The Undeterred Queen – Rani Naiki Devi

Swapna Narayanan 

The tradition of being selective and in the course, forgetting (conveniently?) some brave women (and men) who fought bravely for our country is leading to a wide gap in our knowledge base of Indian history. Specifically if these women in question have made a significant contribution in protecting the freedom of their kingdoms. 

And that is so unfortunate and is a big loss for a country’s history. 

One such woman I am going to tell you about, who for some reason unknown never got even a brief mention in our history books, is Naiki Devi – the brave queen of Gujarat. To me, she stands in equal stature to Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi

It was the battle of Kasaharda against Mohd. Ghori (1178 CE) which was won with the strategic planning, courageous heart and brave fighting by the young widow – Naiki Devi

Naiki Devi was the daughter of the  Chief of Kadamba (Goa) and was married to King Ajayapala of Chalukya. However she was soon widowed and her elder son, an infant at that time, Mularaja II, was named his successor. Naiki Devi chose to run the kingdom till he came of age. 

Now this was the time Mohd. Ghori was expanding his empire in the region, strategically beginning by taking over from Multan, passing along the easiest route and eventually targeting Delhi

With his base in Multan, Ghori saw the Chalukyan kingdom as an easy target to attack and take control of. With an infant being its heir and a lady helming the affairs, the victory seemed imminent and easy.

Little did he realise that he had misgauged the vulnerability and completely misjudged the shrewdness of the queen.

When Rani Naiki Devi got to know that Mohd Ghori was planning to attack her by crossing over the desert and coming to her capital city – Anhilwara, she took help from her neighbouring kingdoms and strategically chose a rugged terrain for the battle. The narrow terrain was in the foothills of Mt. Abu near the village of Kasarhada and she was sure that it will act as a deterrent for the marching enemy. 

Ghori meanwhile sent out a message to Rani Naiki Devi asking her to surrender and promising her that he will not attack if she gave in. 

But when has a woman charged ever shied away from the fight for the right? Well, off she went, with her son tied to her back and an army built with her allies, and led a direct attack on Ghori and his army.

Completely shaken by this unexpected attack, Ghori and his army tried to put up a brave fight but were able to sustain only for some time – the terrain really slowed them down. 

Eventually Ghori escaped with a few of his soldiers and left the battlefield showing cowardice in front of a courageous woman – Rani Naiki Devi

And as history tells us, he never came back to the Gujarat route and instead attacked Punjab to eventually reach Delhi.

It is indeed disappointing that we have so few records of such great warriors, and very few of them appear in our history lessons.

Do you have any more facts about Rani Naiki Devi‘s life? Do you know of any other warriors whom we should celebrate?

You can leave your comments below or write to us.

*All images used in this article are either Eyra’s own design or widely and freely available on the internet.*

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