Martial tradition of India: Female Warriors of Punjab


Although somewhat downplayed after independence, Indian women have fought along with their men counterparts to defend the country against foreign aggressors. In this article, the author talks about four great female warriors of Punjab. Know their saga of gallantry and get inspired.

Although India is a peace-loving nation, whenever the need arises, Indian people have taken up the weapons in their strong hands. Indian women have also fought along with their male counterparts to resist the aggressors from foreign lands. There are many examples of the gallantry of great Indian women in our mythology and in the history of ancient India and medieval India.

Punjab has also given birth of many great female warriors who have created many sagas of gallantry in many battlefields. Every Punjab household knows the great female warriors like Mata Bhag Kaur (Mai Bhago), Sada Kaur, Bibi Sahib Kaur and Maharani Jind Kaur. Let us pay our respect to these great warriors by remembering their exploits.



#1: Mata Bhag Kaur (Mai Bhago)

This great lady and her forty companions proved their mettle in the famous Battle of Khidrana (Muktsar) on 29th December, 1705 against the mighty Mughal forces. Guru Gobind Singh-ji Maharaj was deeply impressed by the gallantry and fighting technique of Mai Bhago and she got the unique honour of working as the bodyguard of Guruji Maharaj. The saga of gallantry of Mai Bhago has been described in this article. The weapons used by Mai Bhago can be seen at Hazur Sahib Museum.

#2: Sada Kaur: Mother-in-law of Maharaja Ranjit Singh

This remarkable lady of Batala was considered the main architect of the remarkable rise of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. After the death of Ranjit Singh's parents, Sada Kaur's guidance and material resources helped young Ranjit Singh to defeat the rival chiefs of various Sikh misls. He later assumed the title of Maharaja and united entire Punjab.

Sada Kaur was a brilliant military strategist and her outstanding military tactics and gallantry were the main causes of Ranjit Singh's campaigns of Amritsar, Kasur, Kangra and Chiniot. The Afghan military generals of the eighteenth century considered Sada Kaur as "one of the greatest generals of her time".

#3: Bibi Sahib Kaur: Defeated an Irish General

Bibi Sahib Kaur was the elder sister of Raja Sahib Singh of Patiala. She was married at a very early age to the royal family of Fatehgarh. But, in 1793, his brother Raja Sahib Singh asked her to return and appointed her to the post of the Prime Minister of his kingdom to quell the dissidence and security threats.

But she had to lead the Patiala army to Fatehgarh to rescue her husband who had been captured by a chief of another misl. Not only that, the next year itself, she faced a large Maratha force supported by another ruler. She was successful in this battle. In 1799, an Irishman named George Thomas tried to capture the territories of Patiala. She led the Patiala Army and forced Thomas to withdraw. George Thomas had to admit that Bibi Sahib Kaur 'was better than her brother'.



#4: Maharani Jind Kaur: the last real Maharani of Punjab

Maharani Jind Kaur was the youngest wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Although she was known for her beauty, she was a great fighter like her husband. When Maharaja Ranjit Singh left the world in 1839, Maharani Jind Kaur (popularly known as Jindan) led the court discarding the prevailing custom of purdah and held meetings with the ministers and generals of the state. She led the 'Durbar' force in the First Anglo-Sikh War, but was defeated. But her power remained unabated.

Later, this gallant lady was imprisoned by the British. She was exiled to but the British took away her young son to England. Later she got reunited with her son. Maharani Jindan died in England in 1863.

Final few words

The above four great female warriors from Punjab are the testimony of martial tradition of Indian females. It is really great that present-day Indian women are joining armed forces in increasing numbers. Definitely, very soon Indian women will be allowed combat roles like the women of Israel and some other countries.

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Article by Partha K.
“Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves.” - George Gordon Byron

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Comments

Author: Umesh26 Dec 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

When it comes to fighting for their motherland or protecting their society from the intruders and invaders, our history is replete with such stories. Time to time women has also shown that they are equally courageous and brave as much as their patriotic male counterparts.

Whether it was the Mughal invasion or British expansion, our mighty female warriors have presented a good fight to these intruders. Some of these great ladies were from the humble background while others were the queens or princess of the attacked kingdom and they boldly took up these fights with the limited manpower and resources which itself is a remarkable feat.

Author: Partha K.28 Dec 2018 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 3

Thanks to Mr. Umesh for reading this article. I have written about many female warriors of India who fought bravely against the foreign invaders. I have written about Rani Durgavati, Velu Nachiyar, Bhag Kaur. I have also raised some Forum posts remembering some other great female warriors who have made us proud by their courage and leadership quality. In this article, I have mentioned about four such great female warriors of Punjab.

I plan to write about some other fearless ladies of this great country, of course, if my time permits and I find the points credit compensates my efforts.



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