History Optional Paper-1 Solution – 1999: Q.5 (c)
Q.5 (c) Write a short essay on: “Rana Pratap’s patriotism was his only offence.”
According to Dr. V. A. Smith, “Maharana Pratap’s patriotism was his offence.”
Maharana Pratap, ruler of Mewar, had characteristics of patriotism, courage,valour, self-respect and a strong love for independence. His whole life was filled with turbulence, suffering and challenges, which he fondly endured for the honour of his homeland. Even under the most difficult situation, he was never prepared to compromise with the high values.
Akbar had won over most of the Rajput chieftains by his astute policy and could not endure the independent attitude assumed by the Rana who must be broken if he would not bend like his fellows.
Even Rana’s younger brother Shakti Singh also deserted him and became a vassal of Akbar. But Rana Pratap had vowed never to barter away centuries’ old freedom of his homeland at any price whatsoever.
Single-handedly for a quarter of century (1572-97), Maharana Pratap withstood the combined efforts of the empire; at one time carrying destruction into the plain, at another, flying from rock to rock and feeding his family. He did not have military power of Mughal but his resistance continued with the offence of his patriotism for his motherland.
Though Chittor was sacked and plundered by Akbar’s forces, the spirit of Rana Pratap was unbroken. He still refused to acknowledge Akbar as the Mughal emperor and vowed never to appear in his court in Delhi.
The Maharana’s patriotism was his only offence and he suffered valiantly for upholding the righteous principle of sovereignty and independence. The Battle of Haldighati was fought for this principle.
It is on June 18, 1576, that Rana Pratap’s small force were pitted against the combined armies of Akbar and the Rajput states who had allied with the Mughals. The patriotic zeal of his generals like Hakim Khan Sur was awe-inspiring; and though Rana Pratap retreated into the hills, he left the Mughal armies trapped in total disarray. No retreat has ever been more glorious, and for the Mughals, no victory was ever more like defeat and all these happened due to patriotic offence of Rana Pratap. The hard earned victory of Mughal could not fulfill its objective of complete subjugation of Mewar. Rana Pratap continued resistance with his patriotic zeal till his death.