We all have heard the popular word 'Billo' in our songs, movies and even in daily life which is used to address a pretty woman with a big ego. Yes! Billo is a very commonly used name in our popular culture that usually refers to an attractive and lively woman with a cheeky behaviour and that is the image that our mind creates when we hear the word 'Billo'.
But none of us knows that Billo was actually a real woman in our history. Yes! referred to as Billo by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, her real name was Bashiran Bai who was a singer/dancer in the Royal court. Maharaja Ranjit Singh's kingdom had a special group of women called 'Group of Amazons' consisting of beautiful well behaved talented girls who were also learned and skilled in martial arts.
This Amazonian group consisted of 30-40 girls and Billo was the commandant of this group and the favourite of Maharaja. She was a singer and dancer of the Maharaj's court. A beautiful Kashmiri girl with a glowing complexion and striking big brown cat-like eyes commonly called 'Billori Akh' and this is why the Maharaja used to call her Billo.
Billo was the favourite of the Maharaja not only because of her beauty but also because of her intelligence, wit and talent. It is said that the Maharaja liked engaging in witty banter and Billo was good at that which the Maharaja loved. She was allocated a property worth the annual revenue of 8000 Rupees which was huge at that time and twice of what any other girl commanded.
Billo is told to have the ability to win anyone over with her charm. Owing to her beauty, talent and cheeky ways, she enjoyed a special and very strong influence over the Maharaja that others could not even dream of. She had the power of getting the things done from the Maharaja which the others failed to. She was aware of her status & influence and due to this she even used to behave like that. So much so, that even the senior officials of the court never dared to mess with her.
Eventually, Billo's name and fame became so widespread in the kingdom that her name became a symbol of ego and girl who had a huge ego would be taunted by the people calling her 'Billo' And just like this, the name Billo and the image that it creates in our minds has been etched in our culture. So the next time you hear a song with the world 'Billo' in it don't forget to remember the real Billo.