Krishna Kumari of Mewar : tragic story of a beautiful princess

Discussion in 'Military History' started by ashdoc, Sep 8, 2012.

  1. ashdoc

    ashdoc Senior Member Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2010
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    Taken from annals and antiquities of rajputana---by Colonel Tod

    There arrived at Udaipiir a detachment of the troops
    of Jaipur, bringing proposals for the marriage of
    their prince with the Rana's daughter. The Jaipur
    cortege encamped near the capital, and the Rana's
    acknowledgments and acceptance of the proposal
    were despatched to Jaipur. But Raja Man of Marwar
    also advanced pretensions to the hand of the princess,
    on the ground that she had been actually betrothed
    to his predecessor. She had been betrothed, he
    said, to the throne of Marwar, not to the individual
    occupant ; and he vowed resentment and opposition
    if his claims were disregarded.

    Krishna Kumari was the name of the lovely
    object, rivalry for whose hand assembled under the
    banners of her admirers, Jaggat Singh of Jaipur
    and Raja Man of Marwar, not only their native
    chivalry, but all the predatory powers of Hindustan.
    Sindhia, having been denied a pecuniary demand
    by Jaipur, opposed the nuptials, and aided the claims
    of Raja Man by demanding of the Rana the dis-
    missal of the Jaipur embassy. This being refused,
    he advanced his brigades and batteries ; and, after
    repulsing a fruitless resistance, in which the troops
    of Jaipur joined, he forced the pass into the valley
    of Udaipiir with a corps of 8,000 men, and
    encamped within cannon range of the city. The
    Rana had no alternative but to dismiss the nuptial
    cortege, and agree to whatever was demanded.
    Sindhia remained a month in the valley, during
    which an interview took place between him and
    the Rana at the shrine of Eklinga. To increase
    his importance, the Mahratta invited the British
    envoy and his staff, who had just arrived at his
    camp, to be present on the occasion. The princely
    bearing of the Rana and his sons made a great
    impression on the visitors, being in marked contrast
    to that of the Mahratta and his suite ; 1 while the
    regal abode of this ancient race acted with irresistible
    force on the cupidity of Sindhia, who aspired to,
    yet dared not, seat himself in "the palace of the
    Csesars." It was even surmised that his hostility
    to Jaipur was not so much from the refused war-
    contribution as from a mortifying negative to his
    own proposal for the hand of the Mewar princess.

    The heralds of Hymen being thus rudely repulsed,
    the Jaipur prince prepared to avenge his insulted pride
    and disappointed hopes, and, accordingly, arrayed a
    force such as had not assembled in Hindustan since
    the empire was in its glory. Raja Man eagerly took
    up the gauntlet, and headed the " swords of Maru."
    But dissension prevailed in Marwar, where rival
    claimants for the throne had divided the loyalty of
    the clans, introducing there also the influence of
    the Mahrattas. The marriage proposals gave the
    malcontents an opportunity for displaying their long
    curbed resentments, and, following the example of
    Mewar, they set up a pretender, whose interests
    were eagerly espoused, and whose standard was
    erected in the array of Jaipur. A battle was fought
    at Parbatsir on the common boundary of the two
    states ; but the action was short, for while a heavy
    cannonade opened on both sides, the majority of
    the Marwar nobles went over to the pretender. Raja
    Man turned his poniard against himself, but some
    chiefs yet faithful to him wrested the weapon from
    his hand, and conveyed him from the field. He
    was pursued to his capital, which was invested and
    gallantly defended during six months. The town
    was at length taken and plundered ; but the castle
    of Joda defied every assault, and in time the mighty-
    host of Jaipur, which had eaten the country bare for
    twenty miles round, began to crumble away : intrigue
    spread through its ranks, and the siege ended in
    pusillanimity and flight. Jaggat Singh, humbled
    and crestfallen, skulked from the desert retreat of
    his rival, indebted to a partisan corps for safety
    and convoy to his capital, around whose walls the
    wretched remnants of his ill - starred troops long
    lagged in expectation of pay, while the bones of
    their horses whitened the plain on every side.

    Raja Man owed his delivery to one of the most
    notorious villains that India ever produced, the
    Nawab Amir Khan. This man held command of a
    brigade of artillery and horse in Jaipur's army, but
    in the course of the siege he deserted to the side of
    Marwar ; and he now offered, for a specific sum, to
    rid the Raja of the pretender and all his associates.
    The offer was accepted, and Amir Khan was not long
    in laying his plans. Like Judas he kissed whom he
    betrayed. He took service with the pretender, and,
    at a shrine of a saint of his own faith, exchanged
    turbans with his leaders, a ceremony equivalent to
    the most solemn oath of friendship. The too
    credulous Rajputs celebrated this acquisition to
    their party by feasting and revelry ; but in the
    midst of dance and song, the tents were cut down,
    and the victims, enveloped in their toils, were
    slaughtered by the Khan's followers with showers
    of grape.

    Thus finished the under-plot ; but another, and
    more noble, victim was demanded before discomfited
    ambition could repose, or the curtain drop on this
    eventful drama. Neither party would relinquish his
    claim to the fair object of the war ; and it was the
    unhallowed suggestion of the same ferocious Khan
    that the blood of the princess could alone extinguish
    the torch of discord. We need not analyse the
    motives that prompted him to this devilish scheme.
    He had determined to make himself all-powerful in
    Marwar, and the alliance of Raja Man with Mewar
    was not calculated to further his object ; nor was he
    anxious for a renewal of the war with Jaipur, which
    he knew to be inevitable unless the dispute were
    settled. Through the medium of the Chondawat,
    Ajit, whom a heavy bribe had made his accomplice,
    he revealed his design to the Rana, and induced him
    to believe that there were but two alternatives to his
    daughter's death. Either he must force her, already
    promised to the Jaipur prince, into a dishonourable
    marriage with Raja Man, or, by refusing to do so,
    draw ruin upon himself and his country. The fiat
    was passed that Krishna Kumari should die.

    Krishna Kumari Bai, the " virgin princess
    Krishna," was in her sixteenth year. Her mother
    was of the Chawura race, descended from the ancient
    kings of Anhulwara. Sprung from the noblest blood
    of Hind, Kumari added beauty of face and form to
    an engaging demeanour, and was justly celebrated
    as "the flower of Rajasthan." When the fatal cup
    was presented to her she received it with a smile, at
    the same time addressing words of comfort to her
    frantic mother; "Why afflict yourself, my mother,
    at this shortening of the sorrows of life? I fear not
    to die. We are marked out for sacrifice from our
    birth ; let me thank my father that I have lived so
    long." Three times the nauseating draught failed
    in its object. A fourth, a powerful opiate, was
    prepared and administered, and " the desires of
    barbarity were accomplished. She slept." The
    wretched mother did not long survive her child ;
    nature was exhausted in the ravings of despair ;
    she refused food, and in a few days her remains
    followed those of Kumari to the funeral pyre.

    Even the Khan, when the instrument of his infamy,
    Ajt't, reported the issue, could not conceal his con-
    tempt, and tauntingly asked " if this were the boasted
    Rajput valour." But a yet sterner rebuke awaited
    the dishonoured Chondawat. Four days after the
    crime had been committed, Sangram reached the
    capital — a man in every respect the reverse of Ajit.
    Audaciously brave, the chief of the Suktawats feared
    neither the frown of his sovereign nor the sword of
    his enemy. Without introduction he made his way
    into the presence. "O dastard!" he exclaimed,
    "thou hast thrown dust on the Sesodia race; thou
    hast defiled by thy sin the blood which has flowed
    in purity for a hundred ages. Let no Sesodia ever
    hold up his head again ! The line of Bappa Rawul
    is at an end. Heaven has ordained this, a signal
    for our destruction." Then, turning upon Ajit, who
    was present, he continued: "Thou stain on the
    Sesodia race, thou impure of Rajput blood, dust
    be on thy head as thou hast covered us all with
    shame. May you die childless, and your name
    die with you."

    The traitor to manhood and his sovereign dared
    no reply. Sangram died not long afterwards, but
    his curse was fulfilled. The Rana had ninety-five
    children ; but only one of his sons grew to manhood,
    and only two daughters reached the marriageable
    age. The latter were united to the princes of
    Jaisalmir and Bikanir, in which states the Salic
    law precludes all honour through female descent.
    With regard to Aji't, the curse was fully accomplished.
    Scarcely a month after it was uttered, his wife and
    two sons died. The traitor himself wandered from
    shrine to shrine performing penance, his beads in
    his hand, and Rama ! Rama ! ever on his lips. But
    enough of him ! Let us dismiss him with the words
    of Sangram, " dust on his head."
  3. ashdoc

    ashdoc Senior Member Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2010
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    Story in short---

    Krishna Kumari's Sacrifice

    Every day, lights were lit in the Krishna vilas of the Udaipur palace. As Rana Bhim Singh performed the aarti(prayer) each day in the memory of his daughter, he often wished she had been a plain girl instead of a renowned beauty.
    Rana Bhim Singh was the ruler of Mewar in the early ninteenth century. The state had lost all its power and was beset by enemies from all sides. The Marathas from the southwest had overrun parts of it and extorted levies from his subjects, while the states of Jaipur and Marwar were poised to attack him.

    Jaipur and Marwar threatened war, not to increase their kingdoms but for another reason. Both the prices of Jaipur and the Rana of Marwar wanted to marry the Sisodia princess, Krishna Kumari, daughter of Bhim Singh. Bhim Singh, a weak man, dared not refuse either. He knew that whoever lost the hand of his daughter would join his enemies and attack his state.

    Krishna Kumari, the young, sixteen-year beauty, was told of her father's predicament. Young as she was, she was determined to maintain the heroic tradition of her race and die rather than plunge her country into war. Poison made of the Kasumba blossom was prepared for her. She drank it smiling and died in Krishna Vilas of the Udaipur palace, in a room that is still preserved exactly as it was when the brave Krishna Kumari gave her life to save the state of Mewar from war.

    Her mother, heartbroken at her daughter's fate, died soon after her. And Rana Bhim Singh, too weak to have prevented the sacrifice, consoled himself through the lonely years of his remaining life by turning his daughter's room into shrine of beauty and splendor.] - A window to Rajasthan, the people and their culture...[/url]
    parijataka likes this.
  4. spikey360

    spikey360 Crusader Senior Member

    Jan 19, 2011
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    The Republic of India
    Lust can bring not only people but whole states and nations to ruins.
    Greed, Anger and Lust the threefold path to Hell.
  5. Zebra

    Zebra Senior Member Senior Member

    Mar 18, 2011
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    Let us see the story of this area from very early .......!

    * The Early Period.....

    The history of Pali can be traced back to the 10th century, when the Chauhana ruler Raval Lakha founded his dynasty at Nadol (now called Desuri, which is at the heart of Pali district). The Chauhanas had founded their dynasty in Mewar in the 8th century and gradually extended their sway to other parts of Rajputana. Raval died in about 982AD, and the next five decades were a period of turmoil in which Pali hosted a succession of rulers. Pali became battleground for supremacy between the Chauhanas of Rajputana, the Paramaras of Malwa and the Chalukyas of Gujarat. Finally Pali was captured by a prince called Anahilla, who became one of the great rulers of Pali in the early medieval period. His chief claim to fame was that he managed to stop even the great Mahmud of Ghazni in his tracks, who reached Pali after sacking Somnath in Gujarat. After a brief encounter with Anahilla, which can be said to have ended in a draw, Mahmud was forced to alter course to get back to Ghazni.

    However, after the death of Anahilla, Pali was forced to submit to Bhimadeva I of Gujarat. However, the people of the region being a proud race never really reconciled themselves to outside rule, and it was Ratnapala who finally reclaimed Pali from Gujarat between 1116 and 1119AD. However, the reprieve was temporary, and for the next 80 years the Chalukyas of Gujarat continued to wield considerable influence in the region. The most important Pali ruler during this period was Kelhana, who reigned from 1164 to 1193, and although he was felicitated with many titles he too continued to recognise Chalukyan supremacy. After the Chauhanas were defeated by the Turk Muhammad Ghori at the second battle of Tarain, they requested the Chalukyas to help them throw out the Turks out of Rajasthan. The Chalukyan king Jayatsimha teamed up with Dharavarsha Paramara of Abu and his brother Prahaladana, and faced Qutub-ud-din Aibak in a pass near Abu. However, the Muslims won a comprehensive victory and most of the Hindu leaders were slain or taken prisoner.

    * The Medieval Period.....

    However, the Muslims found Pali too remote an area to be worth bothering about and the region reverted back to Chalukyan control. It was however a Chauhana, Dhamdhaladeva, who administered the territory from 1209 to 1226 on behalf of the Chalukyan Bhima II. It was during this period that the Rathore clan was emerging as a powerful force in western Rajasthan, and they soon replaced the Chauhans as the pre-eminent power in the region. Siha, the founder of Rathore family of Marwar at the time gathered support from the rich Paliwal Brahmins of Pali by acting against the Balecha Chauhanas. The Chauhanas were feudatories of the Jalore rulers who were the local jagidars (land owning nobles) and extremely unpopular due to their inability to protect their subjects against the repeated attacks of the Mina tribe and because of the atrocities they themselves committed. It is presumed that the Paliwal Brahmins paid some kind of a tribute in exchange of the protection offered by Siha. In 1273AD Siha died and was succeeded by his son Asthan who is credited with victory over the Guhil chief of Khed.

    Unfortunately, not much except for this is known about his reign or the history if the Rathores during the 14th century due to the absence of authentic records. It can only be circumstantiated that the Rathores, surrounded by the Muslims on the south, east and north, and the Bhattis to the west struggled to keep their territory without any scope of expansion. It was only after the Delhi Sultanate had weakened that Mallaninath, a powerful Rathore, was able to conquer the adjacent tracts on both sides of the river Luni. This area was latter renamed after him as Mallani. Later in the line of succession was Maldeo who ruled between 1532-1562 AD, and during his reign the Rathore power reached its zenith. He not only extended the limits of his kingdom but also achieved a formidable position among the monarchs of Rajputana. He is credited with building many forts in his kingdom, including the one in Pali.

    But with the coming of the Mughals Maldeo’s expansionist plans in the area suffered a setback. In the reign of Chandrasen who ruled from Jodhpur between 1562-1581AD the Mughal forces were able to annex Jodhpur. The throne nevertheless was bestowed upon Chandrasen’s brother Udai Singh who was able to recover almost all the former possessions if his kingdom by working in close unison with the Mughal forces and establishing matrimonial alliances with the Mughal emperor. Udai Singh’s reign was followed by that of Sur Singh (1595-1619) in whose reign not much activity happened in or around Pali. It was only in 1680AD that the then Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb sent his son Prince Akbar (not to be confused with Emperor Akbar) to subdue Mewar and Marwa. Ajit Singh was bestowed Merta (northern region of Pali) by Aurangzeb.

  6. Zebra

    Zebra Senior Member Senior Member

    Mar 18, 2011
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    * The Decline of Mughal Empire Reinforced Rajputs.....

    After Aurangzeb’s death in 1707AD the Mughal empire began to decline. Ajit Singh grabbed this moment to capture Jodhpur from its Muslim Governor. But his happy days in Jodhpur were short lived and Shah Alam, Aurangzeb’s son and the Mughal emperor, was able to treacherously recapture Jodhpur. Shah Alam sent a friendly invitation to Ajit Singh and as soon as Ajit Singh left Jodhpur forces sent by Shah Alam took over the capital. By 1708 Ajit Singh realised that the Mughals had stayed on in the region far too long. To further this bright idea he allied himself with Rana Amarsingh II of Mewar and Maharaja Sawai Jaisingh of Amber. With three valiant Ranas on a singular mission, there was very little that could possibly go wrong. The Mughal vassal in Jodhpur was expelled. Inspired by this victory the trio proceeded to annex Merta, Ajmer and Sambar.

    All was well until Ajit Singh got into an argument with the Sayyid brothers in Delhi who decided that the Rajput had gone too far. An army was dispatched to put things in order and Ajit Singh subsequently lost the territories he had seized. However, in the year 1720 the Sayyid brothers were assassinated and Ajit Singh recovered Ajmer. At this point Ajit Singh’s moral was high and he felt settled enough to introduce reforms in his area and strike coins in his name. But Ajit Singh was just not destined to rule in peace. In 1723 he lost Ajmer to Muhammad Shah, the Mughal emperor. If that was not bad enough the same year he was killed by a conspiracy hatched by his two sons, Bakhat Singh and Abhay Singh. Muhammad Shah then crowned Abhay Singh emperor of Marwar.

    The reign of Abhay Singh that lasted till his death in 1750 and that of his successors was plagued with the continuous onslaught by the Marathas. A regular tribute was paid to the Marathas in order to keep peace and this depletion of the royal treasury led Abhay Singh’s cousin Bijay Singh (1753-93) who was ruling under immense pressure to raise a mercenary army. It was with the help of this army that Bijay Singh was able to acquire the rich province of Godwar from Rana of Mewar. This might have improved the status of the treasury but was could not keep the Marathas at bay, who returned in 1790 in full force after a short respite.

    * The Modern Period.....

    Tension in the area reached its peak during the reign of Man Singh (1803-43) when a bloody war was fought between Jodhpur and Jaipur over the hand of the Mewar Princess, Krishna Kumari. The tense situation was worsened when Amir Khan, a plunderer, entered the picture as an arbiter between Mewar, Marwar and Jaipur. Amir Khan loyalties were with the highest bidder and he is known in history for his unethical dealing. His manipulation of the situation continued beyond the death of Krishna Kumari who ended her life by consuming poison.

    Man Singh, under pressure of the internal animosity, retired from the throne to lead a life of a ascetic and the throne was passed on to his son Chhatar Singh. By the 19th century, the British presence was being felt in the region. In 1818 Chhatar Singh concluded a treaty with the British under which a tribute was to be paid to the latter in return of protection provided to the state. Under this treaty the British sent a army to Jodhpur in 1839 because they were uncomfortable with the frequency of rebellions in the state. This force stayed in Jodhpur for five months till Man Singh was able to assure the British that the situation would stay under control.

    In 1843, Man Singh died without leaving an heir. This led to considerable confusion, and after a lot of debate the chief of Ahmadnagar (in Gujarat) Takhat Singh was chosen by the nobles after having received the consent of the British. Takhat Singh ruled from 1843 till 1873 and was constantly harassed by a number of revolts including the 1857 Uprising against the British which came at a time when the political unrest was at its peak. Takhat Singh being an outsider faced much resistance from the nobles who were anyway dissatisfied with the British interference in the traditional working of politics in the area. The 1857 mutiny broke out in neighbouring Abu and Erinpura, wherein the mutineers captured all weapons from the European soldiers. They plundered a lot of property en route to Pali, where they finally made for Dhola village in Pali district.

    * The Uprising of 1857.....

    The mutineers who had collected from Pali and adjoining areas numbered in excess of 5,000 men and were met by troops from Jodhpur (which remained loyal to the British) on 8th of September 1857. The insurgents won a decisive victory leading the British to dispatch British troops under Captain Mason, the Political Agent of Jodhpur. The resultant battle was bloody, and as many as 2,000 men died on both sides. The British, although equipped with nine pieces of artillery, were defeated by a heroic charge made by the insurgents and Mason himself died in the engagement. In order to quell the revolt the British responded by reportedly sending 30,000 troops who invaded Awa (in Pali district) on 20th of January 1858. The Awa chief, undaunted by the strength of the opposing army, handed over the defence of the Awa fort to his younger sibling Prithvi Singh. Prithvi Singh fitted the fort with 50 pieces of artillery but could deploy no more than 5,000 men in the field. They resisted the imperialists for six whole days but superior numbers won the day in the end and the fort was vacated. Not content with victory the British destroyed the fort and the palace and even temples and idols were not spared. The statue of goddess Mahakali, for instance, was brought to Ajmer and is still kept in the Ajmer museum.

    Thus Pali finally came under the jurisdiction of the British and Takhat Singh was rewarded in 1862 for his part in crushing the rebellion. From then on the areas covered by the present Pali district became part of Jodhpur state, until Indian Independence when Jodhpur became part of state of Rajasthan and the district of Pali was carved out.

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