Rani Durgavatis Surrender and Gondwana Kingdoms glorious history

Rani Durgavatis Surrender and Gondwana Kingdoms glorious history
Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Dr. Mohan Yadav

- Dr Mohan Yadav

Bhopal : Tuesday, January 2, 2024, Jabalpur is the cultural capital of Madhya Pradesh. It occupies a glorious place in history. Jabalpur copiously finds mention in every era. This is the birthplace of sage Jabali in the Vedic period. In the medieval period, Jabalpur's struggle has been unique in many ways. The residents of this region have bravely thwarted every attack. This bravery is expressed in the struggle and supreme sacrifice of great martyr Rani Durgavati. Jabalpur is a sacred land of supreme sacrifices. The brave queen Durgavati fought against Akbar's huge army in this region. The martial skills, bravery and diplomacy of formidable Rani Durgavati are expressive in Kalinjar.

The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has expressed his profound commitment towards welfare and prosperity of scheduled tribes on the occasion of 500th birth anniversary of Rani Durgavati. The Madhya Pradesh Government is marching on with a deep commitment for realising the Prime Minister's vision. Rani Durgavati was known for her good governance and golden era of administration, which is a golden chapter in the history. It is a matter of happiness that the newly formed Cabinet is holding its first meeting at Jabalpur, which witnessed Rani Durgavati's good governance.

Born on October 5, 1524 to Chandela king Kirat Singh Shalivahan of Kalinjar, Rani Durgavati became skilled in weapons and studied scriptures even in her childhood. She grew up listening to heroic tales of war and bravery and watching the practice of weaponry . Sher Shah Suri attacked Kalinjar. Rani was then 20 years old. When the king was injured in war, the brave Durgavati adopted a diplomatic step. She sent a message intending to surrender with a handsome gifts. The gates of the fort were opened. When Sher Shah was about to enter, cannons were opened from the Kalinjar fort. Sher Shah tried to escape but failed and and died there. This incident is dated 21 May 1545. With this strategy and fighting skills of the brave Rani Durgavati, the aggressor Sher Shah Suri was killed and the people of India heaved a sigh of relief. This historic event has rarely been mentioned in the public.

Chandela princess of Rath Mahoba came to Jabalpur in 1542 after marrying King Dalpat Shah of Gondwana. The Gondwana kingdom consisted of Seoni, Panna, Chhindwara, Bhopal, Hoshangabad now Narmadapuram, Bilaspur, Dindori, Mandla, Narsinghpur, Katni and Nagpur.

When the king of this huge kingdom, Dalpat Shah, died untimely, the dutious Rani, undisturbed by the loss, took over the administration by enthroning her son Veer Narayan. During her 15 years of rule, the Queen got many construction works done. The Queen was deeply committed to welfare of people. Her works are evident her determination. She gave priority to construction of reservoirs, bridges and roads so that the forest produce from remote forests on the banks of Narmada could be traded easily and farmers could irrigate their fields from the reservoirs. Amazing constructions like Ranital, Cherital, Adhartal in Jabalpur are reflective of the Queen's vision and scientific approach.

The safety of and respect for women was the firemost priority in the administration of Rani Durgavati. For the security of the kingdom, Rani built many forts and many were renovated. The result of protection for agriculture and business was that Gondwana became a prosperous kingdom. People used to pay taxes with gold coins. Queen's representatives lived in 12 thousand villages for justice and social order. Rani herself used to address public issues.

The progressive and upholder of Justice, Rani never attacked to expand her kingdom, but defeated all three attacks by Baz Bahadur of Malwa. Akbar jealous of the prosperity of the Gondwana, the administration of Rani, her military skills and bravery. Akbar sent a team of 42 thousand horsemen, 40 thousand infantry and a huge army rich in cannon, bullets and gunpowder under the leadership of Asaf Khan and attacked the Gondwana kingdom.

Rani Durgavati had only two options. One is complete surrender and the other is complete destruction. The self-respecting Rani took up arms to protect her independence. She used to say – “The ultimate truth of life is death, which has to be accepted tomorrow, why not today.” With this announcement, she took a position on the hills of Vidhya holding a sword. This was the second attack by Asaf Khan after he was defeated in the first one. In this fierce battle, when the Gondwana army started stepping back due to the artillery fire near Narai Nullah near Barha village of Jabalpur, the flood in drains blocked the way. Rani understood the situation. For the sake of self-respect, she sacrificed by stabbing herself with a dagger.

Rani Durgavati today is a symbol of self-respect and freedom . The tradition of sacrifice by Rani Durgavati was followed by many brave women. Raja Shankarshah and his son Raghunath Shah, descendants of Rani Durgavati, were shot by the British for participating in the great battle of 1857 and writing poetry. King Shankarshah's wife Gond Rani Phulkunwar collected the remains of her husband and son and cremated them and led the war of 1857 from her territory along with the revolutionary soldiers of the 52nd Infantry. Finally, when she was surrounded by the enemy in the battlefield, Rani Phoolkunwar stabbed herself with a dagger.

Generations of Gondwana kingdom carried forward the sacrificial tradition of Rani Durgavati for the freedom and self-respect of Mother India. The generations to come will always be proud of the sacrifice of Rani Durgavati and her descendants for defending the Nation, self-respect and freedom.

 (The author is Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh)