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Jauhar-Shaka: When The Enemy Was At The Gate

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When the enemy was at the fort gates, when rations ran out, and when defeat was certain, Rajput kingdoms, especially in northwestern India followed a code of honour that inspires awe and dread to this day. All the women within the fort led by queens dressed in their wedding fineries and jewellery, along with children would step into a large fire and turn to ashes in a ceremony called Jauhar before the enemy set upon them.  While the women burned, the Rajput men performed the Shaka or the last fight from which there was no return. The fort gates would be thrown open and the men, dressed in kesariya or saffron, the Hindu colour of renunciation, with tulsi leaves in their mouths would charge into the enemy with the aim of killing as many as possible before breathing their last.

Rajput women who performed Jauhar were regarded as brave pativratas, or exemplars of such deep devotion for their husbands that they would prefer to join them in their next birth rather than live a life of separation and dishonour. The men who rode out to perform Shaka (or Saka) were also highly respected for performing the most fearsome of sacrifices. It was in keeping with the courage and integrity that Rajputs were known for. Read full article on IndiaFacts.

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