Panna Dhai Award
It was not uncommon to engage a lady who was nursing her newborn child to
supplement the feeding of another infant whose mother was unable to do
so. Such a lady, in Mewar was known as 'Dhai' or foster mother. In the
House of Mewar, the privilege of being appointed a Dhai has long been in
existence, and the selection was usually restricted to a particular community.
In 1535 Banbir assassinated AD Rana Vikramaditya. Kanwar Udai Singh, the rightful
successor to the throne was an infant at the time. Banbir who was an outsider
wanted to usurp the throne for himself, and do away with the young prince.
Kanwar Udai Singh had a 'dhai' called Panna (Panna Dhai), who
had her own infant son. She was deeply devoted to both and brought them up as her own children.
Pannadhai was aware of the malafide intentions of Banbir, and was extremely
careful and protective of her ward.
One night, Banbir managed to enter the quarters of the young princeling. Pannadhai
had suspected that he would do so, and while both infants were asleep that
night, she placed her own child in the bed of Kanwar Udai Singh. Without
hesitation, Banbir murdered the innocent child. Pannadhai then, discretely
smuggled the young prince out, hidden in a basket, and fled to Kumbalgarh
Words cannot capture the loyalty and devotion of Pannadhai, far beyond any call
of duty. The House of Mewar will always be indebted to her. She has been
immortalised in the annals of history.
The Panna Dhai Award is a National Award. It has been instituted to honour Pannadhai
and is awarded in recognition of one who ventures beyond the call of duty
and sets an example in society, of permanent value through sacrifice.
This National Award comprises:
- Cash award of Rs. 25,001/-
- A silver "Toran" plaque of honour
- A ceremonial shawl