Many of the people insist that the Haldighati Battle fought between India’s first freedom fighter Maharana Pratap and Mughal Great Akbar was not a communal war, but a war against interventionist and Mughal imperialism.
Time and again, it is said that the war was not against Hindus and Muslims, because either side had people of both the beliefs – If Akbar had Raja Man Singh and Maharana Pratap’s brother Shakti Singh, then Maharana Pratap had Hakim Khan Suri, a Pathan of the Sur Dynasty.
Who was Hakim Khan Suri? And What Is His Contribution?
A general in Pratap’s army, Hakim Khan led the Mewar army during the epic Battle of Haldighatti and was even the first one to die in the battle while fighting for Maharana Pratap and Mewar. Today, while Akbar is termed as a cruel Invader in Rajputana, Hakim Khan Suri is honoured for his dedication, help and sacrifice for Mewar, mainly because he sided Maharana Pratap and even gave his life.
But, did Hakim Khan Suri really Sacrifice his life for Pratap, Rajputs and Mewar?
Hakim Khan Suri was an Afghan. A descendant of the Sur Dynasty who lost his kingdom to Mughal, his enemy was same as Maharana Pratap. While, Pratap’s objective was to protect his homeland Mewar against the Mughal invaders, Suri’s aim was to seek revenge of his forefather Sher Shah Suri.
Now Sher Shah Suri was no different than Akbar. Both were invaders – one was an Afghan while another was a Mughal. They both had one objective – To conquer the kingdoms, expand them and rule over them by being an emperor. In fact, Sher Shah Suri got his actual training from Babur while he left and sided the Lodis – Mahmud Lodi, brother of the same Ibrahim Lodi who defeated Rana Sanga (Pratap’s grandfather in the war).
Ibrahim Lodi also won the Battle of Sammel against Marwar’s Rao Maldeo Rathore by wrong means – The victory was a Pyrrhic victory is another story. The Lodis, the Surs were all Afghan invaders who came to rule the then India – Their intention was no different than the Mughals.
Lodi Dynasty if you remember was the first Afghan Dynasty of India. They had the same intention as that of the Mughals. And so Hakim Suri was no different than Akbar. He sided Pratap out of necessity since he wanted to remain an Independent ruler unlike a nominal head under Akbar. His death in the battlefield was not a sacrifice for Mewar, but for his own necessity. He died his death not for Mewar, but for his own goal as an Afghan soldier, then why is he respected so much? Just because he sided Pratap against Akbar when even his own brothers and countrymen went with Akbar?
There is a Hakim Khan Sur Award in his memory
Now, this is a National Award, which is given by Mewar Foundation under National Foundation for Communal Harmony (An Autonomous Organization With The Ministry of Home Affairs, GOI). Started in 1986, the recipient of this award includes big names such as Late Sunil Dutt, Saeed Naqvi, Shabana Azmi, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Javed Akthar, Lata Mangeshkar, His Holiness Dalai Lama, Shyam Benegal, Ramdev Baba (yes, he too!), Shashi Tharoor, Naseeruddin Shah, Nandita Das and Rahul Bose.
According to the foundation – ‘Khan’s sacrifice is symbolic of the authority of ‘ideology’ over communal and religious consideration. He is an exemplary when it comes to absolute devotion and loyalty to humanity (Manav Dharma)’ My question is, just because he was with Pratap and against Akbar, who was from same belief, he became a Hero and an example of Manav Dharma? Isn’t this too much?
In that case, even Akbar should be considered a hero. After all, Akbar was religious tolerant, respected every faith and belief, married the Rajput queens, gave them enough honor, respect as well as position. In addition, although he was a warrior, he even avoided war with the natives – call it as his strategy or a step towards communal harmony. In that case, he supported more communal harmony than Hakim. Then why this discrimination?
My intent is not to show Akbar in a positive light, who is a villain in Mewar’s eyes, but if Akbar is a villain, then why is Hakim Khan Sur honored till today? He befriended Pratap only for his own motive, didn’t he?