Educated at Bikaner, Jaipur Sagar and The Hague, LS. Rathore is M.A., LL.B., Ph.D., D.Litt., D.P.A. He is Emeritus Professor in Political Science and the former Vice Chancellor (1999- 2002) of J.N. Vyas University, Jodhpur (India). He has been the recipient of Netherlands Universities Foundation Fellowship (1959); U.G.C. Senior Research Fellowship (1963-65); Senior Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania (1971); Maharana Kumbha Award in Literature (l989) and Swami Pranavanand Award in Political Science by the University Grants Commission of India (1991).
L.S. Rathore has been the President of Indian Political Science Association (1989); President of Indian Public Administration Association (1995); Elected member of the Executive Committee of the International Political Science Association (1982-85); Panel Chairman at World Congress of International Political Science Association held at Moscow (1979), Rio de Janerio (1982), Paris (1985), Washington (1988), and Berlin (1994); participant in Round Table Conference in Political Science held at Tokyo, Urbana, Berlin (FDR), Florence, Zagrab, Helsinki and Seoul; and the Commonwealth Universities Vice Chancellor’s Conference, Cyprus (2001). He has been the Visiting Professor at Prague, (1984); Berlin, GDR, (1985); Vikram University, Ujjain (1994); and the University of Madras, Chennai (1997). He has visited the Universities of Yugoslavia in 1984 under lndo-Yugoslav Exchange Programme; and the U.S. Universities in 1982 under American Visitors Program. He has delivered guest lectures at the University of Natal (S. Africa) in 2002.
L.S. Rathore is the author of In Defence of Political Theory; Perspectives on Political Thought; The Intellectual Styles in Political Theory; Political Theory and Organization; and Maharaja Sadul Singh of Bikaner A Biography of the Co-architect of India’s Unity (2 Volumes). Besides, his poetry works are The Poems on the Thar, Veer Durga Das Rathore; The Glory of Ranthambhor; The Johur of Padmini; Maharana Hamir of Chitor; and Kodam : The Lingering Echoes in the Castle of Pugal.
Ballu Chanpawat Rathore (AD. 1591-1644), of Harsolaw in Marwar was a dauntless warrior of the period. He had a glorious line of ancestry. He was a man of sterling qualities, and of unimpeachable character. In him there was a confluence of the streams of valour and self-respect; both flowed together plenteously in him. He had fought thirty-four battles in his career. But these battles alone were not enough to put him among the worthies of history. What gave him an abiding place in history was his miraculous valour, demonstrated by him at the Agra Fort in July, 1644?
On 25 July, an exciting event had occurred in the Imperial Court at Agra Fort. Mir Bakshi Salabat Khan had uttered a provocative remark to Amar Singh Rathore, which stirred up his feelings to a fever pitch; and he spontaneously thrust his dagger in the breast of Salabat Khan, the latter died on the spot. To take vengeance on Amar Singh, the Emperor’s security officers, guards and mace-bearers, made a ruthless assault upon him, and a gruesome fight had started. Amar Singh offered a tough resistance, but he was soon overpowe-red by the Emperor’s men, and finally was slain. To recover the dead body of Amar Singh, laid in the Emperor’s custody1 was a mighty challenge before Ballu Chanpawat. At that crucial moment, Ballu had displayed rare qualities of fidelity, honour and bravery which made him a figure of high regard. Nothing daunted Ballu, he entered into the Agra Fort, hurriedly picked up the corpse, or the severed head, and put it on horse back; pressed his thighs in sudden quick pull, and gave a twitch to the horse. The horse in quickness, with the speed of a bullet, dashed, and leapt over the ramparts; it fell by the side of the moat, where it breathed its last. Ballu had carried out his plan successfully; brought the corpse or the severed head of Amar Singh Rathore from the jaws of death; and handed over the same to his ‘ranies’ who were awaiting For it in order to become ‘Sati’. Ballu’s valorous feat was unparalleled in the historical records of the world. This incident had happened on 26 July, 1644.
But this was not the end of Ballu’s story. The same day the Emperor’s forces were in chase of Ballu. A grim battle had occurred outside the Agra Fort between Ballu’s men and the Emperor Shah Jahan’s forces, where the valiant Rathore cut the troops of the enemy and threw each corpse a headless torso. Ballu fought the battle in his euphoric spree even when beheaded. The battle-great Ballu thus made history — different and distinct from other warriors known in history.
By the sheer dint of his miraculous valour shown by Ballu Chanpawat at the Agra Fort, he unquestionably earned an immortal place and an undying fame in the annals of history. This theme of Ballu forms the core part of the book. At the same time Ballu Chanpawat’s ancestry, his line of descendants, too, have been given, in order to make the fascinating story a complete one.
Needless to say, I have greatly benefitted from the works — ‘Chanpawato-ka-Itihas’ and ‘Chanpawat Rathore’, written by Thakur Mohan Singh Kanota and Justice Bhagwat Singh respectively. Based on the original sources — ‘khyats’, ‘pothies’, ‘bahies’, etc. — these two works are significant for an understanding of the history of Chanpawats in its true perspective. In addition, the ‘heroic poems’ and the folk-lore literature, pertaining to the period, have been properly scanned by the author. The present work: ‘A New History of Ballu Chanpawat Rathore of Harsolaw — Marwar’, is the outcome of the blending of original sources and of folk-lore literature relating to Chanpawat history of the period. I do hope that this work would be of immense benefit to the general readers as well as the research students of Indian history.
Though Ballu Chanpawat was the most conspicuous figure of the period, but on account of the paucity of record pertaining to him, his character and achievements, till today, has not been presented in a systematic form to the readers and scholars of history. It is hoped that this work would, to a great extent, fill up a lacuna; and would reach a wide audience who show enthusiasm for history.
At the place of its entrance in Sardar Museum, Jodhpur, there hangs on its walls, the pictures of three great personages of Indian history. At the centre is exhibited Emperor Asoka, who reigned over Hindustan in the third century’ BC.; on his right stands Maharana Pratap of Mewar, the immortal hero of the famous battle of Haldighat against the Mughal Emperor Akbar in the sixteenth century; and on his left is displayed Ballu Chanpawat of Harsolaw-Marwar, the fearless warrior, who showed fiery valour at the Agra Fort during Emperor Shah Jahan’s reign in the seventeenth century. This triumvirate is living for ever in Indian history.
The splendid picture of Ballu Chanpawat is sparkling in radiance like a brilliant sunshine. Brimming over with high spirits, his picture cannot fail to cause reverence and admiration; it at once arouses interest in a visitor. In his imagination a thrill of joy vibrates like a wave along the nerves of a person who visits. The cause to it was the unexampled character of Ballu. By virtue of sheer merit and ability he rose from a humble position and became the symbol of courage. He was one of the greatest warriors that India had ever produced. He embodied in himself those rare qualities, not to be seen in others. He possessed a remarkable audacity to meet any challenge, without showing fear. He was ever prepared to face danger towards the accomplishment of his cause, A man of firm faith, he had remained steadfast to the call of his conscience, despite hardships and adversities that often came in his path. His unchanging loyalty to a cause was of a high order. A promise once given was regarded sacred by him. At any time neither did he break his word, nor fail to do what he had promised to do. His feelings of gratitude, high courage, pride of race, a jealous sense of honour, a passion for frank saying, and faith in the valour of himself, were his important attributes. An intrepid soldier, Ballu was as brave as a lion, who demonstrated the worth of his sword in more than thirty-four battles, which he had fought during his life time. In crises and battles he was not like the people of the world, and the glory of Cod maintained itself in him. A matchless warrior in the history of medieval India, Ballu believed in the immortality of the soul.
There are two main reasons for the importance of Ballu Chanpawat in history. First, his permanent place in history rests not upon the battles he fought; but his place is determined rather by his fiery courage and greatest loyalty to the cause of preserving the honour of his land and of his former master, Amar Singh Rathore, at a critical time during the Agra Fort incident in A.D. 1644; where though Ballu was hemmed in by ravening enemy, maddened with revenge, but his strong determination of a Chanpawat did not flinch even for a moment. Ballu had won a place in history by the valorous and surprising miracle accomplished by him at Agra Fort; where, having taken on the challenge, shut in on all sides, with enemy forces swarming all round him, he carried off successfully from inside the fort, the dead body of his former master, by making his agile horse, in a sudden forward movement, to leap over the ramparts of the Agra Fort. It was a rare feat of valour, not to be traced in the histories of other nations. With Ballu not only the heroism and devotion of the Chanpawats had reached the acme of perfection, but at the same time, he reflected the soul of their honour. And second, though Ballu had died on the battlefield at Agra in 1644, but his soul appeared in the bodily form at Debari Chat battle in 1680. This probably happened because of the promise which Ballu had made to the Maharana of Mewar, who had sent as a gift to him an excellent Kathiawari horse, in July, 1644, when Ballu was preparing for his decisive assault on Agra Fort. After receiving the gift Ballu had vowed that he would repay the Maharana’s obligation, whenever the latter would remember him in a difficult situation. After 36 years of Ballu’s death, there occurred a battle at Debari Chat between Maharana Raj Singh of Mewar and Emperor Aurangzeb, where the Maharana when placed in a hopeless position, remembered Ballu, whose soul is said to have appeared in the bodily form of a warrior and was seen fighting the battle in support of the Maharana’s cause. The Maharana had won the battle. To the historians the event was a myth; but to the poets and writers of folklore literature of the period in Rajasthan, the happening was a real one.
In brief, Ballu Chanpawat’s miraculous valour at Agra Fort; and his soul’s appearance in the bodily form at Debari Chat — in 1644 and in 1680 respectively — made Ballu a great hero as well as an incarnate. It was on account of these two reasons that Ballu is still remembered by the people of Rajasthan with feelings of reverence and of wonder. The bards in the land of Rajasthan — a land of heroism and of great traditions; still sing of Ballu’s glories Ballu would never live again, but he lives in deathless glory.
To write an exhaustive history of Ballu Chanpawat is rather difficult, because of the non-availability and scantiness of the historical material about him. The main reason for this was that among the Rajput chronicler there had been a tendency to show special value to the rulers only. The role of others who had contributed towards their successes, either did not get enough care to or very little attention was paid to them, except a mention here and there. The Rajput chronicler was solicitous to record the fame of his own princes, did not deem it necessary to concern himself with the warriors and commanders conjoined with them, so that a stranger to the events of the period would imagine, from the high relief given to their actions, that the princes alone commanded in all the great events. By doing so repeatedly the chronicler had failed to describe many an important event in history, which were even more significant. The same had happened in the case of Ballu Chanpawat, who despite being the pillar of strength of the armies of the Rathore princes, had received a meagre attention, though he deserved a more prominent place in history. The over-all focus on the princes, to the exclusion of others, had been a drawback in the accounts by the chronicler of the period.
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