Padmavati and Rajput Women – warriors behind the purdah!

While I whole heartedly criticise the vandalism and attacks on the eminent director-producer Mr Sanjay Leela Bhansali as well as actors associated with it, I earnestly hope that the film ‘Padmavati’ does not show the Rajput queen – Rani Padmini in a dishonourable light.

She is revered as a Veerangana (courageous lady) by not only the Rajput clan but all of India. More than her resplendent, flawless beauty, it was her fierce stance to defend her honour that made Rani Padmini into a legend. Do you remember the lines from the famous song – ‘Aao Bachon Tumhe Dikhayein…’ (Jagriti) –
“Yeh Hai Apna Rajaputana Naj Ise Talavaro Pe, Isane Sara Jivan Kata Barachhee Tir Kataro Pe.

Yeh Pratap Kaa Vatan Pala Hai Aajadee Ke Naaro Pe, Kud Padee Thee Yaha Hajaro Padminiyan  Angaron Mein”

The last line here says it all! Thousands of brave women like Rani Padmini performed Jauhar (mass sacrifice) and jumped into fire to protect their honour from enemies.

Rajput men have a special place in the history of India and great warriors like Maharana Pratap, Rana Sanga, Prithviraj Chauhan, Veer Kunwar Singh etc have been a part of this clan. But Rajput women were no less.

Fed on stories of great, courageous leaders since childhood, they upheld honour and valour in the highest regard. True, they observed purdah (veil) but that did not mean they meekly followed male authority. They had immense self respect and pride in lineage and tradition. These women were warriors in thought and spirit from behind the purdah. They were often well educated and would learn all the battlefield skills from the very start.

Even the commoners were skilled in warfare. These ladies were no damsels in distress, they could cook as well as kill with the same expertise.

The legendary story of Hadi Rani underscores the lofty ideals and pride of a Rajput lady. She cut her head when she felt that her husband was so much enamoured by her beauty that he was reluctant to go to the battlefield.

According to wikipedia, “When Maharana Raj Singh I (1653–1680) of Mewar called Hadi Rani’s husband to join the battle against Aurangzeb, the Sardar, having married only a few days earlier hesitated about going into battle. Rajput honour being what it is, he had to join the battle regardless of his reservations. He asked his wife Hadi Rani for some memento to take with him to the battlefield.

Thinking that she was an obstacle to his doing his duty for Mewar, she cut off her head and put it on a plate in her dying moments. A servant covered it with a cloth and presented it to her husband. The Sardar, devastated but nevertheless proud, tied the memento around his neck by its hair. He fought bravely, making Aurangzeb’s army flee.” (Source: Wikipedia).

Another rebel of sorts was the devotee Mira bai, who drank poison in the name of her God Krishna but did not compromise with her ideals. Then there were Rani Durgabati, Rani Karnavati, Rani Chanderi who like Rani Padmini refused to submit to enemies and committed Jauhar (mass sacrifice) to defend their honour. They preferred to die rather than be defiled by blood stained hands of intruders.

These brave women have left hand prints for posterity to remember them. It must have taken unimanigable courage to go through the act but it was better than being brutalized by the enemy.

For Rajput women of yore, committing adultery even in dream, thought, word or under any circumstance was unacceptable. So, they preferred death. This is precislely the reason why Mr Bhansali should tread these lines carefully.

I am hopeful that Mr Bhansali will do justice to Rani Padmini in his film ‘Padmavati’ so that our kids get a new understanding of the words – Honour, Pride, Valour and Integrity.

44 thoughts on “Padmavati and Rajput Women – warriors behind the purdah!

  1. I am yet to see the cited film, Shivangi, but I admire Rajputs and Rajasthan, as it truly is a place of royalty as signified by name of the place. As you have rightly pointed out, Rani Padmini is liked by all of India for her many exploits and acts of valour. For your information, I may add that the first ship to be launched way back in 1980s out of Cochin Shipyard, the country’s biggest shipyard, is named after Rani Padmini. This is inspite of the valorous exploits of Unniaarcha, another legendary veeraangana in Kerala’s ancient history. Three cheers for Rajasthan…👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow… that is truly useful information Sir, thank you for sharing it! I would love to read more about Unniaarcha….India is full of great women like them. I hope the movie does not reduce them to be a mere thing of romance… yes, three cheers of Rajasthan! Thanks for enlightening us, Sir!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. sherinsk

    shivangi sorry for asking this doubt can delete these comments later if you want ok?is your blog paid one?can those tweets you put in your blog be put on free blog sites like mine?How?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No mine is not paid one.. there is a tab called publicise… select twitter, facebook etc …you have to connect your account with social media and your posts will automatically show on FB twitter etc.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Mere phone mein provision hai Sherin bhai! And ye male oriented person kaisa hota hai. The post is all about giving our great ladies their due! And I remember you told me to use GIF image… now connect your WP accounts to twitter and facebook. Happy blogging!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. sherinsk

    shivangi sometimes just by looking at the title of a post i make judgements.This is a superb post.You are saying some of these women chose to die rather than getting raped or something by enemies?correct me if i am wrong ok?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I found this an interesting and educational read, Shivangi. It was good to find out a little about such courageous people in India’s past. I hadn’t heard about the film or the attacks on its director-producer, but I can see why you hope he doesn’t cast a dishonourable light on Rani Padmini.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot Millie… Jauhar and Sati (suttee… I am sure you must have heard of this practice where wives burnt themselves on the funeral pyre of their husbands) were prevalent in those times. While Sati was despicable, Jauhar was performed to escape from the brutalizations that followed after the surrender of a fort. Rani Padmini was very beautiful and it is said that she was the reason for the battle between her husband and the ruler Alaudin Khilji… Khilji from Delhi attacked Chittor fort but she performed Jauhar along with the ladies of the court before the fort fell.


  5. Your concern and sharing this story also brings history and tales of honor, wisdom, and heroism to other countries. My hope is that someday, technology and the internet will bring all people together, and perhaps end war and hatred and terrorism. We are all people living on the same planet for a short time. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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