Newlywed brides fought in battle of Haldighati, says Rajasthan textbook

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Newlywed brides fought in the battle of Haldighati wearing men’s dresses as part of Mewar king Maharana Pratap’s army against Mughal emperor Akbar, according to a new history book for Class 10 students.

The book – Rajasthan Ka Itihas & Sanskrati – available for download from the website of the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education (RBSE), said Haldighati was named after these women who had haldi (turmeric) on their hands as part of their wedding rituals.

The particular chapter quoted from Dr Mahendra Bhanawat’s book, Ajooba Bharat, as source of this information.

“Haldighati ka naam haldi rangi mitti ke karan nahi pada. Aisi mitti yahan hai bhi kahan? Lal, peeli aur kali teen rango wali mitti hai phir Haldighati naam kyo diya gaya? Iska ekmatra karan yeh hai ki yahan haldi chadhi kai nav vivahitayein purush vesh me lad marin (Haldighati didn’t get its name due to turmeric coloured soil. Where was soil of this colour? There are only three colours of soil – red, yellow and black. The only reason for this name is that newlywed women in men’s clothes who had turmeric on their hands fought and died here),” the book says on page 12 of the first chapter.

Another RBSE book says Maharana Pratap “lacked the patience, control and planning which is required in a military commander during hostile circumstances”.

When contacted, Dr Bhanawat said he wasn’t aware of a Board textbook quoting him. “It is true that there was a practice of women fighting wars from the time of Rana Sanga. In the Haldighati battle, when Pratap’s army was outnumbered by the Mughals, 150 women led by Pratap’s wife fought,” he said.

Professor BM Sharma, former chairman of Rajasthan Public Service Commission, was convener of the textbook review committee set up by the Congress government “to remove discrepancies in school textbooks introduced by the BJP government”.

He said he was coordinator of the committee but it would be better to ask the board about anything contained in the textbooks.

RBSE chairman DP Jaroli said when he took charge, the committee was already working. “I am busy in the Class 10 and 12 exams. I will look into this after the exams. If there’s anything wrong, we will get it rectified,” he said.

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