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Pratap Singh I (pronunciation) (9 May 1540 – 19 January 1597), also known as Maharana Pratap, was the 13th king of Mewar, a region in north-western India in the present day state of Rajasthan.
Early life and accession
Maharana Pratap was born in Mewar and Jaiwanta Bai, Udai Singh II. Shakti Singh, Vikram Singh, and Jagmal Singh were his younger brothers. Chand Kanwar and Man Kanwar were among Pratap's two stepisters. He was married to Ajabde Punwar of Bijolia, had married ten other women, and was survived by 17 sons and 5 daughters, including Amar Singh I. He belonged to the Royal Family of Mewar. Rani Dheer Bai wanted her son Jagmal to succeed him after Udai Singh's death in 1572, but senior courtiers selected Pratap, the eldest son to be their king. The nobles' aspiration trumped all else. Udai Singh died in 1572, but Prince Pratap, Mewar's 54th king, succeeded him, as Maharana Pratap, according to the Sisodia Rajputs. Jagmal swore revenge and left for Ajmer to join the Akbar armies, acquiring the town of Jahazpur as a tribute in exchange for his service.
The state of Mewar, led by Pratap Singh, earned a reputation for refusing to establish any political alliance with the Mughal Empire and its opposition to Muslim domination in stark contrast to other Rajput kings who accepted and formed alliances with the various Muslim dynasties in the subcontinent. The Battle of Haldighati was triggered by Pratap Singh's rivalry with Akbar.
The bloody Siege of Chittorgarh in 1567-1568 had resulted in the destruction of Mewar's fertile eastern belt to the Mughals. However, Maharana Pratap's remainder of the wooded and hilly kingdom in the Aravalli range was also under Maharana Pratap's care. Mughal Emperor Akbar was determined to ensure a safe route to Gujarat through Mewar, and when Pratap Singh was crowned king (Maharana) in 1572, he sent a number of envoys, one by Raja Man Singh of Amer, urging him to become a vassal like many other emperors in Rajputana. As Pratap refused to cooperate personally with Akbar, the war became inevitable.
On June 1576, Pratap Singh and Mughal forces led by Man Singh I of Amer were combating in Haldighati. The Mughals were victorious and inflicted significant casualties among the Mewaris, but they were unable to capture Pratap. The battlefield was located near Gogunda, India's modern day Rajsamand. A force of about 3000 cavalry and 400 Bhil archers was deployed by Pratap Singh in the field. Man Singh of Amber, the Mughals' commander, commanded an army of about 10,000 troops. Pratap was wounded in a ferocious battle lasted more than three hours and the day was lost. He was able to flee to the hills and fight another day.
Haldighati was a tumultuous win for the Mughals as they were unable to kill or capture Pratap or any of his close family members in Udaipur. Though reports incorrectly stated that Pratap was unable to make a successful escape, Mansingh then went on to defeat Gogunda a week after Haldighati had ended his campaign. In September 1576, Akbar himself led a sustained fight against the Rana, and Gogunda, Udaipur, and Kumbhalgarh followed Mughal rule shortly.
Following demonstrations in Bengal and Bihar, as well as Mirza Hakim's entry into the Punjab, Mughal pressure on Mewar has been eased since 1579. After this, Akbar sent Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khanan to attack Mewar, but he stopped at Ajmer. Pratap Singh attacked and occupied the Mughal post at Dewair (or Dewar) in 1582. All 36 Mughal military outposts in Mewar were automatically liquidated as a result. Jagannath Kachachwaha was sent by Akbar to invade Mewar in 1584. Akbar moved to Lahore in 1585 and spent the next 12 years monitoring the north-west's turmoil. At that time, there was no major Mughal expedition sent to Mewar. Pratap revived the majority of Mewar (except its former capital), Chittorgarh, and Mandalgarh districts by defeating Mughal forces there, profiting from the crisis. Chavand, his nefarious capital, was also built near modern Dungarpur during this period.