The mistake by Parshotam Rupala

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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By Justice Markandey Katju

Union Minister Parshottam Rupala made a slight mistake in his statement, which has drawn the intense ire of Rajputs (the warrior class or samurais of India) all over the country.

He was right in saying that the Rajput Maharajas and Rajas in British India kowtowed before the Britishers, and behaved like British lackeys.

He was also right in saying that the Maharajas and Rajas used to send one of their princesses to the Mughal harem.

But what he forgot to mention was that there was an exception: the Maharana of Mewar, the Sisodias. The Maharanas never sent their daughters to a Mughal harem, and they were the only Rajput rulers called ’Maharanas’ (the others could only be Maharajas or Rajas).

While other Rajput Maharajas and Rajas surrendered before the Mughals and sent a daughter to the Mughal harem, the Sisodias of Mewar refused. After the battle of Haldighati in 1576 the ruler of Mewar, Maharana Pratap conducted guerilla war against the Mughals ( realising that was the only way to fight a superior enemy ).

It was only after the death of both Emperor Akbar and Maharana Pratap that their sons, Salim ( Emperor Jahangir ) and Amar Singh (son of Maharana Pratap) made a treaty, in which there was a specific clause that no Mewar princess would ever be sent to the Mughal harem

Many years back I went to Udaipur, the seat of the Maharanas of Mewar. At the entrance gate of the Palace, I saw an elderly white-bearded Rajput, and said to him ''You Rajputs are brave people''. Prompt came his reply '' No. Only the Rajputs of Mewar are brave ''.

I told this factual account to some Rajput friends, and they agreed that the Sisodias of Mewar were regarded the highest among the Rajputs ( because of the glory they acquired by bravely fighting against the Mughals )..

Hence if Parshottam Rupala had stated that while other Maharajas and Rajas gave their daughters to harems of Mughal Emperors, there was one exception, and that were the Maharanas of Mewar, his statement would not only have been factually correct, it would have also greatly pleased the Rajputs, who even today revere the Maharana of Mewar.

Even now Parshottam Rupala can solve his problem and escape from his predicament by issuing another statement with the above rectification. The moment he does that, the Rajput agitation will come to an end.

(Justice Katju is a former Judge, of the Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, the Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)

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