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Information Digest
Volume 1
Reprint Edition March 2001

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Lalla-Ded Educational and Welfare Trust

Table of Contents

Lalla-Ded Educational Trust
Project Zaan
Information Digest - Vol. 1

Har-van

Position of Women in Ancient Kashmir

During the Hindu period, important and sometimes decisive role was played by  women in the affairs of state. They must have been accomplished. Women, at least  of upper classes received education in diplomacy and state craft, besides that  of general nature.

According to Bilhana, the poet laureate at the Court of Chalukya  king P.mp3adi  (11th century A.D.) women of higher castes and affluent classes received  education in biological sciences, arts, music, botany, painting, needle work, wood  work, clay modelling, cookery, special training in instrumental music, singing  and dancing. Women were as active as men in the discharge of public duties. Women  fought alongside men on foot or on horseback.

Heroism displayed by Didda and Kota Rani was exemplary. Queens were anointed  alongwith their husbands at the time of coronation. Women enjoyed equal rights as  men.

There is evidence that wise women made their husbands’ rule a success. Queen  Suryamati made judicious selection of ministers and other officials to give  public confidence in her otherwise weak husband, King Ananda. He was later made to  abdicate in favour of his son. Didda dominated her weak husband Kshemagupta. She  controlled the destinies of the kingdom as regent and a queen for half a  century. Women could hold property in their own right.

There is no evidence from Rajatarangini regarding the age of marriage. Widows  were expected to live a pure life, devoid of luxury - no ornaments etc.  Remarriage of widows and of other  women does not seem to have been absolutely  forbidden. Partapditya II married the wife of a rich merchant. Kota Rani’s remarriage  after Rinchana’s death is well known. Sati seems to have been wide spread at  least in the ruling classes. Damras did not have this  practice. Instances of  women burning themselves with their beloved deceased ones, be they brothers,  mothers, sisters etc. are available. Gajja cremated herself with her son Ananda,  Vallabha with her brother-in-law Malla, and the sister of Dilhabhattaraka with her  brother. The custom persisted long after the Hindu rule till Sultan Sikander  banned it.

 
 

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