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Women

 

Vedic Seers

About 27 women have been mentioned among the seers who contributed to Vedas. Some of them are: Arundhati, Gargi, Maitrayi, Lopamudra, Ghosha and Vedavati.


Gargi

The learned and wise philosopher, daughter of sage Vachaknu, composed several hymns that question the origin of all existence.


Maitreyi

Maitreyi, the wife of Yajnavalkya, was well-versed in Vedas and was called Brahmavadini. About ten hymns of the Rg Veda are credited to her.


Didda

Didda was queen of the Kashmir king Khemgupta. She ruled Kashmir as a queen, guardian and ruler for 54 years from 950 to 1003 AD. An able administrator, who did not allow even a single revolt against her. She is described as a power hungry queen and also an excellent caretaker of her kingdom.


Raziya Sultan

Sultan Iltutmish had four sons and a daughter Raziya. During his last years, he nominated Raziya to the throne. (In 1236 AD)

In order to assert her claim, Raziya had to contend against her brothers as well as against powerful Turkish nobles. She successfully established law and order in her kingdom. In 1239 AD, an internal rebellion broke out in which Raziya was imprisoned and killed.


Rani Padmini

Rana Ratan Singh was ruling Mewad from Chittor. In 1320, Alauddin Khilji attacked Chittod to gain the heavenly beauty, Rani Padmini. Alauddin defeated Rana. But before he could reach the palace, the proud Rajput queen killed herself.


Kota Rani

Buddhist Rinchan became the king of Kashmir in troubled times. To gain support of the people, he married Kota. Kota was the daughter of the Army chief Ramchandra. Just for the sake of peace in Kashmir she married Rinchan, her fathers murderer.

Rinchan converted to Islam and adopted the name Malik Sadruddin. After his death, Kotarani became the queen of Kashmir. Udayandev attacked Kashmir with a strong army. Kota understood that it was difficult to fight him, she offered to marry Udayandev and make him the king of Kashmir. Though Udayandev became the king, Kotarani conducted all the administration.

When Persian Sardar Tatar attacked Kashmir, Udayandev fled to Tibet. Kota took the charge of army and defeated and killed Sardar Tatar. ( Udayandev returned after the victory.)

In 1343 Shahmir (a Muslim religious preacher) killed this brave queen Kotarani and became the king of Kashmir.


Panna Dai

In 1527, Rana Sangram Singh was killed in the battle of Sikri, against Babar. His infant son Udai Singh, was saved from his treacherous brother by the child's nurse, Panna. Panna sacrificed her own child to save the prince! After Udai Singh attained youth, he defeated his uncle and became the king of Chittod.


Rani Durgavati

After the death of king Dalpati, his wife Durgavati ruled Gondwana on behalf of her son Bir Bahadur. In 1564, the Mughal ruler Akbar sent a big army to capture the state. Mounting on an elephant, Maharani Durgavati fought with utmost bravery. Both mother and son were killed in this battle.


Rani Rupmati

Baz Bahadur and his beautiful wife Rani Rupmati ruled Malwa. The king did not maintain a strong army. In 1565, the Mughals defeated Baz Bahadur and captured his queen Rupmati. A proud Rajput, she killed herself.


Chandbibi

Chandbibi belonged to the Nizam family. In 1595, when Mughals attacked Ahemadnagar, she led the Nizam's army. Though she led her army to victory, she was killed in the battle.


Rani Chennamma of Keladi

The brave warrior queen ruled Keladi (Karnataka) from 1671-1696 AD. She successfully fought with the armies of Bijapur and Aurangzeb.


Tarabai

After Sambhaji's brutal death at the hands of Aurangzeb, his younger brother Rajaram, succeeded him. He fought for nearly 10 years, until his death.

After Rajaram, his wife Tarabai continued the struggle. She shifted the capital of Maratha empire to Karaveer (Kolhapur). The Marathas fought under her until the death of Aurangzeb in 1707. She continued to rule until Shahu, (son of Sambhaji) was brought back from the Mughals.


Ahilya Bai Holkar

Ahilya Bai Holkar ruled between 1767 and 1795. She ruled with a great skill and understanding. Her rule became proverbial for justice and wisdom. Her regin is described as one of the most uncorrupt rules.

She contributed to the heritage of India by establishing several religious edifices remarkable in architecture. The Kashi Vishweswar temple at Varanasi being notable among them. Her unique pan-Indian look is reflected in the fact that she built Dharmashalas at Badrinath and Rameshwaram, established Anna Chhatras at Dwarka, Jagannathpuri, Omkareshwar and Ujjain. She also established charitable institutions at Gaya, Varanasi, Ayodhya, Prayag, Haridwar and Pandharpur. She was at heart a queen of whole India rather than that of the Holkar kingdom.


Rani Lakshamibai

This brave Queen of Zansi was a rebel. The British introduced a law: If a king were to die without a natural hier, the kingdom would be annexed by the British. Lakshmibai's husband had died. She had adopted a child called Damodar, who was made the crown prince.

She declined to submit her kingdom to the British. She gained support from Tatya Tope, and Nana Saheb Peshwa. In 1857, she lost the battle against British, and was killed.


Rani Chennamma of Kittur

The queen of Kittur. In 1824 the British attacked Kittur (in Karnataka). Queen Chennamma took up the sword to fight against the British. She was captured and killed by the British in 1829. The fight started by her continued, even after her death. The leader Raianna, fought many battles with the British, in the following year. He was also caught and was hanged in 1830.


1858-1922: Pandita Ramabai

By the time she was twenty she could recite 18,000 verses from the Bhagwata Purana. Later she also learnt the Vedas. Scholars in Calcutta, called her 'Saraswati', and 'Pandita'.

After the death of her husband, she was moved by the plight of the widows. She went to England and America to study. She supported herself by teaching Sanskrit. She accepted Christanity. In 1890 established a shelter Sharada Sadan for women, in Pune.


Dr. Anandibai Joshi

Anandibai was the first Bharatiya woman to become a doctor. With support and encouragement from her husband; Gopal Joshi, Anandi learnt to read and write. Later she went to America to get medical education.

After completing her studies, she came back with an intention to treat the women folk. In those days, women did not receive medical aid as it was administered by a male Doctor or Vaidya. Unfortunately, Anandibai died (due to tuberculosis) within months of reaching home.


1917-1984: Indira Gandhi

The prime minister of India (1966-1977; 1980-1984). In the modern times very few women have had the honour to be the administrative head of a country. A brilliant personality and an able administrator. Took some great decisions like the 1971 creation of Bangladesh. She was also responsible for some irrepairable damage to the country; like: imposing emergency during 1975-1977.
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