Sit rep: Jaimal and Patta, valiant defenders of Chittorgarh | punjab$regional-takes | Hindustan Times
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Sit rep: Jaimal and Patta, valiant defenders of Chittorgarh

punjab Updated: Aug 28, 2016 12:35 IST
Mandeep Singh Bajwa
Mandeep Singh Bajwa
Hindustan Times
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A view of the Chittorgarh Fort giving an idea of the steep sides of the escarpment and how the fortress dominates the surrounding plains. (HT File Photo)

In 1567, the Mughal emperor Akbar decided to subdue the Rajput kingdom of Mewar. By that time he had subjugated or allied all the other Rajput states through diplomacy. Mewar, especially it’s strongest fortress Chittorgarh, was a symbol of Rajput resistance. In addition to that, it controlled the routes leading to the Gujarat ports from Delhi.

On seeing Akbar’s intentions, the Mewar ruler Rana Udai Singh moved out of the fort to western Mewar to offer a two-pronged resistance to the powerful Mughals under a predetermined strategy. The leadership now devolved on Rao Jaimal of Badnore and Rawat Patta Sisodia, names synonymous with the siege of Chittorgarh. Both were trained in warfare from an early age. Jaimal also had the experience of command at the siege of Merta in 1562-63 against Akbar’s general, Sharfuddin.

Inspired no doubt by his ancestor Jaimal, VP Singh Badnore, the recently sworn-in Punjab governor, is a doughty fighter himself.

The Chittorgarh fort rises rapidly above the contiguous countryside. The fort’s natural defences make it difficult for an attacker to advance unobserved or concentrate force for a decisive attack. The stout hearts of the garrison comprising 8,000 Rajput warriors and 40,000 peasants did the rest.

A heavy toll was taken by musketeers of the attackers keeping them at bay for four months. Akbar now brought his siege train into play. Siege engines were deployed with sappers constructing saps and digging tunnels to explode mines. Two breaches were made in the fort walls. It was during this period that the valiant Jaimal is said to have been shot by Akbar himself.

The Rajputs, disheartened by their leader’s death, abandoned the defences covering the breaches. Having realised that the final hour had come, Rajput women committed ‘jauhar’ by immolating themselves on a funeral pyre. The men donned saffron clothes and made a final, reckless charge courting death before dishonour. The young Patta died fighting along with his mother and wife. Moved by the pair’s leadership and courage, Akbar erected statues of the duo outside one of the gates of Fatehpur Sikri.

Asal Uttar Memorials

The sacrifices of our jawans at the epic Battle of Asal Uttar (September 7 to 10, 1965) are remembered through a number of stone plaques dotting the battlefield. Some of them, particularly those located along the Amritsar-Khemkaran Road including the ones dedicated to the martyrs of 2 Madras and 2 Mahar were in a bad shape. There was no one tasked or even interested in their maintenance or upkeep. This is no longer the case. Recently, on the orders of Lt Gen JS Cheema, general officer commanding, 11 Corps, the Golden Arrow Division and more specifically 9 Punjab were assigned to relocate these memorials alongside the mausoleum and memorial of CQMH Abdul Hamid, Param Vir Chakra at Chima village. Beautiful new tablets were put up in memory of our bravehearts.

In Asal Uttar village, local residents look after two sets of memorials dedicated to the men killed in the battle from other units including the newly constructed one in the memory of martyrs of the 3rd Cavalry. These have special significance for the villagers. They offer prayers to the spirits of the martyrs to shower their blessings upon them. What is missing however is a monument commemorating this famous victory.

Please write in with your narratives of war and soldiering to msbajwa@gmail.com or call/WhatsApp on 093161-35343