Rani Durgavati who challenged tyrant Akbar

 Rani Durgavati who challenged tyrant Akbar

(Today is Birthday of Rani Durgavati)

Painting from Akbarnama (completed in 1590) shows Rani Durgavati of Gondwana Kingdom shot by arrows in the battlefield by Akbar's Mughal forces. She subsequently attained Veeragati and today is her Punyatithi

"Better to die with glory than live with ignominy"- Rani Durgavati's words on the day of her death as recorded in Abul Fazl's Akbarnama

After these arrows were shot, the Brave Rani plucked them out of her body. She had been shot on her temple and neck. She fell unconscious. On regaining consciousness, she asked her minister to kill her, as she knew her battle was all but lost. When he refused and instead proposed that he would take her out of the battlefield to someplace safe, the Rani said "it is better to die like a warrior in the battlefield" and stabbed herself rather than run away from the battle or surrender to the Mughals

This battled ended Rani Durgavati's streak of 51 continous victories against her rivals such as Baz Bahadur of Malwa and Miana Afghans of Bengal

Who was Rani Durgavati?

Rani Durgavati was one of the bravest queens India has ever produced. She ruled Gondwana kingdom for 16 years as a nominal queen. She was praised even by her adverseries for her " courage, counsel and munificence"(Akbarnama). She was the daughter of Raja Salbahan Chandela.

Her kingdom was surrendered by Muslim kingdoms on all sides. Baz Bahadur of Malwa to the west, Afghans to the east, Akbar to the North and Berar Sultanate to the south.

Her kingdom extended from Raisen in Madhya Pradesh to Ratanpur in Jharkhand. She was brave warrior and herself led her army into the battlefield, as noted by her contemporary adversaries. She was skilled in Archery and Gun Fight.

"She was a good shot with gun and arrow, and continually went a hunting, and shot animals of the chase with her gun"- Writes Abul Fazl.

Expectedly, she had to bear the brunt of their invasions.

But, "She had great contests with Bāz Bahādur and the Mīānas, and was always victorious" wrote the Mughal court poet Abul Fazl.

Her final battle however was against the most powerful emperor of that age viz Akbar. He sent 7 generals and a vast Mughal army to subdue Gondwana.

It was at Nahri that she first clash with the Mughal forces. In this battle, she emerged victorious. She then proposed to her officers that they should attack and eliminate Mughal camp at night. The Rajput officers, true to their tradition, refused this proposal of Rani Karnavati of attacking at night. Rani died the very next day, outnumbered by the mighty Mughal army.

(I have highlighted Rani Durgavati in Green)

Source of the painting- Victoria and Albert Museum Collection


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