Land of the Ranas- Veer Hammir

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Rana Hammir in a way began the next phase of Rajput rule of Mewar with Chittorgarh as the capital that started in 1326 and ended in 1568, when Rana Udai Singh II, had to flee after Akbar occupied the fort. Hammir’s ancestor was Laksha Singh, a very distant clan relative of  Rawal Ratan Singh, who fought during the siege of Chittorgarh by Allauddin Khilji in 1303.  Whent it was inevitable, that Chittorgarh would fall, Laksha decided that one of his 9 sons would live to fight for another day. But who would it be?

Apparently there is a back story that Laksha sent each of his 9 sons daily to the battlefield, to fight the invaders. The first to go was Ari, his eldest son,  who was Hammir’s father., who perished on the battlefield.  And every day one son of Laksha Singh’s fell on the battlefield, resisting Khilji’s forces.  And when the time came for reckoning, only  Ajay Singh, his favorite son, and Laksha were left.  Though Ajay wanted to fight the battle, Laksha, asked him to leave with  Hammir who was still a kid then, and a band of loyal followers. They would take refuge in Kelwara, a small mountain village in the Aravallis.  With a heavy heart, Ajay Singh followed his father’s orders, and escaped in the cover of darkness, making a vow he would come back one day.

Knowing that the end was well inevitable, Ratan Singh, Laksha and the remaining forces of Chittorgarh, hurled themselves at the forces of Khilji, fighting till the end. And the women led by Rani Padmini, committed mass Jauhar, throwing themselves into the fire, than surrendering to Khilji and becoming a slave in his harem.  After the capture of Chittorgarh, Allauddin Khilji went on a rampage, destroying temples, homes,  burning fields, villages, literally a reign of terror.  After  the devastation, Allaudin Khilji returned back to Delhi,  giving the control of Chittorgarh to Maldeo, the ruler of Jhalawar who had collaborated with Khilji.  There is a saying in Rajasthan, Chittor ka saca ka paap, saca generally refer to battles followed by great slaughter.  It loosely translates to “By the sin of the sack of Chittor”, and used more often as a curse at some one.

Ajay Singh spent time in Kelwara, a small mountain village in the Aravallis, at the highest point of one of the valleys.  Hammir was a lad of twelve, and soon those from the other clans of Mewar who survived the carnage at Chittorgarh, began to join him. Around the same time, Munja a notorious ad influential bandit, was wreaking havoc in the valley with his raids on the villages there. Ajay Singh himself was wounded on the head, once when Munja raided his place. When Ajay Singh’s own sons, proved to be helpless against Munja, it was Hammir who rose to the occasion, promising his uncle to either return succesfully or not at all.  In a fierce duel, Hammir not only killed Munja, but bought his head back to his uncle as a trophy.  And that settled the succession issue too, with Ajay Singh’s own son Sajjan Singh migrating to the Deccan.  It’s believed this Sajjan Singh was the ancestor of Shivaji Maharaj.

Taking charge in 1301,  Hammir made his mark capturing all the hilly territory of the Arravalis,  which was once the domain of Munja.  Having done so, he proceeded to Chittorgarh, now occupied by Maldeo, capturing town after town on the way.  Making Kelwara as his center, he offered refuge to the many clans migrating from Chittorgarh and surrounding areas, furious with Maldeo’s betrayal.  With Hammir breathing down his neck, Maldeo decided to make peace by offering his daughter Songari in marriage to him.  Accepting his proposal, Hammir proceeded to Chittorgarh, where he was received by Maldeo and his sons,  and in a rather simple ceremony, conducted his marriage.

However Hammir came to know that his bride was a child widow whose husband had died when she was still small. And that Maldeo’s offer of marriage, was more a ruse to not loose Chittorgarh.  Hammir though furious, accepted Songari, he did not want to punish her, for her father’s sins.  And soon Songari, began to side with Hammir, as he began to win over some of the nobles in the court too. Maldeo was away on a military expedition, and Hammir taking advantage of the absence, occupied the throne of Chittorgarh,  winning the nobles and most of the army to his side. It was a palace coup deftly executed, and on his return Maldeo was thrown into prison.  Mewar was once again under it’s rightful rulers, the traitor Maldeo deposed and imprisoned, by his own son in law.  Most of the exiled clan chieftains too returned to Chittorgarh.

However it was not long before the Delhi Sultan Mahmud Khilji decided to attack Chittorgarh, and proceeded on the campaign.  However the rocky, mountain terrain as unfamiliar to him, and Hammir gathering all the chiefs of Mewar, routed Khilji in a bloody battle at Singoli.  He threw Mahmud Khilji into prison for 3 months, and released him after he surrendered Ranthambore, Nagaur, Ajmer and paid him an indemnity of 6 lakh rupees.  Maldeo’s son Banbir too joined hands with Hammir, and he expanded the territories of Mewar all the way up to the Chambal.  Hammir adopted the title of Rana, and the dynasty began to be known as the Sisodia dynasty after his ancestral village.

Rana Hammir ruled till 1364, and he was succeeded by his son Kshetra Singh, who conquered Mandalgarh and Ajmer in his rule. Kheta was succeeded by his son Lakha who conquered several territories from Delhi and in 1421 was succeeded by his son Mokhal.Mokhal was assassinated by his own brothers Chacha and Mera in 1433, who whoever had to flee, with the mood of people against them. And thus ascended Rana Kumbha to the throne, who would become one of the greatest rulers of Mewar.


About Ratnakar Sadasyula

I am a 40 year old Blogger with a passion in movies, music,books, Quizzing and politics. A techie by profession, and a writer at heart. Seeking to write my own book one day.
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1 Response to Land of the Ranas- Veer Hammir

  1. iamvhardik says:

    A great account of how the Ranas’ came to rule the princely state of Mewar.

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