Rana Hammir Singh Early Life
Alauddin Khalji invaded Mewar at the turn of the 13th century and killed Rawal Ratan Singh, the ruler Guhilot dynasty of Mewar. Rana Ajai Singh, only surviving son of Rawal Ratan Singh was now in security at Kailwara, a town in the heart of the Aravalli mountains, and at the highest point of one of the most extensive valleys of the range. Here he gradually collected about him the remnants of the clans of Mewar.
The last wish of his father was when Ajai Singh die, son of his elder brother should succeed him. Rana Hammir was the only surviving child of his elder brother. He was almost an infant, however grew up under the guidance of his uncle Ajay.
Rise to Power
Ajai Singh has also had to fight with the chief of the mountains. His main enemy was Munja. Munja has raided the territories of Rana and wounded him on the head with a spear.
Sajun singh and Ajun singh, his own sons, though fourteen and fifteen years old proved of little aid in the emergency. Hammir, however, accepted the feud against Munja. He set out in search of him, promising to return successful or not at all. In a few days, he returned to Kailwara with Munja’s head at his saddle-bow. Modestly placing the trophy at his uncle’s feet, he exclaimed : “Recognise the head of your foe.” This decided the fate of the sons of Ajai singh, one of whom died at Kailwara, and the other, Sajun Singh, departed for the Dekhan.
Rana Hammir Singh succeeded Ajai Singh in 1301. He wanted to redeem his country from the ruin which had befallen it. He made a rapid inroad into the heart of Bali, the country of his late enemy, Munja, and captured its principal stronghold. His followers regarded this victory as a sure omen of his future greatness.
War with Maldeo
When Ajai singh died, Maldeo, with the imperial forces, was still holding Chittor. Rana Hammir captured the plains, and left to his enemy only the fortified towns which could be occupied with safety.
He commanded people of plain to retire with their families to the shelter of the hills or be treated as his enemies. His army rendered the roads impassable for any army. He made Kailwara his residence, which became the chief refuge of the emigrants from the plains.
The narrow pass protected the kailwara. At a later time the fortress of Komulmir was built, well-watered and wooded, and with excellent pasturage. This tract, above 50 miles in breadth, is 1,200 feet above the level of the plain and 3,000 above the sea. The Kialwara has considerable quantity of arable land, and free communication to procure supplies from Marwar or Gujarat.
Marriage with Maldeo Daughter
Soon Maldeo offered him the hand of a Hindu princess in marriage. Rana Hammir accepted the marriage proposal, contrary to the wishes of his advisers.
He set out for Chittor with only five hundred horsemen should form his suite. On his approach, the five sons of Maldeo advanced to meet him.
Maldeo with his chiefs recieved Hammir in the ancient halls of his ancestors. The bride was led forth and presented by her father, but without any of the solemnities customary on such occasions. Soon Rana Hammir understood the significance of the barren ceremony. Bride soon revealed that Rana Hammir married a Widow. His wrath at the insult thus offered to him was great. Later he learnt that his bride had been married and widowed in infancy that he grew calmer.
He listened to her vows of fidelity, and to a scheme which she revealed to him for the recovery of Chittor, he became more than reconciled to his fate. The bridegroom possessed the privilege that one specific favour complied with as a part of the marriage dowry. Hammir’s bride instructed him to ask the for the services of Jal, one of the civil officers of Chitor. Hamir left Chittor with his bride and one of the officer of Chittor called Jal and he made his way back to Kailwara.
Recapture of Chittor
Soon Rana Hamir was blessed with the son, Kshetra Singh. A few months after his birth, the princess obtained from her parents permission to bring the child to Chittor and place him before the shrine of his ancestors.
The time had been well chosen as Maldeo has left Chittor for a military expedition. She entered the city along with her guards, and, through the clever scheme of Jal, succeeded in killing the troops that were guarding gates of Chittor. Within a hour Hammir was master of the fortress.
Rana gave Maldeo a stiff fight for the control of Chittor and won. Maldeo carried the news of his loss to his master King Mahmud, who had succeeded Allah-ud-din on the throne of Delhi.
The ” standard of the sun ” once more shone refulgent from the walls of Chittor, and the people of Mewar returned from the hills to their ancient abodes.
But it was not long before Mahmud advanced to the recovery of his lost possession. Fortunately for Mewar, he directed his march by way of the eastern plateau. The intricacies of the country robbed him of all the advantage his superior numbers would have given him had he entered by the plains of the north.
Rana Hammir, supported by every chief in Mewar, marched to meet him. The armies met at Singoli, and after a bloody encounter Rana Hammir defeated Mahmud and made him prisoner. Rana confined him for three months in Chittor. He agreed to surrender Ajmer, Ranthambor, an important fortress in the south-east corner of the state, and Nagor. He also paid indemnity of six lakhs of rupees and a one hundred elephants.
Soon Banbir, the son of Maldeo, offered his service to Rana Hammir. Rana Hammir gave him post of honour and an estate for his maintenance. As he made the grant, Hamir said: “Eat, serve, and be faithful. Remember that you are no longer the servant of a Turk, but of a Hindu of your own faith.”
Legacy of Rana Hammir
Rana Hamir was the sole Hindu prince of power left in India. The Delhi sultanate crushed all the ancient dynasties. The ancestors of the present rulers of Marwar and Jaipur paid him homage and obeyed his summons. He also control the area of Bundi, Gwalior, Chanderi, Raisen, and Abu.
Rana Hammir died full of years, leaving a name still honoured in Mewar, as one of the wisest and most gallant of her Rana, and bequeathing a well-established and extensive power to his son.
During the two centuries which followed the recovery of the capital, the strength and solidity of the power of Mewar were greater than at any other period of her history. Though almost surrounded by Muhammadan kingdoms, Delhi in the north, Malwa in the south, and Gujarat in the west, she successfully opposed them all. All the ruling dynasty of the time, Tughlak, Khilji, or Lodi, courted the favour of the Ranas. Rana consolidated his power. He not only repelled the invader, but carried his victorious arms abroad.