In which you find out about Rani Rudrama Devi. Or you can just skip this post and wait for the movie instead.
History is not kind to women. The only mentions they seem to deserve, if any, are as supporting characters in the heroic epic that is the life of their father / brother / lover / husband / son. So what did it take for Rani Rudrama Devi to inherit the Kakatiya kingdom? Being declared a son, of course.
When Rudramba was born to Ganapati Deva, he had no sons. He promptly had her declared a Putrika, a brother-less daughter who, for all practical purposes, is a son. She inherits her father’s estate, performs his last rituals and her male progeny (Putrika Putra) inherits the same rights and continues the lineages of both his father and his maternal grandfather. Rudramba was also given the manly name of Rudra Deva, which explains the confusion amongst many sources that attribute the construction of the 1000 Pillar temple to her, rather than the original Rudra Deva.
When Ganapati Deva lost to the armies of Sundara Pandyan I at the battle of Mudugur/Muttukur (near present-day Nellore) around 1260, things were very bleak for the Kakatiya kingdom. The Kakatiyas were allies of the Telugu Cholas of Vellore, who turned to Ganapati Deva for help when the Pandyas kicked the Telugu Cholas out of Kanchipuram. Ganapati Deva responded to this plea and, basically, lost. Pretty badly. Sundara Pandyan even celebrated this occasion by issuing a coin with the Kakatiya boar on it – just to spite the Kakatiyas, probably.
Although Ganapati Deva managed to recover his losses in the next couple of years, his political career was finished. He nominated his daughter, who was all of 14 at the time, as his co-regent and thus began Rudrama Devi’s reign.
A women isn’t an acceptable leader to most, especially when it’s the 13th Century. When she ascended the throne after the death of her father in the late 1260s, Rudrama Devi was on her own. Her half-brothers, Harihara and Murarideva, revolted and tried to seize the capital. The Yadava king, Mahadeva, also tried to do the same. Rudrama Devi fought back, quite literally. Legend has it that she fought Mahadeva for 15 days before chasing him to the walls of the Devagiri Fort. She then one-upped Mahadeva and later annexed parts of the Yadava kingdom. This, as the Yadavas realized, was no ordinary queen. She strengthened the dynasty’s hold on the kingdom, completed the Warangal Fort and quashed every single rebellion. Much like O-Ren Ishii. In that one scene.
Penta Sivunnaidu. (2004). Kakati Ganapatideva and His Times, A.D. 1199-1262.
Dr. P.V.P. Sastry. (1978). The Kakatiyas of Warangal.