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SAMYOGITA (12TH CENTURY)


Samyogita, also written Samyukta, was the daughter of Jayachandra, ruler of Kanauj. She eloped with and married Prithviraj Chauhan, her father’s enemy. Jaychandra arranged for his daughter’s swayamvara ceremony, a rite where the suitors to the bride assemble and the bride indicates her choice by garlanding one of them. Forewarned that Prithviraj might try to disrupt the proceedings—and to humiliate his enemy—Jaychandra had had a statue made of Prithviraj stationed at the door like a doorkeeper. Samyogita tossed her garland around the neck of this statue. At this signal Prithviraj, who was hiding nearby, swept her up on his horse and carried her away. Such, at any rate, is the story in ballad and legend. Her story appears in the famous Prithviraj Raso a ballad by Chand Bardai.

When Prithviraj faced Muizuddin Muhammad of Ghor on the field of Tarain for the second time, which was to prove fatal, Samyogita exhorted him to bravery, saying, ‘To die is the destiny, not only of man, but of the gods; all desire to throw off the old garment, but to die well is to live forever.’ Prithviraj fought bravely, but was defeated and died on the battlefield. Samyogita immolated herself on his funeral pyre. Many folksongs of Rajasthan celebrate their story.
 
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