Krishna at Goddesss Radharani's feet
Indian women's position in society further deteriorated during the medieval period, whenSati, child marriages and a ban on remarriage by widows became part of social life in some communities in India. The Muslim conquest in the Indian subcontinent brought purdah to Indian society. Among the Rajputs of Rajasthan, the Jauhar was practised. In some parts of India, the Devadasis or temple women were sexually exploited. Polygamy was widely practised, especially among Hindu Kshatriya rulers. In many Muslim families, women were restricted to Zenana areas of the house. In spite of these conditions, some women became prominent in the fields of politics, literature, education and religion. Razia Sultana became the only woman monarch to have ever ruled Delhi. The Gond queen Durgavati ruled for fifteen years before losing her life in a battle with Mughal emperor Akbar's general Asaf Khan in 1564. Chand Bibi defendedAhmednagar against the powerful Mughal forces of Akbar in the 1590s. Jehangir's wife Nur Jehan effectively wielded imperial power, and was recognized as the real power behind the Mughal throne. The Mughal princesses Jahanara and Zebunnissa were well-known poets, and also influenced the ruling powers. Shivaji's mother, Jijabai, was queen regent because of her ability as a warrior and an administrator. In South India, many women administered villages, towns, and divisions, and ushered in new social and religious institutions. The Bhakti movements tried to restore women's status and questioned certain forms of oppression. Mirabai, a female saint-poet, was one of the most important Bhakti movement figures. Other female saint-poets from this period included Akka Mahadevi, Rami Janabai and Lal Ded. Bhakti sects within Hinduism such as the Mahanubhav, Varkari and many others were principle movements within the Hindu fold openly advocating social justice and equality between men and women....
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