Rani Durgavati was a Chandel Rajput. She was born at the Kalinjar fort, Banda, Uttar Pradesh. Chandel Rajputs were the builders of the beautiful city of Khajurao,which had 85 magnificent temples, of which 22 still survive.
She inherited the Gond Kingdom after her husband, Dalpat Shah died in 1550 A.D. As Vir Narayan, her son was too young at that time, Durgavati took the reins of the Gond kingdom in her hands.. Baj Bhadur after ascending the throne of Malwa in 1556 A.D., attacked the Gond kingdom but his army was routed. His defeat was so decisive that he never dared attack Rani Durgavati’s kingdom ever again.
Thereafter, in 1564 A.D., the Mughal Emperor, Akbar decided to invade Rani’s kingdom and sent a cavalry of 50,000 with heavy artillery, under the command of Abdul Mazid Khan.
Rani Durgavati organized her defences at a valley near Narrai in Madhya Pradesh. Her forces were flanked by hills on one side and the rivers Narmada and Gaur on the other. When Muslim forces entered from both sides of the valley, Rani’s small army fought with exemplary bravery and pushed back Mughals on both sides. After a fierce battle, Rani’s army emerged victorious.
During night time, her army came out of the valley and camped in the open areas. Rani Durgavati discussed further strategy with her generals and wanted to attack the Mughals in the night. However, her generals dissuaded her against such an action. This delay allowed the Mughals to haul their heavy artillery near the battlefield.
Next morning the battle started again. Rani’s young son, Bir Narayan, pushed back the Mughals thrice, but was injured fighting and was taken away from the battlefield. However, Rani did not give up. Riding her elephant, Samran, she led the attack; but she was ultimately struck by two arrows and she realized her end was near.
Her generals wanted her to retreat, but she decided against it and instead used her “katar”(dagger) to kill herself and enter Maha Samadhi (the abode of God). Rani Durgavati was an outstanding example of Rajput bravery.
Children, this land of Bharat has given birth to many such brave souls like Rani Durgavati, who were ready to sacrifice everything, even their lives for the Motherland. Let us take inspiration from these great souls and pledge to devote our life for the Motherland.