Saturday, 19 December 2015

Daring exploits of Muslim woman ruler Chand Bibi - 01.


Chand Bibi (1550–1599 CE).www.snipview.com

Several centuries ago in the Muslim kingdoms just like Hindu kingdoms, the  power of ruling the land  was vested with only males.  Ranies and Begams in their royal palaces were busy attending the daily routine chores, including personal care of the rulers, their children, their needs, etc. The male hegemony in the royal ruling class continued uninterrupted for centuries.  However, in a kingdom or sultanate  where there  was  no eligible male member to succeed the throne , the woman members never minded donning the role of  male warriors and successfully defended their land against the invading  armies  as  well  as local enemies, and  in doing so,  they got a name  for themselves by saving the land and restoring   the  legacy  of  the  ruling class.  Further, they successfully  proved  that women  were equally capable and had the ability to prove their worth  if an opportunity was given to them.  Despite  the prevalence  of  gender bias  in the by-gone days, one  Chand Bibi of Bijapur sultanate was such a daring woman who was never cowed down  in defending her land, her people and the prestige of her dynasties.


Chand Bibi (1550–1599 CE), the Regent of Bijapur (now in Karnataka state) (1580–90) and Regent of Ahmednagar (1596–99) (now in Maharastra state) was a well known Muslim warrior,  known for her valor and wisdom. Daughter of Hussain Nizam Shah I of Ahmednagar, and the sister of Burhan-ul-Mulk, the Sultan of Ahmednagar, she  was a polyglot, well versed in  many languages, including Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Marathi and Kannada. Her husband was  Ali Adil Shah I of the Bijapur Sultanate. After  her father-in-law and ruler  Ibrahim Adil Shah I 's unexpected death in 1580, there was some power struggle among  the Sunni nobles, the Habshis and the Deccanies  who had  equal  share  in the power as per the wish of the ruler. The  Shia nobles  declared  nine-year-old  nephew  Ibrahim Adil Shah II as the ruler and Chand Bibi, became the regent during his minority from 1580 to 1584. When  Ibrahim Adil Shah's sister married Miran Hussain, son of the ruler of Ahmednagar and brother of Chand Bibi, she also moved over to Ahmednagar. Mean while Kamal Khan, a Deccani  military  general  seized power  and became a regent. with support from  Haji  Kishvar  Khan,  another Deccani  General  Chand Bibi eliminated  Kamal  Khan and  now Haji Kishvar Khan, became the regent.

Chand Bibi's Tomb, Ahmednagar.en.wikipedia.org

Subsequently Haji Kishvar Khan, declared war on the  Ahmednagar Sultanate at  Dharaseo, after the stunning  victory, he turned against  Chand Bibi. Not discouraged Chand Bibi,  in collusion with one  General  Mustafa,  tried to eliminate Haji  Kishvar Khan. Luck was in favor of  Kishvar Khan who came to know about the plot to kill him well before hand. The moment he heard the conspiracy,  he sent his troops, captured Gen. Mustafa and killed him later.. In the wake of this political debacle,  Chand Bibi was  captured and  imprisoned in  Satara (now in Maharastra)  and Haji  Kishvar Khan became a self-proclaimed ruler.

Haji Kishvar Khan, being arrogant and despotic,  did not maintain good relationship with other generals and nobles. He became unpopular among them and the generals were waiting for an opportunity to throw him off power. A Habshi (an ethnic group descended from Bantu peoples from SE Africa)  general called  Ikhlas Khan with his army fought a fierce battle and at last Haji  Kishvar Khan tried  to escape to  Golkonda kingdom (present day Telengana state).  On the way he was caught and  killed by a relative of Mustafa Khan. With the elimination all her enemies,  Chand Bibi became the ruler and Ikhlas Khan, the regent. Soon Ikhlas Khan, attracted by the trappings of a powerful post,  acted against the interest of Chand Bibi, so she removed him  from the post. In the meantime  the  ruler  of  Ahmednagar  had  an  alliance  with  the  Sultan  of Golconda, Qutb Shahi Taking advantage of the political instability at Bijapur,  their  army  attacked  the armies of  Chand Bibi. At their  request the  Maratha  rulers came to the  rescue of  Chand Bibi, attacked  the  enemy supply  lines  and drove the combined armies of Golconda and Ahmednagar.

After the defeat of Ikhlas Khan,  later another Habshi  General Dilavar Khan became regent 1582 to 1591. When normalcy and order were restored Chand  Bibi returned  to Ahmednagar to lead the kingdom.

In  all  her  struggles,  as a leader of Bijapur, against various powerful rulers,  Chand  Bibi  never  lacked her  spirit and fighting qualities. She, rather had  put her temporary set backs way behind her mind  and  moved  forward  with more vigor and confidence, That is the reason  why  many military generals sought her collaboration and  had abiding trust in her. She became a successful ruler of Bijapur  Sultanate.


Ref:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chand_Bibi