Rani Karnavati, an acrylic painting

When I read about Rani Karnavati, I was awed with her. I had to look up and know more about her. And the more I read about her, I was filled with her life, her bravery, her courage and strength, and I drew this acrylic painting. And someday, I wish to visit the land of Chittor.

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Rani Karnavati of Chittor, an Acrylic painting by Monica Ingudam

Rani Karnavati of Chittor, along with many other noble ladies of the court immolated themselves by fire known as Jauhar on March 8, 1535 A.D., while all the men donned saffron clothes committed saka, went out to fight to the death. The men choose to fight till death for their motherland rather than surrendering and be defeated. And the women choose to die in dignity, jumping in the fire rather than face whims and fancy of the enemy, after the defeat. It made me think, of the deepest extent of torture and humiliation of womenfolk they saw in the history of war for them to come up with the concept and implementation of Jauhar. These are women with such pride, whose body and soul wouldn’t be forced.

Also to be noted is the Rakhi story, the glorified story between Rani Karnavati and Mughal emperor Humayun. What I didn’t know, was that Rani Karnavati waited and waited for Humayun’s help when Mewar was under attack by Bahadur Shah. She waited with so much hope and expectations, which didn’t come on time, and finally facing the defeat, she and many others committed Jauhar. Humayun did come, but not on time, defeated Bahadur Shah and reinstated Karnavati’s son Vikramaditya Singh as the ruler of Mewar.And the question lingers “Did Rani Karnavati die with the feeling of betrayal ?” “Did Humayun live with the pain in his heart, that he could have prevented Jauhar, had he acted on time ?” “Did Humayun find his peace, that he tried his best given the circumstances, fighting against all odds ?”

Rani Karnavati was queen, a widow and the grandmother of Maharana Pratap.

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