A commemorative postage stamp on the Death Anniversary of Rani Durgavati, Queen of Gondwana (1550-64) :
Issued by India
Issued on Jun 24, 1988
Description of Designs : The stamp by India Security Press, Nasik Road. The cancellation is designed by Smt. Nenu Gupta.
Type : Stamp, Postal Used
Colour : Single colour
Denomination : 60 Paise
Overall size : 4.06 x 2.73 cms.
Printing size : 3.71 x 2.38 cms.
Perforation : 13 x 13
Paper : Indigenous Unwatermarked P.G. Matt coated Gummed stamp paper
Number Printed : 10,00,000
Number per issue sheet : 40
Printing Process : Photogravure
Printed : India Security Press
Name : Durgavati Maravi
Born on Oct 5, 1524 at Kalinjar Fort, Banda, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died on Jun 24, 1564 at Narai Nala, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, India
- Rani Durgawati was the daughter of Raja Salivahan of Rath and Mahoba, a scion of the Chandela dynasty. She married Dalpat Shah, the ruler of Gondwana. He died in 1548 A.D. leaving a minor son and Durgawati took over the reins of government. From 1548 to 1564 A.D. she governed the country assisted by two ministers, Adhar Kayastha and Man Brahman.
- It is said that trade flourished during this period. People were prosperous. Like her husband’s predecessors she extended her territory and accomplished the political unification of Gondwana, also called Garha–Katanga, with courage, generosity and tact. Out of 23,000 villages in her kingdom 12,000 were directly managed by her government. Her large well-equipped army is said to have consisted of 20,000 cavalry and 1,000 war elephants besides a good number of foot soldiers.
- Durgawati combined beauty and grace with courage and wisdom. 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 the area. She carried out many useful public works in different parts of her kingdom, winning the hearts of her people. She built a great reservoir close to Jabalpur, called Ranital. Following her initiative one of her attendants built Cherital and the Adhartal was built three miles from Jabalpur by her minister Adhar Kayasth. She is also reputed to have been a liberal patron of learning.
- Her kingdom fell a victim to aggression as the Mughal Empire spread. Asaf Khan, the Governor of Kara–Manikpur attacked her domains, lured by tales of wealth and hoping for rich territorial gains. Befriending the people and encouraging trade between Gondwana and his own territory, he appointed spies to assess the Rani’s military strength, before embarking on conquest. Assisted by jagirdars of neighbouring regions the army of Asaf Khan penetrated into Gondwana in 1564 catching Durgawati off her guard. She gallantly opposed the invaders but resolved that it was better to die gloriously than to live with ignominy. She travelled through dense forests arriving at Narhi which was strategically positioned and naturally fortified.
- Despite initial successes her army was severely weakened and beaten back. Her young son was injured and she herself, struck by arrows in the right temple and in the neck, fell unconscious. When she regained consciousness she found that the battle had been lost. It is said she stabbed herself choosing death to dishonour. She was cremated some 12 miles from Jabalpur.
- Text, courtesy: Dr. R.K. Sharma, Jabalpur.