The Battle of Haldighati
The land was waiting, cause all it was to receive on the day was fearless, courageous blood of mighty warriors. Warriors who streamed in blood, bravery, the love for nation, prestige and sheer fearlessness.
The arena seem insufficient to fit the armies of the two gallants.
Maharana Pratap and Mirza Raja Man Singh, the renowned kshattriyas of their and times ever since, held swords against each other. Steeping in with blessings from EKLINGJI was Maharana Pratap, while Mirza Raja had himself sanctified from Govind Dev ji temple at Vrindavan and Mata Shiladevi at Amber. Mirza Raja was so religious that he refused to enter Akbar’s Din-i-Ilahi.
Loyalty to salt, politics and duty for the nation were the three pillars of the battle. Situations were such that even brothers of Pratap, Shakti Singh and Sagar Singh and even Mirza Raja Man Singh had to battle against Maharana Pratap. No fraternity refrained the royal Rajpoots to deviate from their duty.
With a few close ones on the opposite side, Maharaja Bhagwat Das ji and Kumar Man Singh stood beside Maharana.
The feud was old, when Mughals conquered the Chittor, the Mughal emperor demanded “Ramprasad”, the elephant of Maharana, of which he was refused.
The enmity fueled and turned into a war gradually.
The cavalry list of Kumar Singh ji had Mohhammedan nobility, and specialized Rajpoot warriors. Munta-khab-ul-Tawarikh by Al-Badami claims that there was strength of 5000 with Mirza Raja Man Singh and 3000 valiant Rajpoots with Maharana Pratap. Mirza Raja Man Singh ji was in the most critical position, having to serve the emperor and keeping in pace the relations with Maharana Pratap.
The emperor had ordered to get Maharana Pratap dead or alive.
Contrary to the opportunist elements of the opponents, when Maharaja was hunting and got caught by Maharana’s men he was set free by Maharana himself. He rebuked them for catching an unarmed warrior.
Following the event, the day was swiftly approaching. The imperial camps were setup at Madhogarh for supplies and battle field was shifted to Khamnor village, which was in alignment with Haldighati.
The Maharana’s army had rage cause it had the heads who got themselves overthrown by Afgans and Mughals. They sheltered themselves under the valiant Pratap. Their bloods were boiling their supressors. Besides Rajpoots, the Mohhamedans, and traditional enemy of Mughals-Hakim Khan, the Bhils, who had thorough knowledge of every corner of the forest of Mewar, were in the support of Maharana.
And the day arrived. It was the month of Jyestha in the year 1633, when the land of Mewar was all set to witness a fierce battle.
Mirza Raja Man Singh was seated on an elephant and was surrounded by cavalry, of whom the ever victorious Man singh ji took pride of.
The right front was guarded by Sayyid Ahmed Khan of Barah while the left flank was secured by Qazikhan with Shekhzada of Sikari and the rear protect was offered by Mehtar Khan. Sayyid were high order warriors famous to slice the rivals on the battle field.
Maharana too had a division with Hakim Khan Sur. They lead a troop each.
The battle commenced. The quest for glory began.
Hakim Khan Surrounded the imperial army and took them by surprise. Maharana on the other hand advanced to tackle Qazikhan, Sheikh Mansoor and Sheikzadas.
Almost no piece of land was visible and the air was filled with clanking of swords and painful groans and loud roars of the magnificent warriors. The clash was such, that Rajputs could not be differentiated of belonging to Mirza Raja or Maharana. On this, Asaf Khan ordered to shoot on the warriors with an argument that Rajpoot of any side may die, Islam shall certainly win. After the breach by Maharana and his men, Sheikh Mansoor was badly wounded. Qazikhan, after getting severely injured fled the field. The advance was such that even Asaf Khan was compelled to retreat.
In this slipping position, witty Mansingh stepped in. He advanced towards Maharana’s elephant “Luna” on horse back and shot down his driver.
“Ramprasad”, one of the majors of the battle, and to an extent its cause too, was taken on by “Gajraj” led by Kamal Khan and “Ranmadar” led by Punju. When an arrow pierced the Ramprasad’s driver, Ramprasad was also seized later.
Mirza Raja Man Singh Ji seated himself to drive the elephant on demise of his driver, and continued towards the imperial army.
Any mentions of Maharana, sans his loyal ride “Chetak”– a horse, is unjust to history he held. Chetak is believed to have placed his forefeet on Kumar Singh’s elephant while Maharana aimed him with a lance. In this incident, Maharana got severely wounded and could not make any attempts further. Chetak too injured his hind legs. Kumar Madho Singh on seeing the elder brother being attacked by Maharana flashed towards him and had a furious duel with already injured and tired Maharana. He could have easily proved himself fatal, but keeping up the Rajpooti spirit of not destroying a “head that wears crown” he left Maharana with a cut on face and spill his residual might on the others.
All in periphery of rival Rajpoots, Maharana’s life in that state of his, was under great threat. Even his brother, Shakti Singh who was battling against him could not keep himself from not worrying about Maharana.
Seeing Maharana and the situation, Jhala Man Singh took Maharana’s crown, the regal umbrella and other royal belongings and put them on himself. Just like his grandfather had done once in his time of royal service, Jhala led army against the Mughals, thereby saving Maharana’s life. The imperial army mistook Jhala as Pratap and attacked him. Jhala fought bravely till the last breath left his body.
Pratap’s retreat didn’t catch many eyes but could not escape those of Mirza Raja Man Singh, Kumar Madho and two Mohhameden soldiers from Khorasan and Multan. The two soldiers were on the verge to attack Maharana when they met their fates from arrows of Shakti Singh, who shouted out asking Maharana to stop the slowly galloping Chetak. At once Maharana’s blood boiled, but to got calm when Shakti Singh submitted his wounded body to feet of Maharana and both the brothers hugged each other. This was last that Chetak saw and he passed away. Shakti Singh gave his “Natak” to Maharana. Maharana then took refuge in Aravalis.
Maharaja, the lord of an undefeated army, intentionally let Maharana go inspite emperor’s instruction to get Maharana dead or alive. Many such events that led Maharana to slip easily from field reached the emperor and his recalled Maharja and withheld his admission in the imperial court . Shahbaz Khan was sent in his place. Also, imperial honours of Man singh ji and his father were forfeited.
Not much time passed and Shahbaz Khan conquered Kumbhalgarh.
Shahbaz, if appointed before would have proven fatal to Pratap. He was no match to Mirza Raja Man Singh who could balance with emperor and pay his respect to great warrior like Maharana Pratap.
By Reshu Sharma