Women Rulers in the History of India

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Rani Rudramma (1259 - 1289 A.D.)

  • Rani Rudrama Devi belonged to the Kakatiya dynasty on the Deccan Plateau.
  • She was the daughter of King Ganapathideva who formally designated her as a son through the ancient Putrika ceremony and named her Rudradeva.
  • She succeeded her father when she was only fourteen years old.
  • She was married to Veerabhadra, Eastern Chalukyan prince of Nidadavolu.
  • She completed the Warangal Fort, begun by her father.
  • Marcopolo, the Venetian traveller who paid a visit during her rule writes that she was a lover of justice, of equity and peace.

Rani Durgawati (1524 - 1564 A.D.)

  • Rani Durgawati ruled over Gondwana from 1548 to 1564 on behalf of her son Bir Narayan after the death of Dalpat Shah the ruler of Gondwana.
  • Mughal Emperor Akbar attacked Gondwana in 1564.
  • Rani Durgawati led the battle against the invading army but ultimately when her defeat became imminent she killed herself choosing death to dishonour.

Chand Bibi (1550 - 1599 A.D.)

  • Also known as Chand Khatun or Chand Sultana.
  • She was the daughter of Hussain Nizam Shah I of Ahmednagar.
  • She was married to Sultan Adil Shah of Bijapur, who was murdered by his own men.
  • She acted as the Regent of Bijapur (1580–90) and Regent of Ahmednagar (1596–99).
  • When Ahmednagar was invaded by the Mughals in 1595, she defended it successfully.
  • In 1599, the forces of Akbar once again laid siege to the Ahmednagar fort. But when she tried to negotiate terms with the Mughals, Chand Bibi was killed by her own troops who misunderstood her.

Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar (1725 - 1795 A.D.)

  • Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar ruled over Ahmednagar from 1766 to 1795.
  • She was the daughter of Manakoji Shinde.
  • In 1733 she was married to Khande Rao, who died in the battle of Kumbher in 1754.
  • Her father-in-law Malhar Rao Holkar guided her in ruling the state till his death in 1766.

Kittur Rani Chennamma (1778 - 1829 A.D.)

  • Rani Chennamma was married to Raja Mullasarja of Kittur, a princely state of Belgaum in Karnataka.
  • Her husband died in 1816 leaving behind a son, who passed away in 1824.
  • When Rani Chennamma adopted Shivalingappa as her son and made him heir to the throne, the British did not accept it.
  • Following a battle to defend her kingdom, she was taken captive and lodged in Bailhongal Fort where she breathed her last in 1829.

Rani Lakshmi Bai (1835 - 1858 A.D.)

  • Rani Laxmibai was born in Varanasi and named Manu.
  • She was married to Gangadhar, the ruler of Jhansi in 1842.
  • When both her husband and her son died she adopted a child to make him the heir to the throne.
  • The then British Governor General Lord Dalhousie refused to recognise the adoption and ordered annexation of Jhansi.
  • Rani Laxmibai joined other rulers who were rebelling against British rule.
  • She was mortally wounded at Gwalior and died in June 1858.

Rani Avantibai ( ? - 1858 A.D.)

  • She was married to Vikramaditya Singh, the ruler of Ramgarh State.
  • Vikramaditya Singh died leaving behind his wife Avantibai and no heir to the throne.
  • When the British annexed her kingdom, Avantibai vowed to win back her land from the British.
  • She raised an army of four thousand men and led it herself against the British in 1857.
  • She killed herself at the end of a fierce battle when she could no longer hold out against the British.


Test Yourself

1. Rani Avantibai fought against the Mughals
2. Chand Bibi ruled over Bijapur and Ahmednagar
3. Rani Rudramma belonged to the Satvahana dynasty
4. Rani Durgavati fought against the Mughal Emperor Akbar
5. Rani Laxmi Bai was born in Gwalior
6. Devi Ahilyabai Holkar ruled over Gwalior and Jhansi