Maharana Pratap defeated Akbar…So?

Okay, so Maharana Pratap defeated Badshah Akbar. That’s what the RSS-led `historians’  are saying, aren’t they? It’s futile to get into a debate with these bigots whose entire world-view is determined by a Hindu upper-caste frame of reference. It’s better to throw facts at them, and in that spirit what follows is not an essay kind of evaluation of the Akbar-Pratap conflict, but some factual points and their answers about the epic struggle between these two iconic foes. I have divided my questions into two sections.
I. Questions pertaining to the battle of Haldighati and some related issues…

Did Akbar appoint a Hindu, Man Singh as the commander of the Mughal (Musli’m ?) army in Rajasthan to take on Rana Pratap? Yes.
On the other hand, did Pratap have the utensils and the seat given to Mansingh during their meeting in 1572 washed with Ganga water because Man Singh was an ally of the Mughals who were Muslims? Yes.
Did he shift his capital from Goganda to Kumbhalgarh to get as far away as possible from the Mughal armies? Yes.
Did Pratap’s chiefs make him give up the strategic position in the hills surrounding Kumbalgarh and move to a lesser protected site at Khamnur, despite the Mughal forces advancing towards them? Yes.
During the battle, was he successful in killing Man Singh despite managing to reach close enough to kill the latter on his elephant? No.
Was Pratap not saved by his ally Mansingh Jhala who deceived the Mughal forces by snatching Pratap’s standard and flying it himself, thereby diverting the Mughal attack upon himself, thus saving Pratap from certain death? Yes
Despite the battle going in his favour for a while, Pratap decided to charge into the thick of the enemy unassisted, to kill the enemy commander, Man Singh, purely out of personal animosity. Was that a sign of sound military judgment? No.
Did he or did he not quit the battlefield without informing his army, leaving them leaderless and in disarray? Yes.
Did or didn’t Man Singh occupy Pratap’s palace in Goganda on 23rd June 1576, after Pratap had abandoned it along with the battlefield on 22nd June? Yes.
Who suffered larger casualties in the battle, the Mughals or the Rajputs? The Rajputs, 380 to 120.
After his flight from Haldighati, wasn’t Pratap ousted from his stronghold of Kumbalgarh by the Mughal army in 1578? Yes.
Despite his opposition to the Mughals, Pratap was never able to make anything more than guerrilla attacks on Mughal forces, which did nothing to upset the balance of power in Mewar? Yes.
Didn’t Pratap flee from the Mughal forces in 1585 leaving his equipage and baggage behind? Yes
Despite his opposition to the Mughals, Pratap was never able to make anything more than guerrilla attacks on Mughal forces, which did nothing to upset the balance of power in Mewar? Yes.

II. Some other questions arising out of his `victory:

Did he defeat the Mughals by using gunpowder and cannons? No.
Did he fight the Mughals in open, pitched battles? No.
Did he chase the Mughal forces out of Mewar? No.
Did he pursue Akbar relentlessly back to Fatehpur Sikri and then out of India after his `victory’? No.
Was he able to reclaim an uncontested hold over Mewar? No
Did he reclaim his gaddi at Mewar? No.
Was he able to forge a unified front of the Rajputs against Mughal occupation? No.
Was he able to stop many Rajput chiefs giving their daughters in marriage to the Mughals? No.
Did he prevent the survey and settlement of 17 of the 24 sarkars in Mewar by the Mughals for revenue purposes? No.
Did Pratap ever manage to recover Chitor from the Mughals? No
Was he ever able to lead a stable life or rule after his flight from Haldighati? No
Did Pratap die in battle? No. He died from a self-inflicted arrow wound.

However, to be fair, Pratap was uncompromising in his opposition to the Mughals and to that extent he was a rebel. He gave a lot of trouble to the Mughal forces by his guerrilla tactics, but his activities remained confined to such tactics. He wasn’t able to prevent the hegemony of the Mughals, not only over his beloved Rajasthan but over the whole of northern India during his lifetime.

If this was victory, then what did it take to be defeated?

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