The brave and beautiful Kota Rani played a critical role at a historic inflection point in Kashmir’s turbulent history. An icon of resistance against invaders and a symbol of the universal values that Kashmir’s civilisation stands for, her enduring message, “we were we will be”, is especially relevant to the challenges of contemporary times.
A talk-show on the Book “The Last Queen of Kashmir” dedicated to Maharani Kota Devi of Kashmir was held at Bhartiya Vidhya Bhawan, New Delhi today. The US-based author of the Book Dr. Rakesh Kaul made a lucid presentation on various aspects on the character, bravery, political sagacity, acumen and the administrative maturity and the supreme sacrifice of the Maharani Kota Devi. Shri Sushil Pandit, well-known TV talk show national figure interacted with the author on various dimensions and aspects of the famous book on the last woman emperor of Kashmir. Shri Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, President, Panun Kashmir introduced the subject in the function and also presented a vote of thanks, presentation in the programme.
Dr. Mahesh Chander Sharma, Director, Foundation for Integral Humanism and Dr. Gautam Bhattacharya, Senior Diplomat were the special guests in the programme. Dr. Rajat Mitra, author of book, ‘Infidel The Next Door’, Dr. Devika Rangachari, author of the book ‘Queen of Ice’ and Chushul Mahaldar, veteran artist were among the important guests who attended the programme. An interactive session with the participants was also held on the core subject of the Book, The Last Queen of Kashmir.
Dr. Rakesh Kaul in his presentation stated that Maharani Kota was the first woman ruler who faced straightway the tyranny of the men of medieval times and fought it successfully and did not surrender. Kota Rani has become a subject of international research because of the fact that it was during her time that Kashmir was put to shambles due to political sabotage and subversion when might of China and Muslim power had engulfed the South, middle and north Asia. Her life was dedicated to the rich civilization and she during her lifetime took her people away from captivity of barbarians who behaved as hawks to take away Kashmir on a platter. She refused them the victory that they conspired for and gave her people the great administrative and socio-political mechanism to advance their civilizational legacy. The book comprises the seven Indo-literary principles known as Sapt-Rasas.
Sushil Pandit said that Kota Rani symbolizes the transition of power in the Kashmir valley. While Maharani Yashomati is the first woman ruler of Kashmir, Maharani Kota is the last emperor of the valley. Maharani Didda was also one of the great rulers of Kashmir symbolizing woman power. Kashmir was put into a channel of political and social chaos after Maharani Kota. Kashmir was indeed a zenith of civilization for thousands of years. Maharani Kota was second to none so far as the decision making on social, political and administrative issues during the turbulent times was concerned. She successfully withstood the vagaries of political weather and sacrificed her personal independence keeping in view the common good of Kashmir and the people of Kashmir. Kashmir represents the distilled face of foreign invasion through fraud, deceit, tableeg, sword and persecution. Kota encompassed the masculine hegemony and conquered the heart and soul of people who were her subjects.
Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, in his introduction of the subject presentation and vote of thanks described Kota Rani as a symbol of Kashmir’s desire to stick to indigenous culture, civilization, Dharma and ethos. Kota Rani was not an ordinary woman but had great qualities of a ruler, administrator, warrior, strategist, beauty and head of the society. She lived for the people who kept her name alive through centuries via “Kata-Kol” –the Kota Channel which saved them from incessant floods. She built forts and took a large number of measures to bring solace to the people. He termed the book, The Last Queen of Kashmir as the beginning of the new awakening on Kashmir. He said that the Kashmiri Pandits in exile have not surrendered and are determined to regain what has been lost and thus their struggle for Homeland is a genuine tribute to their great forefathers.