Sunday, 6 October 2013

Rana Sanga - The Greatest King Of Mewar


Born: April 12, 1484
Died: March 17, 1527 (aged 42)

Rana Sanga

A Brief Introduction:


Maharana Sangram Singh, popularly known as Rana Sanga, was the king of Mewar. He was a scion of the Sisodia clan of Suryavanshi Rajputs. Rana ruled over Mewar from 1509 to 1527.

Rana Sanga was known for his bravery, honor and generosity. He fought a series of battles against the Muslim rulers, defeated some well known kings of his time like Ibrahim Lodhi (the sultan of Delhi), Mehmod Khilji (the ruler of Mewar) and extended the boundaries of his kingdom to a large extent. It is stated that during these battles, he sustained 84 wounds on his body.

During the reign of Rana Sanga, Mewar reached the pinnacles of prosperity. Rana fought his last battle against the Mughal invader Babur and during the battle of Khanwa, he got seriously wounded and died shortly thereafter on March 17,1527.

Birth and Early Life :


Rana Sanga was born to Rana Raimal and Rani Ratan Kanwar on April 12, 1484, in Malwa, Rajasthan, India. He was the 3rd son of Raimal and grandson of Maharana Kumbha (Maharana Kumbhakarna). Rana Sanga had two elder brothers Prithviraj and Jaimal.

The three young brothers were very close to each other. They spent most of the time playing together, also they often went to a cave near Mewar. One day all three brothers and their cousin Suraj Mal went to cave as a regular routine, where they met a witch and asked her who would be the next king of Mewar ? Then the witch replied that Rana Sanga would be the next king of Mewar. On hearing that Prithviraj became enraged and attacked Rana Sanga. To save his life from Prithviraj, Rana had to flee from the cave and during this course Rana Sanga lost his one eye and sustained five wounds on his body. After that Rana Sanga spent some time in a village as a sheperd, hiding his true identity to save himself from his brothers.
It is stated that the main villain of their fights according to local folklore, was Suraj Mal.
When Raimal came to know of this conflict, he banished Prithviraj from Mewar. Later, Prithviraj was poisoned by his brother in law, whom he had earlier punished for allegedly mistreating his sister while, Jaimal was slain by the indignant father of the girl he had been courting.

The death of both elder brothers left Rana Sanga to ascend their father's throne.

Also read: Maharana Pratap - The Brave Warrior

Coronation Of Rana Sanga:

crown
After the death of both elder brothers, Rana Sanga succeeded his father Rana Raimal as the 8th king of Mewar and as a 50th ruler in the lineage of Sisodia Rajputs in 1509.

Famous Battles Of Rana Sanga:


During the Rana Sanga's reign, Mewar was surrounded by the Muslim Kingdoms. In the north, Ibrahim Lodhi was ruling at Delhi where as in the south, Sultan Muzaffar Shah was ruling at Gujrat. And in the east Mahmud Shah Khilji was reigning at Malwa. To enlarge the boundaries of his kingdom Sanga had to fight various battles against the surrounding Muslim rulers.

Battle With Muzaffar Shah :


Rana's first encounter was with Muzaffar Shah II of Gujrat. Muzaffar Shah did not like the emerging king Sanga, thus he was looking for an opportunity to open hostility against Rana Sanga. Soon the opportunity came for him, when Sanga intervened in the affairs of Idar. In 1515, Raja Bhim Singh of Idar died, and there were two claimants of the throne, one was Bihari Mal, who was the son of Raja Bhim Singh (the legitimate claimant), and the other was Rai Mal, who was the cousin-german of Bihari Mal and brother in law of Sanga. Rana Sanga supported the pretender Rai Mal where as Muzaffar Shah II was supporting Bihari Mal. Thus started a battle between the Rana Sanga and Muzaffar Shah II, Rana Sanga defeated Muzaffar Shah and enthroned Rai Mal, expelling Bihari Mal from Idar.

Also read: Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya (Hemu) - One of the Greatest Hindu Warrior -Recommended

Battle With Ibrahim Lodi ( Battle of Khatauli):

Ibrahim Lodi
Ibrahim Lodi
Rana Sanga's second encounter was with Ibrahim Lodi of Delhi. This Time Sanga wanted to enlarge the boundaries of his kingdom. Ibrahim Lodi who faced many rebellions during his reign, was facing a rebellion in Delhi and was busy in resolving the conflict. Seeing this opportunity Sanga invaded Lodi's territory and captured some key areas including the fort of Ranthambore. 

In response to this attack by Sanga, Lodi collected a large force and invaded Sanga's home province of Mewar after having put down the rebellion in Delhi. Then Sanga counterattacked Lodi and in a battle at Khatoli (popularly known as the Battle of Khatauli) , Sanga's troops fought valiantly with ethnic Afghans in 1517-1518. In this battle Rana Sanga lost his left arm and an arrow made him lame for entire life but finally Sanga won the battle and captured a large area of Ibrahim Lodi's Territory.

Battle With Mehmod Khilji:


After defeating Muzaffar Shah II and Ibrahim Lodi of Delhi, Rana Sanga was full of confidence, then Rana decided to extend the boundaries of his kingdom to protect his home province from Muslim invaders. Thus he started planning to attack the neighboring kingdom, Malwa.  Malwa was ruled by Mehmod Khilji, who was an Afgan ruler and a well known king of his time. But in the meantime, Malwa was torn by dissension and therefore Rana Sanga wanted to take the advantage of the situation.

On the other hand, Mehmod was wary of overgrown power of his Rajput Vizier (Wazir) Medini Rai and the Rajput rebels of Malwa. And on hearing the news that Mewar's king is looking to attack Malwa, potentially and politically weak Mehmod Khilji asked for help from other Afgan rulers mainly, Ibrahim Lodhi of Delhi and Muzaffar Shah II of Gujrat. Whereas, his vizier Medini Rai asked for help from Rana and joined his troops.

Rana's troops joined by the Malwa rebels and Medini Rai, launched an attack on Malwa in 1519. This was the beginning of prolonged war between Mewar and the Muslim Sultans of North India.The Battle was consist of various fascinating moments. Rana's forces beat back the Delhi and Gujrat troops, who came to support the Malwa king. Finally, after a series of battle Rana Sanga defeated Mehmod Khilji and took the control over Malwa.

He imprisoned Khilji and left him only after capturing his son as a hostage in Chittor, the capital of Mewar.

Battle With Babur ( The Battle Of Khanwa ):

Babur
Babur
Babur, who was a chieftain and a prince from Fergana invaded India in 1525, some sources say that he was called by Ibrahim lodi's nobels because Ibrahim Lodi replaced the old and senior nobels with the new ones who were loyal to him.

Babur came to India with only 12000 soldiers but with heavy guns and cannons and defeated Ibrahim Lodhi of Delhi at the first Battle of Panipat in 1526.

The news that Babur had defeated and slain Ibrahim Lodi reached to Sanga. Rana Sanga believed that Babur had plans to leave India and return to Kabul. But instead of leaving India, Babur did not return to Kabul and had Khutbah read out in his name in the Delhi mosque. This was an announcement of the new Muslim power in Delhi.

Rana Sanga knew that Babur was a big threat to his kingdom and he had to defeat and throw him out of India before he consolidate his position. Thus, Sanga started preparations for a heavy battle against Babur. As his first move, Sanga captured Kandar fort and forced some Afghan rulers like Mehmud Lodi and Hasan Khan Mewati to join him . He also asked other Indian rulers to join him for the same.

The news of Battle preparations reached to Babur, then Babur also girded himself for the battle. Babur had heard a lot about Rana Sanga's valor and heroism, Babur also knew that as long as Sanga remained unvanquished, his position was insecure.

After, all his preparations, Rana Sanga ordered Babur to leave India and for this he sent his vassal sardar Silhadi of Raisen as his emissary. Silhadi who went to Babur's camp was won over by Babur, Babur decided not to retreat and both of them hatched a plot to defeat Sanga. The plan was that Silhadi, who held a large contingent of 30,000 men would decamp Rajput troops and join Babur’s camp at critical moment of battle and thus defeat Rana Sanga. Then Silhadi went back to Chittor and told Rana that Babur had decided not to retreat and therefore war is the only option.

After all major preparations both army met at Khanwa near Fatehpur Sikri on 17th March, 1527. Rajput army was supported by Silhadi of Raisen, Hasan Khan Mewati of Mewat,  Mehmud Lodi, Medini Rai of Alwar, Udai Sing of Dungarpur, Narbad Hada of Bundi and some other Indian rulers whereas Mughal army was supported by Mahdi Khwaja and the troops of Bayna. With the support of major Indian kings and sardars, Rana Sanga had gathered a large army of around 80,000 men where as Babur had hardly 25,000 men on his side. Although Rana Sanga had a large army but Babur had something which Sanga did not have – heavy guns and cannons, the first proper Turkic style artillery seen in medieval India.

The decisive battle started at about 9:30 in the morning, first attack was launched by Rajputs. Rajput army fought valiantly with the Mughals but the Mughal artillery and canons did the fearful execution. The canon fire was new to the Rajputs and this caused the elephants in the Rajput army to stampede. Still the gallant Rajputs were not appalled and many valiant soldiers stuffed themselves into the Cannons to silence them but unfortunately that wasn't enough for them. At this critical moment when Mughals were charging up, Silhadi decamped the Rajput troops and joined the Babur's camp, the defection of Silhadi and his contingent caused a split in the Rajput forces.

The great Rajput army was soon disintegrated into the disordered crowed, seeing the discomfort of his troops, Rana Sanga himself advanced to the charge. But soon he was mortally wounded, thus the fate of the battle was decided.

The remaining Rajputs force, faithful to the tradition of dying in the battlefield, made a desperate charge on Babur's army but without a leader they were nothing and soon all of them were killed by the Mughals.

Rana Sanga escaped with the help of some of the followers and Rathore contingent from Marwar. When Rana became conscious he learnt of the defeat.

Death :


Although Rana was defeated by Babur, but he was not willing to admit his defeat. Rana started to rebuild his forces for another war with Babur and vowed that he would not set foot in Chittor till Babur was defeated by him.

In 1528, he once again set out to fight Babur at Chanderi to help his friend Medini Rai, who was attacked by Babur. But he fell sick at Kalpi and died in his camp.
It is widely believed that he was poisoned by some of his nobles who quiet rightly thought his renewal of war with Babur as suicidal.
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2 comments:

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