Rao Maldeo Rathore (r.1511 - November 7, 1562) was an Indian ruler of Marwar, which was later known as Jodhpur (in the present day Rajasthan state of India). He was a scion of the Rathore clan. His father was Rao Ganga and his mother was Rani Padmavati of Sirohi. The then Muslim historian Firishta calls him as the "most Potent Prince of Hindustan".
The period of Maldeo's reign was marked by the paucity of a dominant power in northern India. He had made the wall of Jodhpur city. In 1540, Humayun fled into exile after being displaced by Sher Shah Suri as ruler of the Delhi sultanate. The Sisodia rulers of Mewar were yet to recover from their defeat at Khanwa in 1527. Maldeo used the opportunity to extend his territory. He annexed Merta, Jaitaran, Siwana, Jalor, Tonk, Nagaur and Ajmer. His boundary at Jhajhar was only about fifty kilometers from Delhi. Conflict between Maldeo and Suri became inevitable.
Battle of Sammel and its aftermath
In 1543, Sher Shah Suri set out against Marwar with a huge force of 80,000 cavalry. With an army of 50,000 cavalry, Maldeo advanced to face Sher Shah's army. Instead of marching to the enemy's capital Sher Shah halted in the village of Sammel in the pargana of Jaitaran, ninety kilometers east of Jodhpur. After one month, Sher Shah's position became critical owing to the difficulties of food supplies for his huge army. To resolve this situation, Sher Shah resorted to a cunning ploy. One evening, he dropped forged letters near the Maldeo's camp in such a way that they were sure to be intercepted. These letters indicated, falsely, that some of Maldeo's army commanders were promising assistance to Sher Shah. This caused great consternation to Maldeo, who immediately (and wrongly) suspected his commanders of disloyalty. Maldeo left for Jodhpur with his own men, abandoning his commanders to their fate.
After that Maldeo's innocent generals Jaita and Kunpa fought with the just 20,000 men against an enemy force of 80,000 men. In the ensuing battle of Sammel (also known as battle of Giri Sumel), Sher Shah emerged victorious, but several of his generals lost their lives and his army suffered heavy losses. Sher Shah is said to have commented that "for a few grains of bajra (millet, which is the main crop of barren Marwar) I almost lost the entire kingdom of Hindustan."
After this victory, Sher Shah's general Khavass Khan took possession of Jodhpur and occupied the territory of Marwar from Ajmer to Mount Abu in 1544. But by July, Maldeo reoccupied his lost territories.