Should Maharana Pratap's Life and Legacy form the Discourse on Diplomacy, War, and Intelligence in present times

  • By Dr Abhinav Pandya
  • January 12, 2024
  • Learning’s from Maharana Pratap life that can be used in a current context shall be the theme of the Geopolitics Dialogue that would be held in March 2024 at Udaipur.

Authors are Dr Abhinav Pandya and Preeti Khenta. 


For centuries, the Rajputs of Mewar defended Bharat, dauntlessly fighting against Arabs, Turks, and Mughals. Legends like Bappa Rawal, Rana Kumbha, and Rana Sanga fought tirelessly against these invaders. Among these heroes, Maharana Pratap holds a special place in Indian history for his courageous stand against the Mughal Empire.


Usanas Foundation, a think tank based in the historical city of Udaipur, aims to rediscover and celebrate India’s legendary figures in diplomacy, statecraft, intelligence, and war, such as Maharana Pratap. The Maharana Pratap Annual Geopolitics Dialogue 2024, hosted by the Usanas Foundation and the Ministry of External Affairs (India), is a tribute to India's illustrious warrior, statesman, and hero. 


To Register for Conference to be held on 22-23rd March, Udaipur Click Here


Today, the world order is going through intense turmoil and conflict, suggesting the beginning of a new order. India has to navigate these challenges, which cannot be done with borrowed knowledge of International Relations based on Western historical importance. India needs to rediscover the wisdom hidden in its ancient texts on diplomacy and statecraft and the legacy left by heroes like Maharana Pratap.


Maharana Pratap's life and legacy are a testament to the importance of sovereignty and sacrifice. He refused to compromise and make deals with supreme and powerful Mughal monarch Akbar, who was swallowing up India with lightning speed.  In the face of his terrifying armies, most kings succumbed and accepted lucrative Mansabs in the Mughal court; however, Pratap chose to fight.


He sacrificed his pleasures and comforts to stand up against them and continue the fight. His unwavering commitment to the cause exemplifies the critical importance of sovereignty and the need to protect it.


Maharana Pratap's entire life epitomizes how sovereignty must be protected and highlights the significance of sovereignty itself.


Today, the sovereignty of smaller nations is threatened by mighty global powers, corporate giants, influential tech companies, and non-state actors, including religious extremist organizations. China’s aggression in the South China Sea and, meddling in the internal affairs of other countries, Western attacks on sovereignty under the garb of protecting democracy to further the business interests of their corporate giants are a few examples of such attacks on independence. In the future, such threats will be amplified due to the pervasive spread of AI in human lives. 


Learning 1 - Pratap’s life teaches us to defend sovereignty and freedom at any cost because one’s independence is lost, and a nation and a community’s social, cultural, and religious identity gets destroyed over time.


In his time, Maharana Pratap stood out as a beacon of hope for the people of India against the subjugation of the Mughal Empire. His courage, determination, and leadership have made him an enduring symbol of inspiration and guidance for the country in navigating the present-day challenges and building a brighter future. His lessons resonate even more today in a world where countries are trying to revise cartography and harm the integrity and sovereignty of nations.


Learning 2 - Despite limited resources and a small army, Maharana Pratap developed innovative strategies to protect his people.


His recognition of the importance of cultivating strong relationships with marginalized, neglected, and discriminated local tribes was critical to his success. Utilizing tribal guerrilla warfare techniques, Maharana Pratap trained his soldiers to leverage the terrain to their advantage and strike from unexpected locations using hit-and-run tactics. These tactics were so effective that they can be applied to modern-day fight against insurgency, militias and proxy wars. The tribal communities played a crucial role in Maharana Pratap’s struggle against the Mughal Empire, providing him with critical intelligence on the invading armies, which helped him to plan his attacks more effectively. He established a system to fund resources when facing a shortage, particularly when confronting a mighty empire. He created extraordinary relations with ordinary people, including the business community, who joined forces to provide funds based on mutual service, sacrifice, and bonhomie for the nation's benefit. 


The Idar-based Narain Das, who revolted against the Mughal, maintained cordial relations with the Rana of Mewar. Similarly, Rao Surtan of Sirohi and Rao Chandrasen were also in the league of Maharana Pratap. Though the Mughal army was unshakable, the alliance between Udaipur, Idar, Jhalor, and Sirohi, combined with unfavorable terrain and the tribal support, unleashed disaster and defeat for the Mughal armies.


Maharana Pratap was known for his resourcefulness, strategic acumen, and strong relationships with local tribes. He established an excellent intelligence system with their help, recognizing the significance of gathering information on the enemy's movements, strengths, and weaknesses. This allowed him to make informed decisions and defend his kingdom against the Mughal Empire. 


Despite facing superior forces and resources under Akbar's rule, Maharana Pratap managed to escape with his army intact due to his clever strategies and unbreakable spirit. The battle of Haldighati became a symbol of resistance against foreign domination and a reminder of India's ability to stand up for itself. His tactics finally paid off when he defeated the Mughal army in the Battle of Haldighati. The Mughal army faced huge embarrassment when they were crushed and defeated by the tribal armies of Bhills in Mewar, headed by Maharana Pratap. 


He also used scorched earth tactics to cut the invading army's supply lines, leading to six attacks on Mewar after Haldighati. Maharana Pratap's legacy lives on, and his tactics and strategies are still studied by military commanders worldwide.


Maharana Pratap's leadership, bravery, and devotion to the principles of secularism and political freedom have made him a celebrated figure in Indian history. His unique approach to building an army not divided by caste and religion is noteworthy. He established a system where people from different castes, tribes, and religious communities could unite to serve the nation. This approach is a testament to his unwavering belief in communal harmony and commitment to building a united nation.


One of the most talented generals of Maharana Pratap's army was Hakim Khan, a Muslim who exemplified communal harmony and unity. This aspect of Maharana Pratap's legacy is particularly significant because it demonstrates that his fight was not based on sectarian or religious extremism but rather on the principles of secularism, political freedom, and sovereignty. His principled stand inspires India's armed forces and foreign policy even today, which takes pride in its diversity.


Today, Maharana Pratap is remembered for his remarkable bravery, valor, and unwavering loyalty towards his motherland. He has become a symbol of patriotism and courage, inspiring countless Indians to fight for freedom and justice. His legacy has endured over centuries and continues to shape the way Indians perceive their country, even in the present day.


It is important to commemorate and abide by the principles and legacy established by Maharana Pratap. We can learn these lessons through such conferences and imbibe them into modern-day statecraft, diplomacy, and the science of war and intelligence.


This conference is an opportunity to initiate a new discourse and debate on how his legacy can be applied in the current context to construct a more robust, united, and prosperous world.


Disclaimer: This paper is the author's individual scholastic contribution and does not necessarily reflect the organization's viewpoint.


Dr. Abhinav Pandya is the Founder and CEO of Usanas Foundation. Preeti Khenta is a Senior Program Coordinator at Usanas Foundation and a Ph.D. candidate at the Jindal School of International Affairs. She holds a Master's degree in Diplomacy, Law and Business. 


First published Here has got permission from author Abhinav and to share 


Also read

1. Life story of Maharana Pratap

2. Talk on the 477th Birth Anniversary of Maharana Pratap

3. About Rana Punja, Bhil warrior of Mewar

4. Rajput victories in Indian History

5. Album Chittorgarh Fort


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