Birthday: May 9, 1540
Emperors & Kings
Died At Age: 56
Sun Sign: Taurus
Also Known As: Pratap Singh
Born in: Kumbhalgarh
Famous as: Ruler of Mewar
Spouse/Ex-: Maharani Ajbade Punwar
father: Udai Singh II
siblings: Sagar Singh
children: Amar Singh I, Chanda Singh, Sahas Mal, Shekha Singh
Died on: January 19, 1597
place of death: Chavand, Rajasthan
Maharana Pratap was a Hindu maharaja of the Rajput confederacy of Mewar, in the present day state of Rajasthan. Much renowned for successfully resisting the efforts of the Mughal emperor, Akbar, to conquer his area, he is honored as a hero in Rajasthan. His father, Rana Udai Singh, is considered to be a weak ruler but Maharana Pratap in contrast is revered as a courageous and brave warrior who refused to submit to the Mughal invasion and tirelessly defended his land and people until the very end. The eldest son of Rana Udai Singh II, he was the designated crown price who started displaying his valor during the reign of his father. While several of Pratap’s brothers-- Shakti Singh, Jagmal and Sagar Singh—served the Mughal emperor, Akbar, Pratap himself chose to resist the Mughal pressures to force him into submission. Akbar sent a total of six diplomatic missions to Pratap in the hopes of negotiating an alliance with him, but Pratap vehemently refused to accede to the demands of the Mughal. War between the Rajputs and the Mughals became inevitable. Even though the Mughal army greatly outnumbered the Rajput one, Maharana Pratap fought bravely till the very end. He died a hero and his birth anniversary (Maharana Pratap Jayanti) is celebrated as a full-fledged festival every year on the 3rd day of the Jyestha Shukla phase.
Personal Life & Legacy
Maharana Pratap was born on 9 May 1540, in Kumbhalgarh Fort, Rajasthan, as the eldest son of Udai Singh II and Maharani Jaiwanta Bai. His father was the ruler of the kingdom of Mewar, with his capital at Chittor. As the eldest son of the ruler, Pratap was given the title of Crown Prince.
In 1567, Chittor was surrounded by the Mughal forces of Emperor Akbar. Rather than capitulating to Mughals, Maharana Udai Singh decided to leave the capital and move his family to Gogunda.
Prince Pratap wanted to stay back and fight. But the elders in the family convinced him that leaving Chittor was the best idea. Udai Singh and his nobles set up a temporary government of the kingdom of Mewar in Gogunda.
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Accession & Reign
Udai Singh passed away in 1572, and Prince Pratap ascended the throne as Maharana Pratap, the 54th ruler of Mewar in the line of the Sisodiya Rajputs. His brother Jagmal Singh had been nominated as the Crown Prince by their father in his last days. But since Jagmal was weak, inefficient and had a drinking habit, the seniors in the royal court preferred Pratap to be their king. Jagmal swore revenge and left for Ajmer, to join the armies of Akbar, and obtained a jagir - the town of Jahazpur - in return for his help.
After the Rajputs had left Chittor, the Mughals had taken control of the city. However, they were unable to annex the kingdom of Mewar. Akbar wanted to rule all over Hindustan by himself and sent several emissaries to Pratap to negotiate an alliance.
In 1573 alone, Akbar sent six diplomatic missions to Mewar but Maharana Pratap turned down each one of them. The last of these missions was headed by Raja Man Singh, the brother-in-law of Akbar himself. The failure of efforts to negotiate a peace treaty angered Akbar who resorted to war to lay his claim on Mewar.
Akbar deputed Man Singh and Asaf Khan I to lead a force against Maharana Pratap in 1576. The Mughal forces numbered 80,000 men while the Rajput army had 20,000 soldiers, commanded by Gwalior's Ram Shah Tanwar and his three sons, Rawat Krishnadasji Chundawat, Maan Singhji Jhala and Chandrasenji Rathore of Marwar.
The Battle of Haldighati was a very fierce one following which the whole of Mewar except some of the Aravallis fell in Mughal hands. The Mughals were, however, unable to kill or capture Pratap who never ceased in his efforts to reclaim the kingdom.
In July 1576, Pratap recaptured Gogunda from the Mughals and made Kumbhalgarh his temporary capital. But then Akbar personally led a campaign against Pratap and occupied Gogunda, Udaipur and Kumbhalgarh, forcing the Maharana to retreat into the the mountainous tracts of southern Mewar.
Ever the resilient warrior, Maharana Pratap remained steadfast in his aim to recover his kingdom and within a few years he recovered many of his lost territories including Kumbhalgarh and the areas around Chittor. Eventually he also regained Gogunda, Kumbhalgarh, Ranthambore and Udaipur.
In 1576, Maharana Pratap fought the fierce Battle of Haldighati against the Mughal forces. Even though his army was greatly outnumbered by that of the Mughals, the Rajputs fought valiantly. The Rajput army faced heavy causalities, including the loss of the Maharana’s favorite horse Chetak, but the Mughals were not able to kill or capture the Maharana himself.
Personal Life & Legacy
Maharana Pratap had 11 wives; among them his first and favorite wife was Maharani Ajabde Punwar. He had 17 sons and five daughters.
He sustained injuries in a hunting accident and died on 29 January 1597, aged 57. Upon his death his son Amar Singh succeeded him. On his death bed, Pratap told his son never to submit to the Mughals and to win Chittor back. But Amar Singh eventually submitted in 1614 to Emperor Jahangir, son of Akbar.