of Women in Ancient Kashmir
the Hindu period, important and sometimes decisive
role was played by women in the affairs of
state. They must have been accomplished. Women, at
least of upper classes received education in
diplomacy and state craft, besides that of
According to Bilhana,
the poet laureate at the Court of Chalukya
king P.mp3adi (11th century A.D.) women of
higher castes and affluent classes received
education in biological sciences, arts, music,
botany, painting, needle work, wood work, clay
modelling, cookery, special training in instrumental
music, singing and dancing. Women were as
active as men in the discharge of public duties.
Women fought alongside men on foot or on
Heroism displayed by
Didda and Kota Rani was exemplary. Queens were
anointed alongwith their husbands at the time
of coronation. Women enjoyed equal rights as
There is evidence
that wise women made their husbands’ rule a
success. Queen Suryamati made judicious
selection of ministers and other officials to give
public confidence in her otherwise weak husband,
King Ananda. He was later made to abdicate in
favour of his son. Didda dominated her weak husband
Kshemagupta. She controlled the destinies of
the kingdom as regent and a queen for half a
century. Women could hold property in their own
There is no evidence
from Rajatarangini regarding the age of marriage.
Widows were expected to live a pure life,
devoid of luxury - no ornaments etc.
Remarriage of widows and of other women does
not seem to have been absolutely forbidden.
Partapditya II married the wife of a rich merchant.
Kota Rani’s remarriage after Rinchana’s
death is well known. Sati seems to have been wide
spread at least in the ruling classes. Damras
did not have this practice. Instances of
women burning themselves with their beloved deceased
ones, be they brothers, mothers, sisters etc.
are available. Gajja cremated herself with her son
Ananda, Vallabha with her brother-in-law Malla,
and the sister of Dilhabhattaraka with her
brother. The custom persisted long after the Hindu
rule till Sultan Sikander banned it.