Editorial

Veer Durgadas Rathore: Immortal fighter of Indian independence

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Veer Durgadas Rathore, who freed his birthplace Marwar, was born on August 13, 1638, in the village of Salwa. His father was Dewan Shri Askaran of Jodhpur state and his mother was Netkanwar.

Other wives of Askaran were jealous of Netkanwar. So being forced, Askaran got him kept in Lunwa village near Salwa. Like Chhatrapati Shivaji, Veer Durgadas Rathore was brought up by his mother only. Along with bravery in Durgadas, he inculcated the rituals of dying for the country and religion.

Askaran Ji was killed by treachery in the battle of Ujjain. At that time Durgadas was only fifteen years old but he was so promising that the then King Jaswant Singh (I) of Marwar started loving him like his elder son Prithvi Singh.

Once Maharaj’s one-on-one courtier Raike did something outrageous. Could not tolerate Durgadas. He severely punished Raike in front of everyone. Pleased with this, the king kept him in personal service and started taking him on campaigns. Once he called Durgadas the ‘future savior of Marwar’; But Veer Durgadas Rathore always considered himself a servant of the throne of Marwar.

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After a few days, when Maharaj went to the Subedari of Deccan, Prithvi Singh was entrusted with the responsibility of the state and took Veer Durgadas Rathore with him as the commander. At that time there was the empire of Maharaj Shivaji in the Deccan. That’s why Aurangzeb sent Jaswant Singh.

The fighting stopped as soon as Jaswant Singh arrived. Gradually there was a rapprochement between Shivaji and Jaswant Singh. Aurangzeb’s wish was that Shivaji should be defeated. When this intention was not fulfilled, he removed Jaswant Singh from there, kept him in Lahore for a few days, and then sent him to Kabul.

The Muslims of Kabul were not going to be subdued so easily. A fierce battle ensued; In which two sons of Maharaja were killed. Jaswant Singh got this deep injury in his old age. Being very sad, went to Peshawar from there.

Aurangzeb’s evil eye was on the vast state of Marwar and that is why he conspired to send Jaswant Singh to fight the Pathan rebels in Afghanistan. He died in Jamrud in November 1678 during this campaign. Meanwhile, his queen Adam gave birth to a son in Peshawar, who was named Ajit Singh.

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As soon as Jaswant Singh died, Aurangzeb captured the princely state of Jodhpur and installed a royal ruler there. He called Ajit Singh to Delhi on the pretext of declaring him the king of Marwar. In fact, he wanted to convert him to Islam or kill him.

Durgadas reached Delhi with Ajit Singh during this difficult time. One day suddenly Mughal soldiers surrounded Ajit Singh’s residence. Like Panna Dhay, Ajit Singh’s midwife Gora Tank left her son there and took him out of the secret passage.

On the other side, Durgadas attacked and broke the cordon and they too left for Jodhpur. He kept Ajit Singh at the house of Purohit Jaidev in Kalindi village near Sirohi and appointed Mukundas Khichi to protect him in the guise of a monk. After many days, when Aurangzeb came to know the reality, he killed the child.

Now Durgadas started attacking the Mughal forces in guerilla style along with the feudatories of Marwar. He also wanted to join Maharana Raj Singh of Mewar and the Marathas, But he did not get complete success in this.

He prepared Aurangzeb’s younger son Akbar to revolt against his father by luring him to make him king, But unfortunately, this plan also could not be completed.

Veer Durgadas remained engaged in this work for the next 30 years. His efforts were successful after Aurangzeb’s death. On March 20, 1707, Maharaja Ajit Singh entered the Jodhpur fort with pomp.

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They knew that the credit for this was due to Durgadas, so they asked Durgadas to accept the headship of the princely state, But Durgadas politely refused. His condition was also not worthy of this.

Therefore, with the permission of Ajit Singh, he went to Sadri near Ujjain. In this way, he proved the title ‘future protector of Marwar’ given to him by Maharaja Jaswant Singh to be true. He died there on the banks of Shipra on 22 November 1718 and with this another sunset for the pride and sacrifice of the Rajputs.

In his praise, the following lines are prevalent in Marwar even today –

माई ऐहडो़ पूत जण, जेहड़ो दुर्गादास ।
मार मण्डासो थामियो, बिन थाम्बा आकास ।।

Mai Ehdo Poot Jan, Jehdo Durgadas.

Mar Mandaso Thamio, Bin Thamba Akas..

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Courtesy: ugtabharat.com, This article was originally published on ugtabharat.com

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