Sunday, September 25, 2016

Jhansi Lakshmi Bai Indian Freedom Fighter Queens of India

Jhansi Lakshmi Bai Indian Freedom Fighter Queens of India
Date of Birth: 19th November, 1835 and Date of Death: 17th June, 1858
Lakshmi Bai, the Rani of Jhansi (Marathi), a well known as Jhansi Ki Rani, or the queen of Jhansi, was one of the leading figures of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, and a symbol of resistance to British rule in India.  She was the queen of the Maratha-ruled princely state of Jhansi, situated in the northern part of India.
Originally named Manikarnika and nicknamed Manu, she was born on 19th November, 1835, at Kashi (Varanas) to Maharashtrian Karhade Brahmin family, the daughter of Moropant Tambe and Bhagirathibai Tambe.  She lost her mother at the age of four.  Her father, Moropant Tambe, worked at the court of Peshwa at Bithur, who brought her up like his own daughter, and called her “Chhabili” for her light-heartedness.  She was educated at home.
Because of her father’s influence at court, Rani Lakshmi Bai had more independence than most women, who were normally restricted to the zenana.  She studied self defence, horsemanship, archery, and even formed her own army out of her female friends at court.  Tatya Tope who was considered as a nightmare by the British during the ‘Great Revolt of 1857’ was Lakshmi Bai’s tutor.  She was married to Raja Gangadhar Rao Newalkar, the Maharaja of Jhansi in 1842, and became the queen of Jhansi.  After their marriage, she was given the name Lakshmi Bai.  The Raja was very affectionate to her.  She gave birth to a son Damodar Rao in 1851.  However, the child died when he was about four months old.  After the death of their son, the Raja and Rani of Jhansi adopted Anand Rao.  Anand Rao was the son of Gangadhar Rao’s cousin.  He was later renamed as Damodar Rao.
Dalhousie then annexed Jhansi, saying that the throne had “lapsed” and claimed the right to put Jhansi under his protection.  In March, 1854, she was given a pension of 60,000 rupees and ordered to leave the palace and the Jhansi fort but it was denied by her.
On 10th May, 1857 the Indian Rebellion started in Meerut.  This began after rumours that the new bullet casings for the Lee Enfield rifles were coated with pork and beef fat; British commanders insisted on their use and started to discipline anyone who disobeyed.  During this rebellion sepoys killed many British soldiers and officers of the East India Company.
Along with the young Anand Rao, the Rani decamped to Kalpi along with her forces where she joined other rebel forces, including those of Tatya Tope.  The Rani and Tatya moved on to Gwalior, where the combined rebel forces defeated the army of the Maharaja of Gwalior after his armies deserted the rebel forces.  They then occupied a strategic fort at Gwalior.  However, on the 17th of June, 1858, while batting in full warrior regalia against the 8th (King’s Royal Irish) Hussars in Kotah-ki Serai near the Phool Bagh area of Gwalior, she died.  The British captured Gwalior three days later.  In the British report of the battle, General Hugh Rose commented that the Rani, “remarkable for her beauty, cleverness and perseverance”, had been “the most dangerous of all the rebel leaders”.
Rani was memorialised in bronze statues at Jhansi and Gwalior, both of which portray her on horseback.  Another equestrian statue can be seen in Agra, Uttar Pradesh.

No comments:

Post a Comment