Rana Sangram Singh I (c. 12 April 1482 – 30 January 1528), popularly known as Rana Sanga, was the Maharana of Mewar from 1508 to 1528 CE. Belonging to the Sisodia Rajput dynasty, through his capable leadership, he transformed the Kingdom of Mewar into the most powerful state in northern India in the early 16th century.[2] He controlled parts of present-day Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh with his capital at Chittor.[3] His reign was admired by several of his contemporaries, including the first Mughal Emperor Babur, who described him as the "greatest Indian ruler" of that time. The Mughal historian Abd al-Qadir Badayuni called Sanga the bravest of all Rajputs.[4][better source needed]In contemporary texts, he is described as the Hindu Emperor (Hindupati) of northern India.[5]

Rana Sanga
Rana Sanga
Depiction of Rana Sanga in the Udaipur Museum
Maharana of Mewar
Reignc. 1508 – c. 30 January 1528
Coronation1508 CE [1]
PredecessorRana Raimal
SuccessorRatan Singh II
Born12 April 1482
Chittor, Mewar, Rajputana
Died30 January 1528 (aged 45)
Rana Sangram Singh Sisodia
Era dates
15th and 16th centuries
Regnal name
Rana Sangram Singh I
FatherRana Raimal
MotherJhaliji Ratan Deiji d.of Rana Raj Vanvir Sinhji of Halvad
Military career

In his long military career, Sanga achieved a series of unbroken successes against several neighboring sultanates. Following the Battle of Gagron in 1519, Sanga captured much of the Malwa Sultanate and appointed one of his vassals, Medini Rai, to rule over it. He also humbled the Sultan of Gujarat on various occasions. Among his most notable victories were the multiple defeats inflicted upon the Lodi dynasty of Delhi at Khatoli, Dholpur and Ranthambhore.

He united several Rajput clans for the first time since the Second Battle of Tarain and marched against the invading forces of Babur, who founded the Mughal Empire.Despite initial success at Bayana, Sanga suffered a major defeat at the Khanwa through Babur's use of gunpowder weaponry, which was unknown in northern India at the time. His defeat at Khanwa is seen as a landmark event in the Mughal conquest of northern India.

Early life and accession


Sanga was born to King Raimal and Queen Kunwar, a Chauhan princess. Although contemporary texts do not mention the year of his birth, they provide some of the astrological planetary positions at the time of his birth, calling them auspicious. Based on these positions, assuming certain other planetary positions and based on the Kumbhalgarh inscription, historian Gaurishankar Hirachand Ojha calculated Sanga's birth year as 1482.[6]

Sanga was the youngest of the four sons of Raimal. However, due to the circumstances and after a fierce struggle with his brothers Prithviraj and Jagmal, in which he lost one of his eyes, he finally succeeded throne of Mewar in 1508.[1]

Military career

  Greatest extent of the Kingdom of Mewar, 15th Century, Under Maharana Sangram Singh

In his military career, Sanga defeated Sultans of Delhi, Malwa and Gujarat in 18 pitched battles and expanded his domain by conquering much of Present-day Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and northern part of Gujarat. He also held control over parts of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Amarkot, Sindh.[10][11][3][12] After his ascension to the throne, Sanga reunited the warring clans of Rajputana through diplomacy and marital alliances. Babur mentioned in the Baburnama the challenges he faced in India. He described Sanga as the greatest infidel king of Hindustan alongside Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagara Empire in South India. Babur further said, "Sanga had recently grown so great by his audacity and sword that his kingdom included a significant portion of Northern India."[13][better source needed]

According to legends, Sanga had fought a 100 battles and lost only once. He lost his wrist, was crippled in a leg, and counted eighty wounds on his body from the various conflicts.[14] In his illustrious military career, Sanga defeated the Sultans of Delhi, Malwa and Gujarat in 18 pitched battles and expanded his domain by conquering much of present-day Rajasthan. The Rana was also able to dominate Malwa and establish overlordship over northern parts of Gujarat. The Rajputs of India looked at him as their leader against the Sultanates.[15] He re-established Rajput rule in Malwa first time after fall of Paramara kingdom in 1305 CE.[16]

He also removed Jizya tax from the Hindus which was earlier imposed by Muslim rulers. He is considered the last independent Hindu king of Northern India to control a significant territory and in some contemporary texts described as Hindu Emperor.[17]

Conquest of Malwa


Medini Rai a rebellious minister of Malwa sultan was having a life and death struggle for throne of Malwa against Mahmud, he was promised aid by Rana Sanga.[18] As a result, the combined Sultanate forces of Gujarat and Malwa met the Sisodias led by Sanga at Gagron. The battle resulted in complete route of Sultanate forces and decisive victory of Rajputs.[19]

After the victory in the battle and other skirmishes aftermath Sanga conquered Malwa along[16] with Chanderi. Rai made Chanderi his capital and became king of Malwa,[20] while Silhaditya Tomar establish himself as master of Raisen and Sarangpur region. According to historian Satish Chandra these events took place between 1518 and 1519.[21]

After the victory and restoring Hindu rule in Malwa, Sanga ordered Rai to remove Jizya tax from Hindus of the region.[22]

Wars against Lodhis


After conquering Malwa, Sanga turned his attention towards northeastern Rajasthan which was then under the control of Ibrahim Lodi, the sultan of Delhi. Ibrahim Lodi, after hearing the news of encroachments by Sanga on his territory, prepared an army and marched against Mewar in 1517. The Rana with his army met Lodi at Khatoli on borders of Hadoti and in the ensuing Battle at Khatoli, Lodi army suffered serious reverses and fled. One Lodi prince was captured and imprisoned. In this battle, Sanga lost an arm by a sword cut, and an arrow made him lame for life.[23]

Lodi, reportedly stunned by this Rajput aggression (the extent of which was unprecedented in the preceding three centuries), once again moved against Mewar in 1518-19 but was humbled again at Battle of Dholpur. Lodi fought Sanga repeatedly, only to be defeated each time, losing his entire land in present-day Rajasthan, while Sanga's influence extended up to the striking distance of Pilia Khar in Agra.[3]

According to a 16th-century text "Parshvanath-Shravan-Sattavisi", Rana Sanga further defeated Ibrahim Lodi at Ranthambore after the Siege of Mandsaur.[24]

Campaign in Gujarat


The battles of Idar were three major battles fought in the principality of Idar between the armies of the two princes of Idar, Bhar Mal who was supported by the Gujarat Sultanate under Muzaffar Shah II and Rai Mal who was supported by the Rajputs under Rana Sanga. The main reason for Sangas involvement in these battles was to reinstate Rai Mal to his rightful throne and to weaken the growing power of the Gujarat Sultanate. In 1517 Rai Mal with the help of Rana Sanga[25] was able to successfully defeat Muzzafar Shah II and retake his kingdom.

In 1520, Sanga invaded Gujarat on the question of the succession of the state of Idar, with his powerful army of 40,000 Rajputs supported by his three vassals. Rao Ganga Rathore of Marwar too joined him with a garrison of 8,000 Rajputs. The other allies of Rana were Rawal Udai Singh of Vagad and Rao Viram deva of Merta. He defeated the Muslim army of Nizam khan and pursued them to Ahmedabad. Sanga called off his invasion 20 miles before the capital Ahmedabad. He plundered the royal treasuries of Gujarat and destroyed several mosques and built temples over them.[26] After a series of victories, Sanga successfully annexed Northern Gujarat and appointed one of his vassals to rule there.[15][27]

War against Mughals


On 21 April 1526, the Timurid king Babur invaded India for the fifth time and defeated Ibrahim Lodhi in the First Battle of Panipat and executed him. After the battle, Sanga unified several Rajput clans for the first time since Prithviraj Chauhan, built an army of 100,000 Rajput soldiers and advanced to Agra.[30]

The Mughals captured Bayana fort which was part of Sanga's empire therefore a major clash took place in Bayana in February 1527 in which Mughal forces of Babur led by Abdul Aziz were defeated by Rana Sanga. The defeat of the Mughals was the last of Rana Sanga's victories. Confronting a large Hindu army, now incited religious propaganda against the Rajputs by declaring the battle as a Jihad against the Kaffirs. He further sought divine favor by abjuring liquor, breaking the wine vessels and pouring the wine down a well.[31]

Early matchlocks, musketeers, swivel guns, mortars and other firearms of Timurids

In ensuring battle fought at Khanwa, 37 miles (60 km) west of Agra, on March 16. The Mughals were victorious due to their cannons, matchlocks and other firearms. Sanga was struck by an arrow in mid-battle and was removed from the battle by his brother-in law Prithviraj Kachwaha of Amber along with prince Maldev Rathore in an unconscious state. Following his victory, Babur ordered a tower of enemy skulls to be erected, a practice formulated by Timur against his adversaries, irrespective of their religious beliefs. According to Chandra, the objective of constructing a tower of skulls was not just to record a great victory, but also to terrorize opponents. Earlier, the same tactic had been used by Babur against the Afghans of Bajaur.[32]

Sanga was also betrayed by Silhadi during the battle who changed sides soldiers and went over to Babur.[33]

The victory of Mughals is seen as a landmark event in Mughal conquest of North India as the battle turned out to be more historic and eventful than Panipat because it made Babur the undisputed master of North India while crushing the threatening and reviving Rajput powers. According to historian Andre Wink, after the victory at Khanwa, the centre of Mughal power became Agra instead of Kabul and continued to remain so until its downfall after Ālamgir's death.[34][35] According to modern historians had there not been the cannons of Babur, Sanga might have achieved a historic victory against Babur. Babur's cannons had put an end to the outdated trends in Indian warfare.[36]

However it would be wrong to suppose that the Rajput power was crushed for ever, Babar stopped his further invasion in Rajasthan, the Rajput forces encamped at Baswa near Dausa for Sanga's treatment, soon after treatment, Sanga started preparation of another war against Babar.[37]

Death and succession


Sanga was taken away from the battlefield in an unconscious state by Prithviraj Singh I Kachwaha and Maldeo Rathore of Marwar. After regaining consciousness he took an oath to not return to Chittor until he had defeated Babur and conquered Delhi. He also stopped wearing a Turban and used to wrap a cloth over his head.[38] While he was preparing to wage another war against Babur, he was poisoned by his own nobles who did not want another conflict with Babur. He died in Kalpi in January 1528[39] or on May 20, 1528[40] and was succeeded by his son Ratan Singh II.

After Sanga's defeat his vassal Medini Rai was defeated by Babur at Siege of Chanderi and Babur captured the capital of Rai kingdom Chanderi. Medini was offered Shamsabad instead of Chanderi as it was historically important in conquering Malwa but Rao refused the offer and chose to die fighting. The Rajput women and children committed Self-immolation to save their honour from Babur's army.[38] Babur subsequently captured Chanderi following his victory which was earlier ruled by Rai.[41]

The power vacuum left by Rana Sanga was filled by Rao Maldeo Rathore. He took over the role as the leading Rajput king and dominated the time period through his increased use of horsemen.[42]


See also

Other prominent Mewar Rulers
Related to Rana Sanga


  1. ^ a b Sharma 1954, p. 12-13.
  2. ^ Bhatnagar, V. S. (1974). Life and Times of Sawai Jai Singh, 1688-1743. Impex India. p. 6. Archived from the original on 17 August 2023. Retrieved 19 November 2021. Mewars grand recovery commended under Lakha and later under kumbha and most notably under Sanga it became one of the greatest power in the northern india in first quarter of 16th century
  3. ^ a b c Chandra 2005, p. 224.
  4. ^ Day, Upendra Nath (1978). Mewar Under Maharana Kumbha, 1433 A.D.-1468 A.D. Rajesh Publications. p. 35. Regarding Al Badayuni praise of Kumbha we dont find that instead we find him priasing [sic?] Rana Sanga and further calling him bravest of all Rajputs along with Rai Pithaura.
  5. ^ "Rajasthan Through the Ages Vol 1 Bakshi S. R."
  6. ^ Somani 1976, p. 171.
  7. ^ Hooja 2006, p. 452, As a consequence of Sanga’s exploits, the borders of Mewar by this period extended from near Mandu (the capital of Malwa), in the south to Peela Khal (Pilya Khal), a small rivulet near Bayana and Agra, in the north-east, and deep into the desert country (stretching towards the river Indus) west and north-west of Mewar. In addition, numerous fellow-princes had accepted the pre-eminence or token leadership of Sanga. Asserts Tod "The princes of Marwar and Amber did him homage, and the Raos of Gwalior, Ajmer, Sikri, Raesen [sic], Kalpee [sic], Chanderi, Boondi [sic], Gagrown [sic], Rampoora, and Aboo [sic], served him as tributaries or held of him in chief".
  8. ^ Mankekar, D.r (1976). Mewar Saga. Vikas Publishing House. p. 39. These exploits in the field of battle established Sanga as the most outstanding personality in northern India and raised him to the status of the overlord of the whole of Rajasthan. The princes of Marwar and Amber accepted Sanga as their leader and the Raos of Gwalior, Ajmer, Sikri, Kalpi, Chanderi, Bundi, Gagron, Rampura and Abu served him as feudatories
  9. ^ Chandra, Satish (2007). History of Medieval India: 800-1700. Orient BlackSwan. p. 174. ISBN 9788125032267.
  10. ^ Sharma 1954, pp. 15–19.
  11. ^ Sarda, Har Bilas (1918). Maharana Sanga; the Hindupat, the last great leader of the Rajput race. University of California Libraries. Ajmer, Scottish Mission Industries. pp. 1–2.
  12. ^ Chandra, Satish (1982), Habib, Irfan; Raychaudhuri, Tapan (eds.), "Mughal India", The Cambridge Economic History of India: Volume 1: c.1200-c.1750, The Cambridge Economic History of India, vol. 1, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 458–471, ISBN 978-1-139-05451-5, retrieved 17 February 2024
  13. ^ Wink 2012, pp. 157–158. "Reflecting on challenges he faced in India in his memoris Babur described Rana Sanga as one of the two greatest infidel king of India along with Deva Raya of South. who had grown so great by his audacity and sword and whose territory was so large that it covered significant portion of North-Western India"
  14. ^ Puri 2003, p. 107.
  15. ^ a b Sharma 1954, p. 18.
  16. ^ a b Sharma 1970, p. 27 "The early 16th century marks the rise of patriotic one-eyed chief of Mewar named as Rana Sanga who defeat several of his neighbour kingdom and establish Rajput hold on Malwa first time after fall of Parmara dynasty through series of victories over Malwa, Gujarat and Delhi Sultanate"
  17. ^ Somani 1976, pp. 176–179. "Sanga was the last Independent Hindu king who was controlling extensive boundaries"
  18. ^ Chaurasia 2002, pp. 155–156.
  19. ^ Sharma 1954, p. 17.
  20. ^ Chaurasia 2002, p. 156.
  21. ^ Satish Chandra (2003). Essays on Medieval Indian History. Oxford University Press. p. 362. ISBN 978-0-19-566336-5. Archived from the original on 14 April 2023. Retrieved 24 March 2021. Rana Sanga of Mewar came in conflict with Sultanates of Malwa, Gujarat and Delhi and repelled all of their invasions. An ensuring battle was fought in Gagron along with other skirmishes in which Rana came Victorious and Subsequently Eastern and Northern Malwa passed under Control of Rana. These events are placed in 1518-19"
  22. ^ Chaurasia 2002, pp. 156, 155, 158–160.
  23. ^ Sharma 1954, p. 16.
  24. ^ Hooja 2006, p. 451.
  25. ^ Aligarh Journal of Oriental Studies. Viveka Publications. 1987. p. 15. Archived from the original on 17 August 2023. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  26. ^ Hooja 2006, pp. 450–452.
  27. ^ Chaube 1975, pp. 133–139.
  28. ^ Schwartzberg, Joseph E. (1978). A Historical atlas of South Asia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 39, 147. ISBN 0226742210.
  29. ^ "Historical Atlas of India" by Charles Joppen (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1907)
  30. ^ Spear 1990, p. 25.
  31. ^ Sharma 1954, p. 22-27.
  32. ^ Chandra 2005, p. 44.
  33. ^ Sarkar 1960, p. 57. "A treacherous desertion at outset upset Rana Sanga pre-arranged plan of combat. Silhadi, who had made himself a master of raisen and sarangpur and often changed side during troubled time had ultimately turned Muslim to save himself but ultimately joined Rana with his army, He went over to Babur's side from his post in the vanguard of the Hindu army."
  34. ^ Chaurasia 2002, p. 161.
  35. ^ Wink 2012, p. 27.
  36. ^ Barua, Pradeep (2005). The State at War in South Asia. University of Nebraska Press. pp. 33–34. ISBN 978-0-80321-344-9. Archived from the original on 17 August 2023. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  37. ^ Sharma 1954, pp. 42, 43.
  38. ^ a b Sharma 1954, pp. 43
  39. ^ Sharma 1954, pp. 44.
  40. ^ Somani 1976, p. 176.
  41. ^ Chaurasia 2002, p. 157.
  42. ^ Kothiyal, Tanuja (2016). Nomadic Narratives: A History of Mobility and Identity in the Great Indian Desert. Cambridge University Press. p. 85. ISBN 9781107080317. Malde attempted to fill the power vacuum created by the death of Rana Sanga. The death of Rana Sanga and the misfortunes of the house of Mewar left Malde to the uncontrolled exercise of his power