Full disclosure: KR authorised me to ‘Feel free to knock off’ what I didn’t want. The more I read the more I wanted to retain it all secretly hoping for similar such series. For now let’s walk along KR as he skillfully takes us along the annals of Indian history to Udaipur.
Back in March, JK and I took a trip to Udaipur (Rajasthan, India). Rajasthan is the land of Rajputs known for the valor, pride, benevolence and bravery. When you study Indian history there is a special mention about them for their defense against the invading forces from the west to the great battles they fought, their ability to sign truce with larger rulers to protect their people from destruction, the bravery which both their men and women showed at different times and the sacrifices that they have made. So much that the British Army in 1921 amalgamated six existing regiments and created the Rajputana Rifles regiment.
When we started out trip to Udaipur, my first thoughts went back to school days. Across history, Hindi literature and series of English books by Indian Authors we have been taught about the Mewars of Rajasthan. Five names that came to my mind Rana Pratap of Udaipur, Rani Padmini of Chittor, Panna Dhai of Khumbalghat, Man Singh – Rana’s General and Chetak – Rana’s Horse. The stories around them are all about the sacrifices they made.
To start with Chetak a thorough bred Arabian stud which Rana Pratap rode into war against the Mughal emperor Akbar. The idea of Udaipur and Haldighati to me brought back to memory the beautiful poem “CHETAK KI VEERTHA” (Chetak’s bravery) by Shyamnarayan Pandey that I learnt in school the first two lines still ringing in my years and my saying it again and again to JK as we went by the overnight train. “Chetak bangaya nirala tha, rana pratap ki gode se”. I am not translating it into English lest my Hindi teacher wakes up in his sleep and starts the old punishment again! But that was the extent to which the story of Chetak was ingrained in my mind. Chetak was hurt in one leg and carried an injured Rana Pratap out of the battle field on three legs, jumping across a flowing stream and taking his master to safety before breathing his last on the Rana’s thighs. Visiting some of the sites of the war and the memorial brought a huge sense of respect to Chetak, his valor and sacrifice.
— to be continued