JIJABAI – The Architect of Liberty

Jija mataThe greatest recognition for a mother is to be recognized by the great deeds of her children. Jija Mata was the mother of Shivaji. She was the guide who shaped his mind from his early years. She was the embodiment of self-respect. That great mother suffered in silence and became a source of inspiration to her heroic son.

It was Jijabai’s strong wish that her son should become a great hero. She wanted him to put an end to the shameless life of the Marathas and begin a new chapter of liberty and self-respect.  It was her duty to mould his nature and to make him the savior of his country. She had a high sense of self-respect, a heart as strong as steel, and a deep religious consciousness. With these virtues she seemed born for such a difficult and sacred task.

Jija Bai’s husband Shahaji arranged to send her Jija and Shivaji to Pune with Dadaji Kondadev. Pune was then a small village. It had been completely destroyed by the attacks of the forces of the Nizamshahi, the Adil Dynasty and the Moguls. Not a single holy shrine was left standing. The idols had been broken to pieces. Under the able administration of Kondadev, Pune was rebuilt. It was fortunate that Dadaji was there to assist Jijabai.

In the midst of corrupt officers Dadaji earned a good name as an honest and straightforward officer. At a time when even men in high places silently suffered disgrace and humiliation he gave protection to the common man. He also narrated to the boy Shivaji stories of the past glory of India and the deeds of ancient heroes so vividly that they were printed on his mind.

Under the orders of Jijabai many temples were built in Pune. Shivaji’s education was mostly in her hands. Listening to stories selected from the immortal epics of India, namely the Ramayana, the Mahabharatha and the Bhagavatha, from the lips of his dear mother was a part of young Shivaji’s daily life. As he listened to the accounts of the exploits of Sri Rama, Hanumantha, Krishna, Abhimanyu, Arjuna and others, the mace, the bow and shafts seemed ever before his eyes. Whenever any holy men came to Pune Mother Jija used to make Shivaji offer them service. There great refinement, their teachings and blessings infused new strength into Shivaji’s body.Under the able administration of his Guru Dadaji and in the cool shade of Jija’s culture, superhuman strength grew in him. The Mavale boys became his friends. They were poor but loyal and they became his intimate companions. He played with them the game of building forts and laying siege to them. Mother Jija’s strict discipline and her regard for justice became the very breath of Shivaji. Even as a boy Shivaji issued orders for cutting off the hands of the sinner who slaughtered the sacred cow. He sentenced to death a man who insulted a woman.

Pune acquired a new look after the arrival of Mother Jija. She laid foundations for the prosperity of the neighboring villages by her orderly administration. She herself settled disputes and meted out justice in the open court. Shivaji used to sit with her on such occasions. He had lively discussions with her. He was particularly interested in political matters and exchanged views with his mother. Read More


Rani DurgavatiRani Durgavati’s was a personality with varied facets. She was valiant, beautiful and brave and also a great leader with administrative skills. Her self-respect forced her to fight till death rather than surrender herself to her enemy.

She, like her ancestral dynasty, built so many lakes in her state and did a lot for the welfare of her people. She respected the scholars and extended her patronage to them. She welcomed the Vitthalnath of Vallabh community and took Diksha from him. She was secular and appointed many eminent Muslims on important posts.

She distinguished herself as a warrior and fought with unvarying success against Baz Bahadur, the Sultan of Malwa. Stories of her exploits as a warrior and hunter are still current in area.After the death of Shershah, Sujat Khan captured the Malwa zone and was succeeded by his son Baz Bahadur in 1556 A.D. After ascending to the throne, he attacked Rani Durgavati but the attack was repulsed with heavy losses to his army. This defeat effectively silenced Baz Bahadur and the victory brought name and fame for Rani Durgavati.In the year 1562 Akbar vanquished the Malwa ruler Baj Bahadur and annexed the Malwa with Mughal dominion. Consequently, the state boundary of Rani touched the Mughal kingdom.Rani’s contemporary Mughal Subedar was Abdul Mazid Khan, an ambitious man who vanquished Ramchandra, the ruler of Rewa. Prosperity of Rani Durgavati’s state lured him and he invaded Rani’s state after taking permission from Mughal emperor. This plan of Mughal invasion was the result of expansionism and imperialism of Akbar.To fight a defensive battle, she went to Narrai situated between a hilly range on one side and two rivers Gaur and Narmada on the other side. It was an unequal battle with trained soldiers and modern weapons in multitude on one side and a few untrained soldiers with old weapons on the other side. Her Faujdar Arjun Daswas killed in the battle and Rani decided to lead the defence herself. As the enemy entered the valley, soldiers of Rani attacked them. Both sides lost some men but Rani was victorious in this battle. She chased the Mughal army and came out of the valley.


At this stage Rani reviewed her strategy with her counselors. She wanted to attack the enemy in the night to enfeeble them but her lieutenants did not accept her suggestion. By next morning Asaf khan had summoned big guns. Rani rode on her elephant Sarman and came for the battle. Her son Vir Narayan also took part in this battle. He forced Mughal army to move back three times but at last he got wounded and had to retire to a safe place.In the course of battle Rani also got injured near her ear with an arrow. Another arrow pierced her neck and she lost her consciousness. On regaining consciousness she perceived that defeat was imminent. Her Mahout advised her to leave the battlefield but she refused and took out her dagger and killed herself. Her martyrdom day (24th June 1564) is even today commemorated as “Balidan Diwas”. Source : Hindu Jagruti.
Abbakka RaniAbbakka Rani or Abbakka Mahadevi was the queen of Tulunadu who fought the Portuguese in the latter half of the 16th century. She belonged to the Chowta dynasty who ruled over the area from the temple town of Moodabidri. The port town of Ullal served as their subsidiary capital.
The Portuguese made several attempts to capture Ullal as it was strategically placed. But Abbakka repulsed each of their attacks for over four decades. For her bravery, she came to be known as Abhaya Rani (‘The fearless queen’).] She was also one of the earliest Indians to fight the colonial powers.
 Ullal was a prosperous port and a hub of the spice trade to Arabia and other countries in the west. Being the profitable trading center that it was, the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British vied with one another for control of the region as well as the trade routes. They however, had not been able to make much headway as the resistance from the local chieftains was very strong.  After facing 6 attacks by the Portuguese, In 1568, João Peixoto, a Portuguese general and a fleet of soldiers where sent by the Portuguese Viceroy António Noronha. They managed to capture the city of Ullal and also entered the royal court. Abbakka Rani, however, escaped and took refuge in a mosque. The same night, she gathered around 200 of her soldiers and mounted an attack on the Portuguese. In the battle that ensued, General Peixoto was killed,seventy Portuguese soldiers were taken prisoners and many of the Portuguese retreated. In further attacks, Abbakka Rani and her supporters killed Admiral Mascarenhas and the Portuguese were also forced to vacate the Mangalore fort.
In 1569 however, the Portuguese not only regained the Mangalore fort but also captured Kundapur (Basrur). Despite these gains, Abbakka Rani continued to remain a source of threat. With the help of the queen’s estranged husband, they mounted attacks on Ullal. Furious battles followed but Abbakka Rani held her own. In 1570, she formed an alliance with the Bijapur Sultan of Ahmed Nagar and the Zamorine of Calicut, who where also opposing the Portuguese. Kutty Pokar Markar, the Zamorine’s general fought on behalf of Abbakka and destroyed the Portuguese fort at Mangalore but while returning he was killed by the Portuguese. Following these losses and her husband’s treachery, Abbakka lost the war, was arrested and jailed. However, even in prison she revolted and died fighting.
According to traditional accounts, she was an immensely popular queen and this is also attested by the fact that she is even today a part of folklore. The queen’s story has been retold from generation to generation through folk songs and Yakshagana, a popular folk theatre in Tulu Nadu. In Bhuta Kola, a local ritual dance, the persona in trance recounts the great deeds of Abbakka Mahadevi. Abbakka is portrayed as dark and good looking, always dressed in simple clothes like a commoner. She is portrayed as a caring queen who worked late into the night dispensing justice. Legends also claim that Abbakka was the last known person to have the used the Agnivana (fire-arrow) in her fight against the Portuguese. Some accounts also claim that she had two equally valiant daughters who fought alongside her in her wars against the Portuguese. Tradition however treats all three – mother and two daughters as the same person. Photo Source : Amar Chitra Katha. material source –


Kittur RaniChennamma was born in Kakati (a small village in north of Belgaum in Karnataka), in 1778 that is almost 56 years earlier than Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi. From a very young age she received training in horse riding, sword fighting and archery. She was well known for her brave acts across her town.She was married to Mallasarja Desai, ruler of Kittur at the age of 15. Her married life seemed to be a sad tale after her husband died in 1816. With this marriage she had only one son, but fate seemed to play a tragic game in her life. Her son breathed his last in 1824, leaving the lonely soul to fight against the British rule.After his death, his son Shivalingarudra Sarja who had no children adopted a boy, Shivalingappa who was his relative. Shivalingrudra died prematurely and Chennamma ruled as the regent.

Queen Chennamma during the British rule

The Doctrine of Lapse was imposed on native states by the British. Under this declaration, native rulers were not allowed to adopt a child if they had no children of their own. Their territory formed part of the British Empire automatically.The state of Kittur came under the administration of Dharwad collectorate in charge of Mr. Thackeray. Mr. Chaplin was the commissioner of the region. Both did not recognize the new ruler and the regent, and informed that Kittur had to accept the British regime.

War against the British

Both the local people and Rani Chennamma opposed strongly British high handedness. Thackeray invaded Kittur. In the battle that ensued, hundreds of British soldiers were killed along with Thackeray.The humiliation of defeat at the hands of a small ruler was too much for the British to swallow. They brought in bigger armies from Mysore and Sholapur and surrounded Kittur.Chennamma tried her best to avoid war; she negotiated with Chaplin and Governor of Bombay Presidency under whose regime Kittur fell. It had no effect. Chennamma was compelled to declare war. For 12 days, the valiant Queen and her soldiers defended their fort, but as is the common trait, traitors sneaked in and mixed mud and dung in the gunpowder in the canons. The Rani was defeated (1824 CE). She was taken a prisoner and kept in the fort of Bailhongal for life. She spent her days reading holy texts and performing pooja till her death in 1829 CE.Kittur Rani Chennamma could not win the war against British, but she etched her presence for many centuries in the world of history. Along with Onake Obavva, Abbakka Rani and Keladi Chennamma, she is much revered in Karnataka as an icon of bravery.Chennamma became a legend. During the freedom movement, her brave resistance to British formed theme of plays, songs, and song stories. Folk songs or lavanis were a legion and freedom struggle got a good boost through singing bards who moved throughout the region.  Source & Photo : Hindu Jagruti


Jhansi RaniThe great heroine of the War of India’s  Freedom. She lived for only twenty-two years. She became a widow in her eighteenth year. Jhansi, of which she was the queen, was in the grip of the cunning, cruel British. She was the embodiment of patriotism, self-respect and heroism. She was the queen of a small state, but the empress of a limitless empire of glory.

Jhansi Rani Lakhsmi Bai brought glory to the women of Indian, nay to the women of the world. Her life was sacred hymn. Her life is a thrilling story of womanliness, courage, adventure, deathless patriotism and martyrdom.

She was a woman although in her tender body there was a lion’s spirit. But she was well versed in statesmanship. Like all women she was weak. But when she went to war and took up arms she was the very embodiment of the War Goddess Kali. She was beautiful and frail. But her radiance made men diffident. She was young in years. But her foresight and firm decisions were mature.

When, after growing up under the loving care of her father, she entered her husband’s house she became an ideal wife. On the death of her husband although she lost interest in life she did not forget her responsibilities. She was a staunch Hindu; but, because she was tolerant of other religions, when she led an army in a Great War, Muslims followed her first as the Hindu did.

Lakhsmi Bai lived but for 22 years and seven months – from the 19 th of November 1835 to the 18th of June 1858; she flashed and disappeared like lightning on a dark night.

The words of the British General Sir Hugh Rose, who fought against the Rani several times and was defeated again and again, and finally defeated the Rani (who became the victim of circumstances) bear witness to her greatness:

“Of the mutineers the bravest and the greatest commander was the Rani.”

Smt. Subhadra Kumari Chauhan immortalized her by the following poem

Sinhasan hil uthey raajvanshon ney bhrukuti tani thi, budhey Bharat mein aayee phir se nayi jawani thi, gumee huee azadi ki keemat sabney pehchani thi, door phirangi ko karney ki sab ney man mein thani thi. Chamak uthi san sattavan mein, yeh talwar purani thi, Bundeley Harbolon key munh hamney suni kahani thi, Khoob ladi mardani woh to Jhansi wali Rani thi.  Click for Full Poem in Hindi


Nivedita 2A Dedicated daughter of Maa Bharati

If our sister fell under the spell of India. We in turn fell under her spell, and her bewitching personality attracted thousands of our young men to her. If the dry bones are begining to stir, it is because Sister Nivedita breathed the life into them, said the great revolutionary, Dr. Rash Behari Ghosh, about Sister Nivedita….

She says, Swamyji asked me to forge a mighty weapon out of the bones of the Bengali youths which can free India.

Age succeeds age in India, and even the voice of the Mother calls upon her children to worship her with new offerings, with renewal of their own greatness. Today she asks, as a household mother of the strong men whom she has borne and bred that we show to her not gentleness and submission, but manly strength and invincible might. Today she would hat we play before her with the sword. Today she would find herself the mother of a hero clan. Today she cry once more that she is hungered and only by the lives and blood of the Kings and men, can the citadel be saved. Read More


Rani Gaidinliu

Rani Gaidinliu, popularly know as Rani Ma, is a highly revered Naga lady for her selfless services to Naga society and fight for freedom of the country. She was a committed lady for the preservation, protection and promotion of her forefather’s religion, eternal culture, customary laws and traditional village institutions. She organised Naga army and challenged British empire. British Government declared her as terror of north east and had awarded life imprisonment to her. Read More

4 thoughts on “Shakti

  1. Pingback: Bharat’s Pride : Veer Nāri Kittur Rani Chennamma | Arise Bharat

  2. Radha Rani

    Thanks for this informative article on the occasion of Women’s Day. The stories of these great women are ever inspiring. They have carved a niche for themselves in the history of India by their hard work, determination and valour. Thousand salutes to them on the occasion of Women’s Day.


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