Monthly Archives: August 2008

RANA PRATAP AND THE HOUSE OF MEWAR- VI

Rana Amar Singh who succeeded Rana Pratap was a brave soldier and continued his ancestral policy of resistance to the Mughal aggression. Several expeditions sent by Akbar during the last days of his reign met with failure on account of the supine ness of his commanders and the stiffness of the opposition offered by the Sisodias.

Pact with the Mughals

Soon after his accession, Jahangir sent his second son Parwez to reduce the Rana in 1605. Amar Singh bravely defended his territory and fought a tough battle at the pass of Dewar, which proved to be indecisive. In 1608 Mahabat Khan, in 1609 Abdulla Khan and later Raja Basu and subsequently Mirza Aziz Koka were all sent by Jahangir to browbeat the Rana but in vain. In 1613 Jahangir personally moved to Ajmer in order to be near the scene of action and to exert pressure on the enemy. The supreme command of the campaign against Mewar was given to prince Khurram (later Shahjahan). The campaign began in1614. Khurram ravaged the Rana’s territory, destroyed and burnt villages, towns and gardens and demolished temples. He cut off all supplies in order to starve out the Sisodias in their mountainous retreats. Though reduced to great straits, the Rajputs displayed undaunted heroism and made repeated attacks on the enemy. In the constant struggle both sides suffered heavily, but the Rajputs suffered greater losses than the Mughals on account of a famine and pestilence. The Rana’s followers now began to desert him. His nobles counseled peace. Prince Karan also advised the same course.  The resources of tiny Mewar were exhausted and it was not possible to prolong any further the struggle with the great empire whose resources in men and money were infinitely superior. Accordingly, Amar Singh opened negotiations with Khurram, who offered a cordial reception to the Rana’s agents. He sent them with his own secretary to the imperial camp at Ajmer.  Jahangir was happy to accept the terms proposed by the Rana and authorized Khurram to conclude a treaty. The terms of the treaty so concluded between the Rana and Jahangir were:

  • The Rana recognized Jahangir as his suzerain.
  • The emperor restored to the Rana all the territory, including Chitor that had been seized by the Mughals since the time of Akbar.
  • The fort of Chittor was not to be fortified and even to be repaired.
  •  The Rana was not obliged to attend the imperial durbar; but his son was to represent him and assist the emperor with a contingent of troops.
  •  Unlike other Rajput chiefs, the Rana was not required to enter into a matrimonial alliance with the Mughal ruling family.

The treaty of 1615 for the first time brought the end of a long-drawn struggle between the two states. The Sisodias Chieftains were soon distinguished amongst the Rajput vassals of the Mughal and had a full share of power. Of these Bhim, the younger brother of Karan and leader of the Mewar contingent, was conspicuous, and become the chief adviser and friend of Khurram (Shahajahan).

Rana Raj Singh and Aurangzeb

Rana Raj Singh came to the throne in 1654. In the war of succession between the Mughal princes, Raj Singh had supported Dara, the eldest son of Shahajahan against Aurangzeb. But Aurangzeb came out successful and coronated himself in 1659. Aurangzeb was a religious bigot and had not dared to disclose his real designs against the Hindus for over two decades as long as powerful Rajput chiefs like Jaswant Singh of Jodhpur, the Kachhawaha ruler Jai Singh were alive. After the death of Jaswant Singh in December 1678, Aurangzeb annexed Marwar and offered the throne of Jodhpur to the posthumous son of Jaswant Singh on the condition of his embracing Islam. But the Rajputs of Jodhpur under their leader Durgadas escaped with the baby king, Ajit Singh. On 12 April 1679, Aurangzeb reimposed Jiziya on the Hindus, which had been exempted by Akbar about a little over one hundred years ago. Raj Singh wrote a letter to him in which Aurangzeb was asked to emulate his great grand father, Akbar who believed in the equality of all religions. Raj Singh reminded him that there is one god for the whole mankind and not any exclusive god for the Mohammedans. To vilify the religion or customs of other men is to set at naught the pleasure of the almighty. But this piece of advice had little effect on the bigoted Aurangzeb.