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KOJAGIRI POURNIMA – Story of Hirakani

Today a historical event happened When a Hira Became Hirakani, Who was a Milkmaid’s her Courage Made Chhatrapati Shivaji Name a Wall After Her.

गोपनारी हिरकणी गडा गेली दूध घालाया परत झणी निघाली पायथ्याशी ते वसे तिचे गाव घरी जाया मन घेई पार धाव ||
शिवप्रभुंचा निर्बंध एक होता तोफ व्हावी अस्तास सूर्य जाता सर्व दरवाजे अचूक बंद व्हावे कुठे कोणा जाऊ न येऊ द्यावे ||

Hirkani, a name that echoes through history as a symbol of maternal love and extraordinary courage, hails from the 17th century in the Maratha Empire. Her story, rooted in the rugged landscape of Maharashtra, India, is a testament to the strength of a mother’s love and the indomitable spirit of a woman facing seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Hirkani lived at the base of Raigad fort situated in the town of Mahad, Raigad district of Maharashtra, Bharat. In 1674, after being crowned the king of the Maratha kingdom, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj chose Raigad as his capital. The fort sits atop a hill in the Western Ghats and massive walls protect it from all sides.

A village sprawled at the base of the hill was the source of the daily merchandise needed by the citizens living within the fort’s compound. To sell their wares, the villagers trekked up the hill via the road leading directly to the fort gates which opened at dawn and shut at dusk each day and the rule dictated that the gates would not be opened for anyone till the next morning.

Like everyone else, Hirakani, the Milkmaid, would also stand in line at the main gates every morning.

On one such day, while getting ready to leave for the fort, Hirkani got delayed as her child was inconsolable.

However, the milkmaid managed to make it to the daily market and sold milk to her regular customers. Unfortunately, she was late to reach the gates in the evening and the Mavla in-charge had already shut them at sunset.

Since she had left her baby at home, not returning was not an option. Hirkani tried beseeching with the Mavla who did not budge and told her that according to the order of Shivaji Maharaj the gates of the fort were opened in the morning and closed in the evening.

Raigad was a difficult fort to climb because of stiff edges & wild beasts. If a hand slips or a foot slips while descending in the darkness of night, death is certain. But she was determined, She came to a corner looking for a way down the fort. It was impossible to descend those edges even in daylight.

Though with the thought of her baby being alone and hungry, Hirkani did something she had never done before. She scaled down the dangerous hillside in the that night. Though severely shaken, scratched and hurt from the harrowing journey, the mother managed to reach her baby.

The next day, like all other days, Hirkani was at the fort’s gates for the daily market. The Mavla was shocked to see the milkmaid entering the gates. He immediately took her to Chhatrapati Shivaji on charges of breaking the rules.

Shivaji heard her story and then looked at the scratches on her hands and face. Instead of punishing Hirkani, he praised her bravery. But looking at the safety of fort immediately ordered for the construction of a wall at the unprotected vertical drop and named it after her.

Her legacy endures as a testament to the power of a mother’s love, and her tale continues to inspire generations with its unwavering message of determination, selflessness, and the strength of the human spirit. It was a tribute to her motherhood and courage, She is a symbol of motherhood and courage! Today, we see millions of successful Hirakani’s around us, striking a perfect balance between career and child, Salute to all those Hirakani’s on the occasion of Kojagiri Poornima.

Thank You!

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