Rani Lakshmi Bai was one of the leading warriors in India's First War of Independence, which was fought in 1857. She is famously known as 'Jhansi Ki Rani'. Her mother passed away when Rani Lakshmi Bai was just four years old. Her father raised her as an independent, courageous girl. Her father supported her to learn to ride elephants and horses and also to use weapons effectively. Then she lost her husband when she was just twenty-four-years-old, who was the Maharaja of Jhansi. Even after so many loses, Rani Lakshmibai didn't lose hope and took over his responsibilities.
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Rani Lakshmi Bai was born on 19 November 1828 at Poona. Her real name was Manikarnika. Her name changed to Lakshmi Bai, in honour of Goddess Lakshmi. Rani Lakshmi Bai is considered as the epitome of female bravery in India and a symbol of bravery, patriotism and honour. She learned her battle skills with Nana Sahib and Tatya Tope, who were active participants in the first revolt of independence.
Rani Lakshmi Bai was born on 19 November 1828 at Poona. Wikimedia Commons
Rani of Jhansi
In 1842, Rani Lakshmi Bai got married the Maharaja of Jhansi, Raja Gangadhar Rao. It was after her marriage that she came to be known as Lakshmi Bai. After nine years of her marriage, Rani Lakshmi Bai gave birth to a son but unfortunately, he died in his fourth month. The incident took a heavy toll on Maharaja Gangadhar Rao and ultimately led to his death on 21 November 1853. Later, Damodar Rao was adopted by Rani Lakshmi Bai as her son.
Taking an advantage of the misfortune of Jhansi, Lord Dalhousie, and the Governor-General of India at that time tried to expand the British Empire. They declined to accept Damodar Rao, as the legal heir of late Maharaja Gangadhar Rao and thus Britishers planned an attack on Jhansi on the ground that it did not have any legal heir. Finally, in 1854, the British government offered an annual pension of 60,000 to Rani Lakshmi Bai and ordered her to leave the Jhansi fort. But being very firm on her decision of not bogging down in front of Britishers, Rani Lakshmi Bai gathered an army of rebellions, which also included women.
Many brave warriors like Gulam Gaus Khan, Dost Khan, Khuda Baksh, Deewan Raghunath Singh, Deewan Jawahar Singh and much more came to her support in defending Jhansi from Britishers. Rani Lakshmi Bai was able to assemble 14,000 rebels and organised an army for the defence of the city.
Rani Lakshmi Bai's army posed a very stiff resistance and fought very bravely, even though Jhansi lost to the British forces. Wikimedia Commons
Revolt of 1857
Rani Lakshmi Bai revolted against the British company when they annexed the territories of Jhansi with treachery. She was accompanied by other Indian rebellion leaders.
During her clash with the British ground forces, Rani Lakshmibai showed exemplary courage and surprised them by showing extraordinary fighting spirit and valour in battles fought at Jhansi and Gwalior.
The brave death in the battleground of Rani Lakshmi Bai motivated many patriots such as Shahid Bhagat Singh and to all revolutionaries from Veer Savarkar to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
Rani's issues an epic proclamation just before the battle of Jhansi. After due consideration, the Rani issued a declaration: "We fight for independence. In the words of Lord Krishna, we will if we are victorious, enjoy the fruits of victory, if defeated and killed on the field of battle, we shall surely earn eternal glory and salvation."
It was March 1858 when the war broke out and continued for about two weeks. Rani Lakshmi Bai's army posed a very stiff resistance and fought very bravely, even though Jhansi lost to the British forces.
When the British army entered Jhansi, Rani Lakshmi Bai along with her son Damodar Rao on her back, fought bravely using two swords in both her hands. She was able to escape to the 'kalpi' fortress under the cover of darkness and was accompanied by many other rebellions. Then she made her way to Gwalior and again there a fierce battle was fought between the British and the Rani's army. On 17 June of 1858, this great warrior martyred her life for India's freedom.
Rani Lakshmi Bai revolted against the British company when they annexed the territories of Jhansi with treachery. She was accompanied by other Indian rebellion leaders. Wikimedia Commons
Till date, she is been glorified for her commendable efforts and fearlessness.
Rani Lakshmi Bai was much ahead of the times she was living in. She had the heart and courage to go for what was right and left us a very important message of courage and fearlessness. The courageous stories of Rani Lakshmibai inspired many generations of freedom fighters in India.