The second woman that we will read about today is a mother and a caretaker of a Royal Family. She sacrificied her own son, so that the heir of the State Survives. A mother, who saw her own her being cut into pieces right in front of her eyes.
Panna Dhai was the Care Taker of Maharaja Uday Singh, the King of Mewar Kingdom.
Panna Dhai, the maid of Uday Singh had a son, Chandan, of Uday Singh’s age. She used to breastfeed both the kids, including one a future king of Mewar as her own. She was both, a loving mother and a loyal servant at the service of scion of Mewar.
Maharana Uday Singh’s Father, Maharana Sangram Singh, was killed in the Battle of Khanwa. His Son, Rana Ratan Singh II (known as Vikramaditya) suceeded him.
After the death of Rana Sanga due to injuries in the battle of Khanwa, his son Rana Ratan Singh II ( known as Vikramaditya) succeeded him. During his reign, Bahadur Shah of Gujarat attacked Chittor. The battle was lost by Chittor.
In the mean time Panna Dai whisked the young Udai Singh to Bundi upon Rani Karnavati’s orders. Once the situation stabilised for the Rajputs of Chittor, Udai Singh and Panna Dai returned to Chittor. Vikramaditya took charge as the reigning king.In 1536, Vikramaditya offended a respected Chieftain in court. This caused the nobles of Mewar to put Vikramaditya in palace arrest. Banvir Singh (a distant cousin, who was also an uncle to Udai) was made the regent with Udai Singh as elected heir apparent.Banvir who considered himself as the true heir, assassinated Vikramaditya and planned to do the same with Udai Singh.
A servant soon informed Panna about Banbir’s coming. Alarmed, she needed to make a quick decision to save the innocent prince. She soon made a very hard, unexpected choice. Banbir, who would anyhow know the whereabouts of the future king even if tricked had too be fooled into believing the slaying of Uday. Hence Panna decided to sacrifice her own son, Chandan instead of the future King !!
Panna Dai upon hearing the news, placed her royal charge in hands of a dasi and asked her to carry the young prince in a basket secretly outside the fort near a spot by the river. Panna Dai lifted her own son Chandan and placed him in the bed of the prince. While the dasi departed with the basket, Banvir barged through the doors asking where the prince was. Panna Dai was aware of the tragedy to come and she simply pointed to the bed where her son lay in the disguise of the young prince. Banvir killed the child and declared himself as the true ruler.
He then claimed his right to the throne and appointed himself king of Mewar. Panna and Udai fled to Kumbhalgarh, where a governor agreed to grant Udai protection.
Panna Dai quickly packed some clothes and meager supplies and rushed to the secret spot near the river. She hurriedly grabbed the young prince and started her daunting journey of finding a safe haven for the prince. Her journey went on for weeks, with no chief agreeing to provide any refuge to the young prince. The news of Banvir’s doings had spread all over, hence none of the chiefs wanted to help.Only the tribal communities such as the Bhils , loyal to the crown of Mewar gave them any food or refuge.Upon arriving at Kumbhalgarh,a local governor, a kiledar(governor)in maheshwari cast named Asha Depura Shah, agreed to give the child protection. Udai grew up as the nephew of the governor, with Panna Dai watching closely over him.
During next few years Panna Dhai spent her time in exile while raising the young king, preparing him for reclaiming his rightful throne one day. And few years later at the age of 18, the young Uday Singh fought against Banbir and reclaimed his throne back, finally becoming the King of Mewar. It was the comeback of an entire generation of Rajputs, the actual bloodline of Mewar kingdom – the dynasty which gave birth to many future warrior kings including great Maharana Pratap. All due to the sacrifice of Panna Dhai who slowly faded away from history.
There is no equivalent match of Panna Dhai in strength and will power. Her loyalty and trust was unparalleled. Unlike some greedy throne hungry character, Panna Dhai stood up to protect her master’s lineage even at the cost of sacrificing her own son’s life in the process. What better example of an Iron Lady who was able to affect the future of an entire generation by one iron-fist decision. For me certainly Panna Dhai’s stature and sacrifice was the toughest. For any Mother, when her child looses a drop of blood, a part of her cries. Here Panna Dai, not only took the brave decision to sacrifice her son, for saving her throne, but also as a mother, saw her son being sliced into pieces by a ruthless Banvir.
Udai Singh was crowned the 12th Rana of the Sisodia Dynasty. His eldest son and successor Maharana Pratap was born in the same year.
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