Although Mughal women contributed to the Mughal empire, historians who wrote our male-centric history exclusively highlighted the male Mughal kings. Mainstream historians frequently overlook the extraordinary political role played by these incredible women warriors who walked the earth during the Mughal Era.
Harem and royal politics were heavily influenced by women. Many of them were the “king makers” who controlled the Mughal society behind the scenes, and their philosophies had a significant effect on monarchs. However, there existed a special force that comprised entirely of women warriors during the Mughal Era.
Urdubegis – the unsung female heroes of the East. So, who were these brave women?
Although women were previously not allowed to act as security – the world has traditionally assigned males the responsibility to safe keep and fight wars. Urdubegis were a unique corps of female warriors who emerged under the Mughal Empire with the primary mission of defending the ruling Mughal emperor and the members of his harem.
When Babur, the first Mughal emperor, conquered Ibrahim Lodi in 1526, the Mughal Empire was established in India. Babur was accompanied by his harem, and to assure their safety he established the Urdubegis and the members of this troupe mainly comprised of Kashmiri, Turk, Habshi, and Tartar women.
In actuality, several women—including Nusaybah Bint Ka’ab, the religion’s first female warrior—became well-known for their combat prowess throughout time.
The Urdubegis were dreaded by both men and princes because they posed a serious threat to the king’s adversaries. The Urdubegis were trained female soldiers who are renowned for their unwavering allegiance to the monarch.
The trained female warriors known as Urdubegis patrolled the area around the harem as guardians. Men would have needed to see a guard at particular times, especially while they were moving about. The Urdubegis had to be prepared to give up the veil in order to safeguard their children and watch over the concealed queens and princesses.
The guards had received training in the usage of spears and bows. They were trained to wield small daggers and swords in addition to long-range weaponry. These ladies, who had been taught the skill of combat, had to be dependable since they would be defending not only the queen and the other members of the harem but also the monarch.
When describing the bravery and might of the Urdubegis, Kishori Saran Lal says in his book The Mughal Harem, “The Urdubegis of the Mughal court was so skillful in warfare, that during the war of succession, Aurangzeb rejected to visit Shah Jahan because he feared the female armed guard would murder him.”
Their legacy has suffered from the passage of time, and today they are but footnotes in the history of the Mughals.
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This post is tagged under: mughal era, mughal emperor, Babur, First mughal emperor, Mughal period, female guards, female warriors, female fighters
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