On November 15, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to inaugurate the ultra-modern, redeveloped Rani Kamlapati Railway Station in Bhopal. Previously known as Habibhanj Railway Station, it was recently named after the Gond queen. Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Chief Minister, Madhya Pradesh, thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the decision to rename the railway station.
In his statement, CM Chouhan hailed Rani Kamlapati as the pride of the Gond tribe. She was the last Hindu queen of Bhopal. Dost Mohammad, an Afghan commander, took over her kingdom.
ये गर्व, आनंद व उत्साह का क्षण है कि यशस्वी प्रधानमंत्री श्री @narendramodi जी ने विश्वस्तरीय सुविधाओं से युक्त रेलवे स्टेशन तैयार करवाया और अब इसका नाम हबीबगंज से बदलकर अंतिम हिंदू रानी गोंड वंश की रानी कमलापति जी के नाम किया। हम सभी प्रधानमंत्री जी का हृदय से धन्यवाद करते हैं। pic.twitter.com/nYkJJjW5wy— Shivraj Singh Chouhan (@ChouhanShivraj) November 13, 2021
The newly renovated Rani Kamlapati Railway Station is located in Bhopal city. It is part of the West Central Railway. In the statement, CM Chouhan said, “It is a moment of pride, joy and enthusiasm that Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji got the railway station renovated with world-class facilities and now its name has been changed from Habibganj to Rani Kamalapati Ji of the last Hindu queen Gond tribe. We all thank the Prime Minister from the heart.”
Who was Rani Kamlapati?
Rani Kamlapati was the Gond queen of the Bhopal region in the 18th century. She was one of the seven wives of Gond ruler Nizam Shah. Her father’s name was Chaudhari Kirpa Ramchandra. Rani Kamlapati was known for her bravery and beauty.
Reports suggest that she built a seven-storey ‘Kamlapati Palace’. It is currently under ASI as one of the protected monuments in Madhya Pradesh. The architecture of the palace was secular. It was made out of Lakhauri bricks. The merlons in the palace were designed in the form of water lotuses to honour the queen.
Death of Rani Kamlapati’s husband
According to the Gond legends, Alam Shah, Nephew of Nizam Shah, was jealous of his uncle’s wealth and the beauty of Rani Kamlapati. He had proposed to the queen, but she refused. Irked by the refusal and filled with jealousy, Alam poisoned his uncle.
After the death of Nizah Shah, Rani Kamlapati shifted to her castle with her son Naval Shah to save herself from Alam. The queen wanted to avenge the death of her husband, but at that time, she neither had an army nor money.
Dost Mohammad Khan, who was once part of the Mughal army, was approached by the queen for help in avenging the death of Nizam Shah. Khan agreed but demanded Rs. 1 lakh in return, to which the queen agreed. Legends say that the queen tied Rakhi on Khan’s wrist in return for a promise that he would safeguard her honour.
Khan led the Gond and Afghan army to the battle and killed Alam Shah. Rani Kamlapati took over the empire after Alam’s death. When the time came to pay Dost Mohammad Khan, Rani could not arrange the amount and gave away a part of her empire to Khan. He was also named as the administrator of Kamlapati’s empire. By the time Kamlapati took over the empire, her son Naval Shah was an adult. He was not pleased with the decision of handing over part of the empire to Khan. As a result, a battle broke between Shah and Khan.
According to the stories, Khan poisoned Shah and killed him. Some stories suggest the queen died of suicide by jumping into the lake of her palace in 1723. The last days of the queen were full of struggle, but there is no written record of it. There are only stories that are told among the tribes.
The Gond Tribe
Gond tribe is one of the largest tribal groups in India, with a population of around 1.2 crores. They belong to the GondiManda subgroup of the Dravidian language family’s South Central branch.