12 Jun 2015

The Legend of Rani Padmini, Queen of Chittor

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You all must have heard of Rani Padmini, the (mystery) queen of Chittor. Following is the popular legend of Rani Padmini:—The Delhi Sultan Ala-ud-din Khilji (1296-1316) decided to conquer Chittor (the capital of Mewar) having heard of the beauty of its queen Rani Padmini. She was the wife of Rawal Ratan Singh, the Rana of Chittor (1303). Ala-ud-din marched his army to Chittor and laid siege to that place. He then sent a message to the Rana promising to raise the siege if he would let him meet the famous queen. When the Rajputs turned down this proposal, Ala-ud-din acceded to the proposal of seeing her through a mirror. His request was finally granted. The Sultan entered the fort slightly guarded and having gratified his wish, returned. The Rana accompanied him to the outer gate as their custom. At this time, Ala-ud-din treacherously made the Rana a prisoner and demanded the surrender of Padmini for his liberty. The Rani accepted Ala-ud-din's terms and played a clever trick to release her husband and save her own honour. She sent word to Ala-ud-din that she will come to his camp on the next day attended by her handmaidens. Early next morning, a long line of palanquins entered Ala-ud-din's camp. They were set down within a tent. Half an hour was granted for the parting meeting between the Rana and his queen. At this time, an armed band of Rajputs forth sprang from the palanquins and fell upon Ala-ud-din's army in surprise. After slaughtering the guards, the Rajputs freed the Rana and took him back to Chittor. Ala-ud-din pursued him and began a fierce attack on Chittor. When the fall of Chittor was certain, the Rajput women including their queen performed Jauhar. The Rajputs died the heroic death and the Rana died fighting to the end.


James Tod also tell us a similar story but according to him, Padmini was the wife of Bhim Singh, regent and uncle of Lachhman Singh, the Rana of Chittor. Anyway, let us go through the original history of Ala-ud-din Khilji's conquest of Chittor given by the historian Ferishta.

First Sack of Chittorgarh (1303): In 1303, Ala-ud-din marched towards Chittor with a large army, and after a siege of six months, Chittoor was reduced. After ordering a massacre of thirty thousand Rajputs, Ala-ud-din bestowed the government of Chittor on his son Khizr Khan and the place was renamed as Khizrabad. Rana Ratan Singh was made a prisoner at the fortress of Delhi. The Rana's family and children managed to escape and fled to the nearby hills.

Rana Ratan Singh's Escape (1304): Ala-ud-din, on hearing of the beauty and accomplishments of one of the Rana's daughters (Let's assume that her name was Padmini), told the Rana, who was then a captive at Delhi, that if he would deliver her over to him, he should be released. The Rana was compelled to agree this proposal, however his family, hearing of this dishonorable proposal, concerted measures for poisoning the Princess. But Padmini contrived a stratagem by which she could obtain her father's release and preserve her own honour. She wrote to her father to let it be known that she was coming with all her attendants, and would be at Delhi on a certain day. Having selected a number of Rajputs, who in complete armour concealed themselves in litters, she proceeded with such a retinue of horse and foot as is customary to guard ladies of rank. It was night when they arrived at Delhi and by the Sultan's permission, the litters were allowed to carry into the prison. No sooner were they within the walls, the armed men leaped out of the litters; put the Sultan's guards to sword and carried off the Rana to the hills, where his family were concealed. Thus, by the efforts of his clever daughter, the Rana effected his escape and continued to ravage Chittor. Ala-ud-din finally granted the government of Chittor (from Khizr Khan) to the Rana's nephew. Chittor thus became a tributary of Delhi during the rest of Ala-ud-din's reign.

Notes:

Litter: palanquin (a vehicle used to transport people; usually for one passenger, containing a bed or couch often covered by curtains and carried on men's shoulders)

Jauhar: is the Self Immolation done by Royal Rajput ladies when the battle is about to lose, rather than surrender and fall to harem of enemies.

Reference:

History of the Rise of Mahommedan Power in India By Ferishta
Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan By Col. James Tod

13 comments:

  1. Nice job dear.. Very happy that u shared saga of our Indian heroine :)

    http://zigzacmania.blogspot.in/

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  2. A very nice informative post Anjana :)

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  3. Interesting to know the history of Rani Padmini,who is revered for her beauty and bravery.

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  4. when I read about Rani padmini I can't control my tears. She was really a brave women.

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  5. We indians must have proud of our ancient queens especially maharani padmini I Pranav really want to salute the virangana of rajputana ........

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  6. Padmani story is rejected by modern historian
    And please name any one contemporary Persian chronicle or rajput who hv recorded this episode
    No one padmani and alauddin incident never happen it's not mentioned in even rajput chronicle

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    1. Hi Seema, if you scroll to the bottom of this post you can find the reference list.

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  7. Referance from contemporary chronicle
    Even Amir khurau accompanied alauddin for chittor conquest did not mentioned or barani he was the critical of sultan did not mentioned this incident. Important thing is even rajput have not recorded in their chronicle.
    It was rumours spread that time
    And after two centuries sufi hv written and that poetic imagination which deal good and bad.
    Padmini stand for good and alauddin for lust

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  8. Hii madam
    But I read ur most of the post and I loved it all
    Thank you for posting all the romantic stories of india

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  9. And one request please post the love affair of razia and her husband Malik altunia
    Thank u

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  10. There is no historical(padmini or padmavati "jauhar 1303) evidence in these story.malik mohhmad jayasi(1540 )was written this story after 240

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  11. But this story is not true and it is not mentioned in any of the works of contemporary writers and poets of that time. It is only much later we find metion of Rani Padmini in work of antionalist historians and poets.

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