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Holi with Bloodshed

2006-07-13 22:16

  Perched on the bank of the river Chambal, Kota was once ruled by the rulers of Malwa, Kesar Khan and Dokar Khan. But it was rather their misfortune, which drew them to Kota, where they were buried near the big tank, with the beautiful Jag Mandir at its bank. The end of these rulers came in a sensational way on the occasion of Holi, when people play with colours. But it was not colour, in their case, it was blood.

  As per tale about seven hundred years ago, Kota was seized by the two pathans Dokar Khan and Kesar Khan. Bhongasi, its ruler was incapacitated with the excessive use of wine and opium and was banished to Bundi. His wife, with his household vassals and sixty villagers retired to Kaithun. Bhongasi, while in exile, repented his excesses and returned to his wife and kins. The intrepid Rajputani, rejoiced at his return and laid a plan for the recovery of Kota. To attempt it, by force, would have been an open invitation to destruction.

  When spring came the queen planned to organize Holi and invited the Pathans who jumped at the invitation and eagerly awaited the moment when they would be with the queen.

  One fine evening, Kesar Khan and Dokar Khan found themselves in a romantic mood. They were in their Palace of Kota, which is known as Garh. In this sylvian setting with Chambal streaming nearby, their courtiers and attendants sat by their sides silently.

  All of a sudden, Ibrahim, one of the commander broke the silence and said that the queen of Kaithun was preparing some plants to dethrone them. Kesar Khan guffawed and mocked the commander, “What can the queen do, with her husband an opium addict? They will never dare to challenge us”。

  Dokar Khan, his brother, was in a light mood. He changed the power of beauty. In fact, she is the loveliest among the lovely, a charming queen……“

  Kesar Khan smiled and expressed his desire to have the queen in his palace. He wanted his soldiers to attack Kaithun then and there, because king Bhongasi and his queen lived there. But it was the days of Holi festival. Hence, Ibrahim said that the plan to capture the queen can materialise only after the Holi. Kesar Khan accepted the advice and waited.

  The dethroned king Bhongasi and his queen, Rani Roopmati was living at Kaithun, nine kilometer from Kota, in seclusion and in sadness. The queen was not so much unhappy over the defeat suffered at the hands of the Pathans; as she was because of her husband's addiction to opium. Holi was drawing near, and she was reminded of the great event of history when queen Padmini got her husband freed from the clutches of Allaudin Khilaji. A plan takes root in her mind. She gave a broad smile and ordered her maidservant to call Ratan Singh. Ratan Singh was the Commander-in-Chief. The queen discussed the plan with Ratan Singh, he nodded and went to put into action the queen's plan.

  Ratan Singh sent an invitation to Kesar Khan and Dokar Khan to come to Kaithun to play Holi with the queen and her maidservants.

  The invitation said, “Hope your thirst for battle has been quenched. Springtime has come. Come with your courtiers to play Holi with the Rajputani”。

  The invitation from the queen put Kesar Khan in a state of joy. The message was delivered to Dokar Khan as well. Kesar Khan was lost in dreams about the queen. He gave up the idea of waging another battle with the defeated king and accepted the invitation, nourishing the hope that he would have the occasion to oblige the queen.

  Ibrahim, however, warmed him that there could be a trap behind the invitation. But Kesar Khan ignored the advice of his trusted commander.

  The messenger was sent back with the acceptance of the invitation.

  Kesar Khan ordered the best of clothes for himself and his courtiers. He was impatient for the moment when he would be playing the colourful Holi with the queen Roopmati and her beautiful maids.

  In Kaithun the garden was decorated in style. Three hundred young and pretty maids clad in colourful garments awaited to give a befitting welcome. They did not have to wait for long. Kesar Khan, turbans on their heads. The atmosphere was surcharged with romance. It put Kesar Khan and his comrades into a state of joy. Kesar Khan had waged many battles. He was now tired. It was a rare occasion offered to him for romance and revelry. He entered the palace garden and greeted the queen. The queen was waiting along with her maids with plates full of colour powders in their hands.

  The fountains sprang to their full height. The flowers were blooming, the air was scented with music all over. Kesar Khan approached the queen. In his impatience he expressed his feeling towards her and the queen responded in the same way and she threw colour powder (Abir) on Kesar Khan. This was a signal, for her companions who were disguised young men as ladies.

  They were a band of 300 selected Rajputs belonging to the Hada Dynasty. They threw away their disguises and drew out the swords hidden under their petticoats and losing no time attacked the pathans. Kesar Khan was taken by surprise. Not only was he killed on the spot, his warriors too met the same fate.

  Holi was now converted into a blood bath. Kesar Khan and Dokar Khan along with their courtiers all lost their lives. Kota was now restored to the king and the queen.

  Back in Kota, the people gave a colourful welcome o their king and queen, for freeing them from the tyranny of the pathans. Queen Roopmati thus set another example like queen Padmini and regains her lost kingdom. This story of Rani Roopmati of kaithun will always be remembered for the valiant effort she made for the cause of freedom.

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