Pratap Singh or Pratap Singh (9 May 1540 – 29 January 1597) was the ruler of Mewar, a region in north-western India in the present day state of Rajasthan. His birth anniversary (Maharana Pratap Jayanti) is celebrated as a full-fledged festival every year on the 3rd day of the Jyestha Shukla phase. He was the eldest son of Maharani Jaiwanta Bai and Udai Singh II, founder of Udaipur. He belonged to the Sisodia clan of Rajputs. Maharana Pratap Singh is widely regarded as a fearless warrior and ingenious strategist, who successfully fought the Mughals and safeguarded his people until his death. In popular Indian culture, he is hailed as an inspirational figure for exemplifying gallantry and resourcefulness. He was succeeded by his eldest son Amar Singh I.
In 1568 during the reign of Rana Udai Singh II (Maharana Pratap’s father) Chittorgarh Fort was conquered by the Mughal emperor Akbar after the third Jauhar at Chittor. However, Udai Singh and the royal family of Mewar had left before the fort was captured 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 the seniors in the royal court preferred Pratap, as the eldest son, to be their king. The desire of the nobles prevailed.
Conflict with the Mughals
Nearly all of Pratap’s fellow Rajput chiefs had meanwhile entered into the vassalage of the Mughals. Even Pratap’s own brothers, Shakti Singh, Jagmal and Sagar Singh, served the Mughal emperor, Akbar. Indeed, many Rajput chiefs, such as Man Singh I of Amer (later known as Maharaja of Jaipur) served as army commanders in Akbar’s armies and as members of his council. 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.
Battle of Haldighati
In 1576, Akbar deputed Man Singh I and Asaf Khan I to lead a force against Maharana Pratap. The Rana advanced with a force numbering almost half the Mughal numbers and took a position near Haldighati which was at the entrance of a defile. In Pratap’s army the main commanders were Gwalior’s Ram Shah Tanwar and his three sons,Rawat Krishnadasji Chundawat, Maan Singhji Jhala and Chandrasenji Rathore of Marwar. His army also included Afghans lead by Hakim Khan Sur and a small contingent of Bhil tribals headed by Rao Poonjaji fighting alongside him. Anticipating the mughal attack, the Rana had also devastated the entire region up to Chittor to prevent the Mughal forces access to food and fodder. The Mughals were then guided by Pratap’s brother Shakti Singh that what was the way they could face Pratap in open and with minimum casualties.
After the Battle of Haldighati
On the third day after the Battle of Haldighati, i.e. on 23 June 1576, Man Singh I conquered Gogunda which 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 Rana 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 Rana Pratap found himself isolated and marginalized in Rajput affairs.
Mughal 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, Rana Pratap recovered many of his lost territories including Kumbhalgarh,Udaipur,gogunda,Ranthambore and the areas around Chittor (but 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 got a lot of money from Bhamashah who was given the title of DanShiromani Bhamashah. He used that money to rebuild his army. He conquered Gogunda, Kumbhalgarh, Ranthambore and at last Udaipur from Jagannath Kachhawa. He built up a force of 40000 soldiers and he consolidated his position.
Maharana Pratap had a cabinet of able ministers / advisors and commanders including Bhamashah (treasurer) and Rao Poonja.
Maharana Pratap’s had 11 wives, out of whom, his first and favourite wife was Maharani Ajabde Punwar. Maharana pratap loved her throughout his life. She was the big support to Maharana pratap. She was the shadow of Maharani Jaiwanta Bai mother of Maharana pratap. Maharani ajabde loved Maharana pratap unconditionally throughout her life. She was just like a backbone of Maharana pratap. Unfortunately she died at the age of 48 and her death was the biggest shock for Maharana pratap. He had 17 sons and 5 daughters. Of his children, Amar Singh, who was born to Maharani Ajabde, was the eldest and who later succeeded him. The list of Queens and Sons is as follows
Pratap died of injuries sustained in a hunting accident at Chavand, which served as his capital, on 29 January 1597, aged fifty-seven. A chhatri, commemorating Pratap’s funeral, exists at Chavand and is an important tourist attraction.after his death, Amar Singh I succeeded him. He made Amar Singh I vow never to submit to the Mughals and win Chittorgarh back.Amarsingh, however, signed a treaty with Mughal emperor Jahangir in 1615.