Maharana Pratap Jayanti: What Asaf Khan told Mughal forces at the Battle of Haldighati

Today, on the occasion of Maharana Pratap Jayanti, let me tell you a story. We all know about the Maharana’s legendary battle in 1576 against Mughal forces on the fields of Halidghati, a small village located near Udaipur in present day Rajasthan.

This story may or may not have parallels with life today. You be the judge of that. I’ll just go ahead and tell the story. It’s really short anyway.

At the Battle of Haldighati, the Mughal forces were commanded by Raja Man Singh. As your middle school textbook would definitely have highlighted, the secular minded emperor Akbar asked a Hindu nobleman to lead the charge against the Maharana.

However, your middle school textbook might have been slightly less forthcoming about one Asaf Khan. For the all important battle, Akbar had also appointed  a “joint commander.” That was Asaf Khan, one of Akbar’s trusted governors.

No harm in that. So far, so good. Everything going well, as per Ganga Jamuni Tehzeeb.

But the Mughal forces had a problem. There were many Rajput soldiers fighting on the Mughal side as well. In the heat of battle, how would they tell friend from foe? What if they ended up fighting people on their own side?

This question was posed by Badauni to Asaf Khan. I’m sure you have heard of the great Badauni. Your middle school history textbook must have emphasized how he translated the Ramayana and Mahabharata to Persian. More Ganga Jamuni Tehzeeb.

Okay, so what did Asaf Khan say in reply to Badauni’s question? Let me quote from Volume 5 of the Cambridge History of India.


Asaf Khan replied :

They will hear the whiz of the arrows, be they who they may, and on whichever side they fall the gain is Islam’s.”

I really doubt whether your middle school history textbook told you this.

That was a short story. Feel free to remember it and draw any relevant lessons from it that you may find. But only if you want.

12 thoughts on “Maharana Pratap Jayanti: What Asaf Khan told Mughal forces at the Battle of Haldighati

  1. The battle of Haldighati was fought by 3000 on Rana Prataps side against 10000 men from Akbars army of which 5000+ were Rajputs. Indeed it was a Rajput versus Rajput fight with the Mughals on the periphery

    Sir Jadunath Sarkar in his book ‘Military History of India” says

    “During this second stage of the battle, the Muslim cavalry hovered around the ring shooting their arrows and bullets in the mingled crowd of the contending Rajputs in the centre and cynically remarking “On whichever side a man falls, it is a gain to Islam because it is one Hindu the less”.

    So Haldighati was actually two battles in one. The Rajput vs Rajput at the centre. Akbars real army on the periphery shooting at both. Much like Indian elections from 1947 to 2014.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The blood boils with impotent rage. But there isn’t much we can do. We can bring up these nuggets of history and keep saying – “Hindus, unite!” But what does it actually mean? We Hindus did unite, and bring to power what we thought was a government that would fight Hinduphobia, establish the rule of law, order and righteousness (Dharma, as we once called it) irrespective of caste, creed and religion, give equal rights to Hindus.
    What did we get instead? A government that actively suppresses Hindu RW voices, including that of its own MP, Tejasvi Surya! I don’t think that a random low-level IAS official can do this without tacit understanding from the top leadership of BJP.

    A PM whose heart overflows with sympathy for thieves, cow smugglers, anti-Hindu Bollywood (Shabana Azmi), a random bus crash in Saudi Arabia but remains silent on Sadhus’ lynching by Palghar-mob of Christian converts. His courtiers who constantly whine on twitter as if they are in opposition.

    So what does “Hindus, unite” mean really. We can’t take the law into our hands and our pleas fall on deaf ears. It seems more like we are just wasting time, ruining our own health and peace of mind. How exactly are we going to fight for equal rights of Hindus – with a government that treacherously betrays our faith craving validations and awards from Middle-East, after posing in Saffron robes and doing temple runs and asking for Hindu votes in the name of those Hindus whose lives were taken or destroyed during elections?
    What will they do by taking back PoK – get more “Single-Source” to destroy our country, when they can do nothing about the ones who are destroying our country from within? I also read reports that only foreign Tablighi Jamaatis are being booked, the Indian ones are being let off the hook, as if they didn’t actively hide the foreigners and stone-pelt the police and Corona Warriors. All the bravado is meant only for Pakistanis and not the termites within?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I often wonder – what is a more likely prediction for future? That one day Hindus would be able to reclaim their lost civilisation and place in society as the front-runners for prosperity, knowledge, innovation and power? Or is it more likely we will become extinct little by little like a diya/candle – by way of annihilation and conversion ?
      If I discuss this any where else in friend circles or family, I will be called a loony and told to stop destroying my life by becoming communal- and to be more concerned with living a contented life by staying aloof from all this politics and depressing news. Indeed my friends “have jobs and children to look after”, they “don’t have time for all this negativity” and “all religions are equal and we must celebrate Christmas by decorating Christmas tree and Eid by cooking seviyan kheer just as we celebrate Diwali/Holi”.
      I dare say, they are definitely living more contented lives – I guess I was too, before I started reading sites like mediacrooks, opindia, this site and twitter. That was when I was working in IT industry and had no time for negativity myself….

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Mr / Ms VM & whoever has liked your comment, I am a concerned citizen who has given her vote to Modi and BJP and has felt sorely let down. And I am not the only person. I WILL STILL GIVE MY VOTE TO BJP FOR LACK OF A BETTER ALTERNATIVE. But I will not be blind to their faults or gloss over facts and never question their lack of will to impose law and order. I am sorely disappointed and in a free country I have a right to voice my opinion. I am one who has fiercely defended BJP in my family and friend circle on topics like demonetisation. I will have nowhere to look now if those people I fought with say – what has Modi done about Maulana Saad, about National Herald and numerous corruption cases.

      And it is not a diversion of topic – Rajputs were disunited then and fought with Mughals. Similarly, we are disunited now. And to add fuel to fire, staunch BJP supporters like Shefali Vaidya are being treated the way they are – by BJP itself.

      You can give all the sly comments you want and live in your bubble.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Here is something that we all missed (atleast I did). Earlier 2% CSR funds used to go to NGO’s. I know several people who left the corporate world and became an NGO because companies struggled to spend their 2% and gave it to undeserving NGO’s just to stay on the correct side of the law.Total CSR funding was Rs 13000 crores in 2017-2018 according to a Wire article (wont give the link here)

        Now the government made contribution to PM-CARES eligible for CSR spending and many Indian corporates are doing just that. Which means NGO’s are going to get little or no funding from the CSR bucket . NGO’s already are reeling from the ban on FCRA funding and this step will hit them hard. Which in turn means they will have less cash to organize fake protests.

        COVID-19 might have been a lot of trouble but it also seems to be a Dharmic virus. It has restored the Ganga, hammered the NGO’s, cleaned up the air. Maybe in the final analysis the virus will give more than it will take.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. CSR funds to NGOs!

          That’s news to me. So THAT explains why so many govt officers and netas (even of BJP) set up NGOs in their spouse’s or close relations names.

          I’m posting this reply rather late but had missed this blog the last few days.


          1. Yes, CSR funds used to go to NGOs.

            Now the NGO ecosystem is mighty angry because that tap has been closed (maybe temporarily but who knows). Hence the NGO and liberal ecosystem has started attacking the PM-CARES fund.

            Companies are still free to donate to NGO’s but it appears most companies were aware of the negative role played by most NGO’s and would rather prefer to route the money to PM-CARES.

            BTW, CSR was made mandatory in April 2014, just a month before the BJP government took over.

            Liked by 1 person

    2. I agree. It is not accidental that we begin breast beating for any pause or strategic move of success turning trust and unity into self destruction innocently showing oops habit when caught.


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