Bhanwari Kaur

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Bhanwari Kaur (b. ? - d.1669) was a brave woman from Brij region in Uttar Pradesh, India who struggled against the oppression by Mugal ruler Aurangzeb in 1669. She was sister of Gokula, a Jat chieftain of Sinsini village in Bharatpur district in Rajasthan, India. Later, he became a chieftain of Tilpat in Haryana.[1]

The first serious outbreak of anti-imperial reaction took place among the Jats of Mathura district Uttar Pradesh, where the imperial faujdar 'Abdun-Nabi', had oppressed them greatly. In 1669 the sturdy Jat peasantry rose under a leader, Gokula, Zamindar of Tilpat, killed the faujdar, and kept the whole district in disorder for a year, till they were suppressed by a strong imperial force under Hasan Ali Khan, the new faujdar of Mathura. Gokula was put to death.[2]

In early 1669 Aurangzeb appointed a strong follower of Islam Abdunnabi as Faujdar of Mathura to curb the Hindus of this area. Abdunnabi established a cantonment near Gokul Singh and conducted all his operations from there. Gokula organized the farmers not to give taxes to the Mughals. The Mughal soldiers retaliated, beginning the struggle of the farmers. Meanwhile Aurangzeb issued orders on 9 April 1669 to abolish the temples of Hindus. As a result large number of Hindu temples and ancient heritages of the period of Kushans were damaged.[3] During month of May, 1669 the faujdar Abdunnabi seized village Sihora. Gokula was there and there was a fight in which Abdunnabi was killed. Gokula and his fellow farmers moved further, attacked and destroyed Sadabad cantonment. Sadullakhan had founded Sadabad during the period of Shahjahan. This incidence inspired the depressed Hindus to fight against atrocities of the Mughal rulers.[4] The fights continued for five months.[5]

The rebels gathered at the village of Sahora (about 6 miles from Mathura). Abdun Nabi, the faujdar of Mathura, attacked them. At first he appeared to be gaining ground, but in the middle of the fighting he was killed on 12 May 1669 (21st Zil-Hijja, 1079 A.H.),[6][7][8][9]

Overjoyed at this success, Gokula ravaged the paragana and town of Sadabad (24 miles from Mathura) in the Daob.,[9][10][11] The turbulence spread to Agra District also whereto Radandaz Khan was sent (13 May – 22nd Zil-Hijja) with a force to put down the rebels. Aurangazeb appointed Saf Shikan Khan as the new faujdar of Mathura.,[12][13] As arms failed to prevail, diplomacy was resorted to.

After defeat in Sadabad and Sihora the new faujdar Saf Shikan Khan started campaign to take revenge with Gokula. He had learnt that on the occasion of haryali teej festival, the young girls gather to celebrate it with malhar songs and swings in entire Brij region. The young sister of Gokula, Bhanwar Kaur, also joined the festival at a garden out side Tilpat on haryali teej in shravan month in year 1669.[14]

The new faujdar Saf Shikan Khan and his soldiers seized the place of celebration of haryali teej by the young girls and started misbehaving with them. Bhanwar Kaur along with her friends counter acted by attacking with ropes of swings and gofans. They could manage to get felled one of the soldiers from his horse and with sword obtained from him killed the soldier. This technique worked and the girls could kill more soldiers this way. Saf Shikan Khan at first got frightened but attacked Bhanwar Kaur. Bhanwar Kaur could defend the attack and wounded the horse of Saf Shikan Khan which left the field along with Saf Shikan Khan. Rest of the soldiers also ran away. the girls could kill 17 soldiers in the fight. Meanwhile a shot from a soldier who was running away killed the brave girl Bhanwar Kaur. Total 11 girls were killed in the war with Mugal soldiers.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jat Samaj, Agra, August 1995, p. 20
  2. ^ R.C. Majumdar, H.C. Raychaudhari, Kalikinkar Datta: An Advanced History of India, 2006, p.490
  3. ^ Narendra Singh Verma: Virvar Amar Jyoti Gokul Singh (Hindi), Sankalp Prakashan, Agra, 1986, p. 33
  4. ^ Narendra Singh Verma: Virvar Amar Jyoti Gokul Singh (Hindi), Sankalp Prakashan, Agra, 1986, p. 34
  5. ^ Narendra Singh Verma: Virvar Amar Jyoti Gokul Singh (Hindi), Sankalp Prakashan, Agra, 1986, p. 35
  6. ^ Maasir, p. 83
  7. ^ Roznamcha also known as Ibratnama by Muhammad (R.S.L. Ms p. 133
  8. ^ Kamwar (pers. Ms.), II, p. 163
  9. ^ a b Maasir-ul-Umra, I, p. 437, 618
  10. ^ Maasir, p.93
  11. ^ Fatuhat, 9pers. Ms.) 53a
  12. ^ Maasir, p.83, 84
  13. ^ Maasir-ul-Umra, I, p. 618, II, p. 673
  14. ^ Jat Samaj, Agra, August 1995, p. 21
  15. ^ Jat Samaj, Agra, August 1995, p. 22