Maharana Pratap is known to be the bravest and most chivalrous Rajput ruler of India. Though he never practically ruled a land, he was a King at heart. He was born in Kumbhalgarh to Rana Udai Singh II in the year 1540 and has a very bright spot in the annals of political history of India. He is known to be the only Rajput ruler who never gave in to Akbar’s suzerainty policy. His patriotism to his ancestral land Chittor was incomparable and was his guiding light all his life.
Maharana Pratap’s biggest and strongest dream was to free Chittor from the clutches of Mughals. Everything he did was towards seeing his dream turn into reality. He never accepted Akbar as the sole ruler of India and foiled Akbar’s every plan to win him over. He resented Akbar for killing 27,000 civilians in the siege of Chittor and strongly opposed the policy of Rajput chieftains marrying off their daughters to Mughals.
In the meantime, many Rajput chieftains had accepted Akbar as their king and were ruling their territories under him. Akbar repeatedly tried to woo Rana with the help of these Rajput chieftains, but in vain. Soon a conflict broke out and everything was in dismay. Akbar’s army led by Rajput sardars stood up against the not very strong yet determined army of Rana Pratap. It was the Battle of Haldighati faught in 1576.
Maharana Pratap’s army of nearly ten thousand took on a four times larger Mughal Armey. However the Guerrilla tactics of Pratap Singh’s army and their ferocity kept the Mughal army at distance. Finally, the Mughal army gathered itself and faced the army of Mewar at a place which is today known as Rakta Talai, the lake of blood at Haldighati.
As the intensity of the battle grew, Pratap Singh attacked General Man Singh. While Pratap Singh rode his beloved horse Chetak, Man Singh was seated on an elephant. Pratap Singh bounded on Chetak and drove his spear through the man with the leash of the elephant. However, Chetak was grievously hurt and the situation grew delicate. Rana’s general Man Singh, a look alike of Rana took all the royal seals from Rana and asked him to leave the battlefield. He wanted Rana to flee so as to keep the hope for Mewar alive. He died fighting for Rana and his sacrifice is considered to be very valuable. Sadly, Chetak succumbed to his injuries after he took Rana to a safe place. His love and dedication for his master made him immortal in the pages of history.
Apart from being a brave warrior and a man of principles, Maharana Pratap is known to be a man of flawless character. He respected women and did nothing that was against rectitude. He died at the age of fifty seven, in a hunting accident. His son, Amar Singh swore to fight against Mughals all his life, but he had to give up conditionally. With his death ended a saga of Rajput bravery and patriotism.