JHANSI RANI LAKSHMI BAI
History may forget, Jhansi may be destroyed, but her name” Jhansi ki rani/ Queen of Jhansi” will be an eternal memorial of courage for coming generations. Rani Lakshmibai, named as Manikarnika Tambe was born on 19 November 1828 in Benares, Kingdom of Kashi-Benares (presently in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India). Unfortunately, her mother died when she was 4 years old. Brought up in the household of the peshwa (ruler) Baji Rao II, Lakshmi Bai had an unusual tough upbringing by her family as a Brahman girl. Growing up as tough as boys in the peshwa’s kingdom, she was trained in horsemanship, martial arts, archery and became proficient in sword fighting and horse-riding.
Later, she was married to the maharaja of Jhansi better known as Gangadhar Rao. She gave birth to a boy, named as Damodar Rao, in 1851, who unfortunately died after four months and she was widowed without bearing a surviving heir to the throne. In accordance to that times Hindu tradition, just before his death the maharaja adopted a boy as his heir. But Lord Dalhousie, the British Governor General of India, refused to recognize the adopted heir and annexed Jhansi in accordance with the doctrine of lapse. An agent of the East India Company was granted in the small kingdom to look after administrative affairs.
But, The Brave 22-year-old queen refused to give up Jhansi to the British army. Shortly after the beginning of the mutiny which broke out in Meerut in the year 1857. Lakshmi Bai was proclaimed the regent of Jhansi, and she ruled on behalf of the minor heir. Joining the uprising against the British, she rapidly organized her troops and fought with rebels in the Bundelkhand region. Neighbouring kingdoms officials headed towards Jhansi to offer her the support in rule against the British. In the year 1958, on the month of January, Under Major General Hugh Rose, the East India Company’s forces had begun their counterattacks in Bundelkhand. Then in February Advancing troops from Mhow, general Rose captured Saugor (now known as Sagar).
Later in the month of March, The British turned their army forces towards the kingdom of Jhansi. The British forces surrounded the fort of Jhansi, and then a fierce battle raged. Being a strong resistance to the invading British forces. Lakshmi Bai did not surrender. though her troops were overwhelmed and the rescuing army of Tantia Tope, another rebel leader, was defeated at the Battle of Betwa. Lakshmi Bai somehow managed to escape from the fort with a small force of palace guards and headed eastward, where other rebels joined to support her in mutiny against the British Rule.
Lakshmi Bai and Tantia Tope had a successful attack on the city-fortress of Gwalior. The treasury and the weapons were seized, and Nana Sahib, a prominent leader, was proclaimed as the peshwa (ruler). After taking Gwalior, Lakshmi Bai marched east to Morar to confront a British counterattack led by major general Rose. Even though she could have lead a peaceful life but instead she choose to fight. Dressed as a brave woman, she fought a fierce battle and was killed in sword combat as a legend then better known as ‘ Jhansi Rani Lakshmi Bai’. To this day she is an inspiration to many people, especially to women for her Bravery and for her freedom fight against the British rule.
Written by: Pathan Roshan Khan
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