Explore two fascinating events from history of 18th June. Discover the Battle of Haldighati, a significant conflict between Maharana Pratap and Akbar’s forces, and delve into the remarkable abilities of mathematician Shakuntala Devi, also known as the “Human Computer.”
History is full of mystery only to be revealed later in time. As I browse through the history of 18th June I find a very interesting event. It was in the year 1178 when a group of 5 monks observe the moon explode into flames just after sunset. According to the English monk and chronicler Gervase of Canterbury, the five monks who gazed upon a fresh crescent moon, witnessed the upper segment of the moon inexplicably divided into two distinct parts. From the center of this division, a blazing torch emerged, ejecting flames, hot coals, and sparks into the night sky. Meanwhile, the lower portion of the moon, resembling a wounded snake, contorted and pulsed with an eerie motion.
It was believed that this was an act of God and a miracle until later years when Science revealed it as the explosion of a meteor that, from their vantage point, was passing in front of the moon. That is why I say religion teaches us faith while Science teaches us facts. I prefer to stay with facts and facts it is which I share as my first story from the history of 18th June.
The Battle of Haldighati
I remember reading a comic book on Maharana Pratap as a child. I don’t know what backward sweep of memory brought this fresh to my mind, but what a coincidence as on this day in the year 1576, Rana Pratap led his small but fierce Rajput army against the massive forces of Akbar. The battle took place in the mountainous region of Haldighati, located in present-day Rajasthan.
Maharana Pratap, a revered figure in Rajput history, had been engaged in a prolonged struggle against the Mughal emperor Akbar’s forces, led by Man Singh I of Amber. The Battle of Haldighati was a culmination of this conflict, and it holds immense significance in Indian history, particularly in the context of Rajput valor and resistance against Mughal dominance.
The battle was intense and marked by bravery on both sides. Maharana Pratap, astride his loyal steed Chetak, displayed exceptional valor and fought at the forefront of his forces, inspiring his troops to fight with unmatched determination. Akbar’s forces, commanded by his trusted general Man Singh I, utilized their superior numbers and military tactics to press their advantage.
Ultimately, the battle concluded without a clear victory. Maharana Pratap, recognizing the relentless strength of Akbar’s forces, decided to retreat from the battlefield to protect his army and continue his resistance against the Mughal rule. This strategic withdrawal allowed him to regroup and continue his fight for freedom and sovereignty.
Today after 447 years a recent controversy has emerged involving this battle. Rajput organisations demanded the removal of a plaque by the Archaeological Survey of India that states Maharana Pratap retreated in the Battle of Haldighati that took place on 18 June 1576.
Chandra Shekhar Sharma, an associate professor at Meera Girls College in Udaipur noted, “In the light of recent research and evidence, historians have come to the conclusion that Pratap’s army never retreated from the Battle of Haldighati. The war was won by Pratap.”
Sharma made the claim basis land records of the 16th century. He says that Maharana Pratap distributed land in villages near Haldighati by handing out land rights inscribed on copper plates that have the signature of the Diwan of Eklingnath. He also claimed that during that time it was only the king of a province who had the right to distribute tracts of land, which proves that Maharana Pratap was the winner of the Battle of Haldighati.
So we still do not have any concluding outcome on who won and who lost. Perhaps with time and further research, we will know what happened that day. So as of now let me share the story of a fascinating lady Shakuntala Devi, my next story from the history of 18th June.
The Enigma called Shakuntala Devi
On this day in the year 1980, Shakuntala Devi the “Human Computer,” astounded the world by multiplying two 13-digit numbers together and providing the correct answer within an astonishingly short span of time—merely 28 seconds. Such a remarkable accomplishment not only demonstrated her exceptional mental capabilities but also solidified her reputation as one of the most gifted mathematicians of her time.
Shakuntala Devi’s ability to perform complex mental calculations with lightning speed was truly unparalleled. Her brilliance in mathematics was evident from a young age, and she continued to cultivate her talent throughout her life, making notable contributions to various mathematical fields.
The astounding achievement of Shakuntala Devi on June 18, 1980, serves as a testament to her remarkable talent and the incredible potential of the human mind. Her ability to perform complex calculations mentally, with incredible speed and accuracy, continues to inspire and astound people around the world to this day.
With this, I come to the end of today’s episode. Enjoy your Sunday.
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A devoted foodie with keen interest in wild life, music, cinema and travel Somashis has evolved over time . Being an enthusiastic reader he has recently started making occasional contribution to write-ups.