Maharani Durgavati-Saffron Swords by Manoshi Sinha
Tribute to Maharani Durgavati on her birth anniversary. She was born this day, the 5th of October in 1524. Maharani Durgavati led many battles to victory including one against Baz Bahadur, the Sultan of Malwa, and two against Mughals, herself commanding her army. It was the third battle that Rani Durgavati lost against Akbar’s Mughal forces where she attained Veergati.
Durgavati was an expert in the sciences, politics, administration, art of warfare including use of guns, archery, sword-fight, horse-riding, and hunting.
Following is an extract from #SaffronSwords Book II on the 3rd and last battle Maharani Durgavati fought against the Mughals:
“The Rani, positioned on her elephant, continued her resistance, killing the Mughal soldiers one after another with her bows and arrows. Her faithful followers begged her to retreat. But she continued to fight. A stray arrow struck her eye, yet she refused to leave despite being requested again for a retreat. And she continued to fight. Meanwhile, her small group of soldiers dwindled fast in front of her eyes as the enemy bullets hit them. Yet, undeterred, she continued shooting arrows at the Mughal soldiers unabated. And then another arrow hit her neck. She fell back, but immediately sat up and continued to fight. Her mahout begged for retreat, ready to take the mighty elephant out of the battlefield. Durgavati replied that she would either drive away the enemy or attain Veergati fighting in the battlefield. She knew her son might not be alive. With the wounds and the pain, with blood drenching her, Rani Durgavati was persistent in attacking the Mughals, until almost all of her soldiers attained Veergati in front of her eyes. Now the enemies approached her….”
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Attached image (sourced from Wikimedia) is a fresco-secco painting in tempera by Beohar Rammanohar Sinha, featuring Maharani Durgavati gearing up for the Battle of Narrai. This battle was led by the Maharani herself against Akbar’s Mughal forces at Narrai in Jabalpur region of MP, between a hilly range on one side and Gaur and Narmada rivers on the other side. This painting is exhibited in the Shaheed-Smarak in Jabalpur.
The conch (shankha) shown in the painting being worshipped before the war is a legacy carried forward since ancient times. The shankha was used as a war trumpet. The ‘Bhagavad Gita’ finds mention of several names of shankhas used by many warriors in battlefield – Krishna’s Pancajanya, Yudhisthira’s Anantavijaya, Arjuna’s Devadatta, Bhima’s Paundram, Nakula’s Sughosa, Sahadeva’s Manipuspaka, and the list goes on. I experienced goosebumps seeing this painting of Maharani Durgavati holding her sword and worshipping the shankha before the war.
Writer: Manoshi Sinha
From Book: Saffron Swords Paperback – by Manoshi Sinha
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