Queen Belawadi Mallamma ,a great woman warrior, Karnataka

Queen Belawadi Mallamma ,Karnataka, India, first woman to have her own women armyen.wikipedia.org
Queen Belawadi Mallammastatue India .www.flickr.com
In the conservative Indian subcontinent, centuries ago, women were denied positions  of  power  and of managing  kingdom by men for the simple reason they were  weak, emotional and could not function under pressure. To many rulers, raising their family  and management of internal affairs of the palace are more important than anything else. However, several Indian women from the royal families, out of necessity, assumed the role of men to fight against injustice and denial of liberty or freedom against foreign as well as Indian rulers. The 17th and 18th centuries were the periods that produced numerous valiant Indian women freedom fighters, whose records of exploits in the battle fields or elsewhere are well etched in the Indian history books.

Belawadi Mallamma, also known as Savitribai, queen of Belawadi from Bailhongal, Belgaum District, North Karnataka, S. India was altogether a different woman. Daughter of Sode King Madhulinga Nayaka, Belawadi Mallamma was the first woman to have a specially trained  women's army in the 17th century to wage wars against the the British forces and also
Chatrapathy Shivaji of Maratha clan.en.wikipedia.org
mighty powerful Maratha army whom even the British rulers and Moguls hated very much.

In the 1770s once Chatrapathi Sivaji (c.1627/1630 – 1680) of Bhonsle clan, was camping near Balwadi  on his return from some official work. The soldiers were denied enough milk  by the villagers. So, at night soldiers went to the village and came back with the cows to gather milk. When the matter was taken up before the queen Mallamma, who had a plan to give grand reception to Shivaji, she was angry. She, along with her women army, made a surprise attack on the Maratha army camp and killed many soldiers.

While fiercely fighting on horse back, she fell down because somebody had cut her horse's leg. Upon taken before Shivaji Maharaj, magnanimous as he was, the great Maratha ruler found a valiant and brave woman warrior in Belawadi Mallamma and felt ashamed of his folly. He set her at liberty immediately and told her, ''I made a mistake Ma..! Kindly forgive me...I don't want your kingdom.''

Shivaji, was  brought up by his mother Jijabai and she had tremendous influence on him. So, since childhood he had  deep respect for women. The incident mentioned above brings out two things - being a courageous warrior Belawadi Mallamma  earned the respect of a worthy Maharajah of high caliber and character like Chatrapathi  Shivaji. As for Shivaji, his spirit of appreciation, humility and  abiding respect for talented warrior women like Mallamma all were well expressed. Both of them in their respective ways stuck to their individuality and their just fight for upholding justice.


www.itimes.com shivaji

"Ensure Belwadi Mallamma of Belgaum district gets her place in international history". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 2008-10-26. Archived from the original on 30 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-17.