Maharana Pratap Jayanti is a celebration of the birth anniversary of the great leader and the warrior who ruled Mewar in Rajasthan.
His birth anniversary is celebrated with lot of respect and fanfare on the 3rd day of the shukla paksha in the month of Jyestha according to the traditional Hindu calendar. As per Gregorian calendar, Rana Pratap’s birthday falls in the month of June during the waxing phase of the moon.
Maharana Pratap is celebrated and respected for his extreme bravery and his phenomenal fighting skills. He is the epitome of valor, patriotism and honor. In 2017, Maharana Pratap Jayanti will be celebrated on the 28th of May.
Who was Maharana Pratap?
Maharana Pratap was the ruler of Mewar, in Rajasthan. Belonging to the Sisodia clan of Rajputs, he was the eldest son of Uday Singh the 2nd and Maharani Jaiwanta Bai and was born in the year 1540. He ascended the throne post his brother proved to be hopeless and the ministers all wanted Rana Pratap to lead the kingdom. During this time most of the Rajasthani small kingdoms had bowed their heads to the superiority.
Rana Pratap’s fight against the Mughals
The Mughal emperor Akbar sent his envoys 4 times to find a suitable solution to the impasse between Mewar and the Mughal Empire. Rana Pratap refused to present himself to the Mughal court, thus all the solutions failed and a battle between Rana Pratap and the Mughal Empire became imminent.
Man Singh and Asaf Khan led a deputation against Maharana Pratap Singh. Maharana Pratap Singh waited for them in the entrance of the narrow defile called Haldighati. In Rana 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 .
The Battle of Haldighati was fought on the 18 June 1576. In this battle the Rajputs having the rough and hilly terrain knowledge were in an advantage. The heat, the fear of ambush all resulted in the Mughal army not following the Rajput army. Pratap got on his highly trusted stallion Chetak and attacked Raja Man Singh. Man Singh ducked and theus Chetak was fatally wounded as was Rana Pratap. Rana Pratap’s trusted commander ManSingh Jhala understood the situation and changed his armor with Pratap’s , so that the Mughal soldiers mistake him for Rana Pratap. Chetak galloped away with the wounded Rana Pratap in his back through the famous Haldibari pass and then succumbed to his injuries. However, Rana Pratap’s brother Shakti Singh, who had joined the Mughals, gave Rana Pratap his own horse, so that he could ride away.
The Battle of Haldibari is looked up to as an endeavor towards independence. It was a battle for local independence and rising nationalism and regional patriotism.
He may have been unsuccessful in thwarting away the attempts of the Mughal Empire, but his sheer will power and guerrilla strategies gave courage and directions to numerous more national and regional heroes who fought for their own independence, be it against the Mughals or the British Empire. One amongst such who was greatly encouraged him id Shivaji who fought against Aurangzeb of Mughal Empire.
Demise of Maharana Pratap
Maharana Pratap Singh breathed his last at the age of 57 only on the 29th of January, 1597, succumbing from a critical wound.
How is the Rana Pratap Jayanti celebrated?
The celebration centering on Maharana Pratap Jayanti is mostly limited to the Rajasthan and some parts of Uttar Pradesh region only. The famous Haldighati Fair is celebrated through numerous cultural events. Since Maharana Pratap was almost a demi-God amongst the poor people of this area at his time, lot of organizations distribute clothes, blankets or execute other charitable activities on these days. In the schools various events are organized to commemorate the brilliant valor, patriotism and dedication of Rana Pratap Singh. The UP government has declared a holiday on this auspicious day. On this day various special puja and other processions are held and also cultural events and debates are organized.