War Between: Mewar Rajput Kingdom Vs Mughal Empire
Battle Leaders: Maharana Pratap (Rajputs) Vs Akbar (Mughals)
Battlefield: Haldighati, Goganda, Bharat (India)
Weapons Used: Cavalry, Muskets, Spears, Swords, Bow & Arrow
Just after getting to the Mughal throne, young Akbar was intent on taking the western state of Gujarat. He needed it's ports to further trade with the Ottoman's and Safavids and had his eyes set on Rajput territory of Mewar. These Rajput lands stood in the way of his final goal and Akbar had persuaded most Rajput rulers to submit with either threat or reward. But the leader of the largest state, Maharana Udai Singh II neither intended to become a vassal Mughal state or convert to Islam.
Akbar furious invaded Mewar and successfully captured the Fort in the Siege of Chittorgarh - 1567 using engineers and heavy artillery. Much of the Eastern parts of Mewar were lost but the Maharana held onto his kingdom. Shortly after Pratap Singh would be crowned King and Akbar would once again send envoys to the Rajput King. He sent 4 envoys, Pratap even sent his son at one stage. But the Mughal King was furious that the Maharana himself wouldn't submit and decided on a course of war. Although the Rajput forces were small in number, Akbar sent an army of up to 10,000 men, which included Hindu Rajput's, artillery and War Elephants.
Man Singh led his forces and set up base at Mandalgarh where he set out for the Gogunda. Maharana Pratap based out of the rock fortress of Kubhalgarh, aware that the Mughals had successfully taken Chittorgarh decided to meet the Mughals at the narrow pass of Haldighati, known for it's rock which when crushed resembled turmeric.
The Battle Begins
Just a few hours after sunrise on the 18th of June, 1576 both armies met on the battlefield. The Rajput's luckily were not facing heavy or light artillery but had no guns, whilst the Mughals did utilise muskets. The Rajputs were heavily outnumbered, some reports even putting them at 5 to one against the Mughals. The Rajput side side was even rumoured to contain civilians and priests amongst it's ranks. Although outnumbered, outgunned and facing a professional army the Maharana made a full frontal charge into the enemy, rumoured to be 10,000 strong.
It looked like the strategy was working when Ramdas Rathor and Hakim Khan Sur ran straight through the Mughal skirmishers. The Mughal left wing collapsed and it's right was heading the same way, when reserves were sent in my Mughal commander. Mughal musketeers were instructed to fire upon clashing Hindu Rajput's even though many of them were on the Mughal side. As the battle started to turn in the Mughal's favour, the brave Maharana committed another central charge himself and many of the Rajput leaders, including Bhim Singh, Ram Sah Towar were killed.
War elephants charged at each other on both sides of the centre. The Mughal musketeers were instructed to shoot at the Rajput war elephants and were soon pressing the Rajput's from all their now reinforced wings. After three hours of battle, Rana Pratap soon found himself wounded by an arrow and seeing his side's heavy losses decided to retreat and fight another day for his people. A few hundred brave archers volunteered to stay back and ensure that the Maharana and the remaining half of his army to retreat. Although the Mughals won the battle, they failed to capture the Maharana or decimate his forces. The Maharana would continue to be a thorn in the Mughal side for many years to come, read more about him here.
Maharana Pratap - Stubborn Rajput Warrior King that refused to let go of Dharma
3,400 Total Forces
Unknown War Elephants
5 - 10,000 Total Forces
Unknown War Elephants
Although there were indeed Hindu Rajputs on both sides of the battle, it's clear from the conversation below, that the Hindus were used as Cannon fodder by Mughal forces.
Badayuni asked Asaf Khan how to distinguish between the friendly and enemy Rajputs. Asaf Khan replied,
"Shoot at whomsoever you like, on whichever side they may be killed, it will be a gain to Islam"
Battle of Haldighati - 1576 by painter Chokha