Invincible Lady of Ahmadnagar
Hijri 957-1007 (AH); Common Era 1550-1599 (CE)
Known as the “Invincible Lady of Ahmadnagar,” Chand Bibi was married to the Sultan of Bejapur, Ali Adil Shah, and she counseled her husband on government, reviewing military parades. Yet, her evident power was viewed with distrust by the men of her husband’s court, and her husband was murdered, but she became the guardian his nephew and heir. Pushed out of Bejapur after four years by this distrustful coterie, she returned to her home of Ahmadnagar where her brother was ruler. At this same time, the Mughals were looking to expand their power into Ahmadnagar territory. When her brother died in 1594 and following the cowardice and the failed political maneuverings of others around her, Chand Bibi decided to defend Ahmadnagar against the Mughal onslaught. Abul Fazl writes, “Chand Bibi appeared with a veil on her head. She got guns to be brought to bear on the assailants, and stones to be hurled at them, so that they were repulsed in several repeated attacks. During the night, she stood by the workmen and caused the breach to be filled up nine feet, before daylight, with wood, stones and carcasses.” Despite the Mughal army’s might and due to the leadership and courage of Chand Bibi, the Mughals’ efforts failed. According to the peace treaty, Chand Bibi was named regent over Bahadur Shah, the ruler, but the men who had left Chand Bibi to defend Ahmadgar returned. rejecting the terms of the peace, they resumed hostilities. Yet, after their failure again, Chand Bibi resumed command of the men and again. Yet, a eunuch, her valet, believing her negations with the Mughals was treachery, roused a mob, who murdered Chand Bibi. Her outraged men hacked the murderers to death and vowed to continue to fight against the Mughals. Yet, without her leadership, they fell to the Mughal force.