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KAMALA DEVI (c. 1297)


Kamala Devi was queen to Rai Karan Baghela of Gujarat. When Sultan Ala-ud-din Khilji of Delhi invaded Gujarat, he kidnapped her and took her to Delhi, leaving behind her six-month–old daughter, Devala Devi. Some time later, in 1297 Kamala Devi married Ala-ud-din Khilji, the first recorded marriage between a Hindu princess and a Muslim ruler. Meanwhile Baghela had fled from Gujarat with his children, and Devala Devi’s elder sister had been killed on the journey, though she herself was unhurt. With Gujarat overrun and the marble city of Patan destroyed, Baghela had to take refuge with a neighbouring Yadava king, who gave him a small principality to rule. There Devala Devi grew up. The son of the Yadava king became infatuated with her and asked to marry her. The Baghelas considered themselves superior to the Yadavas and did not wish to grant the request. In the midst of this dilemma, in 1308, Ala-ud-din Khilji sent his army to the Yadavas to demand the tribute on which they had defaulted. Kamala Devi is said to have pined for her daugher and asked the Sultan to order that Devala be captured and brought to her in Delhi. Khilji’s general Malik Kafur was given orders to seize her. Her father managed to hold them off with difficulty. Baghela asked for assistance from the Yadavas, who agreed provided he allowed Devala’s marriage to the prince. He agreed, and the junior Yadava prince came to escort her to Devagiri with a small force. Malik Kafur came upon the party quite by accident and captured the princess near the Ellora caves in 1303. He took her to Delhi, where she was married to Ala-ud-din’s son Khizr Khan.
 
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