Sunday, December 5, 2021

When we remember Maharana Pratap, we ought to pay respect to this Pathan

Hakim Khan Suri the grandson of the Legendary Sher Shah Suri of Sansaram (Bihar). It’s indeed very sad that none of the history text books capture this valiant warrior who died fighting the Mughals.  Personally, I came to know about him while researching & exploring the entire stretch of battlefield.

I of course am referring to Haldighati, the battlefield we all have grown up with. We remember Haldighati because of the heroics of Maharana Pratap who thereafter, resurrected his Mewar kingdom by capturing one fort after another from Mughal emperor Akbar. The day of Haldighati battle was June 21, 1576 and I would here talk about the supreme sacrifice and legendary heroics of his commander-in-chief, Hakim Khan Suri.

Hakim Khan Suri set out for Mewar in April 1576 after he came to know about Maharana Pratap’s resolve of standing up to Akbar when all other Mewar chieftains / kings had surrendered. He had a battalion of 1,000 well-trained & fierce Afghan/Pashtun fighters along with a regiment of heavy artillery.

Once Hakim Suri reached Kumbhalgarh, the Maharana was overjoyed & welcomed him to Mewar. Rana appointed him the C-o-C (Commander in Chief) of his artillery. Once the Rana decided to charge out from the natural barriers & protection of Haldighati towards Rakht Talai where the Mughal forces were running to take cover(trick)..Hakim Khan Suri was giving cover to the advancing forces of the Rana from the right wing.

The fierce & gruesome battle that followed saw Rana going for Raja Man Singh atop an Elephant ( Wave III) while Hakim Khan Suri & his afghan warriors began slaying the Mughal forces into pieces. As limbs & bodies filled up the battlefield, Hakim Khan Suri’s was beheaded from behind his back by a Mughal chieftain. The legend has it that he had given his word to Maharana Pratap that he won’t leave his sword from his fist even if his was to lay motionless on the ground.

True to his word, the legend has it that the valiant warrior, the torso of Hakim Suri, holding his sword and riding his horse, charged for the next 5 km fighting till his body fell at Rakht Talai. His body is buried at Rakht Talai today. The burial site as well as the spot where his head fell have been turned into a mazaar (shrine) into his memory which could still be visited today.

Hakim Suri was a unique example of extraordinary valour, bravery, sacrifice, faith and duty. He was the treasurer of Maharana Pratap. Today, he occupies an exalted place in the annals of Mewar. An award of the Maharana Mewar Foundation bears his name. Every year a commemorative festival is held at Haldighati where his memorial is located. Two days every year—Maharana Pratap Jayanti and Haldighati Jayanti—people pay tribute to this immortal warrior.

Surya Sarathi Roy is an Operations specialist with a passion of Indian history and Great Epics Ramayana & Mahabharata. He pursues technology to touch lives around him. He runs a blog which showcases India we don’t read in history books.

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