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Battle of Haldighati : James Tod

Battle of Haldighati – July 1576 from Annals and Antiques of Rajasthan by James Tod

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.

The conductor, destitute of the means of defence, was slain, when the infuriated animal, now without control, carried off Salim. On this spot the carnage was imoiense : the Moguls eager to defend Salim  the heroes of Mewar to second their prince, who had already received seven woiuids [339].

Marked by the ‘ royal umbrella,’which he would not lay aside, and which collected the might of the enemy against him, Partap was thrice rescued from amidst the foe, and was at length nearly overwhelmed, when the Jhala chief gave a signal instance of fidelity, and extricated him with the loss of his own life. Mana seized upon the insignia of Mewar, and rearing the ‘ gold sun ‘ over his own head, made good his way to an intricate position, drawing after him the brunt of the battle, while his prince was forced from the field. With all his brave vassals the noble Jhala fell ; and in remembrance of the deed his descendants have, since the day of Haldighat, borne the regal ensigns of Mewar, and enjoyed ‘ the right hand of her princes.’

But this desperate valour was unavailing against such a force, with a numerous field artillery and a dromedary corps mounting swivels ; and of twenty-two thousand Rajputs assembled on that day for the defence of Haldighat, only eight thousand quitted the field alive.*

The Escape of Bana Partap Singh. — Partap, unattended, fled on the gallant Chetak, who had borne him through the day, and who saved him now by leaping a mountain stream when closely pursued by two Mogul chiefs, whom this impediment momentarily Three from the spear, one shot, and three by the sword.

The descendants of Mana yet hold Sadri and all the privileges obtained on this occasion. Their kettle-drums beat to the gate of the palace, a privilege allowed to none besides, and they are addressed by the title of Raj, or royal.

But Chetak, like his master, was wounded ; his pursuers gained upon Partap, and the flash from the flinty rock announced them at his heels, when, in the broad accents of his native tongue, the salutation Ho ! nila ghora ra aswnr, ‘ Ho ! rider of the blue horse,’ made him look back, and he beheld but a single horseman : that horseman his brother. Sakta, whose personal enmity to Partap had made him a traitor to Mewar, beheld from the ranks of Akbar the ‘ blue horse ‘ flying unattended. Resentment was extinguished, and a feeling of affection, mingling with sad and humiliating recollections, took possession of his bosom. He joined in the pursuit, but only to slay the pursuers, who fell beneath his lance ; and now, for the first time in their lives, the brothers embraced in friendship. Here Chetak feU, and as the Rana unbuckled his caparison to place it upon Ankara, presented to him by his brother, the noble steed expired. An altar was raised, and yet marks the spot, where Chetak ^ died ; and the entire scene may be seen painted on the walls of half the houses of the capital [340].

The greeting between the brothers was necessarily short ; but the merry Sakta, who was attached to Salim’s personal force, could not let it pass without a joke ; and inquiring ” how a man felt when flying for his hfe ? ” he quitted Partap with the assurance of reunion the first safe opportunity.

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. Determined to make a suitable nazar on his introduction, he redeemed Bhainsror by a coup de main, and joined Partap at Udaipur, who made him a grant of the conquest, which long remained the chief abode of the Saktawats

The battle fought on June 18, 1576, is known to Musalman historians as the battle of Khamnaur or Khamnor, twenty-six miles north of Udaipur  city (Badaoni ii. 237 ; Akbarndma, iii. 244 if. ; Elhot-Dowson v. 398 ;  Aiii, i. 339; Smith, Akbar the Great Mogul, 151 H’.