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On Rajput warrior's birth anniv, girls in this small town wield swords, spears
Jaipur, June 26 - Have you ever seen warriors who sacrificed their lives for the motherland being treated as Gods? Do you remember if, at any time, you saw celebrations all around to honour the martyrdom of a warrior?
If not, you should visit a small town in Rajasthan called Nimbahera where warrior Kallaji Rathod is treated like a God. There is a temple here where people worship the warrior and remember his bravery.
The stories of his courage still echo across Mewar and people in their thousands take out a procession on the streets to honour the warrior on his birth anniversary. Tying saffron safas on their heads, youths raise slogans extolling patriotism, while girls participating in equal numbers, exhibit their unusual fighting tactics brandishing swords and spears on the streets, leaving the first time visitors to this town in awe of their courage.
Unafraid and focussed, these girls amid a huge crowd shake their legs to a rhythmic sound emanating from dhols and nagaras while playing with their weapons.
The celebration in memory of a warrior who sacrificed his life evokes a strong emotion -- of bonding with the motherland, of a celebration of sacrifice and celebration of defeating your enemy, said Shubham Kumawat, a local student, adding, "Mewar is known across the world for its tales of bravery. Maharana Pratap was born here and his stories of valour are known all over the world. Living up to the traditions set by the Mewar warrior, people here pay due respect to warriors who sacrificed their lives for the sake of their motherland and treat them as Gods," Kumawat told IANS.
On the birth anniversary of Kallaji Rathore, thousands walk miles on the streets which look saffron as the youth tie saffron safas while girls raise slogans of patriotism, participating in equal numbers and exhibiting their bravery, he said.
There is a DJ playing patriotic songs where thousands are seen dancing and swaying and playing musical instruments. Being a part of Mewar, our town recognises warriors differently and pays homage to them in a way that we live up to the traditions set by Maharana Pratap, said Shubham.
The beauty of the celebration is that the town turns saffron on this occasion, with saffron flags being seen all across, saffron safas being tied on the heads of youths with DJs playing patriotic songs, said Shubham Kumawat.
There is a university here being run in the name of Kallaji where Vedic studies, yoga, astrology are taught as Kallaji himself had a keen interest in yoga, meditation and the Vedas.
"Girls studying here are called Veer Balika who are trained to ensure they cannot be attacked by anyone. In the present times, when girls' security has emerged as a major challenge, our girls can fight 10 persons at a time without being scared," said Ashok Sharma, assistant professor at the university.
Kallaji Rathod was born in the Merta royal family. His father was Asa Singh, the younger brother of Rao Jaimal of Merta. Renowned Krishna follower Mirabai was his aunt.
During his marriage, Kallaji received a message from Maharana Udai Singh that Akbar had attacked Chittor, and asking him to immediately reach there with the army. Kallaji completed the Aarti formalities and went to Chittor, telling his wife he will return soon.
The Maharana appointed Rao Jaimal as the commander. Akbar's army surrounded Chittor from all sides. After several days of fighting, when the Kshatriya heroes' number dwindled, the commander Jaimal decided that the time had come for the last stand. He instructed all soldiers to wear a saffron bana. All the Kshatriya women present in the fort of Chittor committed Jauhar (death by fire) and the next day on February 24, the Mewar braves opened the gates of the fort and attacked the Mughal army. A fierce battle ensued.
Rathod Jaimal was injured in the leg. He wanted to fight but was unable to stand up. Seeing this, Kallaji put swords in both hands of Jaimal and made him sit on his shoulders. After this Kallaji also took swords in both his hands.
The four swords started moving at lightning speed. The earth was soon covered with Mughal corpses. When Akbar saw this, he felt that some God with two heads and four hands was fighting the battle. Kallaji tried to tend to Jaimal's injuries by putting him down, however, an enemy soldier attacked from behind and beheaded him. Even after being beheaded, he managed to fight for a long time and hence is treated as a God, said locals.
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