Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Courageous Queen (Rani) Durgavati who fought the Mogul army

Queen Durgavati Maravi. Free Hindi ebooks - WordPress.com
Durgavati Maravi (October 5, 1524 – June 24, 1564), a ruling Queen of Gondwana from 1550 until 1564 was born in the family of famous Rajput Chandel Emperor Rornai of Chandel dynasty. Her father was Keerat Rai. King Vidyadhar of Chandel dynasty was known to have resisted the attacks of Mahmud of Ghazni The fort of Kalinjar (Banda, Uttar Pradesh) is steeped in Indian history during the battle against Gazni.

Durgavati's wedding  in 1542, with Dalpat Shah, the eldest son of king Sangram Shah of Gond Dynasty forged an alliance between  two powerful  Chandel and Gond dynasties . This resulted in Keerat Rai gaining the help of the Gonds.
Queen Durgavati Maravi. Exotic India in
 After Durgavati gave birth to a son in 1545, her husband  Dalpat Shah died in 1550. As her son Vir Narayan was very young,  Durgavati took the mantle of governing  the Gond kingdom and soon made a name for herself as a good ruler with ample support from  Diwan / Prime Minister Beohar Adhar Simha and minister Man Thakur.  They, in all possible ways, helped the Rani look  after the administration successfully and effectively. Rani intelligently made a strategic move by shifting  her capital to Chauragarh in place of Singaurgarh.  The advantage she had was the fort  was located strategically on the Satpura hill range, a difficult terrain for the enemy to attack the place.

Portrait of  Queen Durgavati Maravien.wikipedia.org

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After the death of Sher Shah, Sujat Khan captured Malwa and was succeeded by his son Baz Bahadur, son and successor of Sujat Khan who  had kept Malwa.  In 1556  he made  a futile attempt to  attack Rani Durgavati  that resulted in  heavy losses to his army. Later in 1962 Akbar defeated Baz Bahadur and brought Malwa under the Mogul rule and now Akbar and Rani  Durgavati shared a common boundary between them. Now, Rewa became a part of Mogul empire and General Khwaja Abbdul Majid Asaf Khan, a valiant warrior was behind the capture of  Rewa and this encouraged  him to attack Rani Durgavati's  rich kingdom.
When Rani heard about the plan of the Mogul General to declare war on her, despite Diwan Beohar Adhar Sinha's warning about the powerful Mogul army, she decided to defend her kingdom with all her might  at any cost.
Indian potage stamp, 1988. iStampGallery.Com
Facing a mighty Mogul army by a woman ruler was not an easy job, but Rani Durgavati, being aware of her shortcomings, chose a defensive battle in a strip of land at Narrai between a mountainous range on one side and two rivers Gaur and Narmada on the other side. The Mogul army had well trained soldiers backed by advanced war weapons, whereas Rani had to manage with poorly trained  soldiers with inferior weapons. In the ensuing battle, her  Faujdar  Arjun Das was killed and unmoved  Rani had decided to lead the defence herself. When the enemy got into the valley,  Rani's soldiers   attacked them from the vantage points. Both sides suffered heavy  loses, but, Rani fought  spiritedly on the battle ground  and came out victorious. By chasing the mighty Mogul army she achieved the impossible advantage. 

Having gained considerable advantage in the battle against the Mogul army, against the wish of her advisors to show restraints, queen Duragavati  wanted to take the enemy by surprise, attacking them in the night to render them  powerless. Following morning Rani went to the battle field, riding her elephant and  Asaf Khan had already  summoned  far better big guns to face Rani's army. Her son Vir Narayan  fought the battle with velour, using various ploys and succeeded in keeping the Mogul army at bay. But, at last was wounded and had to retire to a safe place to avoid capture.  In the course of battle Rani too  got injured badly near her ear with an arrow. She fell to the ground unconscious after another arrow had pierced her neck. After regaining consciousness, she realized her grave offencive move did not work well as planned  and defeat became  imminent. Refusing her mahout's advice to  leave the battlefield, Durgavati in a flash took out her dagger and killed herself on June 24, 1564 at the age of 39. Her intention was not to be captured by the Mogul army and later facing humiliation and maltreatment.

Queen Durgavati proved a woman could become brave enough to fight in the battle as valiant warriors, if necessity  arose, to save her country ' honor and the people at any cost. Till her last breath she never wilted under stressed situation and came back with vigor like a Phoenix bird. Besides being a woman warrior, she was a lover of arts.  The  famed sculptures in the popular  temples of Khajuraho and Kalinjar Fort bear testimony to the patronage given by her ancestry in temple sculptures and designs.  Rani Duregavati Maravi's  indomitable spirit and wisdom has added  yet another chapter in the glorious history of her ancestral courage of conviction and commitments.

To honor her courage and wisdom,  the Madhya Pradesh state Government in 1983,  renamed the University of Jabalpur as Rani Durgavati Vishwavidyalaya.  In her memory, Government of India issued a postal-stamp, commemorating her death, on 24 June 1988. The train  service between Jabalpur Junction and Jammutawi is named  as Durgavati Express (11449/11450)
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Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rani_Durgavati