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Panna Dai (also spelt Panna Dhai) was a 16th-century nursemaid to Udai Singh II, the fourth son of Maharana Sangram Singh. In Hindi, Panna means "emerald," and dai means "nurse." She was given charge of Udai Singh, breastfeeding him virtually from his birth in 1522, along with her own son Chandan. When Udai was attacked by his uncle Bhanvir, Panna Dai sacrificed her own son's life to save him.
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In the early 16th century, Vikramaditya succeeded the throne from his brother Rana ratan singh 11. He was 14 and was known for being insolent and arrogant. In 1535, Chittor was attacked by Bahadur Shah, causing Karnavati to ask neighboring rulers for help. Vikramaditya took a small force of nobles and their armies into the hills to help, while Udai was taken with Panna to Bundi. Unfortunately, the battle was lost, leaving Chittor sacked. Vikramaditya came back after the fight, extending his reign.
After the defeat, Vikramaditya's temperament didn't improve, causing him to physically abuse a respected chieftain at the court. This led to nobles placing Vikramaditya under palace arrest, leaving Udai as heir-elect to the throne. The court appointed a distant cousin of the family, Banvir, to act as regent. He was supposedly the illegitimate son of Udai's uncle, Prithviraj. Banvir considered himself the legitimate heir to the throne, and assassinated the imprisoned Vikramaditya. He subsequently attempted doing the same to Udai, however Panna was alerted of the situation and sent Udai out to a river, while setting her own son, Chandan, in his place. Banvir came soon after, asking for Udai. Panna pointed at the bed, now occupied by her son, and watched as he was murdered. Banvir arranged a meeting of the court and informed the chiefs that both the heirs were deceased. He then claimed his right to the throne and appointed himself king of Mewar. Panna and Udai fled to Kumbhalgarh, where a governor agreed to grant Udai protection.
In 1539, a chieftain from Mewar visited Kumbhalgarh, and Udai went to receive him. This led to rumors spreading that Udai may still have been alive. In 1540, Udai and a considerable force from Mewar, marched into Chittor to reclaim his throne. Banvir sent out an army to repel the attack, but he was defeated, nonetheless.
In 2014, the then Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Vasundhara Raje, inaugurated the Shaheed Smarak and Panna Dhai Museum, as well as a boat shaped museum at the Goverdhan Sagar Lake. The museum is dedicated to Panna Dai and her sacrifice to Mewar. The hall also portrays her life; in which visitors will be shown a 3D movie about her.
- CM Raje to inaugurate Shaheed Smarak and Panna Dhai Museum
- Panna Dhai Award estd. 1997
- Senagupta, Śacīndranātha (2009). Pannā dhāya : Śacīna Senaguptā ke Bāṅglā nāṭaka kā Nemicandra Jaina dvārā kiyā gayā Hindī anuvāda (in Hindi). Nayī Dilli: Bhāratīya Jñānapīṭha. ISBN 9788126318230.