The Heroism of Padmini and the Unparalleled Warrior Maharana Pratap

Ala-ud-din Khalji raided Chittorgarh and took its king Raja Ratan Singh as his prisoner. Rani Padmini was the wife of this same Raja Ratan Singh. Khalji pretended to befriend Ratan Singh, took his hospitality, and while exiting from Chittorgarh, took him prisoner by stealth and deceit. He sent this shameless message to Rani Padmini: “If you want to see your husband free, you must submit yourself to me.” Unfazed, Rani Padmini assembled five hundred palanquins with five hundred female helpers and a force of three thousand soldiers, went out and rescued Ratan Singh.

An enraged Ala-ud-din Khalji later returned with a massive force and waged war. Thousands of soldiers in Ratan Singh’s army perished because they stuck to the value that the enemy must be faced and fought head-on. Although they had the opportunity, they did not attack the enemy from the rear. All such instances show how the misplaced fidelity to Dharma on the part of our people became lethal for their own lives.

Rani Padmini and all the women together with children committed mass Jauhar in the vast field that lies between the Mahadeva and Krishna Temples in the Chittorgarh fort. The brave and indomitable Rajput soldiers applied their ashes and went out for their final, fatal battle and offered their lives.

There is no other country in the whole world that has even a remotely-similar example of women, children, and soldiers who regarded their lives as akin to dust. Which innate value motivated them to do this? However, apart from a sliver of regret that this elevating quality was not properly channelized, there is absolutely no fault in this unparalleled value.

The Muslims did not win because of valour but because of battle strategy and deceit. Had Hindus followed the same tactics, they would’ve remained unbeatable. Given this, the value of Kshatra that Krishna and Kautilya upheld is still the best.

Maharana Pratap Simha: The Peerless Warrior

Maharana Pratap Simha is the most dazzling gem of this Bharata’s spirit of Kshatra. He was the eldest of the twenty-three children of Udaya Simha. He was born in Kumbalgarh into the illustrious warrior-lineage of the Sisodia. Their family Deity was Ekalinga Swami. Maharana Pratap showed all signs of becoming a great warrior from his childhood.

When Udaya Simha died in 1572 CE, Jagamalla, the son of his youngest queen ascended the throne. However, when the populace rose in strong opposition against him, he fled in fear.

At a later period, Jagamalla along with his other brothers sided with Akbar. Shakti Simha was prominent among them. When he died, Maharana Pratap Simha said, “An evil man and a coward has died. Nobody needs to mourn him.” The only desire of Maharana Pratap till the very end of his life was this: he had to wrest Chittorgarh somehow. Because it was the heart of Mewar. Although after a prolonged and dogged fight, he was able to recover thirty-seven forts, he was still unable to wrest Chittorgarh. And so, he vowed that he would not sleep on a bed nor eat food in a plate until he recovered Chittorgarh. He lived accordingly, sleeping on a straw mat and eating from a plantain leaf. He told his son Amar Simha that Chittorgarh was the only goal. Chittorgarh was among the only three forts that he couldn’t wrest till the very end. The descendants of Maharana Pratap, to this day, place a leaf under their plate and a straw mat under their bed.

History has been truly unkind to Maharana Pratap Simha. Apart from mentioning the tale of his defeat at Haldighat, there is absolutely no light shed on his life of amazing valour.

A poet named Sheetal wrote and sang a poem on Pratap Simha. Upon listening to this, the Maharana gifted him his own royal turban. After this incident, no matter to which court Sheetal went, he would first remove Pratap Simha’s turban from his head and only then bow before the respective king. The reason: even the turban of Maharana Pratap Simha should not bow before anybody! This was the enormity and nature of respect that the Maharana commanded from people.

Towards the last years of his life, Akbar became bedridden owing to the depression that he was still unable to defeat Maharana Pratap Simha. In its wake, his son Salim had risen in rebellion as well. This additional sadness eventually culminated in his death. When we observe that even a powerful king like Akbar could not hold down Hindu kings by force, what remains to be said of other Muslim rulers?

Akbar arrived at Haldighat with a massive force of nearly two lakhs. But before he actually arrived there, he sent word through Man Singh, demanding that the Maharana accept his overlordship. But Pratap Simha thundered to Man Singh, “I won’t bow my head before Akbar like you.” Then Akbar offered to make Pratap Simha’s son a Sardar and said, “you can lord over your territory as my representative.” However, the Maharana rejected every single temptation that Akbar offered. In the end, he had to fight Akbar with a paltry force of twenty or twenty-seven thousand soldiers. Haldighat is a very narrow and cramped region in a valley. Although Pratap Simha fought with all his might, he was defeated. He stayed alive for nearly twenty years after this defeat. However, not one person taunted or humiliated him because he was defeated.

Rana Man Singh wore Pratap Simha’s pearl-studded crown on his head and facilitated his escape from the battlefield on his favourite horse, Chetak. Mistaking him for Pratap Simha, Akbar’s soldiers fell upon him together and mercilessly slaughtered him. Rana Pratap eventually reached Udaipur safely. His horse Chetak exerted all its energy to ensure his safe passage and died due to sheer exhaustion. Deeply moved, Pratap Simha built a grave and garden in its memory and grieved till the end of his life.

After the Battle of Haldighat, Pratap Simha changed his strategy and shifted his base to Kumbalgarh. There, he built up a formidable and undefeatable force of the Bhils and through them, incessantly tormented Akbar for the last twenty years of his life. He wrested a whopping thirty-seven forts from him. The people of Mewar on their own volition refused to allow Akbar and his representatives to set foot on their soil. They totally halted growing any kind of grain or food and in a manner of speaking, eviscerated the earth.

To be continued



Dr. Ganesh is a 'shatavadhani' and one of India’s foremost Sanskrit poets and scholars. He writes and lectures extensively on various subjects pertaining to India and Indian cultural heritage. He is a master of the ancient art of avadhana and is credited with reviving the art in Kannada. He is a recipient of the Badarayana-Vyasa Puraskar from the President of India for his contribution to the Sanskrit language.



Hari is a writer, translator, editor, violinist, and designer with a deep interest in philosophy, education pedagogy design, literature, and films. He has (co-)written/translated and (co-)edited 35+ books, mostly related to Indian culture. He serves on the advisory board of a few educational institutions.


Sandeep Balakrishna is a writer, author, translator, and socio-political-cultural analyst. He is the author of "Tipu Sultan: The Tyrant of Mysore" and "The Madurai Sultanate: A Concise History." He translated Dr. S L Bhyrappa's magnum opus "Avarana" into English.

Prekshaa Publications

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the fourth volume, some character sketches of the Dewans of Mysore preceded by an account of the political framework of the State before Independence and followed by a review of the political conditions of the State after 1940. These remarkable leaders of Mysore lived in a period that spans from the mid-nineteenth century to the...

Bharatiya Kavya-mimamseya Hinnele is a monograph on Indian Aesthetics by Mahamahopadhyaya N. Ranganatha Sharma. The book discusses the history and significance of concepts pivotal to Indian literary theory. It is equally useful to the learned and the laity.

Sahitya-samhite is a collection of literary essays in Kannada. The book discusses aestheticians such as Ananda-vardhana and Rajashekhara; Sanskrit scholars such as Mena Ramakrishna Bhat, Sridhar Bhaskar Varnekar and K S Arjunwadkar; and Kannada litterateurs such as DVG, S L Bhyrappa and S R Ramaswamy. It has a foreword by Shatavadhani Dr. R Ganesh.

The Mahābhārata is the greatest epic in the world both in magnitude and profundity. A veritable cultural compendium of Bhārata-varṣa, it is a product of the creative genius of Maharṣi Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa. The epic captures the experiential wisdom of our civilization and all subsequent literary, artistic, and philosophical creations are indebted to it. To read the Mahābhārata is to...

Shiva Rama Krishna

சிவன். ராமன். கிருஷ்ணன்.
இந்திய பாரம்பரியத்தின் முப்பெரும் கதாநாயகர்கள்.
உயர் இந்தியாவில் தலைமுறைகள் பல கடந்தும் கடவுளர்களாக போற்றப்பட்டு வழிகாட்டிகளாக விளங்குபவர்கள்.
மனித ஒற்றுமை நூற்றாண்டுகால பரிணாம வளர்ச்சியின் பரிமாணம்.
தனிநபர்களாகவும், குடும்ப உறுப்பினர்களாகவும், சமுதாய பிரஜைகளாகவும் நாம் அனைவரும் பரிமளிக்கிறோம்.
சிவன் தனிமனித அடையாளமாக அமைகிறான்....

ऋतुभिः सह कवयः सदैव सम्बद्धाः। विशिष्य संस्कृतकवयः। यथा हि ऋतवः प्रतिसंवत्सरं प्रतिनवतामावहन्ति मानवेषु तथैव ऋतुवर्णनान्यपि काव्यरसिकेषु कामपि विच्छित्तिमातन्वते। ऋतुकल्याणं हि सत्यमिदमेव हृदि कृत्वा प्रवृत्तम्। नगरजीवनस्य यान्त्रिकतां मान्त्रिकतां च ध्वनदिदं चम्पूकाव्यं गद्यपद्यमिश्रितमिति सुव्यक्तमेव। ऐदम्पूर्वतया प्रायः पुरीपरिसरप्रसृतानाम् ऋतूनां विलासोऽत्र प्रपञ्चितः। बेङ्गलूरुनामके...

The Art and Science of Avadhānam in Sanskrit is a definitive work on Sāhityāvadhānam, a form of Indian classical art based on multitasking, lateral thinking, and extempore versification. Dotted throughout with tasteful examples, it expounds in great detail on the theory and practice of this unique performing art. It is as much a handbook of performance as it is an anthology of well-turned...

This anthology is a revised edition of the author's 1978 classic. This series of essays, containing his original research in various fields, throws light on the socio-cultural landscape of Tamil Nadu spanning several centuries. These compelling episodes will appeal to scholars and laymen alike.
“When superstitious mediaevalists mislead the country about its judicial past, we have to...

The cultural history of a nation, unlike the customary mainstream history, has a larger time-frame and encompasses the timeless ethos of a society undergirding the course of events and vicissitudes. A major key to the understanding of a society’s unique character is an appreciation of the far-reaching contributions by outstanding personalities of certain periods – especially in the realms of...

Prekṣaṇīyam is an anthology of essays on Indian classical dance and theatre authored by multifaceted scholar and creative genius, Śatāvadhānī Dr. R Ganesh. As a master of śāstra, a performing artiste (of the ancient art of Avadhānam), and a cultured rasika, he brings a unique, holistic perspective to every discussion. These essays deal with the philosophy, history, aesthetics, and practice of...


इदं किञ्चिद्यामलं काव्यं द्वयोः खण्डकाव्ययोः सङ्कलनरूपम्। रामानुरागानलं हि सीतापरित्यागाल्लक्ष्मणवियोगाच्च श्रीरामेणानुभूतं हृदयसङ्क्षोभं वर्णयति । वात्सल्यगोपालकं तु कदाचिद्भानूपरागसमये घटितं यशोदाश्रीकृष्णयोर्मेलनं वर्णयति । इदम्प्रथमतया संस्कृतसाहित्ये सम्पूर्णं काव्यं...


इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।


इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।


इयं रचना दशसु रूपकेष्वन्यतमस्य भाणस्य निदर्शनतामुपैति। एकाङ्करूपकेऽस्मिन् शेखरकनामा चित्रोद्यमलेखकः केनापि हेतुना वियोगम् अनुभवतोश्चित्रलेखामिलिन्दकयोः समागमं सिसाधयिषुः कथामाकाशभाषणरूपेण निर्वहति।


अस्मिन् स्तोत्रकाव्ये भगवन्तं शिवं कविरभिष्टौति। वसन्ततिलकयोपनिबद्धस्य काव्यस्यास्य कविकृतम् उल्लाघनाभिधं व्याख्यानं च वर्तते।

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the third volume, some character sketches of great literary savants responsible for Kannada renaissance during the first half of the twentieth century. These remarkable...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the second volume, episodes from the lives of remarkable exponents of classical music and dance, traditional storytellers, thespians, and connoisseurs; as well as his...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the first volume, episodes from the lives of great writers, poets, literary aficionados, exemplars of public life, literary scholars, noble-hearted common folk, advocates...

Evolution of Mahabharata and Other Writings on the Epic is the English translation of S R Ramaswamy's 1972 Kannada classic 'Mahabharatada Belavanige' along with seven of his essays on the great epic. It tells the riveting...

Shiva-Rama-Krishna is an English adaptation of Śatāvadhāni Dr. R Ganesh's popular lecture series on the three great...


ಮಹಾಮಾಹೇಶ್ವರ ಅಭಿನವಗುಪ್ತ ಜಗತ್ತಿನ ವಿದ್ಯಾವಲಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಮರೆಯಲಾಗದ ಹೆಸರು. ಮುಖ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಶೈವದರ್ಶನ ಮತ್ತು ಸೌಂದರ್ಯಮೀಮಾಂಸೆಗಳ ಪರಮಾಚಾರ್ಯನಾಗಿ  ಸಾವಿರ ವರ್ಷಗಳಿಂದ ಇವನು ಜ್ಞಾನಪ್ರಪಂಚವನ್ನು ಪ್ರಭಾವಿಸುತ್ತಲೇ ಇದ್ದಾನೆ. ಭರತಮುನಿಯ ನಾಟ್ಯಶಾಸ್ತ್ರವನ್ನು ಅರ್ಥಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಇವನೊಬ್ಬನೇ ನಮಗಿರುವ ಆಲಂಬನ. ಇದೇ ರೀತಿ ರಸಧ್ವನಿಸಿದ್ಧಾಂತವನ್ನು...


“वागर्थविस्मयास्वादः” प्रमुखतया साहित्यशास्त्रतत्त्वानि विमृशति । अत्र सौन्दर्यर्यशास्त्रीयमूलतत्त्वानि यथा रस-ध्वनि-वक्रता-औचित्यादीनि सुनिपुणं परामृष्टानि प्रतिनवे चिकित्सकप्रज्ञाप्रकाशे। तदन्तर एव संस्कृतवाङ्मयस्य सामर्थ्यसमाविष्कारोऽपि विहितः। क्वचिदिव च्छन्दोमीमांसा च...

The Best of Hiriyanna

The Best of Hiriyanna is a collection of forty-eight essays by Prof. M. Hiriyanna that sheds new light on Sanskrit Literature, Indian...

Stories Behind Verses

Stories Behind Verses is a remarkable collection of over a hundred anecdotes, each of which captures a story behind the composition of a Sanskrit verse. Collected over several years from...