A Woman and a Queen
Aruna Patel Vajpeyi
DIDDA: KASHMIR KI YODDHA RANI (DIDDA: THE WARRIOR QUEEN OF KASHMIR) by Aashish Kaul Prabhat Paperback, 2021, 216 pp., 300.00
October 2022, volume 46, No 10

This is the story which has been buried in the rubble of history of twelve hundred years ago of a warrior Queen, who was brave and beautiful and intelligent. She was a legendary queen of Kashmir, who ruled from 950 to 1003 AD.  She became a legend for her valour. Her father was the ruler of Lohar, a hill principality near Kashmir. Didda was physically handicapped due to polio and because of that her parents neglected her and she was jeered at by other members in the palace. She was put under the care of a nurse Valja, an intelligent and caring woman who was devoted to Didda as a friend and guide. She treated her as her own child and Didda always found solace in her company.

Even though she was beautiful, Didda’s father was worried that no king would marry her because of her physical condition. But Kshemgupt, the King of Kashmir, impressed by her beauty as well as her prowess as a fighter, decided to marry her.

Kshemgupt was an easy going monarch, a debauch and a womanizer. He was never interested in governing his kingdom, so gradually Didda took charge of the administration with the help of Prime Minister Falgun, who was the father of the senior Queen Chandralekha.

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