The fearless daughter of Hada Rajput, named Rani Hada was married to Rao Ratan Singh of Salumber, Mewar. Rao was mesmerized by the beauty of her wife and in his infatuation ignored his call of duty. In around 1653-1680 a battle was fought between Maharaja of Mewar and Aurangzeb. Being a part of the Rajput fraternity and helping to save their province, Maharana Raj Singh called Rao Ratan along with his army. When called by Maharana Raj Singh to join the battle against Aurangzeb, he sent his army but refused to come along because of his newly married wife. Rani Hada was disturbed due to his husband’s cowardly attitude and held herself and her beauty responsible for it.
Rani Hada had grown up hearing the tales of bravery of Rajput kings and queens and thus she finally convinced his husband to follow his ‘Kshatriya dharma’. Rao was finally prepared to leave for the battle and requested his wife to offer him a memento that reminds him of her.
Rani Hada requested her daasi to bring a box and sword and instructed her to handover the box to Rao ji. Daasi shouted in shock as Rani Hada chopped off her head with the sword. Abiding by the orders, she kept Rani Hada’s head in the box and ran to Rao ji.
Looking at her wife’s head Rao ji was broken and also proud of his brave Rani. She sacrificed her own self to make her husband follow his Rajputana dharma. Determined to pay homage to her wife’s sacrifice he bravely fought with the army of Aurangzeb and won over them. After winning over Aurangzeb he got on his keens and cut his neck because he had lost the desire to live anymore.
Even today the palace of Salumber has the statue of Rao Ratan Singh with Rani Hada’s head and she is remembered as an epitome of valour. Rani Hada was indeed a true Rajputani and kept her morals higher than anything else. Her sacrifice is immortal and will be remembered till time immemorial.
The more we know about it, the greater it raises the curiosity within us to explore and analyse it further. The greatest epic in history, Mahabharat is an epitome of longest text that highlights the controversial politics, sibling rivalry, hegemony over women and power along with the increase in ‘adhrama’. Despite all this, the relevance of the epic, has still not lost its essence and is an inspiration for all. Apart from the widely known stories, till date the scholars discover the hidden secrets and unravel new mysteries as they comprehend the epic.
• ‘Ganga putra’ Devavratha (Bhishma) was the eighth son who had been known for his principles and vows towards his kingdom. His vow of bachelorhood became the reason for the agony of Amba, who wanted to seek revenge for the denial of her proposal. Lord Subramanya appeared with the fresh garland of lotuses and it was said that whosoever would accept that garland would turn into an enemy of Bhishma. Later, when Amba came in her next life as the daughter of King Drupad, she wore this garland playfully as a child, but later she became the reason of his death in the form of Shikhandi.
• Prabhasa (Vasu) was cursed by Vashishta to be born in the human world, as during one of the journeys Prabhasa’s wife insisted him to bring Vashishta’s cow. This made Vashishta angry and he cursed Prabhasa, so he was born as the eighth son of Ganga and Shantanu named, Devavratha.
Strengths and weakness of Bhishma:
Bhishma, known for his valour and principles driven life, sacrificed his entire journey for the benefit of Hastinapur. Bhishma refers to someone ‘who takes a difficult vow’ and his duty as a son and further as a brother, father and grand-father are quite known to us. In spite of his courage and dutiful attitude, these qualities became his weakness too, as many times even when he knew that he was favouring the wrong side, still he carried on to do so because of his vows and value system.
• He took away the three daughters of the King of Kashi for his younger brother Vichitravirya, but when he came to know about Amba’s love for someone else, he dropped her back to his father’s palace, which was indeed an act of disrespect. Her lover refused to marry her due to Bhishma. Bhishma couldn’t undo the promise, made to Satyavati’s father, of remaining a bachelor throughout his life so he denied the marriage proposal too.
• His subservience towards the throne of Hastinapur made him stay numb and helpless during Draupadi’s humiliated disrobing in the court before King Dhritarashtra and everybody else. Bhishma is renowned for his mighty strengths but when it was actually needed to react and use his skills, he chose to be a puppet in the hands of external forces and overlooked the respect of women.
• At times he unintentionally became a part of the evil strategies of Kauravas, as after the 12 years of exile when Pandavas were in their hiding period, he said that “there must be absolute law and order, as well as peace and prosperity prevailing wherever Yudhisthira stayed”. This gave an immediate clue to the evil Duryodhan and his skepticism made him reach King Virat’s kingdom. By keeping the gun on Bhishma’s shoulder, the Kauravas once again invoked King Virat to fight by snatching away his herd of cattle.
• Bhishma was aware of the wrong intentions of Guru Drona against King Drupad, still he welcomed him to his kingdom and later on we saw that Guru used his students for his own selfish motives. This rivalry resulted in the animosity between Hastinapur and Panchal, which lasted till the end.
Thus being an idol son and faithful towards his kingdom, he failed to follow the right path due to his ignorance and old values. Though he was following his words and expected the welfare of his kingdom but ultimately due to his reluctance of not adapting to the change, he could not alter the evil thinking of Kauravas. Being a great warrior, he tried to prevent the war by reconciliation between Pandavas and Kauravas, yet as it was already written, the war was essential for the end of ‘adharma’ and rise of the peaceful and righteous world once again.
Bhishma had to suffer at his death bed as earlier in his 73rd life birth, he injured insects by piercing needles into their body. So at the end Krishna blessed him and freed him from the Karmic cycle of life and death and the curse of Vashishta.
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja