Not the first

She guided her son, king Abhimaniyu Gupta who ascended to throne in 1024 Bikrimi. Didda ruled indirectly from 1024 to 1045 Bikrimi when Abhimaniyu Gupta, Tribhuwan Gupta, Bhim Gupta were the rulers, the latter two her grandsons.
Not the first
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Rani Didda was the first woman ruler of Kashmir who ruled for 40 years.  After the death of her husband Khaem Gupta,  Didda became all-powerful.  

She  guided her son,  king Abhimaniyu Gupta who ascended to throne  in 1024 Bikrimi. Didda ruled indirectly from 1024 to 1045 Bikrimi when Abhimaniyu Gupta, Tribhuwan Gupta, Bhim Gupta were the rulers, the latter two her grandsons.

In 1046 Bikrimi she took the power directly. Her reign lasted 18 years. During this  period, many attempts were made to topple her but due to her political foresight and wisdom,  she pre-empted every conspiracy against her.

Kota Rani, wife of king Adun Dev was also very powerful. Dev became the king in 1384 Bikrimi. Kota Rani used to guide him. But in 1388 Bikrimi when Owardhan, a Turkish raider, invaded Kashmir,  Dev fled to Tibet. Kota Rani was left behind to confront Owardhan. And in this fight she was helped  by Shah Mirza.  Owardhan was defeated and forced to flee.

Later Shah Mirza was elevated to a higher post.   Adhun Dev returned. His subsequent death made Shah Mirza more powerful. He became the de facto ruler.

 Kota Rani shifted to Inderkot fort and ruled the state with the help of her brothers. But Shah Mirza  secretly entertained dreams of becoming the king himself. And in time he got the cabinet by his side and usurped the throne in 1399 Bikrimi. 

He sent his messenger to Rani Kota with  a proposal to marry him, but she refused. Mirza subsequently bought her to Srinagar from Inderkoot fort after a brief fight. She was forced to marry Shah Mirza also known as Sultan Shamas-ud-din. She preferred to commit suicide than to surrender before Shah Mirza.

Mehbooba Mufti is the third woman to rise to power in J&K. But  it is also true that post 1947 she  is the first lady to be the J&K chief Minister.

Our earlier queens have ruled us better than some kings and let us be optimistic and hope that Mehbooba will prove her mettle too.

The world is still male dominated and Kashmiris are more superstitious. We pronounce judgements before actual incidents and events  happen. Let us wait, and may be she proves better than even some male Chief Ministers.

Late Mufti Mohammad Saeed was one of the best politicians of the country and Mehbooba is his daughter. We expect good governance from her and may be like Rani Didda and Kota Rani, she may prove even better. Some rival politicians are running a vicious campaign that she cannot deliver  but they should also keep in mind that they could not deliver in their times.

If Shella  Dixit could rule Delhi  for 15 years and change the face of the state. If Mamata Banerjee can rule West Bengal and mordenize Kolkata and if J Jayalalithaa can change the fate of Tamil Nadu, why not Mehbooba Mufti.

nisarnaseem@gmail.com

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