Home History Rano Ratan Singh Sodho – Unsung Hero of Sindh

Rano Ratan Singh Sodho – Unsung Hero of Sindh

Rano Ratan Singh Sodho – Unsung Hero of Sindh

Unfortunately the history of our brave kings has never been taught to us… The whole history of this part of land has been destroyed.

Rano Ratan Sing Sodho, as pronounced in Sindhi, was king of Amarkot (Officially spelled as Umerkot) area who revolted and fought against British for their demand of taxes.

According to history, when the British defeated the Talpurs and marched into Sindh in 1843, they appointed a local leader or chieftain by the name of Syed Mohammad Ali to collect revenue for them from the people of Umerkot. He imposed many extra taxes which were seen as unwanted and unfair. Then it was Rano Ratan Singh Sodho who challenged the British and refused to pay the taxes, becoming an icon for rebellion amongst his people. In 1847, Rana ended up killing the British-appointed Syed Mohammad Ali.

After being on the run for about six months he was finally captured. The punishment for disloyalty was death but Rana was pardoned by Queen Victoria after some lobbying by his influential Hindu friends. But Rana rejected the pardon and chose to die as a rebel rather than, as he said, face his people as a coward. Rana said ‘he had done what he did for his people and was not ashamed of having committed any crime in that cause.’

The steep climb to the platform built by the British in the middle of the fort and the gallows at its center

At the end, when he was being hanged before public, and was asked for his last wish, Rana only had one. “Untie my hands,” he said smiling. “I may be allowed to ‘curl up my moustache’ like any valiant Rajput.”  Then Rana raised his hands to his face, fixed his moustache by twirling both its ends and said he was ready.

There was a hoof mark at the entrance of the Umerkot Fort, an imprint of something that had happened there. The mark is from the mare of Rano Ratan Singh Sodho, who was hanged at this fort in the 1850s.

Rana-Ratan-Singh-SodhaIt is said that when the Rana was being taken to the gallows prepared for him atop a new and high platform overlooking the entire city, his mare (perhaps sensing something terrible was about to happen) went berserk at the entrance and banged into the bastion wall. In its frenzy it kicked quite high and one of its hoofs even damaged a bit of the wall. It is uncertain whether that hoof mark still exists on the fort wall after the repair and renovation carried out the antiquities department of Sindh a few years back.

Hung from the gallows until death, his lifeless form could be seen from all over Umerkot, exactly what the British wanted, in order to make an example of him and instill fear in the hearts of the people. Minutes after his death, his mare, which had collapsed after its initial reaction at the fort entrance, died too.

The fort belonged to the Sodha family since 1226 when they first conquered it. The walls were thick and broad enough for horse carts to ride on.

The museum built by the government inside the fort houses some local jewelry of Tharparkar, pictures of Jain temples along with paintings of the Mughal King Akbar, his father Humayun and mother Hamida Banu.

Textbooks tell us about the great Moghul King Akbar and Umerkot as his birthplace, but nowhere mention the name and story of Rana Ratan Singh. However, he is sung by folk singers in Sindh and Rajasthan, as his name is mentioned in such songs.

Amarkot-Umarkot_FortThis place played a big role in the survival of the Moghul dynasty otherwise it would have all ended with Humayun after his defeat at the hands of Sher Shah Suri. Humayun was escaping to Persia with about one hundred men. By the time he arrived in Umerkot he was down to 20 to 25 men and they were exhausted and sick. The then ruler of Umerkot, Rana Parshad Singh Sodha, gave him refuge. He told his people that Humayun may be a defeated king, but he was a king nevertheless and deserved their respect. It is said that Humayun stayed in Umerkot for seven months, regaining his strength under the protection of the Rana, until he was able to once again build an army and march on Kabul and Kandahar. While it would still take years before the Mughals regained the throne of Delhi, it was the refuge that Umerkot provided that allowed this dynasty to survive at all. This gives this fort an indelible place in the history of the subcontinent.

Rano Ratan Singh is the great grandfather of the current Rajput Rano – Hamir Singh, who is the 26th Rano of Amarkot. He has been member of Provincial Assembly of Sindh.


Source: Daily Dawn, Quora, Development News and other sources