Mughal-Rajput War (1558-1578)
Mughal Emperor Akbar came to power in 1556, allying himself with the northwest rajputs. The new emperor soon adopted Indian ways of waging war: from warElephants to the Bagh Nakh, or “tiger claw”. Rajput nobles were recruited, along with their peasant troops: armies of up to half a million troops were mobilized. Akbar the Great spent almost all his reigning life at war. During the 1560s and 70s he asserted his power over his Rajput “allies”; most accepted, since Akbar gave them privileged offices of state. But the king of Mewar Udai Singh resisted him, as well as some other Rajputs.
Akbar wanted to conquer Mewar, which was being ably ruled by Rana Uday Singh I, a fine prince of Mewar. To establish himself as the supreme lord of Northern India, he wanted to capture the renowned fortress of Chittor, as a precursor to conquering the whole of India. Mir Shakti Singh, son of the Rana who had quarreled with his father, had run away and approached Akbar when the later had camped at Dholpur preparing to attack Malwa. During one of these meetings, in August 1567, Shakti Singh came to know from a remark made in jest by emperor Akbar that he was intending to wage war against Chittor. Akbar had told Shakti Singh in jest that since his father had not submitted himself before him like other princes and chieftains of the region he would attack him. Startled by this revelation, Shakti Singh quietly rushed back to Chittor and informed his father of the impending invasion by Akbar. Akbar was furious with the departure of Shakti Singh and decided to attack Mewar to humble the arrogance of the Ranas. In September 1567, the emperor left for Chittor, and on October 20, 1567, camped in the vast plains outside the fort. In the meantime, Rana Jai Singh, on the advice of his council of advisors, decided to go away from Chittor to the hills of Udaipur. Jaimal and Patta, two brave army chieftains of Mewar, were left behind to defend the fort along with 8,000 Rajput warriors under their command. Akbar laid siege to the fortress. The Rajput army fought valiantly and Akbar himself had narrowly escaped death. In this grave situation, Akbar had prayed for divine help for achieving victory and vowed to visit the shrine of the sufi saint Khwaja at Ajmer. On that day Jaimal was seriously wounded but he continued to fight with support from Patta. Jayamal orderedjauhar to be performed where princes and princesses of Mewar and noble matrons committed self-immolation at the funeral pyre.Next day the gates of the fort were opened and Rajput soldiers rushed out bravely to fight the enemies. Jayamal and Patta who fought bravely were at last killed in action. One figure estimates that 30,000 soldiers were killed in action with more losses on the mughal side. Akbar, on entering the fort, ordered a general carnage and retreated to Ajmer to perform his religious vow after massacaring the peasants and surrendered army inside the fort. Soon, the Mughal armies came to face a new threat in Pratap Singh, king of Mewar. Resplendent on his white horse, Chetak, Pratap fought on at the Battle of Haldighati but was wounded several times. Foreseeing impending defeat due to much less numbers and being seriously wounded,but he never surrendered and fought against the Mughals all his life. His horse, which had saved his life, was killed.
Rajput Aggression was limited until 1679 when the united forces of Marwar and Mewar Rajputs defeated the mughals in Rajasthan and recovered most of the parts, re-capturing Jodhpur in 1707 after Auranzebs death.