Chetak : The Immortal Blue Horse
Battles are won and lost. Leaving behind stories of heroes. Often times in war, it is not only the men fighting but the animals who fight for them that make for tales of glory.
Chetak was the horse of Maharana Pratap, whose role in the battle of Haldighati is worth repeating. Folklore has it that Chetak coat had a blue tinge to it. That is why Maharana Pratap is often referred to as the “Rider of the Blue Horse”.
Mahrana Pratap SIngh, King of Mewar found his biggest rival in the then Emperor of India Jalal ud-din Muhammad Akbar. Akbar was the one because of whom Pratap’s father had to flee from Chittorgarh and establish a new empire in Udaipur. Many Rajput Chiefs had expressed their loyalty towards Akbar but not Maharana Pratap.
The animosity brought the troops of Akbar and Maharana face to face in the battle of Haldighati. Pratap’s forces were decisively outnumbered but Maharana Pratap stood strong riding his royal, fearless horse Chetak. WhenMaharana Pratap realized that the battle was slipping away from his hands, he charged the elephant of the appointed captain of Akbar’s troops, Raja Man Singh. Pratap made a frontal charge and his fearless horse Chetak reared high in the air and planted his hooves on the forehead of the elephant. Pratap threw his lance towards Man Singh but missed.
During this hustle one of the tusks of the elephant tore Chetak’s rear leg, crippling him. This was a pivotal moment in the battle. Maharana Pratap had to retreat .
Inspite of his fatal would, Chetak ran for miles and miles, even jumping high and through a river to get his master to safety. Once assured that his master was out of danger ,Chetak collapsed and let out his last breath.
Chetak’s heroic act of bravery and loyalty towards his master made everyone forget the defeat Maharana Pratap had to face during the battle. Instead, it is his his death that has been immortalized in the ballads of Rajasthan.
Moral : Bravery displayed in the face of challenges becomes immortalized.