Udaipur : A legendry cannon ‘Jagat Shobha’ made during the reign of Maharana Jagat Singh II, the erstwhile ruler of Mewar roughly around 1750 has been rediscovered lately by historians. Surprisingly, the cannon which is believed to have forced the Scindia army from Ujjain to retreat and saved Mewar’s honour at a crucial time, has now assumed the position of Mother Goddess –Top Mata among the locals who worship it daily observing complete rituals that for any idol in a temple. The cannon lies in cenatoph at a burj (tower) opposite the city railway station. People hold high reverence for the cannon and consider it as their savior against all odds. Historians believe, there had been numerous other centuries old cannons that had faded into oblivion, however, firm belief of the residents have saved this heritage object from rotting away. Residents even offer a bowl of milk to the cannon after the evening Arti everyday.
“Jagat Shobha had been a powerful as well as legendry cannon of its time. Mewar was witnessing a state of turmoil when Amarchand Badwa, a Brahmin took over as the prime minister of the state from 1751 to 1778 throughout the reigns of Maharanas Pratap Singh II, Raj Singh II, Ari Singh, and Hamir Singh respectively” says Dr Sri Krishna Jugnu, a historian and renowned author. The rulers were weak and unpopular among the masses. The treasury was empty and soldiers refused to fight for not given salary, Jugnu said.
“At the crucial time Amar Chand Badwa accepted the responsibility as Pradhan and began fortification of Udaipur as retaliation from Maratha ruler Mahadji Scindia, was imminent” Commander Pratap Singh Mehta says, whose book ‘Rajputana Chronicles: Guns and Glories’ too carries an account of the Pradhan’s gallantry. “ Jagat Shoba and other cannons were effectively used at the time of siege of Udaipur by Scindia in 1769 CE during the reign of Ari Singh II. The legendry ‘enemy killer’ cannon was there on Eklinggarh fort atop Machhla Magra” Dr P.S Ranawat, retired professor and writer claims.
At the earlier stage when Scindia forces were strong, they put up a condition of a demand of 70 lakh rupees or surrender before the army. However, Pradhan Badwa didn’t lose hope. He sold all the gold and silver coins from the state’s wealth and paid the soldiers. He rejuvenated the army and attacked the enemy from all the vintage points. “ The Jagat Shoba cannon was such a powerful machine that when triggered the explosive propellants, its sound echoed through the hills and left the enemies trembling” Jugnu said. Amarchand’s strategy was so successful that Mewar army emerged stronger and forced the Marathas to retreat.