For those who do not know the complete history and origin of the name Bhism, or more reverentially Pitamaha Bhishma, here’s a brief description.
In Mahabharata, an ancient Indian epic, it was mentioned that Devvrat was the son of the emperor Shantanu, and Ganges (the river of purity). Devvrat was a mighty warrior and an able administrator. Despite having these virtues, Devvrat became renown because of his devotion towards his father. He renounced his rightful throne, and even took the terrible oath of lifelong celibacy for mere assurance purpose, in favor of the progeny of Satyavati (her stepmother).
So this was the story of the pre-eminent Bhishma, whose sacrifice led to the “Mahabharata”. Now, let’s take the narration back to the Bhishma of Mewar, whose sacrifice too led to many historical incidences, but fortunately none of them were as destructive as the Mahabharata.
Rana Lakha, the 3rd Maharana of Mewar was an impressive ruler. He won back all the cities of Mewar, making it a whole kingdom as was established by his ancestor the founder of Mewar- Bappa Rawal. He restored all the buildings including temples and palaces that had suffered severe damages under the rule of Ala-ud-din Khilji.
He had eight sons, the eldest one being the Rana Chunda. As were the traditions at the time, the eldest legitimate son of ruler has the apparent right over the throne after the decease of his father; Rana Chunda was the crowned prince of Mewar and had already attracted multiple matches for nuptial based alliances. One such match was that from the great Rathore rulers of Marwar.
The then crowned prince of Marwar, Rao Ranmal, travelled all the way to Mewar to fix the match of soon to be the ruler of Mewar- Rana Chuda with his sister- Hansabai.He reached the royal palace of Mewar to hand the sacred coconut to the prince (as was the tradition of fixing marital engagements back then). But as the fate had it, the prince was not in the palace at the time. Therefore, the king himself accepted the coconut on behalf of his son, saying that surely Rao had not brought the offer for the old king like him.
He had said those lines half in jest and half in adoration of the princess Hansabai.
When Rana Chunda returned to the palace, he was duly acquainted with the offer presented by the Rao. However, when Rana became aware of the inclination of his father, he declined the proposal, unaware of the quick temper of Rao Ranmal, who at that time held many surrounding territories.
The situation would have gotten Ranas in a glitch if the Rao had taken offence for the rejection. But before anything of the sort could happen, Rana Lakha proposed to marry the young princess himself.
However, Rao had an ulterior motive, he wanted to have a direct influence over the rule of Mewar, which he thought was possible by marrying his sister with the future Maharana, whereby marrying her with the Rana himself would make her a queen for some time, but since the future throne was set in the hands Rana Chunda, he sensed failure of his objective.
So, as a last resort to fulfill his objective, he said that he will agree to the proposal only if it was secured that the future throne will go in the hands of the progeny of Hansabai and Rana Lakha, without any interference from Rana Chunda or his descendants.
This was an absurd condition, considering how people were ready to shed blood and sacrifice all they hold dear just to own a throne, and sacrificing a kingdom as great as Mewar was definitely not something you would expect from any crowned prince.
However, everyone, including the Rao, was in for a shock for Rana Chunda actually agreed to the condition. Then and there he took the similar oath that had made Bhishma Devvrat immortal in the history. He renounced the throne and pledged that he would never interfere in the rule of Mewar and neither will his progeny.
Pleasantly surprised Rao returned to his kingdom, and the fated marriage took place soon after.
Hansabai, afterward, gave birth to the noble prince Kunwar Mokal, who became the Rana of Mewar after the death of his father Rana Lakha in 1741.
Rana Chunda kept his promise and even helped young Rana Mokal in the administration of Mewar. Furthermore, he even left the Mewar when the then Rajmata Hansabai accused him of plotting against the Rana Mokal. He then went to the capital of Malwa and there originated a new dynasty –Chundawat.
The oath of the Bhishma of Mewar led to many other incidences in the history, which otherwise wouldn’t have happened. But none of them shook the Rana from his promise, which he honored till his death, and became another testimony of the integrity of the Rajput rulers of the times bygones.