Rana Pratap Singh (About this sound pronunciation (help·info)) (9th May 1540 – 29 January 1597) popularly known as Maharana Pratap, was a ruler of Mewar, a region in north-western India in the present day state of Rajasthan. His birth anniversary, known as Maharana Pratap Jayanti, is celebrated annually on the third day of the Jyestha Shukla phase. He was the eldest son of Maharani Jaiwanta Bai and Udai Singh II. He belonged to the Sisodia clan of Rajputs. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Amar Singh I.
In 1569 during the reign of Pratap’s father, Udai Singh II, Chittorgarh Fort was conquered by the Mughal emperor Akbar after the third Jauhar. Udai Singh and his family had left before the capture and moved to the foothills of the Aravalli Range where Udai Singh had already founded the city of Udaipur in 1559.Rani Dheer Bai wanted her son Jagmal to succeed Udai Singh but senior courtiers preferred Pratap, as the eldest son, to be their king. The desire of the nobles prevailed.
Nearly all of Pratap’s fellow Rajput chiefs had meanwhile entered into the vassalage of the Mughals. Pratap’s own brothers – Shakti Singh, Jagmal and Sagar Singh – served Akbar,and many Rajput chiefs, such as Man Singh I of Amer, served as commanders in Akbar’s armies and as members of his council. Akbar sent a total of six diplomatic missions to Rana Pratap, seeking to negotiate the same sort of peaceful alliance that he had concluded with the other Rajput chiefs
On the third day after the Battle of Haldighati, on 23 June 1576, Man Singh I conquered Gogundawhich was later recaptured by Pratap in July 1576.Pratap then made Kumbhalgarh his temporary capital.After that, Akbar decided to personally lead the campaign against Pratap. In the process, Gogunda, Udaipur and Kumbhalgarh were occupied by the Mughals, forcing the Rana deeper into the mountainous tracts of southern Mewar. Mughal pressure was exerted on the Afghan chief of Jalor, and the Rajput chiefs of Idar, Sirohi, Banswara, Dungarpur, and Bundi. These states, situated on the borders of Mewar with Gujarat and Malwa had traditionally acknowledged the supremacy of the dominant power in the region. Consequently, the rulers of these states submitted to the Mughals. A Mughal expedition was also sent to Bundi where Duda, the elder son of Rao Surjan Hada, had collaborated with Pratap to take control over Bundi and adjacent areas. Both Surjan Hada and Bhoj, the father and younger brother of Duda, took part in this conflict in support of the Mughals. After a Mughal victory, Duda escaped to the hills and Bundi was conferred upon Bhoj. At this point Pratap found himself isolated and marginalised in Rajput affairsMughal pressure on Mewar relaxed after 1579 following rebellions in Bengal and Bihar and Mirza Hakim’s incursion into the Punjab. In 1585, Akbar moved to Lahore and remained there for the next twelve years watching the situation in the north-west. No Mughal expedition was sent to Mewar during this period. Taking advantage of the situation, Pratap recovered many of his lost territories including Kumbhalgarh, Udaipur, Gogunda, Ranthambore and the areas around Chittor, although not Chittor itself. During this period, he also built a new capital, Chavand, near modern Dungarpur. His successful defiance of Mughals using guerrilla strategy also proved inspirational to figures ranging from Shivaji to anti-British revolutionaries in Bengal.Maharana Pratap being the head of the Sisodia clan and the ruler of Mewar had lots of responsibility towards Mewar. His duty was not only to protect the region from Mughals but also to restrict the Rajput kings from joining hands with the Mughals. Back then, many of the Rajput rulers gave their hands to Mughal King Akbar to avoid any possible attacks over their region.
This was strictly against Maharana Pratap‘s principle and perhaps that is why over the years Maharana Pratap married many of the Rajput Princess mainly for political alliances. Maharana Pratap altogether had 11 wives and 17 sons & 5 daughters Maharani Ajabde was the first wife of Maharana Pratap. He married her at the age of 17 in the year 1557. Out of this wedlock was born Maharana Pratap’s first son and successor Amar Singh I in the year 1559. Ajabde had one more son Bhagawandas.
The list of his Queens are : Maharani Ajabde Rani Solankhinpurbai, Rani Champa Bai Jhati, Rani Jasobai Chauhan, Rani Phool Bai Rathore, Rani Shahmati Bai Hada, Rani Khichar Ashabai, Rani Alamdebai Chauhan, Rani Ratnawati Parmar, Rani AmarBai Rathore, Rani Lakhabai.