About MOHAN SHRIMALI Ji
His Unique Effort of Inculcating the Spirit of Nationalism & Social Service
The life story of Mohan Lal Shrimali is the story of abject poverty, perpetual struggle, strong determination and ultimately crowning success. Born in a small village near Haldighati, a poor farmer's son graduated from the University of Udaipur and became a teacher. His indomitable spirit was not satisfied with simply teaching the story of Pratap- the great warrior and the freedom fighter, personifying bravery, courage, and sacrifice. Mohan Shrimali always dream of paying Pratap a befitting tribute which could reveal the rare qualities of this great hero of India. Pratap – the ruler of Mewar lived in the jungles with his wife and children, saw them starving but didn't yield to the might of Emperor Akbar and ultimately freed his motherland from Moghuls. There was nothing in the region to depict Pratap's insurmountable spirit of liberty, equality and fraternity. In fact the first battle of freedom was fought at Haldighati. Haldighati a mountain pass in the Aravalis 40 kms from Udaipur, would probably have been known more for its turmeric- colored soil that gave its name had it not been for history's intervention. The name of the pass today resounds with medieval heroism of a ruler and his horse. At the battle of Haldighati in 1576, the irrepressible Maharana Pratap of Mewar, astride his horse Chetak, had faced the might of Akbar, the great Moghul Emperor. If the Maharana lived to fight another day it was due to his horse which carried him to safety, though it was itself dying of battle wounds.
A neglected marble Chhatri stands there as a memorial to the event. May be history would have been gradually forgotten but for Mohan Shrimali - a school teacher Mohan Shrimali took early retirement to put up a museum that is more befitting in size and ambit to pay a worthy tribute to Pratap. Pooling his pension benefits and the money he got by selling his house, augmented by a loan, the former school teacher Mohan Shrimali, 61 has built a resplendent Maharana Pratap Museum spread over three acres. There are tableaus showing the scenes from the life of Maharana Pratap as well as a light and sound show.
Shrimali was inspired by his mentor Balwant Singh Mehta, freedom fighter, and member of the Constituent Assembly. Mehta told Shrimali that since Shrimali was born in Haldighati, he should devote himself to Maharana Pratap. He however felt a commemorative statue or a garden would not be enough. Culling ideas from the Akshardham temple in Gujarat, he designed the complex himself, including among its attractions other features of the locality. Few know that Haldighati produces rose products too. At the museum therefore, there is a live show on how rose water and rose syrup are made. The museum not only depicts the greatness of Pratap but also provides valuable glimpses into the history, civilization and culture of Mewar.
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