Time to time in the history, the presence of sages and learned men in Sanatan Dharma history have contributed to wisdom and upliftment of consciousness to new levels. The works of these Sages and Gurus primarily impacted millions of lives. But for this to happen, society needs to be receptive, which was only possible in times of peace and flourish. The kings and the warriors played an important role to preserve peace against external threats which could undermine the fabric and function of society.
The Mughal invasion and subsequent British Empire had its profound impact on the lives and function of Hindu society, which sent a whole civilisation, seemingly, towards a downward spiral. The glaring example where utmost serene and spiritual civilisation could not protect its existence, in absence of mighty warriors to protect it, is Tibet. There are also other examples of complete washout of peaceful civilisations in northern and western Asia by the external conquerers.
In Bharatvarsh of the sixteenth and seventeenth century, many Kingdoms fought these menacing attacks from Mughals; but there are three glaring examples of valour and wisdom which distinguish from the ordinary. On hindsight, one can easily conclude that without the works of these great men, India would have been radically different society and the loss to Hinduism or Sanatan Dharma would have been colossal. Works of these great men, though being taught in few History Chapters, are still being largely underrated in our glorious history which should be part of every Indian Psyche.
These three great men – Maharana Pratap, Guru tegBahadur Singh and Chhatrapati Shivaji lived in an era (late 16thto 17thCentury) when Mughal invasions were at its peak and danger to Hindu civilization was the greatest. The wide spread conversions by coercion and unimaginable brutality and hostility towards any resistance underscored the “Golden Period” of Mughals. In such times, these three men of extraordinary valour, wisdom and tenacity provided a triumphant example for others to emulate. We owe much to their perisitance to not to succumb to power and pressure of Mughal empires and preserve and save hindu civilization.
1)Maharana Pratap (1540-1597AD), the greatest Rajput king from Mewar region defied Mughal rule in times of Akbar; and, not only fought to get back his lost kingdom of Mewar but also significantly expanded the rule which kept Mughals at the bay. The great sacrifices of his tribesmen were crucial to preventing a complete dominance of Mughals in North West of Bharata at that time. We owe much to his valour to protect Hindus from the hand of Mughals.
2) GuruTegbahadur Singh (1621-1675 AD) was ninth Guru of Sikhs and spread his sermon in Malwa (Punjab). His was a great poet and creator of important Granths for Sikh community. He laid down his life to protect Kashmiri Hindus from forced conversions and led the movement which is a shining example in Sikh and Hindu history. He and his family and followers suffered unimaginable brutality by the hands, Aurangzeb before they were killed in most gruesome manner. He was not the only epitome of unity between Sikhs and Hindus, but also exemplified the life of a Guru and leader who does not hesitate to lay down his life for the betterment and protection of his followers and community members.
3)Chhatrapti Shivaji (1627-1680 AD) contemporary to GuruTegbahadur Singh, waged several wars against the invasion of Mughals in Maratha region, which in his lifetime became one of the most powerful and greatest empires in Bharata varsh. Guided by the religious and spiritual philosophies and energies bestowed upon him by his Mother Jijabai, his tenacity and determination put a grinding halt to Mughal expansion in Marathwada and middle and southern parts of India, thus protecting Hindus from hostility and mass conversions by Mughals.
These valiant warriors and wise men from Marwar, Malwa and Maratha regions together shaped the history of Bharat varsh where Hindus got the window to protect their civilization from brutal invasions, not only on their land but also on their beliefs, a way of life and also the psyche. Their contribution to present India is far-reaching, yet grossly neglected by our own historians who were enamoured by the western view of Indian history. It’s time we dedicate a greater share of history to these men and guide young generation to realize their own place inheritance of these great souls.