With D comes the story of daring Durgavati and daunting Didda, two queens from India’s rich history; queens who dared to be different, both undefeated to the end in their own ways.
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The Story of Two Queens: Daring Durgavati and Daunting Didda
A Story of Two Queens in India
I bring you here and now,
the tale of queens two.
Each one is sure to wow
and each one is true…
In beautiful Kashmir, many eons ago
Lived a queen whose legend still grows.
Her name was Didda, dauntless was she,
Mighty as well as courageous and canny!
Born with a clubfoot that marked her unlucky,
She didn’t let it mark her, she sure was plucky!
She married a king, and when he pushed up the daisies
Didda took on his kingdom and dealt with the crazies.
For yes, there were a few who muttered
who grumbled, for they were flustered.
A widow – on the throne? They said – bow down!
But Didda stood tall and wore her crown.
Her enemies trembled, at the sound of her name
For they knew that Didda, was not one to tame.
Didda ruled for her son, and his sons as well
In fact, she ruled even after they all fell.
In her long reign, Kashmir knew peace,
And her enemies, of course did decrease.
Didda ruled with an iron fist,
And Kashmir’s people flourished amidst.
Many a story have been told of her
of heroics and villanies, of cheers and jeers.
But what I do know and what I have learned
That her legacy is really and truly well-earned.
Even today, in the land of Kashmir
Didda is a term used to revere
moms and women who people respect.
Didda is a honorific epithet!
From the 10th century and this northern state
Let’s jump to the times of the Mughal Sultanate
Where in kingdom Mahoba a princess did live
Durgavati was her name, and a lot she did achieve.
From a young age, she was trained in warfare,
Became a skilled warrior, beyond compare,
Her heart was set on Garha’s Dalpat, a Gond,
Soon they were married amidst lots of pomp.
A son was born to them, filled them with pride
But soon tragedy stuck, and Dalpat, well – he died!
The Queen, she refused to despair
Instead she ruled her kingdom with valor.
Her kingdom was vast, her heart was pure,
She cared for her people, of that, we are sure.
Her kingdom grew rich, the people prospered
And when Akbar heard, he wanted to conquer.
The emperor’s forces invaded Garha,
Daring Durgavati, she donned her armor.
The battle raged on, for many a day,
The queen fought fiercely, in every way.
Her sword was swift, her arrows true,
She inspired her soldiers, to fight anew.
But alas, despite all her valiant efforts,
Her army was defeated, and she was hurt.
Choosing death to dishonor, she took her life
Durgavati made the ultimate sacrifice.
And so we honor her, in poem, song, and tale,
Rani Durgavati, her legend will never pale.
Thus ends the story of two queens here and now
I hope that their stories have wowed you somehow!
~ Vidya Tiru @ LadyInReadWrites
Day 5 Prompts and Other Connections
NaPoWriMo: Begin by reading Charles Simic’s poem “The Melon.” It would be easy to call the poem dark, but as they say, if you didn’t have darkness, you wouldn’t know what light is. Or vice versa. The poem illuminates the juxtaposition between grief and joy, sorrow and reprieve. For today’s challenge, write a poem in which laughter comes at what might otherwise seem an inappropriate moment – or one that the poem invites the reader to think of as inappropriate.
I tried to incorporate NaPoWriMo’s prompt above – using phrases like ‘pushed up the daisies‘ and ‘dealt with the crazies‘ or ‘well- he died!’ and a couple more instances above.
I also tried to incorporate APAD’s day five prompt of a Noun in Location with the title – Two Queens in India!
A connection between these two queens – Mohammed Ghazni. He attacked a few years after Didda passed away (though some stories talk of Queen Didda holding him off and others talk about how her descendants did) but the ancestors of Rani Durgavati sure did defend their kingdom against Ghazni successfully.
Another RRR movie connection: the Gond tribe mentioned here. Plus a Bollywood movie is in the making based on the life of Queen Didda.
The Story of Two Queens: Sources and Additional Reading
Queen Didda (c. 924 CE – 1003 CE) ruled Kashmir from 958 CE to 1003 CE (first as a regent for her son and many grandsons till 980 CE and then as the sole monarch till her death in 1003 CE at the age of 79). Most knowledge relating to her is obtained from the Rajatarangini, a work written by Kalhana in the twelfth century, and while he refers to her as machiavellian and power-hungry, he also compares her capabilities and political prowess to Hanuman jumping over the ocean. She is sometimes called the Catherine of Kashmir, referring to Catherine the Great of Russia, who was a ruthless ruler as well.
Rani Durgavati (5 October 1524 – 24 June 1564) was the ruling Queen of Gondwana from 1550 when Dalpat Shah died, until her death in 1564. She was a fearless warrior and just ruler, and remembered for defending her kingdom against the Mughal Empire.
- Didda: The Warrior Queen of Kashmir (a slightly fictionalized account of the queen’s story)
- Kashmir’s ‘Ruthless’ Queen Didda (Live History India)
- Queen Didda: Between facts and fantasy
- Wikipedia’s page on Queen Didda
- Didda, Controversial Queen Of Kashmir
- Wikipedia’s page on Rani Durgavati
- Brave Rajputs (Amar Chitra Katha): Get a copy here, or read via the Internet Archive
- Rani Durgavati (Indian Culture)
My D Books
Death of a Naturalist
Death of a Naturalist by Seamus Heaney (British and Irish Poetry)
Description: Death of a Naturalist (1966) marked the auspicious debut of Seamus Heaney, a universally acclaimed master of modern literature. As a first book of poems, it is remarkable for its accurate perceptions and rich linguistic gifts.
Such a different Heaney here from the one who translated Beowulf. There are way too many of the poems within this collection that I loved but for the sake of this post, here are a few that made an impact: Follower, Twice Shy, Valediction, Saint Francis and the Birds, The Folk Singers.
About Beowulf – I recently read this along with my high-schooler as part of a school-required reading, and am glad to have done so. I get why this book /story has withstood the test of time, and was also surprised that my teenager too enjoyed it!
Don’t Stop: A Children’s Picture Book (LyricPop) by Christine McVie and illustrated by Nusha Ashjaee (Baby – 7 years, and up)
Description: McVie’s classic song about keeping one’s chin up and rolling with life’s punches is beautifully adapted to an uplifting children’s book.
While I hadn’t heard this song before (or maybe I had and don’t recall it), I fell in love with the words through this adorable picture book with the cutest illustrations. This book is a A great gift for those who love Christine McVie’s music and songs, for those who are looking for a sweet pick-me-up read to get them up from whenever they are feeling low.
You can listen to the song below, it is sure to perk you right up and leave you feeling better than however you are feeling now…