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MAHITAB DEVI

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MAHITAB DEVI (d. 1839), known as Rani Katochan or Rani Gaddan, was daughter of Raja Sansar Chand Katoch of Kangra. She was married to Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1829 and had great influence over him. At Lahore she introduced the art of Phulkari embriodery, arranged marriages of orphan girls and established a school of hill music and dance. She had also a fine collection of hill miniatures and her palace was a treasure of art. 

She ended her life by immolating herself on the funeral pyre of her husband on 28 June 1839. Before the pyre was lit, she took the Maharaja's head into her lap and extracted promises from all the sardars to be loyal to Kharak Singh, the successor Maharaja.

References :

1. Ganda Singh, ed., Maharaja Ranjit Singh : First Death Centenary Memorial Volume. Amritsar, 1939
2. Bhagat Singh, Maharaja Ranjit Singh and His Times. Delhi, 1990
3. Khushwant Singh, Ranjit Singh, Maharajah of the Punjab (1780-1839). London, 1962
4. Khullar, K.K., Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Delhi, 1980

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