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Maharana Sanga a democrat By Dr Ganeshilal Verma

RANA Sangram Singh of Mewar was a valorous King and was regarded as ‘Hindupat’ i.e. Hindu Emperor. His achievements were numerous. Erskine a renowned historian says: “Rana Sanga’s attainments inspired all his countrymen with the hope that a change of dynasty was about to take place and they hailed with joy the prospect of a native government of India.” (W. Erskine’s History of India Vol. I, pp. 469)

In 1517 a.d. Sultan Ibrahim Lodhi invaded Mewar and a battle was fought near the border of village Khatoli (Modern distt. Asind). The Sultan’s army was badly defeated. The Lodhi prince and a number of his generals were captured.

However in this battle Rana Sanga was seriously injured. He lost his left arm and an arrow wound made him lame for the rest of his life. To celebrate the victory of Maharana, a grand assembly or darbar was held at Chittor which was attended by the heads of friendly states, important chiefs and citizens.

Sitting in the assembly Maharana became engrossed in his own thoughts. He started thinking about how a King should be. He felt that a King should be a person who should be able to lead the nation. To Maharana the King was a servant of the people and thus should subordinate his personal interests to the will of the people. Moreover, kingship is conceived in Hindu Shastras in the image of gods, accordingly he should be an object of worship. When an image is broken, it should be removed or replaced by a new one. Similarly, a one-handed and lame person could not serve the best interests of the country, thought Rana and so he decided to abdicate the throne.

So he decided to enter the assembly not as a sovereign but as an ordinary chief and therefore greeted the assembly by bowing his head. He did not occupy the throne but sat on the ground like an ordinary chief. The people and princes were astonished.

Some thought that possibly long illness had affected Rana’s mental faculties. So the Rawat Ratan Singh, chief of Salumbra stood up and asked the Rana regarding his odd behaviour of greeting the assembly by bowing his head, the usual custom had been for the King to put his hand on the chest. Similarly why did he not sit on the throne and sat among ordinary chiefs.

On hearing the protest, Maharana Sanga got up and declared that one of the well-establish customs of India was to replace a broken idol by a new one. He said that when a part of an image gets knocked off, it ceases to be a fit object for worship. Similarly the royal throne being a place of worship for the people, its occupant should be a person, who is able to render full service to the state. “I have lost one arm and one leg in addition to one eye and therefore in my own opinion, I am no longer fit to occupy the throne,” he said.

Consequently, the Rana requested the whole assembly to elect another sovereign.

The assembly pondered over the problem of the Rana and his insistence on abdication. They felt that injuries received by the Rana in the battlefield enhanced the power and prestige of the Mewar Emperor. Consequently the Maharana had become the fittest person to enhance the glory of the throne.

As such they expressed their views one after another and Rana Sanga’s decision to abdicate was overruled. Then Raja Vikramdeva of Merta and a number of other chiefs got up and led Rana Sanga back to his throne.

Thus strengthened by the will of the people and the princes as expressed in the assembly at Chittor, the Rana routed Ibrahim a second time.

Rana thereafter occupied Malwa and appointed Medini Rai as Governor of Chanderi. Next was the turn of Gujarat’s Sultan, who was soon defeated by the brave Maharana.