Man Singh I : biography
Man Sing (Man Singh I) (December 21, 1550 – July 6, 1614) was the Kacchwaha King of Amber, a state later known as Jaipur. He was a trusted general of the Mughal emperor Akbar, who included him among the Navaratnas, or the 9(nava) gems(ratna) of the royal court. Ain-i-Akbari, Vol. I. India’s who’s who, www.mapsofindia.com.
Early life of Man Singh I
He was the son of Raja Bhagwant Das and Rani Sa Bhagawati Ji Sahiba of Amber. He was born on Sunday, December 21, 1550. He was about eight years younger than Mughal Emperor Akbar who was born on November 23, 1542 and about ten years younger than Rana Pratap who was born on May 9, 1540, These three great personalities, of the same generation, had a great impact on sixteenth century India’s polity, society, and history. They are remembered with reverence in India, although Rana Pratap fought unrelenting wars with both of them. Raja Bharmal, the first Rajput ruler to marry his daughter to a Mughal, was Man Singh I’s grandfather.
Initially known as Kunwar (prince), Man Singh received the title of Mirza Raja and the mansab (rank) of 5000 after the death of his father on December 10, 1589 from Akbar.Sarkar, Jadunath (1984, reprint 1994). A History of Jaipur, New Delhi: Orient Longman ISBN 81-250-0333-9, p.74 On August 26, 1605, Man Singh became a mansabdar of 7,000, i.e., a commander of 7,000 cavalry in the Mughal forces, which was the maximum command for anyone other than a son of the Mughal emperor and the guardian of Khusrau, the eldest son of Jahangir.Sarkar, Jadunath (1984, reprint 1994). A History of Jaipur, New Delhi: Orient Longman ISBN 81-250-0333-9, p.86 Akbar called him Farzand (son). He fought many important campaigns for Akbar. Kunwar Man Singh led the Mughal Army in the well-known battle of Haldighati fought in 1576 between the Mughal Empire and Maha Rana Pratap.Beveridge H. (tr.) (1939, Reprint 2000). The Akbarnama of Abu´l Fazl, Vol. III, Kolkata: The Asiatic Society, ISBN 81-7236-094-0, p.244
Raja Man Singh was a devotee of Shri Krishna. He had a seven-storied temple of Krishna constructed at for Srila Rupa Goswami, disciple of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, in Vrindavan. The cost of construction was one crore rupees at that time. Akbar is also believed to have donated the red sandstone for this temple. Aurangzeb later demolished three storeys of this temple. The four-storey temple is still present at Vrindavan. He also constructed a temple of Krishna at his capital, Amber. The place is now known as "Kanak Vrindavan" near Amber Ghati of Jaipur. He constructed the temple of Shila Devi at Amber Fort. He also constructed and repaired many temples at Benaras, Allahabad and various other places. He added much beautification to his palace at Amber. When Akbar called a meeting of his nobles at Fatehpur Sikri in 1582, to discuss Din-i-Ilahi, Raja Bhagwant Das was the only man to oppose this religion. Later, Man Singh also refused to convert to Din-i-Ilahi. It is believed his son Jagat Singh I received education from Goswami Tulsidas and Man Singh himself used to attend his religious lectures. Tulsidas was a contemporary of Akbar and author of Ramcharit Manas, known as Tulsi Ramayana, and much other famous poetry devoted to Rama and Hanuman. He used to be accompanied by Charan poets. There are two occasions when these poets inspired Man Singh by their Poetry:
When the Mughal army was hesitating to cross the Indus River at Attock, the poet said:
- Sabe bhumi Gopal ki, ya men Atak kahan
- Ja ke man men Atak hai, so hi Atak raha
- (All land belongs to one deity, where is hindrance in that?
- But they who have hindrance in their souls are hindered).
Hearing this, Man Singh crossed the river first, followed by the army. It is believed after winning Odisha, Man Singh wanted to create a naval force and attack "Sri Lanka". But a poet said:
- Raghupati dino dan, vipra Vibhishan janike
- Man mahipat man, diyo dan kimi lijiye
- (Lord Rama had given Lanka (in donation) to Vibhishana as a Brahmin.
- O Raja Man Singh, stop! How something, once donated, can be taken back)?