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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    As usual history books don’t mention her name

    It was 1635. Emperor Shahjahan was on the throne of Agra. The Mughal kingdom was mighty. It had been expanding north, south, east and west. Emperor Shahjahan was also busy building architectural wonders.

    In Garhwal, Raja Mahipat Shah left the world. His son was only seven years old. So, the widow of Mahipat Shah, Rani Karnavati, was ruling the small kingdom of Garhwal on behalf of her seven year old son, Prithvi Pat Shah. Emperor Shahjahan decided to conquer the small kingdom. In April, 1635, he handed the command of his strong army to Najawat Khan. Mughal army advanced to capture the small kingdom of Garhwal.

    The numerically superior Mughal army easily captured Shargarh town on the eastern bank of the Yamuna. It captured Kalsi, Biratgarh, Bairatgarh and Sanar in quick succession. Mughal army crossed the Ganges near Haridwar and marched towards Srinagar in Garhwal.

    Rani Karnavati, a great military tactician, instructed her commanders to create hurdles on the route of Mughal army. So, everywhere Mughal army had to clear walls of stones and fallen trees. This caused wastage of time and energy and delayed the progress of the army. But more importantly, Mughal army had to be divided into smaller groups to clear these hurdles. Garhwali soldiers took this opportunity and resorted to guerrilla warfare. They started attacking smaller groups of Mughal army like thunder and caused major damage and attrition to the Mughal army. After the attack, Garhwalis used to disappear quickly. After series of ambush, the Mughal army was terrified. Moreover, the topography of the land was not convenient for the Mughal army whereas Garhwalis knew the area like the palms of their hands.

    Soon monsoon commenced. The rain worsened the situation for the Mughal army. The incessant rain forced the Mughal army to remain in tents. Taking advantage of the monsoon, Rani Karnavati ordered her army to attack the Mughals with full force. Her army obeyed the orders and attacked the Mughal soldiers. In a disastrous fight (for the Mughals), many of them were killed, some fled and some of them jumped into river Alaknanda and drowned. The remaining Mughal soldiers were taken as prisoners.

    Rani Karnavati ordered to chop off the noses of the captured Mughal soldiers and generals as the ultimate insult to the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan. He never dared to attack the small kingdom of Garhwal and the great military strategist Rani Karnavati during the remaining years of his reign.

    In our history books, we study about Emperor Shahjahan, his kingdom and his monuments. Emperor Shahjahan occupies prominent position in our history books at every level. But those books invariably fail to mention Rani Karnavati, who is remembered as 'nak-kati Rani' in the folklores of Garhwal.
  • #611502
    An excellent account of a noble lady that again, I was not aware of. Thanks, Mr.Partha, it's sad that she doesn't find a place in the books but atleast people like you can make people like us aware of her contributions, valour and intelligence.

  • #611504
    Unfortunately we lost a lot and what we know as our history is just distortions created by vested interests. The vested interest still continue in different fashion now also.

    I just wonder how the treasure of thousands of years was destroyed without trace or covered and sealed from becoming open,within a relatively short period? Whatever we believe as our true history is very cleverly portrayed as myth and superstition. Tremendous efforts are needed to reverse these wrongs. People are slowly becoming aware of such travesty.

    There are many thousands Karnavati s lying unknown,unsung and un-wept in the real history of this great country.

  • #611511
    This thread would a food for thought to all those history students who miss the mention of Rani Karnavati. These kind of write ups surely add to the knowledge base of students. Thanks for input.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #611521
    The Garhiwal state is very well accounted in ncert text book of history. The mentioning of Garhiwal state is given detailed account of.
    Kudos to the author for bringing this issue to discussion. A really spirited fight by Rani against the mightiest army of time. I really value your threads Partha Sir and love debating on issues. The misls of Garhiwal state were divided in such a manner that each unit was having a kind of tribal conglomerates. This increased their ability to fight against land based armies much effectively.

  • #611527
    Partha, Thank you for inputs. I never know about this kingdom and this queen. I studied history up to my 10th class. All those books mentioned very great about Babar, Akbar, Sajahan etc. But they never mentioned about this even a single sentence. As per the post #611521, it is mentioned in NCERT textbook. But I am not aware of that. It is very unfortunate that why our history books are not giving an account of people like this so that our students will also get motivated. It again proves that determination and commitment will always bring success. the planning and the strategy of the queen are really amazing. Size is not important, the strategy is important. That is proved in this case.
    always confident

  • #611582
    Unfortunately Hindus never paid much attention to written history or to write history. Even when it is written, it is written in an indirect manner. Very few historical treatises can be found which are written by Hindus. Kalhan's Rajtarangini is a very famous exception. This is in sharp contrast to Muslim historians, who glorified even the most barbaric and heinous activities of the invaders and sultans.

    Since British period, a concerted effort is being made to demean the achievements of Hindus. This has been continuing even after independence. The Marxist and secular historians are even trying to give reasons of killings of Hindus in riots. Example: After Mopilah riots, criminals and barbarians who had participated in this riot are being glorified as freedom fighters. The horrible killing of Hindus in Punjab and Bengal are being justified in the name of class struggle.

    Under these circumstances, we must make all-out effort so that our children can read true history, not the glorification of invaders and barbarians. They must know about the heroes of this great country.

    With my limited ability and far more limited knowledge, I am trying to write about some of the forgotten historical figures of the country about whom our next generation ought to know. I have written Forum posts about Raja Suhal Dev Pasi, Rani Abbakka Chowta and now about Rani Karnavati. I also wrote an Article (in two parts) on Lachit Borphukan. I request Members to go through these posts and suggest me how can I improve my writing. Members may kindly suggest the names of other heroes about whom I should write. If I can collect information about those heroes, I would definitely make attempts.

    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #611638
    Partha, what is History according to you? I am in doubt.

    To be on the safer side, are you aware about the Travancore ruler who made the 'temple entry proclamation'.? He was a Hindu and at that time the difference was basically between Hindus. Hope you are aware.

    It is, I feel, being too naive when you arrive at such conclusions. I have a question as to how you came about this if it was not recorded. History, for your information Mr Partha, is not a story that you usually put up. It is something that needed to be supported by facts. Let us not rewrite history.

    'He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.'- Elbert Hubbard.

  • #611639
    "Let us not re-write history". History can't be re-written. We can only re-write the history books. And we must re-write history books. We must stop projecting the perspective of invaders and barbarians in our history books. We must stop glorifying barbarians in our history-books. We must stop giving excuses of heinous acts committed by invaders and barbarians in our history-books.

    We must learn to call a spade a spade.

    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #611650
    What an inspiring and patriotic episode presented by the author. It is really very unfortunate that such personalities do not find place in the history.
    History only revolves around the great kings and great freedom fighters. It does not cover the brave personalities in the peripheral parts of our country at that time of mugal empire.

    Thoughts exchanged is knowledge gained.

  • #611655
    History has been made in the past, is being done at present and will be done in the future, It exists somewhere written in texts, hidden between lines or etched in the minds of people and passed on from generation to generation.

    History gets skewed when it's recorded or delivered only in bits and parts. This is the major crux in every civilization and society for the simple reason - history is made, recorded and retold by human beings who are a victim of varying degrees of bias.

    Now, we look for facts in historical texts, even if we recite it verbatim if the person who recorded it was biased, the we too would be biased.

  • #611670
    #61163813: "To be on the safer side, are you aware about the Travancore ruler who made the 'temple entry proclamation'.? He was a Hindu and at that time the difference was basically between Hindus"-What is the relevance of reforms initiated by King Balarama Varma in this thread? Does the reform mean that Mopilah riots didn't happen in 1921?

    "I have a question as to how you came about this if it was not recorded. History, for your information Mr Partha, is not a story that you usually put up"-Who says it is not recorded? But the fact is that those events are not included in the academic syllabus because of the secular marxist (small m) intellectuals. So far as my stories are concerned, kindly prove that these are my imaginations, real facta are different. Prove that Rani Karnavati didn't defeat Shahjahan. Can you prove it?

    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #611694
    Mr Partha, have you read about the Mopilah riot of 1921? I doubt. Let us not judge issues based on religion. As responsible authors, we should not be prejudiced because what we write today may become part of history tomorrow when the big world of internet is explored.
    'He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.'- Elbert Hubbard.

  • #611695
    Sir, I got the opportunity to read William Logan's Malabar Manual, where he tried to present/project the horrible killing of Hindus, raping and forceful conversion of Hindu women as ''çlass struggle'' between the landlords and landless farmers.

    I also managed to read Queen of Nilambur's letter/petition to the wife of the then Viceroy which stated the following:-
    "But it is possible that your Ladyship is not fully apprised of all the horrors and atrocities perpetrated by the fiendish rebels; of the many wells and tanks filled up with the mutilated, but often only half dead bodies of our nearest and dearest ones who refused to abandon the faith of our fathers;of pregnant women cut to pieces and left on the roadsides and in the jungles,with the unborn babe protruding from the mangled corpse; of our innocent and helpless children torn from our arms and done to death before our eyes and of our husbands and fathers tortured, flayed and burnt alive; of our hapless sisters forcibly carried away from the midst of kith and kin and subjected to every shame and outrage which the vile and brutal imagination of these inhuman hell-hounds could conceive of; of thousands of our homesteads reduced to cinder-mounds out of sheer savagery and a wanton spirit of destruction; of our places of worship desecrated and destroyed and of the images of the deity shamefully insulted by putting the entrails of slaughtered cows where flower garlands used to lie or else smashed to pieces; of the wholesale looting of hard-earned wealth of generations reducing many who were formerly rich and prosperous to publicly beg for a piece or two in the streets of Calicut, to buy salt or chilly or betel-leaf - rice being mercifully provided by the various relief agencies."

    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #611701
    An interesting episode narrated by the author about Rani Karnavati. She must be a very brave lady to fight and defeat the Mughal army. There are many brave people in the history of the country who displayed such bravery. All the deeds of such people will be found recorded by historians. It is from such recordings only we come to learn about them. There are many such people who cannot be accommodated in the textbooks. It is better that their histories are included in the school textbooks of the regions to which they belong.
    " Be Good and Do Good "

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