Thursday, July 21, 2011

Durgadas Rathore

Definition of Bravery

Even if Islamic suzerainty has been inflicting more and more tortures on Hindus for more than a millennium and Hindus alas have not been sufficient enough to usurp the same satanic design, there has never been any dearth of gallant Hindu warriors, intent to sacrifice all to defend Dharma. Durgadas Rathore is one of them and has been influencing the brave chronicles of India, especially annals of Marwar, through centuries.

Here is also a question. What does make him so important? Was he as valiant as Prithviraj Chauhan? Any such question is futile, especially at this juncture, since exploits of one can’t be equaled with another, representing a different age on the whole. What makes him incomparable is his inexplicable valiance, self-possession and strength to confront the then mighty Mughal empire, to preserve rule of the Rathore dynasty in Marwar, following sudden death of its ruler, Maharaja Jaswant Singh in 17 th century.

On the word of historians, his single-handed effort saved one of the last citadels of Hindu empire in Rajputana and its preset Islamization, sole intention of Aurangzeb, reigning Mughal emperor then. It is to be noted, Durgadas’ birth took place in the Kanot branch of Rathore clan and he was a Suryavanshi Rathore Rajput in person. Owing to his valorous deeds in youth, Durgadas got hold of Maharaja Jaswant Singh’s attention; he got apportionment in the royal army and started excelling.

Abrupt death of Maharaja in 1679 devoid of any immediate male heir appeared to be a perfect ploy for the Mughal administration to interfere and bring the state under Islamic rule directly. Aurangzeb, to maintain state’s regular affairs, appointed a Muslim ruler to rule Marwar hurting its Hindu subjects and in particular, Rathore clan. When Maharaja’s widow queen (pregnant during his death) gave birth to a male child, Ajit Singh, it led to a sigh of relief among Hindus.

Noblemen of Marwar including Durgadas Rathore, with infant Ajit Singh, went to Delhi to make the emperor acknowledge his due rights. As an ideal Islamic iconoclast and fervent champion to Islamize India, Aurangzeb did not hem and haw and proposed that the infant king’s upbringing must be under his own guidance in Delhi. The proposal was thoroughly deplorable to Rathore clan, considering it as worst assault on their religious belief. But they had to yield to it for the time being.

Historians confirm that Ajit Singh along his mother was living in “Bhuli Bhatiyari" close to Jhandewalan of modern Delhi. Durgadas Rathore, in the interim, with others of the royal delegation, got engaged in smuggling Ajit Singh out of Delhi. A startling planning was made.

On a momentous night, Durgadas fastened infant king on his back and with 300 other Rajputs, especially Thakur Mokam Singh Balunda and Mukund Das Khichi, escaped.

As per the secret planning, Baghleji, wife of Thakur Mokam Singh Balunda, placed her own infant girl instead of Ajit Singh. But while approaching to fringes of Delhi, Rajputs were identified. It was a followed by an extremely fierce and close range fight between the two armies. Mughal army, as usual, was gigantic compared to Rajputs but the later could not be subdued even for once.

In the vicious struggle, 15-20 Rajput warriors were found to resist pursuing Mughal army every so often and got killed. During the combat, Thakur Mokam Singh Balunda along with his son was severely injured and in the evening Durgadas Rathore was left with just 7 Rajputs among 300, his original force. But nothing could prevent him and he managed to escape with the infant king safely to Balunda.

Completely humiliated Mughal empire, following this incident, made several attempts to seize independence of Marwar. But it remained under a Mughal governor in a self-autonomous manner. Durgadas Rathore was the last person to sit down silently after this; he conducted struggles like plundering trades of Mughal empire, attacking imperial armies from time to time affecting treasure of empire a great deal.

Nevertheless, his best chance came with the death of Aurangzeb in 1707. Taking this opportunity Durgadas occupied Jodhpur and grownup Ajit Singh was declared as Maharaja of Jodhpur. Durgadas Rathore also adopted a policy to rebuild all temples desecrated by Muslims in the past.

Thus he accomplished his objective. Durgadas Rathore, after a few years, left Jodhour and went to Ujjain to worship Mahakal. He breathed his last at the age of 81 years on November 22, 1718, on the banks of Shipra River at Ujjain.

Here is a commentary of Colonel James Tod of Durgadas Rathore.

“What a splendid example is the heroic Durgadas, of all that constitutes the glory of Rajput valor, loyalty, integrity combined with prudence in all the difficulties which surrounded him, are qualities which entitle him to the admiration which his memory continues to enjoy.

The temptations held out to him were almost irresistible... Durga had, indeed, but to name his reward, but as the bard justly says, he was ‘amolak’ beyond all price ‘anokha’ unique. not even revenge, so dear to the Rajput, turned him aside from the dictates of true honor... but to conclude our eulogy in, the words of the bard, he has reaped the immortality destined for good deeds, his memory id cherished, his actions are the theme of constant praise, and his picture on his white horse, old, yet in vigor, is familiar amongst the collections of portraits of Rajputana.”

Hindu India needs another Durgadas Rathore at this instant.

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