Modern Indian History-Events and Personalities

Who was Rani Durgavati?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Rani Durgavati

Mains level: NA

rani durgavati

Central Idea

  • The recent launch of the Rani Durgavati Gaurav Yatra by the Madhya Pradesh government has sparked interest in the life and legacy of Rani Durgavati.
  • As a symbol of India’s self-determination and bravery, Rani Durgavati’s story has gained prominence in political discourse, particularly in relation to tribal outreach.

Who was Rani Durgavati?

  • Birth and lineage: Rani Durgavati was born in 1524 in the Chandela dynasty in present-day Uttar Pradesh, near the border with Madhya Pradesh. Her father was Raja Salbahan of Ratha and Mahoba, known for the famous Khajuraho temples.
  • Marriage and widowhood: She married Dalpat Shah, the son of Gond King Sangram Shah of the kingdom of Garha-Katanga. However, she was widowed a few years later and took charge of ruling the kingdom.

Mughal Attack on Garha-Katanga

  • Early Mughal expansion: During the mid-16th century, Akbar led the Mughal Empire’s expansion in India. Rani Durgavati fought against Baz Bahadur, the Sultan of Malwa, who was eventually defeated by Akbar. However, conflicts between the two states continued.
  • Rani Durgavati’s leadership: Rani Durgavati managed the affairs of the kingdom for 16 years, maintaining trade relations and undertaking public works. She was admired for her beauty, grace, courage, and prosperity.

Battle and Sacrifice

  • Mughal invasion: The Mughal governor Asaf Khan launched an attack on Garha-Katanga, drawn by tales of Rani Durgavati’s bravery and prowess.
  • Her strategy: She positioned her troops in a challenging forested area called Narhi. Although she won the initial battle, the Mughals fortified their position.
  • Sacrifice and defeat: During the prolonged fighting, Rani Durgavati was struck by arrows and, rather than surrendering, is believed to have stabbed herself with her dagger. Her son also lost his life. Asaf Khan consolidated his victory and later returned the kingdom to a member of the Gond dynasty.

Legacy and Present-day Politics

  • Political symbolism: Rani Durgavati is hailed as a patriotic ruler and defender of culture, becoming a symbol of pride and honor. .
  • Tribal outreach: The renaming of public spaces after tribal leaders reflect efforts to engage with tribal communities, which constitute a significant population in Madhya Pradesh.

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