Born on May 9, 1545, Maharana Pratap is celebrated as the first native freedom fighter of our nation. He is remembered for his defiance of Akbar and the bravery of his loyal horse, Chetak. Maharana boldly fought against the Mughal Empire at a time when others had accepted Akbar’s supremacy. On the occasion of his 481st birth anniversary, we take a look at five interesting facts from his life.
Maharana Pratap was born as Pratap Singh I, to Uday Singh II, the founder of Udaipur city, and his first wife, Jaivantabai Songara. Pratap was born in the same year when Uday Singh ascended the throne of the Mewar royal family.
Pratap was 32 years old when Uday Singh II passed away. Uday Singh’s favourite wife, Dheerbai Bhattiyani, tried to get her son Jagmal to ascend the throne, but royal courtiers opposed her. They crowned Pratap as the successor of Uday Singh II.
Akbar sent several diplomatic missions to convince Pratap to accept Mughal suzerainty, but Pratap refused to bow down to him. As a result, the Battle of Haldighati was fought, in 1576, on June 18, at Haldighati mountain pass, Aravalli Range, Rajasthan. Despite defeating Pratap, Akbar failed to capture or kill the latter or his family members.
Chetak was the loyal horse of Rana Pratap with whom he shared a deep bond. During the Battle of Haldighati, Pratap, riding on Chetak, was attacking Mughal army leader Man Singh I of Amber, who was on an elephant. One of the tusks of the elephant went through one of Chetak’s rear legs, causing a fatal injury. Despite this, Chetak galloped away from the battlefield with a wounded Pratap on his back, to save his life. He crossed two miles and after jumping across a stream that was approximately 22 feet wide, collapsed and passed away.
Pratap recaptured many of the Mewar territories captured by the Mughal Empire, but failed to win back Chittor, the heart of the Mewar Kingdom. Pratap’s son Amar Singh I accepted Mughal supremacy and was allowed to enter Chittor.