Maharana Pratap Singh

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Maharana Pratap Singh

Maharana Pratap or Pratap Singh Mewar was a Hindu ruler of Mewar, a state in north-western India. In popular Indian culture, Pratap is considered to exemplify the qualities like bravery and chivalry to which Rajputs aspire.

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Maharana Pratap Singh
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Maharana Pratap Singh

Maharana Pratap was made the King, the Rana of Mewar instead of Jagmal and Pratap did not want to go against the wishes of his father.It was the beginning of a career of struggle and hardship. Maharana Pratap never accepted Akbar as ruler of India, and fought Akbar all his life. Akbar first tried diplomacy to win over Maharana Pratap but was unsuccessful. Pratap maintained that he had no intention to fight with Akbar but he could not bow down to Akbar and accept him as his suzerainty.

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Maharana Pratap Singh
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Maharana Pratap Singh

Chittorgarh , Pratap's ancestral home, was under Mughal occupation. Living a life on the run, the dream of reconquering Chittor (and thus reclaiming the glory of Mewar) was greatly cherished by Pratap, and his future efforts were bent towards this goal. In essence Pratap remained king only on paper as he never ruled any land in his lifetime.

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Maharana Pratap Singh
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Akbar

Nearly all of Pratap's fellow Rajput chiefs had entered into the vassalage of the Mughals. Even Pratap's own brothers, Shakti Singh and Sagar Singh, served Akbar. Akbar sent a total of six diplomatic missions to Pratap, seeking to negotiate the same sort of peaceful alliance that he had concluded with the other Rajput chiefs. Pratap roundly rebuffed every such attempt displaying his self-respect and honour. Maharana Udai Singh constructed a water reservoirâ€"Udai Sagar in 1565. It was on its dam that Kunwar Man Singh of Amber, as the emissary of Mughal Emperor Akbar, arrogantly demanded that Maharana Pratap should give up protocol and be present at the feast in his honour. Pratap and Man Singh were of the same generation, but Pratap was king while Man Singh was a prince. Pratap, following the protocol, sent his son Kunwar Amar Singh to dine with Kunwar Man Singh, Akbar's special envoy. This incident precipitated the Mughal-Mewar conflict.

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Akbar
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Battle of Haldighati

On June 21, 1576, the two armies met at Haldighati, near the town of Gogunda, Rajasthan. Sources concur that the Mughal forces greatly outnumbered Pratap's men. The Battle of Haldighati, a historic event in the annals of Rajputana, lasted only four hours. Maharana Pratap used his iconic shield and Javelin in this war. In this short period, Pratap's men essayed many brave exploits on the field. Folklore has it that Pratap personally attacked Man Singh: his horse Chetak placed its front feet on the trunk of Man Singh's elephant and Pratap threw his lance; Man Singh ducked, and the mahout was killed. The numerical superiority of the Mughal army and their artillery began to tell. Seeing that the battle was lost, Pratap's generals prevailed upon him to flee the field, riding his trusty steed Chetak, Pratap was able to successfully evade captivity and escape to the hills.

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Battle of Haldighati
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Maharana Pratap Singh

While fleeing Pratap realised Chetak was critically wounded on his left thigh and was bleeding heavily, he collapsed after jumping over a small brook few kilometres away from the battle field and two turk knights from the mughal empire immediately followed Pratap. The moment they started chasing him, Pratap’s younger brother Shakti Singh came and fought and killed them. Saddened by the loss of his beloved general and horse, he embraced his brother and broke into tears. Shakti Singh also cried and asked for his brother's pardon, for having fought as his enemy. Pratap pardoned him. Shakti Singh then offered him his own horse and requested him to get to a safe place. The battle of Haldighati is considered to be the first Major breakthrough of Rajputs against the Mughals since the Second Battle of Khanwa in 1527. It is regarded with a degree of significance by many Rajput families.

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Maharana Pratap Singh
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Aftermath of Battle of Haldighati

Pratap retreated into the hilly wilderness of the Aravallis and continued his struggle. His one attempt at open confrontation having thus failed, Pratap resumed the tactics of guerilla warfare. Using the hills as his base, Pratap harassed the large and therefore awkward Mughal forces in their encampments. He ensured that the Mughal occupying force in Mewar never knew peace: Akbar dispatched three more expeditions to ferret Pratap out of his mountainous hideouts, but they all failed. Pratap had to eat chapatees made of grass seeds in troubled days.

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Aftermath of Battle of Haldighati
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Maharana Pratap Singh

Akbar kept sending expedition after expedition against Maharana Pratap, but never succeeded. He expended a lot of money and men in trying to defeat Maharana Pratap. For 30 years Pratap remained ahead of Akbar and in the last ten years of his life was able to free most of his kingdom. The only forts Pratap could not acquire were Chittor and Mandal Garh, which gave him a lot of grief.

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Maharana Pratap Singh
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Maharana Pratap Singh

Maharana Pratap died of injuries sustained in a hunting accident. He died at Chavand, on January 29, aged fifty-seven. It is said that as he lay dying, Pratap made his son and successor, Amar Singh, swear to maintain eternal conflict against the Mughals. Thus, his strained circumstances did not overpower Pratap even in his declining years did not sleep on a bed because of a vow he took that until Chittor was freed he would sleep on the floor and live in a hut despite the fact that he had reconquered almost his entire kingdom from Akbar. Maharana Pratap's son, Amar Singh, fought 17 wars with the Mughals but he conditionally accepted them as rulers.

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Maharana Pratap Singh
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Maharana Pratap Singh

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Maharana Pratap Singh
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