Welcome to forty fifth issue of Eyra!
Much as we like to celebrate milestones which has a ‘0’ at the end, we got too excited and decided to come up with a special issue for the forty fifth issue itself!
The other day, I came across a post by an author who had published a fantasy fiction based on a woman army leader. I could not believe the kind of bullying and trashy comments she had to face for that post. Many men had commented that ‘it was a stupid idea to have a woman army chief, who would read about something as fake as a woman leader.’ Someone went to the extent of telling her to ‘stop writing trash and then coming on social media and begging people to buy it.’
I was shocked, would be an understatement. I was filled with a rage. A rage to reach across and pop my hand out at the commentor’s screen just long enough to punch him in the face. But I satisfied myself by joining the other hundreds of people to reminded these trolls about many many female warriors and leaders in history.
I hated history in school, probably because of all the dates I had to remember (my only interest was remembering my own birthday), but mostly because written history has a funny way of remembering incidents. What I find fascinating now are the stories I had missed back then. Like how Indians fought back the British, how we handled the Portuguese, and how women leaders handled the whole situation.
This time, we bring you five such female warriors who saved not only the day, but perhaps the century with their contribution.
Our history is resplendent with women who have saved their kingdoms and our nation many a times, but had a very small space in history books. Alas, for some of them, we do not even have detailed information.
Rani Abbakka – The Fighter Queen of Ullal – was one such warrior, who despite a traitorous husband and a strong Portuguese army, did her best in the battlefield and died a warrior’s death on the field.
Rani Naiki Devi – The Undettered Queen – defeated Mohd. Ghori in such a way that he never dared to come back to the Gujarat route and instead attacked Punjab to eventually reach Delhi.
And it was not just the queens who got glory in battles, but ordinary women like Obavva (Where is your Onakke?), who had no better weapon than a rice pestle, yet she managed to kill hundreds of soldiers sent by Hyder Ali to guard the Chitradurga Fort. Another glorious example is Captain Lakshmi (Captain ‘Rani of Jhansi’ Lakshmi) who fought in the INA side by side with Subhash Chandra Bose and went on to do many other things for humanity with her toughness as well as her kindness.
Last but probably the most popular now, because of the movie Bhuj: The Pride of India, the 300 women of Gujarat (The Indian ‘Pearl Harbour’ Sheroes) who rebuilt the airstrip in Bhuj in mere 72 hours despite the bombs and the risks to their lives and homes.
With this issue, we are introducing a new category of articles called ‘Women in History’ and would want our readers, who love to research and write and those who simply love history, to contribute more articles on history, so that we can all leave a richer legacy behind for our little girls to read and follow.
Founder Editor, Eyra