawat Rathores) and Jaita (his progeny are Jaitawat Rathores) found out what happened they did not lose cool and decided  they would not leave the field even though they just had 20 thousands men and had to face sixty thousand Pathans of Sher Shah.

 Finally the battle of Sammel was fought on the cold morning of January 5th 1544 AD. and Sher Shah was shocked by what he saw. Sher Shah’s top generals lost their lives and his army suffered heavy losses. It is the moot point now but had Maldeo not retreated because of the fake letter, Rathore/Rajputs would have defeated Sher Shah.

After his death on 7th November, 1562, the fratricidal contest began for the throne of Marwar and finally his third son, Chandrasen Crowned himself in Jodhpur and his region was short lived as Akbar occupied Merta in 1562 and occupied in 1563.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Maharana Pratap

Maharana Pratap was the ruler of Mewar, the region in North-western India in the present day state of Rajasthan. He belongs to the sisodia clan of Rajputs. In the popular Indian culture, Maharana Pratap is considered to exemplify the qualities like the bravery and Chivalry to which the Rajputs aspire, especially in context of his opposition to Mughal emperor Akbar. Maharana Pratap was born on 9th may 1540 in Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan. He was the son of Maharana Udai Singh II and his mother was Rani Jeevant Kanwar. Maharana Udai Singh II ruled ruled the kingdom of Mewar, with his capital of the Chittor. Maharana Pratap was destined to be the 54th ruler of Mewar in the Sisodiya Rajput. Maharana Pratap was the eldest of twenty five sons and he was given the title of crown prince.

In 1567, when Prince Pratap Singh was only of 27, Chittor was surrounded by Mughal Emperor Akbar. Maharana Udai Singh II decided to leave the Chittor and also decided to move his family to Gogunda, rather than fight with Mughals But the young Pratap Singh wanted to stay back and wanted to fight with the Mughals but his elder intervened and convinced him to leave the Chittor.

Famous Battle- Haldighati:

The famous battle – Haldighati Battle is a historical event in the history of India. Haldighati battle took place in 1576. Battle of Haldighati was fought with the 20,000 Rajputs against the army of Mughals of 80,000 men which was commanded by Raja Man Singh. Army of Maharana Pratap was not defeated but Maharana Pratap was surrounded by Mughal soldiers.

Another casualty of the war was Maharana’s Pratap famous and loyal, horse Chetak, who gave up his life to save the Maharaja. Chetak was injured in the battle of Haldighati. Just to save the life of his master, he jumped over a big canal. The brave and strong Maharana cried over the death of his faithful horse but later on he constructed a beautiful garden at that place where the Chetak had breathed last. After this Akbar himself attacked Maharana Pratap but after 6months fighting, Akbar could not defeated Maharana Pratap and went back to Delhi. In year 1584, Akbar sent another great warrior Jagannath with the huge army to Mewar. He tried relentlessly for 2 years then also he was not able to catch Rana Pratap.

In this battle of Haldighati, Maharana Pratab was supported by the bhil tribes of the nearby area. This contribution of the bhil tribe in battle is still remembered till date and given an honor by the Rajputs of Mewar regimen. Also, this battle is considered to be the first milestone of the victory over Mughal emperor.

Maharana Pratap died at the age of 27 in year 1597 due to the multiple injuries in an accident. In his life the main goal of Maharana Pratap was not to surrender in the front of Mughals. Even while lying in the lap of death Maharana Pratap made his son and successors swear to maintain the eternal conflict against the Mughal Emperor.

Maharana Pratap is the great model of freedom fighter, bravery and patriotism against the Mughal ruler in India. It is just because of this brave freedom fighter, Mewar got appreciation and honor to be the only kingdom to get merged with its state in the Independent India.

Maharana Pratap lived his whole life with the courage and he never bowed down in front of any situation. He died in fighting for his own nation, for his people and importantly for his honor.