Hope India Publication: 2003
Available from: www.vedamsbooks.com/no27318.htm
Maharana Pratap (1540-1597) is one of the great Hindu heroes of medieval India. His valour is still sung in hundreds of songs throughout the land. His life is associated with many legends and heroic tales; which this book aims to elucidate the truth behind.
The present volume is a short sized (110 pages) historical biography on this famous King. It was initially written in the 1940’s, and was recently republished with a new preface by K. C. Yadav, to fill the need of a short and accurate biography of Maharana Pratap. Unfortunately, Pratap and other Hindu heroes of medieval India have been ignored and neglected by the intelligentsia of Independent India, in their conscious effort to rewrite medieval Indian history with an increased emphasis on the Moghul achievement and an underplaying of Hindu resistance. The idea behind this revisionism is that it will aid “national integration” between the different religious communities in India. Yet after over half a century later, this policy has not achieved anything of the sort!
The fact is that the truth should never be edited or blocked out just to aid social engineering – it simply never works (or at best works only for a while). Our generation needs to come to terms with our past and move forward, not be told cock and bull lies by the self-righteous leftist “eminent historians” who write Indian text books.
The great thing about this book is its strict emphasis on historical facts, using a variety of historical sources. A. C . Woolner, former Vice Chancellor of Punjab University has praised the book as follows:
“…he [the author] has searched out all the sources he could find, whether in Persian or Hindu, and for every point and incident he quotes his authority.”
In this way, the book goes beyond the romanticised folk legends, and allows a factual account to emerge, which is in fact no less engrossing than the folk tales. A. C. Woolner noted that:
“…Indian historians have sometimes started with romances and used them as if they were reliable sources of information…this little book gains in value for the student of history, who is not satisfied with a romantic story, but wishes to know what were the actual facts on which the romance is based and how those facts can be determined.”
Maharana Pratap was a Rajput ruler of the land of Mewar. He became the king at a time when the talented Moghul Emperor Akbar was forcing the Rajput states to become his underlings. Most of the Rajput states submitted, but Pratap kept up indomitable resistance against very heavy odds. He was forced to live as a fugitive and even lost his entire territory, only to win them back at the soonest chance. If he had submitted to Akbar he would has received a many riches and comforts, but he refused to sacrifice his independence and dignity. The tale of his many battles, his relationship with the ancient Bhil tribals (of Ramayana fame), his charisma as a leader and his ability to create alliances with other potential allies makes for fascinating reading. He died an independent ruler.
So touching was his story of indomitable will, that when he died not only his friends but even his enemies were forced to acknowledge his greatness. Abdur Rahman, a Moghul poet, wrote regarding Pratap’s death:
“All is unstable in this world; land and wealth will disappear, but the virtue of a great name lives for ever. Pratap abandoned wealth and land, but never bowed his head. Alone, of all the princes of Hind, he preserved his honour.”
The contemporary bard, Dursa wrote of Pratap:
“O Pratap you kept your horse unbranded, your head unbowed, your fame untarnished. You were strong enough to carry on your work against heavy odds. (…). You attained a very high place in this world. On hearing of your death, o Pratap, Akbar’s eyes dimmed and his tongue stuck in his throat, for you had really won after all.”
Any person with an interest in Indian or Hindu history will love this book. It is available to buy here. And just in case anybody is wondering – I do not have any form of financial interest in this web shop; I just think this is a really great book that deserves to be read!