Chand Bibi, a contemporary of Emperor Akbar, is a historical figure and well known as the heroic defender of Ahmadnagar. She was daughter of Nizam-ul-Mulk, Hussain Nizam Shah of Bahamin Sultanate of South India and Khunza Humayun. Chand Bibi was married to Ali Adil Shahi, the ruler of Ahmadabad. She was a sublime woman having characteristics of bravery, political expediency, modesty and generosity. When her husband died without issue, she became the regent of her husband’s nephew Ibrahim Adil Shah II and the real power behind the throne in 1580. She appointed Ikhalas Khan as minister to counter the threat of Iranian nobles but he proved disloyal.
She had to counter intrigues within the court and Mughals on the borders. In 1597, Akbar urged the kingdom of Ahmadnagar for fealty that was refused. Thereupon he decided to attack Ahmadnagar. Khan Khanan in Malwa as well as Sultan Murad (Son of Akbar) in Gujarat were asked to proceed towards Ahmadnagar. The imperial troops reached Ahmadnagar and laid siege of the fort. As for Chand Bibi it was a question of saving the whole Deccan from Mughals, she requested the rulers of Bijapur and Golconda to send contingents. Secret information enabled the defenders to remove the charges by counter mining and render the mines harmless. One, however, remained intact and this, when exploded, killed many of garrison and destroyed fifty yards of the curtain between the two armies, but the breach was so gallantly defended by Chand Bibi in person that the assailants were repulsed and night permitted the defenders to repair the damage. Again after a severe fight, the Mughals were repulsed and Murad was compelled to negotiate truce. It was the first time that Ahmadnagar was recognized by the Mughals out of the five states of Deccan. Accordingly, Birar was to be retained with the Mughals and Ahmadnagar would rule independently.
Due to this highly gallant and heroic defence, now Chand Bibi came to be known as Chand Sultana. But some time later, once again the opponents of Chand Bibi made approach to Prince Daniel, the third son of emperor Akbar, who attacked Ahmadnagar with 30,000 men, and a terrible fight took place in the plain of Sonipat near the bank of Godawari river. The Mughals succeeded to turn the troops of Chand Bibi and had a siege over Ahmadnagar in 1599. This time, Emperor Akbar himself rushed to Deccan and pitched his tents outside the city. Chand Bibi desperately resisted the Mughal attacks with such courage that the invaders were repelled at many repeatedly. However, Hamid Khan traitorously allowed the Mughal force to enter Ahmadnagar. There is not much information about the end of Chand Bibi. One version is that Hamid Khan entered the palace to kill her while another is that she committed suicide. And yet another is that after fighting so courageously she gave her life, and thus, Ahmadnagar was captured by the Mughals.
This article was last updated on Wednesday, Jan 04, 2006