Their Courage Was Their Strongest Weapon
They are daughters of the soil who have made India proud of their great works and achievements. They have made a difference to India in every respective field. These women have fought against all odds and altered the paths of history. Their courage, sacrifice and leadership was second to none and will always be remembered. Let’s cherish their hardships, sacrifices and achievements as a mother, wife, daughter, and leader.
1 Razia Sultan (1205 – 1240)
Even when she rose to power as Sultan, she would mount an elephant as the chief of her army on the battlefield, with her face displayed in public. Razia Sultan fought on the forefront and won battles seizing various territories. Her gender was never an excuse. She mastered administration, rubbing shoulders with the best Sultans Delhi had ever been ruled by.
2. Rani Rudrama Devi (1259-1289)
Rudrama Devi was one of the most outstanding queens in Indian History from Kakateeya dynasty and people still cherish her memories. Her gender did not come in her way in discharging the duties of her exalted office. She took an active part in governing the country and strove hard to promote the best interests of the state. In spite of the wars which frequently disturbed the country, her people remained contented and
happy under her rule. One of her toughest battles was with the Sauna ruler Mahadeva. According to records, Rudrama Devi led from the front, put Mahadeva to flight, pursued his army and forced him to sign a treaty that included a penalty of one crore gold coins.
3. Rani Abbakka Chowta
A total of six attacks that the Portuguese planned between 1525 and 1570 were trampled on by Rani Abbakka. For her bravery, she was given the title of Abhaya Rani (The fearless Queen) and is widely regarded as the ‘first woman freedom fighter of India’. Today the queen is a figure of legend and mass reverence. To have led the defenses and attacks against the Portuguese for over four decades, Rani Abbakka Chowta etched her name into stone as one lady that was definitely not to be trifled with.
4. Rani Tarabai (1675 – 1761)
Married to Rajaram, the second son of Shivaji Maharaj, Rani Tarabai kept the legacy of her father-in-law alive in letter and in spirit. Brave, ambitious and with the ability and willingness to lead from the front, Tarabai became the regent during her husband’s absence and took charge of the war against the Mughal forces. Tarabai made strategic use of guerrilla warfare as well as cavalry skills to win back and hold forts.
Hailed as Bhadrakali, Tarabai’s name is still honoured and cherished in many parts of Maharashtra. A noted historian Jadunath Sarkar said, “In that awful crisis her character and strength saved the
5 Rani Velu Nachiyar (1730 – 1790)
Called by one historian as India’s Joan of Arc, Rani Velu Nachiyar was the princess of a royal family that was based in what is now Tamil Nadu. Since she had no brothers, she grew up and trained like a prince. She took to arms when her husband was killed by the Britishers and in 1780 defeated them. She became the first Indian Queen to do so and was helped in no small measure by an all woman’s army that she formed. It was called ‘Udaiyaal’ in honour of her adopted daughter, who died while blowing up a British armoury. Rani Velu ruled for a decade until her death.
Above everything else these women were warriors. All across time, they will be remembered for their spirit and bravery. They brandished swords, fought battles, and faced off with royalty. These fearsome female fighters have each made an indelible mark on Indian history.