Have you heard about Teelu Rauteli, also called Tilottama Devi, a 17th century Veerangana from Uttarakhand?
She is also called the Rani Lakshmibai of the Garhwal region.
From the age of 15 to 20, she was involved in seven wars and attained martyrdom at 20. Teelu Rauteli was born in Gurrad talla village of Chaundkot in Pauri Garhwal.
Daughter of Bhoop Singh Rawat Rauteli, she had two brothers Bhagtu and Pathwa.
Man Shah was the ruler of Garhwal during that time and Bhoop Singh served in the Raja’s army. Bhagtu and Pathwa were soldiers too. Teelu Rauteli learnt the art of warfare from a very young age.
By the time she was 15, she became an expert in sword fight, horse riding and use of more weapons. Teelu Rauteli was engaged at the age of 15 to Bhuppa Singh Negi who attained martyrdom in a battle before marriage. She then vowed never to marry.
In a battle against a neighboring king, the Katyuris, Teelu Rauteli lost her father and then both her brothers in the battlefield. A grief stricken Teelu Rauteli then herself led battles against enemies. Binduli was the name of her horse.
She prepared an army battalion with her friends, both men and women. She defeated the neighboring king and took revenge of the martyrdom of her father and brothers. She was aged 15.
Teelu Rauteli later marched towards the enemy kingdoms and involved in six more battles regaining the lost territories of the Garhwal king. Her horse Binduli died of wounds in one of the battles.
After the last battle, while taking bath in the Nayar river, she was killed by the enemy forces. Teelu Rauteli was then only 20 years old.
This story of valor of a young woman like 1000s of more valorous sagas, counters the fake feminist narrative that women were deprived of everything and burdened/exploited under patriarchy in ancient and medieval India.
The story of Teelu Rauteli is well described in the book ‘Tribute to Teelu Where Gods Dwell: Central Himalayan Folktales and Legends’ by Kusum Budhwar.
Naman to Veeranganas of Bharat. 🙏🇮🇳
Courtesy – Manoshi Sinha