Battle of Haldighati : Shakti Singh on trial



The battle of Haldighatti took place on 18th June 1576. The Mewar army was led by the Maharana Pratap while the Mughal side was led by Raja Man Singh of Amber and Prince Salim(Emperor Jehangir).

Salim was 7 years of age at the time of this war and it must have been one of his first battles. Yet as a prince he commanded people under him and that included Shakti Singh(Saktha Singh) the younger brother of Maharana Pratap fighting for the mughals.

Quote from James Todd – Annals and Antiques of Rajasthan

Maharana made good a passage to where Salim commanded. His guards fell before Partap, and but for the steel plates which defended his howda, the lance of the Rajput would have deprived Akbar of his heir. His steed, the gallant Chetak, nobly seconded his lord, and is represented in all the historical drawings of this battle with one foot raised upon the elephant of the Mogul, while his rider has his lance propelled against his foe.

Maharana Pratap reached the place where Salim was in the battle surrounded by his gaurds and threw a lance but the howdah saved Salim’s life. But his elephant mahout was killed and the elephant ran off without any mahout to control it.

The battle was fought for four hours almost and Maharana Pratap had to be  rescued thrice from the enemies by his army. Finally the mughals had the Maharana surrounded and Jhalla Man Singh took Maharana’s silver chattra from his back and put it on himself. The mughal army fell on him and killed him while Chetak took Maharana safely away from the battle field.

Three Mughal gaurds who saw a man leaving the battle field followed him out of the battle field to check who the man was who was going out of the battle field.  Shakti Singh who saw this followed them. Chetak crossed the small stream and fell down bleeding heavily. The three mughal soldiers who followed him asked him who he was and why he came out from battle field? Shakti Singh who reached there killed them and gave his horse to Pratap to leave far as soon as possible. Shakti Singh promised to rejoin him at a later date and went back.

After sometime doubts were raised on Shakti Singh’s  version of the story that Pratap had killed three mughal warriors and left. Shakti Singh was called to answer the truth in front of Prince Salim. Shakti Singh initially struck to his version of the story that Pratap had already killed the mughal warriors and left before he reached that place. But no one in mughal camp was ready to believe him. Prince Salim promised to pardon him if he told the truth. Shakti Singh finally broke down and revealed the truth that he could not stand watching his elder brothers life in danger without defending him and he had killed those mughal soldiers. Salim pardoned Shakti Singh as promised but told him to leave and go back to his brother Pratap and dismissed him from mughal services.

Quote from James Todd

On rejoining Salim, the truth of Sakta was greatly doubted when he related that Partap had not only slain his pursuers, but his own steed, which obliged him to return on that of the Khorasani. Prince Salim pledged his word to pardon him if he related the truth ; when Sakta replied, ” The burthen of a kingdom is on my brother’s shoulders, nor could I witness his danger without defending him from it.” Salim kept his word, but dismissed the future head of the Saktawats.

Note: Prince Salim was sent on many campaigns against Mewar and Maharana Pratap after Haldighatti. Indeed from age of 7 years till age of 30 when he went to rebellion against Akbar he was involved in many wars against Mewar and Maharana Pratap. On Mewar side it was Amar Singh who was involved many wars against mughals.

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