Posted: 30 August 2013 at 2:36pm | IP Logged
On June 21, 1576 (June 18 by other calculations), the two armies met at Haldighati, near the town of Gogunda in present-day Rajasthan. While accounts vary as to the exact strength of the two armies, all sources concur that the Mughal forces outnumbered Pratap's men.
However, the numerical superiority of the Mughal army and their artillery began to tell. Seeing that the battle was favouring Akbar and with the huge amount of death of soldiers on both sides, Pratap's generals prevailed upon him to flee the field so as to be able to fight another day. Myths indicate that to facilitate Pratap's escape, one of his lieutenants, a member of the Jhala clan, donned Pratap's distinctive garments and took his place in the battlefield. He was soon killed. Meanwhile, riding his trusty steed Chetak, Pratap was able to successfully evade captivity and escape to the hills. However, Chetak was critically wounded on his left thigh by a mardana (Elephant Trunk Sword), with spear of weight 263 kg. while Pratap had attempted to nail down the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Chetak was bleeding heavily and he collapsed after jumping over a small brook a few kilometres away from the battle field. A famous couplet narrates this incident of the battle:
Aage nadiya padi apaar, ghoda kaise utare paar Rana ne socha is paar, tab tak chetak tha us paar
English Translation :
Lies the boundless river ahead, How will the horse cross it? While Rana was thinking still on this side (of river), Chetak was that side!
It is said that Shakti Singh, Pratap's brother, who was fighting from side of Mughals, came to Pratap's side at this time and gave him his horse Unkar to escape, who also killed two Afghan horse riders, who had followed Pratap to the spot.
The battle of Haldighati has commanded a lasting presence in Rajasthani folklore, and the persona of Pratap Singh is celebrated in a famous folk song "O Neele Ghode re Aswar" (O Rider of the Blue Horse).
A monument to Chetak is at the site of the steed's death.
There is a famous folksong written on his life in Hills. "Are ghaas ri roti hi jad ban bilawdo le bhagyo".