Shivaji surrenders to the force of a mother’s love!

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Here is an inspiring incident on Mother’s Love!!

She was Hirakani, the pretty wife of Ishwar Ram, who earned his livelihood by maintaining cows and supplying milk to the Villagers. The shifting of the capital from Pratapgarh to Rairi gave him the incentive to expand his business by adding new numbers to his herd. Pretty Hirakani had an amicable character and a good heart, and was liked by everyone except her evil tongued, nasty-tempered mother-in-law. She was always quarreling with the girl on some pretext or other, but the good natured girl had also the wisdom not to let the quarrels develop by joining the banter and let them get out of hand.

As much as Ishwar Ram loved his wife for her looks, so much did he respect her for her wisdom and strength of character. And so when it came to the supply of milk to the people inside the fort, he unhesitatingly sent his pretty young wife, amidst the cross talks of soldiers when his mother refused to undertake the job. And Hirakani was indeed worth her weight in gold. With her modesty, wit and quick repartee, she did good business without letting the soldiers get too smart with her. And her good heart and helpful nature had won their affection so that the banters of the Mavalis meant nothing but simple fun, and they all loved her like a sister.

Hirankani had a son, a lovely baby upon whom she dotted with all her being. She would return from her business errand before dusk so that the baby had her full attention after that and also that his feeding might not suffer. Shivaji placed strict orders as to the closing and opening of the fort gates. And the gates, once closed, would not be opened again till the next scheduled time, either to let anyone go out or come in, even if it were Shivaji himself.

Hirakani always returned before the gates closed, so that her baby did not have to suffer the pangs of hunger. But one day, in one of the houses where she usually supplied milk, the soldier’s wife was in labour, with no one to help. Hirakani stayed with her, with some of the neighbors to help. The helplessness of the young mother so moved her, that she stayed right by her side, unmindful of the time till she delivered a healthy boy, very much alive and kicking. It was only then, as she was helping the exhausted mother to some milk, that she realized it was getting dark and someone was lighting the lamp.

She mumbled a hurried explanation to the neighbors who protested against her going at such a time and pressed her to stay back, and left in a haste. But when she reached the gates, to her utter dismay, she found them closed. The guards knew her well. She begged them to open just a crack and let her pass. They understood her predicament, sympathized with her, but had to express their helplessness. Shivaj’s orders were strict. They advised her to go back to the soldier’s house and stay with his wife for the night.

Distressed and dejected, Hirakani turned back. But instead of going back to the village, she walked along the wall, prowling like an animal whose instincts are roused. In her ears droned the whimper of her baby. She was like a tigress caught in a trap, with her cubs sobbing outside. All her instincts woke up – the force of that uncontrollable love and longing to get back to her hungry child egging her mind on to try and find a way out. She moved hither and thither restlessly, weeping in distress, and at last stopped at a spot, and, making up her mind to do or die, tied her milk pot to her waist and climbed up the wall, went over it and jumped out.

Outside, it was pitch dark in the jungle. Night calls of predators did not fall on her ears, for she only heard the wailing of her baby in her mind. Snakes slithering in her path did not scare her. She was hardly conscious, hardly aware of what she was doing or how she was going to make the steep descent on the hill side. A slip would have sent her rolling down to certain death. But she did not slip. With the tenacity strangely sustained by despair she clung to anything she could catch and lowered herself further and further. At last she reached the foot-hills and unmindful of her blistered, bleeding feet and hands, ran home absorbed in delight, and picked up the baby. Her mother-in-law’s invectives did not bother her. She was worrying about the baby and now she was with him.

That was all that mattered. As for the invectives and insinuations of the mother-in-law, she knew she did not have to worry about them, too. She was aware of her husband’s trust in her. The next day early in the morning, as they opened the gates, one of the guards went to the soldier’s house to tell Hirakani to go. Where was Hirakani ? The soldier’s wife started at him in surprise. “Of Course, Hirakani never came here last evening”, she told him firmly. A search proved that the milk-maid was nowhere in the fort.

When a soldier was dispatched to her house and to check, she was there, in her husband’s house, preparing for yet another day’s round of business. The guards ran to Shivaji and narrated the incident. Shivaji was stunned. A milkmaid, a frail woman, to go out of the fort, in pitch dark, and scale the mountain down? Unbelievable ! If climbing it was dangerous enough, getting down its steep sides was death itself. He sent a guard for Hirakani. He learnt of the desperate urge that drove her to attempt so deadly a task. He saw here bruised hands and feet and the glimpse of mother’s love in her eyes. He felt humble, and, kneeling before her, placed those bruised hands upon his head, seeking the blessing of that noble, loving, courageous mother. And then he asked her to take him to the spot through which she made the exit. He ordered immediate measures to be enforced to garrison and guard to spot. As he stood watching it, his mother’s words again rang in his mind, “Are you sure, really sure that your new fort is impregnable?” He bowed his head.
“No, mother. I am not sure any more. I may never be sure again, and I will be alert and always ready for an attack,” he thought.

Happy Women’s Day 2018!

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