Funky Maharanis Through Time
While looking at the history of Maang Tikkas, we came across some beautiful portraits of iconic women adorned with them or similar headpieces. We invite you to take a dip into the past with us and learn of their incredible journeys.
Maharani Jind Kaur (1817 – 1863) was the wife of the first Maharaja of the Sikh Empire, Ranjit Singh and the mother of the last Maharaja of the Sikh Dynasty, Duleep Singh. She was known as 'the Messalina of the Punjab' by the British because she was a force to be reckoned with, as she carved her names in the pages of history fighting against the British invaders even in the face of resistance. A film has been made on her life, titled ‘Rebel Queen’.
Sultan Jahan Begum (1858-1930) was the last Begum of Bhopal. She served a 25-year-long reign, marked by a commitment to equality as she spearheaded change within education and health for women. She founded several important educational institutions in Bhopal, establishing free and compulsory primary education in 1918 and also improved standards of hygiene and sanitation. Despite the religious and political odds against women monarchs especially at the time, her reign and that of her mother and grandmother were marked by benevolence and modernity and a radical openness to change.
Princess Sophia Duleep Singh (1876 - 1948) was a prominent suffragette in the United Kingdom, meaning she was one of the leading women activists fighting for the right to vote in the UK during the suffragette movement in the 1900s. Her father was Maharaja Duleep Singh, who had been exiled from Punjab to England. She was also passionate about Indian independence; she worked for the destitute Asian sailors of the East End, the liberation of women, the freedom of India and in 1914 (First World War), for the Indian soldiers wounded on the Western Front as a nurse. With the kind of privileges she was born into, she could have lived an easy life, but she chose to fight inequality, both in England and India.
Initially known as Anita Delgado Briones (1890-1962), Anita was a Spanish flamenco dancer and singer from Andalusia who achieved fame after having married the Indian Maharaja of Kapurthala on 28th January 1908, thus becoming Maharani Prem Kaur of Kapurthala. She is one of the most famous Maharanis in Kapurthala’s history. She was known to be passionate about jewellery, wearing designs skillfully crafted by artisans in Punjab. She often wore headpieces around her hair, studded with diamonds and precious stones.
Rashid Jahan (1905-1952) was an Indian writer, known to have inaugurated a new era of Urdu literature written by women. She was also a doctor and activist of social change during her times. She was one of the foremost feminists of the 20th century – carving out a space for women to talk about issues that deeply shaped their life like religion, science, their bodies and sexuality, and modernity. As a medical student, she organized free literacy classes and medical clinics for the poor women of Delhi. She was one of the earliest Muslim women doctors in India and it was her life experiences as a doctor, interactions with patients across social classes that shaped her thought and her writing.
Asha Puthli (1945-) is an Indian Jazz-pop legend. The singer, songwriter and actress who grew up in Mumbai has had an incredible career spanning five decades and different continents. She moved to New York in the 1970s and released her first self-titled album in 1973. She went on to release more successful albums and became an icon in the Jazz world at a time when racial and gender discrimination were even more rampant.