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Thursday, 29 August 2013 20:38

Teelu Rauteli

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Long ago, the Katyura King, Dham Shahi, attacked the Garhwal kingdom. The King of Garhwal, Man Shahi, was brutally defeated and Khairagarh, a famous territory of Garhwal, came under the custody of Dham Shahi. Dham Shahi was a very cruel king who levied unreasonable taxes and violently oppressed the people. Obviously, the Garhwalis, especially the leaders in the region, were extremely unhappy with the arrangement. Quickly, a revolt against the Katyura kingdom began to gain momentum. Bhupu Gorala, one of the leaders of the revolutionary group that formed, was killed in the war. He had two sons who, after the death of their father, took up arms as part of the revolt, but they also lost their lives fighting for Garhwal.

Bhupu Gorala also had a daughter, Teelu, who was fifteen years old when her father and two brothers were defeated in battle. The place where Teelu's brothers were killed, Kanda, was a festival ground where the traditional fair, Thaul, was held annually. Teelu told her mother that she wanted to attend the Thaul and play with her friends. Her mother reminded her that her father and brothers had been killed by the enemy. On top of that, her brothers had died where the Thaul is held, the place where she was proposing to frolic with her friends. Teelu's mother told her that if she wanted to play, she should do it on the battleground and play like the warriors there.

Teelu took the advice to heart. Quelling her desires to go to the fair, she decided to take revenge for the death of her father and brothers. She swore to herself that she would release the kingdom from the enemies. She began by building an army out of her friends, the young boys from the village, and anyone else who was willing to fight. One day this army attacked the Khairagarh and successfully won it back. Her army started vanquishing the enemy and freeing the other territories one by one, and eventually it reached Saraikhet where Teelu's father had been killed in battle. In Saraikhet, there was a terrible battle, but Teelu was victorious in the end. She was happy to have finally avenged her father's death.

While Teelu was winning the other territories back, the Katyura came back to attack Khairagarh. As soon as Teelu heard the news, she returned to Khairagarh with her army and won it once again. After that battle, Teelu went to Kandagarh, another Garhwali territory, to have some well-deserved rest. On the way there, she decided to take a bath in the Nayar River. While she was bathing, a Katyur soldier saw her unprotected and unarmed. When Teelu arrived at the bank of the river, the soldier took advantage of her vulnerability and killed her. This brave woman became a martyr at the age of only 22.

People of Garhwal still sing songs about Teelu:

You are a Goddess.
You put your name where it cannot be erased
And now you are alive in our stories and memories.
You showed us the way
And you will never die.

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Rakesh Purohit

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