Rani Durgavati – The Queen Who Defeated Akbar Three Times

Introduction

Durgavati Maravi, legendary by the name of Rani Durgavati, was a marvel of the Rajput Gharana. Born on 5th October in 1524 A.D. she had the genes of the famous Rajput Chandel Emperor Keeratt Rai. She, like all Rajput Emperors, defines that a Rajput Empress too had the same Rajput blood that never accept defeat. Rani’s deft governance set an example among all rulers of contemporary and forthcoming times. Rani Durgavati was not only a ruler of valor; she was a patron of Art. It was under her regime that the world famous sculptures of the Khajuraho and Kalinjar Fort were sculpted. Thus her birth and governance was illustrious and she is a pride of Bharat Varsha.

A statue of Rani Durgavati in Jabalpur

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Early days

Rani Durgavati did not have a cake walk to the throne. She was born inside the fort of Kaalanjar which is now at Uttar Pradesh in Bharat Varsha. Being an heir of the Rajput Chandel family, famous for their Muslim resistance against Mehmood Ghaznavi, Rani took upon herself to glorify their ancestral legends.

She was married to the eldest son of King Sangram Shah of the Gond Dynasty, Dalpatpat Shah in 1542. This relation brought the two dynasties closer to each other. The united battle of the Chandels and the Gonds against the invasion of Shershah Suri culminated in the death of Shershah. Rajput Chandel King Keerat Rai emerged victorious with the aid of his son-in-law Dalpat Shah.

In 1545, Vir Narayan was born. He was the son of Dalpat Shah and Rani Durgavati. The death of Dalpat Shah in 1550 demanded a strong candidate for the empty throne. Vir Narayan was too young for the purpose. So, Rani Durgavati with valor enthroned herself as the Queen of the Gond Dynasty. Her administrative skills reflect from her very first step after enthronement, shifting her capital to Chauragarh from Singaurgarh. The positioning of the new capital had immense strategic importance being on the top of the Satpura Hills.

 

The Khajuraho Temple situated in Madhya Pradesh

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Career at a glance

Rani Durgavati is a pride of Bharat Varsha and her endeavors are in golden in books in history. She was not only a courageous ruler but she was also a patron of art. Her career depicts her efficient and strategic rule.

  • The first attack was brought on Rani’s Gond Dynasty by the Malwa ruler Bajbahadur. Rani fought valiantly repulsing Bajbahadur, causing huge casualties in his army. Thus Bajbahadur was permanently silenced and Rani got her first feather on her throne.
  • Rani’s deft rule was under the observation of the Mughal Subehdar Abdul Majid Khan. He was extremely eager to grasp Rani’s territories with the orders of his superior – the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Rani was aware of the strength of the Mughal army but she thought that dying in the battle like a brave was more prestigious than fleeing and living the life of a coward. She planned strategically and resisted the Mughal army for a long time.
  • Her bravery and determination is marked on the fact that she had the guts to confront the Mughal army alone on her elephant with the aid of her son. This valorous confrontation forced the Mughal army to move three times back.
  • Rani could have fled the battle field taking advice of her mahout (elephant pilot) but she chose to stab herself with her own dagger than to compromise with defeat.
The Battle of Narrai

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Rani Durgavati

Rani’s first encounter brought her name and fame and established her as one of the deft Rajput rulers of Bharat Varsha. The demise of Shershah left his throne vacant for Surat Khan who took the reins of the Malwa territory. He was succeeded by his son Bajbahadur who had a love boy image amidst contemporary for his love affair with Rani Roopmati.

Soon after ascending the throne Bajbahadur was confident enough to seize the territory of a feminine ruler with ease. He attacked the Gond territory of Rani Durgavati with dreams of annexing it. But soon he was made aware of the power of Rani Durgavati with heavy casualties in his army and a humorous defeat. This slayed Bajbahadur’s arrogance and silenced him for the rest of his life.

This victory over Bajbahadur made Rani very popular amidst the contemporary rulers and emperors. One of them was Mughal Subehdar Abdul Majid Khan. The Mughal invasion over Bajbahadur and the Mughal annexation of the Malwa territories had extended the Mughal borders until Rani’s State. So the empire of Rani Durgavati was under Mughal surveillance for further Mughal expansionism. Thus the situation was set for the ambitious Mughal Subehdar to attack the Rani’s province n approval of his superior – Mughal Emperor Akbar.

Rani Durgavati’s counselors warned Rani about the consequences of confronting the trained army with modern weapons of the Mughal Emperor. But she set the example of undefiable courage in antagonizing the Mughal army with all her strength instead of accepting defeat and living a dishonorable life. She made her strategies very intelligently. She chose a location with geographical advantage. Narrai Valley was her point of resistance offering natural defense of the Satpura hills on one side and the two rivers Gaur and Narmada on the other.

Rani lost her Fauzdar Arjoon Das in the battle and planned to pioneer the battle herself. She confronted the Mughal army as they entered the Valley and fought valorously until she tasted victory and rushed the Mughals out of the valley with huge casualties. This was an immense victory against the modern weapon aided Mughal trained army and this depicts the immense courage, confidence and self-determination that run through the veins of Rajputans of Bharat Varsha. Though being a woman she was never harnessed under any circumstances. She had her sense of self-esteem and always guarded it with valor.

This defeat of the Mughals insisted them to summon more powers as the Mughal Asaf Khan called in for more army and weapons from the Mughal superior. Rani was aware of her strengths and she consequently planned to outwit the Mughals with a surprise attack at night though she was turned down by her lieutenants. The next dawn Rani set off for the war alone on her elephant Sarman. She was aided by her brave son Vir Narayan who forced the great Mughal army to step three times back. His courageous confrontation with the Mughal army was terminated by an injury for which he was forced to resign the war and move to a protected place.

Rani Durgavati

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Rani was also injured by an arrow that struck her ears. Her neck was also pierced by another arrow which made her unconscious. Soon gaining consciousness Rani was aware of the imminent defeat. Instead of saving her life and fleeing the battlefield Rani stabbed herself with her own dagger. Such prominent was her self-esteem and such valorously she defended it. Her sacrifice of life is recorded in history and Rani as a Martyr of the Bharat Varsha. The day of her heroic death on 24th June 1564 is honored even today and is observed as “Balidan Divas”.

The Place in Jabalpur where Rani Durgavati died

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Conclusion

Rani Durgavati is an imminent illustrious character of the Rajput Gharana of Bharat Varsha. Her respect and patriotism still creates waves amidst souls of every Bharatiya. Her patronage of art amidst her bravery, administrative skills, self-esteem and patriotism depicts the beauty and purity of her heart and makes her immortal among every Bharatiya.

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By: Hindutva staff on Tuesday, May 5th, 2015