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Maharana Sangram Singh (commonly known as Rana Sanga) (April 12, 1484 – March 17, 1527) was the ruler of Mewar state, a region lying within the present-day Indian state of Rajasthan, a desert region, between 1509 and 1527. He was a scion of the Sisodia clan of Suryavanshi Rajputs.

Maharana Sangram Singh or Rana Sanga was the last ruler of medieval India. He became king after slaying all his brothers and who stood up against the invaders and was able to unite many Rajput states to fight against the foreigners. He was a Rajput in a true sense, a valiant fighter and a king who is legendary for his chivalry and generosity. He lost the battle to Babur but his gallantry inspired many others.

Rana Sanga succeeded his father Rana Raimal as the king of the Mewar in 1509[1]. He defended his kingdom bravely from repeated invasions from the Muslim rulers of Delhi, Gujarat and Malwa. He was the most powerful of the Hindu kings of that time. During his rule, Mewar touched the pinnacle of prosperity and as an exemplary king he protected and developed his empire.

He was a man with indomitable spirit and despite losing one arm, one eye and numerous other grave injuries he carried on with great valor. His chivalry was reflected when he treated Sultan Mahmud of Mandu with generosity and restored his kingdom even when he was defeated and taken as a prisoner by Rana.

Sanga had to face a new and powerful invader in the Moghul Babur, a descendant of Timur the Turk. In 1526 Babar invaded India and defeated Ibrahim Lodhi, Sultan of Delhi. In the face of this threat the Rajput clans united under Rana Sanga in a Rajput confederacy but the superior artillery of the Moghul prevailed against the cavalry charges of the Rajputs. At the battle of Khanwa, near Bharatpur in 1527, Babur defeated Sanga and the Rajput confederacy, and this victory established a new era in the history of India. Sanga sustained serious injuries in the battle and died shortly afterwards. He was succeeded by his son Ratan Singh. His tenacity and courage inspired many others including Rana Pratap.

He was married to Rani Karnavati.

Contents

Early years

Mewar was a small kingdom in Rajasthan in North India. Chitor was its capital. Many famous Rajput kings and queens ruled over it. The Rajput kings were famous for their bravery, love of the country and attachment to dharma. Rana Sanga was the most noted Rajput king of his time.

Sanga was one of the three sons of Raimal, ruler of Mewar. He had two brothers Prithviraj and Jaimal. Legend had it that while they were all young, they used to go to a mountain cave near Mewar. In that cave lived a witch. The three brothers one day asked the woman, "Who will become the next king of Mewar?" The witch closed her eyes, uttered some mantra and said to them, " Rana Sanga! On hearing this, the other two brothers became jealous.

He and his brothers quarreled incessantly with each other, causing much grief to their father. The main villain of their fights was Surajmal(Sang's cousine brother). Sanga was younger brother of Prithviraj and Jaimal was their brother but his mother was different.Sanga had lost his one eye while fighting with Prithviraj. Sanga had to go into exile following a particularly bad fracas with his brothers. He spent this period incognito, working as a shepherd in a remote village in the Aravalli hills.

One day he slept under a banyan tree. A snake came out from a hole in the tree. It held its hood like a regal umbrella over his head. It remained in that position for a long time. Some shepherds were passing by. They saw the man and the hood over-head, and cried, "Look, he must be a prince!" So they took him to their chief The chief asked him, "'Who are you?" Rana Sanga told him the truth about himself. The chief gave him his daughter in marriage.

Meanwhile, both his brothers met their end violently on Rana Sanga's sword. Following their deaths, Sanga returned to his father's court pretending to succour his parents in their bereavement and to secure his patrimony. He succeeded his father as ruler of Mewar upon the death of the latter in 1509.

Rule

Sanga's reign was marked by a series of continual battles. He was engaged at least eighteen times in battle with Muslim forces, fighting the forces of the rulers of Delhi, Gujarat and Malwa on various occasions. In the course of these battles, he is said to have sustained eighty-four wounds on his body, losing one arm and being crippled in one leg. Despite all this, Sanga was magnanimous in victory: In 1519, after Sultan Mahmud of Mandu was trounced and taken prisoner, Rana Sanga extended traditional chivalry and benevolence to him. Sultan Mahmud was treated like a guest and his kingdom was restored to him by the Rana.

Sanga brought Mewar to the zenith of its prosperity and prominence, establishing it as the foremost Rajput state. Under Sanga, Mewar reached its zenith, controlling (directly and indirectly) a large part of Rajputana. More importantly, he succeeded in uniting several Rajput states and motivating them to make a united bid for control of northern India. This is Sanga's enduring claim to fame, and it is this that rendered the battle of Khanwa the seminal event it became in the history of north India.

Battle of Khanwa

Some noted historians aver that Sanga invited Babur to attack Ibrahim Lodi and that is true, promising his support for the undertaking. In April 1526, Babur defeated Lodi at the First Battle of Panipat. However, instead of following the expected pattern of gathering booty and then returning home, thereby leaving the field open for local warlords, Babur chose to stay in India. Several other leading historians quash this notion giving justifiable reasons. Babur sent a small cavalry to test the mettle of the Ranas army which was cut to pieces by the Rajputs.Thus further angering the fierce Afghan Babur and giving him sleepless nights. It is said that Babur left wine in the name of God so as to defeat the Rana. A peace talk was initiated by the moghuls which was attended by Shiladitya(Silhadi) who represented the Rajputs. These talks failed. Thus Silhadi returned stating that the peace talks have failed leading to the battle of Khanwa. On March 17, Rana Sanga launched a furious attack on the centre and right wing of the Mughal force; the conflict lasted several hours. Mughal artillery wreaked havoc in the Rajputs closed ranks. Their cannon fire (which was new to the Rajputs) caused the elephants in the Rajput army to stampede. It is said that the Rajputs went ahead & showed great valour by stuffing themselves in the mouth of the cannons to silence them. Mughal cavalry archers made repeated flanking charges from the left and right of their fortified position. These mounted archers seem to have inflicted maximum losses on rajput ranks, as the latter were not accustomed to these tactics. Despite sustaining heavy losses because of superior Mughal tactics, the Rajputs initially appeared to have an advantage due to their sheer numbers and their frenzied charges at the Mughal position. Yet after many hours, the Rajputs failed to overrun the strongly defended central "fortress" of the Mughal army.

Rana Sanga sustained more wounds, at one time being felled by an arrow; nevertheless, he fought on. For a while, the battle's outcome hung in balance. Then, sensing that Rana Sanga’s ship was sinking, Silhadi decamped to Babur with his entire force. After ten hours, the confederacy broke. It was all over for Mewar. The defection of a significant portion of the army fatally weakened the rajputs, bringing down the myth of Rajput valour and loyalty. Mughal flanks finally rolled back the Rajputs flanks. The Rajput army disintegrated rapidly now. Rana Sanga fled from the battle for his life. In wounded condition,he was carried away from the battlefield by Maldeo Rathod and his aids.Sanga vowed that unless he defeats Babur he will not return Chittore. He started preparation to attack Babur second time. He got news that Babur was to attack Medinirai of Chanderi. In order to help Medinirai,he advanced but near Kalpi at a village named Irich he died. It was believed that he was poisoned by his own knights, who were fearing that Sanga was pushing them in another war.[2]do or die

Achievements and ideals

The mantle of Rana Kumbha's greatness passed onto Maharana Sangram Singh. Rana Sanga, also known as Sangram Singh, was the rana (king) of Mewar, in present-day Rajasthan state of western India, from 1509 to 1527.

He brought Mewar to the peak of its prosperity and prominence, establishing it as the premier Rajput state.

With the collapse of power in Delhi, Rana Sanga emerged as the most powerful Hindu King in North India with a direct or indirect sway over the whole of Rajputana. His battles against the Lodhis and the Muslim rulers of Gujarat and Malwa are legendary. As was the custom in those days he slayed his brothers to present himself as the only alternative to his father.

He united the Rajput states and put up a strong unified defence against Babur's armies. It was a valiant struggle. The Maharana lost the battle.

Like the illustrious Kshatriya Kings of ancient Bharat-varsha, the Maharanas exemplified the finest Hindu values and traditions in war and in peace: Honour and chivalry; selflessness and respect for humanity.

The pinnacle of prosperity, the heights of valour. Under the Mighty Sanga, Mewar reached its apex of prosperity and controlled, directly and indirectly, a large part of Rajputana.

Rana Sanga is the finest example of the Kshatriya King as the Protector, the Suryavanshi King whose focus was on consolidating and developing his state.

Though the power of Delhi was on the decline, Rana Sanga faced repeated invasions from the Muslim rulers of Delhi, Gujarat and Malwa. His powerful army engaged in battle over eighteen times with Muslim forces and the Maharana himself was battle-scarred : having lost an arm and eye, been crippled in one leg and suffered innumerable wounds. But his power and spirit remained indomitable.

In 1519 after Sultan Mahmud of Mandu was defeated and taken prisoner, Rana Sanga displayed the same chivalry and generosity which Rana Kumbha had demonstrated towards a defeated enemy. Mahmud was treated like a guest and his kingdom was restored by the Maharana who could have easily annexed it.

He too upon himself to unite the Rajput states into a confederacy. On February 1527 Rana Sanga led a combined Rajput force of over 200,000 men to drive Babur away. Rana Sanga's army engaged the much smaller Mughal force at the Battle of Khanwa.

In the Battle of Khanua in 1527, Rana Sanga's armies gained an initial advantage against Babur's forces. But the tides turned against the valiant Rajputs and Rana Sanga was himself wounded on the battlefield.

Babur's victory was his stepping stone to founding the Mughal Empire in India. It is true lot of Rajputs clans fought for Babur against Sanga.

Rana Sanga's loyalty to the Rajput code of chivalry and generosity is legendary.

References

  1. ^ Tod, James (1829,reprint 2002). Annals & Antiquities of Rajasthan, Rupa, New Delhi, ISBN 81 7167 366 X, p.240
  2. ^ Maharana Pratapancha Rajvansh- A Marathi book by Mr.Ashok Dattatraya Kulkarni

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