(Last Updated on : 01/02/2010)
Rana Hammir, the14th century ruler of Mewar in present-day Rajasthan was the first ruler using the title 'Rana' before his name. He belonged to the Chauhan dynasty. After an invasion by the Delhi sultanate at the turn of the 13th century, the ruling Guhilot dynasty had been removed from Mewar. Rana Hammir belonged to a poor cadet branch of that clan; however regained control of the region, re-established the dynasty, and also became the propounder of the Sisodia clan, a branch of the Guhilot clan, to which every succeeding Maharana of Mewar belonged.
An extremely distant kinsman of Rawal Ratan Singh
, by name 'Laksha' or Lakshman Singh, proclaimed himself Rana-in-exile after the Jauhar took place and Chittor was lost. Laksha was descended in direct patrician lineage from Bappa Rawal
, and hence belonged to the Gehlot clan, but his claim to the throne was questionable in the extreme, since he was an eighth cousin twice removed of Rawal Ratan Singh. Laksha came from the village of Sisoda near the town of Nathdwara and thus his children came to be known as 'Sisodia'. Laksha had nine sons, of whom the eldest, Ari, married Urmila, a pretty lady from the nearby village of Unnava, who belonged to a poor Rajput family of the Chandana clan. Rana Hammir was the only child of this couple.
Both Laksha and Ari died in various notable battles during those years and left behind young Hammir. He was almost an infant, however grew up under the guidance of his uncle Ajay, the second son of Laksha. Rana Hammir gave his uncle an initial proof of his bravery when, at a young age, he killed a treacherous bandit named Munja who was causing chaos in the nearby area. It is said that this event impressed his uncle that he immediately bestowed on Hammir with the claims of ruler ship. Actually, this inauguration brought about Rana Hammir nothing; the clan was however in exile and Mewar lay occupied.
The Khiljis had allocated their newly acquired territories to the administration of Maldeo, ruler of the nearby state of Jalore, who had associated with them during the war years. In a requirement to settle and co-opt the citizens of the land to his rule, Maldeo arranged for the marriage of his widowed daughter Songari with Rana Hammir, the scion of an impoverished cadet branch of the erstwhile ruling dynasty. Rana Hammir Singh thus re-established the state of Mewar in 1326 and engineered a coup d'état against his father-in-law. The dynasty thus founded by Hammir, who was descended in direct lineage from Bappa Rawal
, came to be known as Sisodia after the mountain village where Rana Hammir belonged.
During his 12 years' reign, Rana Hammir fought 17 battles and won 13 of them. He captured Malwa, Abu and Mandalgarh and thus extended his kingdom to the boundaries of Delhi Sultan, Jalaluddin, who had suspicions about Hamir's intentions. Rana Hammir was one of the bravest rulers of Mewar and several legends follow his life of purity and modesty.