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- Rani Lakshmi Bai was born on 19 November 1828 at Poona
- Rani Lakshmi Bai’s father supported her to learn to ride elephants and horses and also to use weapons effectively
- The courageous stories of Rani Lakshmibai inspired many generations of freedom fighters in India
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 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.
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.
Till date, she is been glorified for her commendable efforts and fearlessness.
- With her basic education, Rani Lakshmi Bai also received formal training in martial arts. She learnt horse riding, target shooting, fencing and sword fighting. Her formal education was very different from other girls of her age, as she was brought up in an environment which was more independent compared to others.
- Under her reign, there occurred an invasion of Jhansi by the forces of British Company allies ‘Orchha’ and ‘Datia’; their intention was to divide Jhansi among themselves. Rani Lakshmi Bai went up to the Britishers for help but was declined. Therefore, she assembled forces on her own and defeated the invaders in August 1857.
- During the period of August 1857-January 1858, Jhansi under her rule was at peace. Rani Lakshmi Bai strengthened her party and encouraged Indian troops to fight for independence from British rule. Finally, when the forces arrived and demanded her to surrender the city, she refused and fought back for her kingdom. Thus, began the battle of Jhansi on March 23, 1858.
- In her childhood, Rani Lakshmi Bai was called ‘Chabbili’ by the Peshwa, which means ‘playful’. The Peshwa was very fond of him and brought her up like his own daughter.
- Queen preferred riding horses to palanquins. She loved moving in between palaces on horseback, accompanied by a small escort group.
- Rani Lakshmi Bai lived and died the death of a soldier, unlike other queens of India. She died at a very young age of 22 and was buried in Phool Bagh, Gwalior. She left in the clothes of a soldier with the body of her close Muslim friend lying next to her. Rani Lakshmi Bai defended Jhansi against British troops till the very end, not giving up at any point. Sir Hugh Rose may have besieged Jhansi on 23 March 1858, but her spirit remained indomitable.
- Rani Lakshmi Bai’s palace and her burial palace, The Rani Mahal, is now converted into a museum. It houses a collection of archaeological remains of the period between the 9th and 12th centuries AD.
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.
Jack Daniel's is the world's most popular whiskey brand, but until recently, few people knew the liquor was created by Nathan "Nearest" Green, an enslaved Black man who mentored Daniel.
"We've always known," says Debbie Staples, a great-great-granddaughter of Green's who heard the story from her grandmother. … "He made the whiskey, and he taught Jack Daniel. And people didn't believe it … it's hurtful. I don't know if it was because he was a Black man."
But people believe it now — in large part because Brown-Forman Corporation, owner of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey, has acknowledged the foundational role Green played in the brand's development.
"The truth of the matter is, Nearest Green was the first head distiller of Jack Daniels whiskey," says Matt Blevins, global brand director for Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey. "We're very proud of this story and are very committed to amplifying it and acknowledging that. In the past, we did not amplify it the way that we could have in earlier eras, but we're about the future and moving forward."
America's first-known Black master distiller
The story begins in Lynchburg, Tennessee, current home of the Jack Daniel Distillery. In the mid-1800s, Green's slaveholders hired him out to a local preacher named Dan Call. Green, who had a reputation as a skilled distiller, made whiskey for Call, using a sugar maple charcoal filtering process that is believed to have originated in West Africa. Daniel, a boy who worked for Call, became Green's apprentice and learned the special technique that gave the Tennessee whiskey its smooth taste.
After emancipation in 1863, when all enslaved people were freed, Daniel purchased Call's distillery and hired Green as Jack Daniel Distillery's first master distiller.
"The best knowledge that we have is that they had a mentor-and-mentee sort of a relationship, and I would say, a friendship," says Blevins. "The stories that have been passed down [talk] about the care that Jack Daniel took to always acknowledge … the Green family."
Historic photo of Jack Daniel (in white hat) seated next to George Green, the son of Nathan "Nearest" Green Image source: VOA
There are no known pictures of Green, but there is one of Daniel with Green's son, George, sitting next to Daniel, rather than being relegated to the back.
"That photograph shows the respect that they had for one another and for their families," says Stefanie Benjamin, an assistant professor of tourism management at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. "To be not only allowed in that photograph, but also positioned in the foreground and sitting right next to Jack Daniels himself."
Search for the truth
Green's role in the history of the brand was uncovered by a writer and entrepreneur named Fawn Weaver, who became fascinated by Green's unheralded contribution to the world's most popular whiskey. After extensive research, including interviews with Green's descendants, Weaver shared her documentation with the company.
"I was very pleasantly surprised when they embraced my research and updated their records to reflect that," Weaver told VOA via email. "I think it said a lot about the character of their company that they moved that quickly to course correct."
Jack Daniel's has incorporated Green's contributions into the official history of the brand, but Weaver has gone a step further. She invested $1 million of her own money to establish Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, which is now the fastest-growing independent American whiskey brand in U.S. history.
Fawn Weaver (center in red) with her leadership team at Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, including master distiller Victoria Eady Butler (far left), the great‐great‐granddaughter of Nearest Green. (Photo courtesy Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey) Image credit: VOA
The company's master distiller is Victoria Eady Butler, Green's great‐great‐granddaughter.
"Uncle Nearest is the most-awarded American whiskey or bourbon of 2019, 2020 and 2021, and the fact that it is the bloodline of Nearest Green blending and approving what goes into our bottles is something I marvel at regularly," Weaver says. "Victoria is an absolute natural when it comes to blending, and to watch her work is to see something pretty darn close to perfection."
Seven generations of Green's family have worked at the Jack Daniel Distillery, a tradition that continues today with Staples and two of her siblings. But the Green family did not benefit when the Daniel family sold the Jack Daniel distillery to Brown-Forman for $20 million in 1956.
"Although they [the Green family] were very well off in terms of finances [in the 1800s] in that time, they were not the owners or co-owners of the Jack Daniel distillery," Benjamin says. "And so, those millions of dollars have been passed down through generations of the Jack Daniel family, and not necessarily the Green family."
Maturing barrels of whiskey in a barrel house on the grounds of the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. (Photo courtesy Jack Daniel's) Image credit: VOA
Weaver's Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey has joined forces with Jack Daniel's to launch a program that provides support, expertise and resources to African-American entrepreneurs entering the spirits industry.
Staples says her family is thrilled their great-great-grandfather is finally being recognized.
"It's kind of mind-boggling … and we are so proud," Staples says. "And to think that from here to Africa, that recipe goes all the way back. And to think that he played such an important role in establishing this company. It sometimes seems unreal. It really does."
Because of Weaver's tenacity, Green's story, although left untold for more than a century, will not be lost to history. But that's not the case with so many other stories of Black achievement and contributions to the nation.
"Part of telling his story and sharing his legacy is to give credit and to give attention to a person who, if it wasn't for him, we wouldn't have the Jack Daniel whiskey as we know it today," Benjamin says. "It showcases yet another example of how formerly enslaved people, Black people, African American people who have really built this country, are left out of the dominant narrative that we tell." (VOA/RN)
(This article is originally written by Dora Mekouar)
Keywords: Jack Daniel's, Whiskey, Nathan Green, Slavery, Black achievement
Cricket fans can now book the ultimate experience with the official accommodation booking partner for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup, Booking.com. The T20 Pavillion, a bespoke cricket-themed luxury stay that transforms the Presidential Suite at Grand Hyatt Mumbai Hotel and Residences into a classic cricket stadium.
The suite offers guests an all-inclusive once-in-a-lifetime experience during the India vs Pakistan ICC Men's T20 World Cup match on October 24, 2021, packed with quirks and luxuries that is sure to satisfy even the biggest cricket enthusiast. Additionally, as a part of the experience, guests will also have the exclusive opportunity to meet Bollywood actor Shraddha Kapoor at The T20 Pavilion.
The booking window that opens at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and will be booked on a 'first come, first serve' basis with check-in date on October 24, 2021 and check-out on October 25, 2021. | Photo by Alessandro Bogliari on Unsplash
For one night only, guests can soak in the energy of a roaring stadium to enjoy the epic match on a life-sized screen while seated on comfortable sofas -- just like the luxury box seats at the stadium. They can also head to the locker room (dining room) next to the field (living room) to have some energy drinks, just like a cricketer would do or head to the bedroom, transformed into a net practice area. It's got the field, the pitch, the locker room, pitching nets and cricket memorabilia infused in every element of the room.
The booking window opens at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and will be booked on a 'first come, first serve' basis with check-in date on October 24, 2021, and check-out on October 25, 2021. The T20 Pavilion is priced at Rs 6666 only in honour of all the great sixes smashed at the T20 World Cup. The T20 Pavilion can accommodate up to four guests. Cricket fans can visit the website or mobile app to book this cricket-inspired stay. (IANS/ MBI)
Amid the rush to find quick treatments for Covid-19 last year, the world saw a global race to find new stem cell-based treatments. Now, researchers report that such therapies were filled with violations of government regulations, inflated medical claims and distorted public communication. There are reports of patients suffering physical harm -- including blindness and death -- from unproven stem cell therapies.
"Efforts to rapidly develop therapeutic interventions should never occur at the expense of the ethical and scientific standards that are at the heart of responsible clinical research and innovation," said lead study author Laertis Ikonomou, associate professor of oral biology at University at Buffalo, New York. There are clinics offering unproven and unsafe "stem cell" therapies that promise to prevent Covid-19 by strengthening the immune system or improving overall health, the researchers noted in the paper published in the journal Stem Cell Reports.
There are reports of patients suffering physical harm -- including blindness and death -- from unproven stem cell therapies. | Photo by Viktor Forgacs on Unsplash
The findings from preliminary studies on possible stem cell-based Covid-19 treatments are frequently being exaggerated through press releases, social media and uncritical news media reports. Clinics selling supposed stem cell treatments on a direct-to-consumer basis sometimes use these findings and news reports to exploit the fears of vulnerable patients by unethically advertising the unproven benefits of stem cell treatments to boost the immune system, regenerate lung tissue and prevent transmission of Covid-19, said co-author Leigh Turner from the University of California, Irvine.
"Patients suffer financially as well, as the products range in price from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, and people are often encouraged to receive the expensive treatments every few months," added Ikonomou. Patients led to believe they are protected against Covid-19 may decide against vaccination, stop wearing masks, cease engaging in physical distancing, or otherwise avoid behaviours intended to promote personal safety and public health.
They may also become less likely to take part in carefully-developed clinical trials conducted by companies that follow ethical standards. "Scientists, regulators and policymakers must guard against the proliferation of poorly designed, underpowered and duplicative studies that are launched with undue haste because of the pandemic, but are unlikely to provide convincing, clinically meaningful safety and efficacy data," Turner stressed. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: findings,studies,therapies,unproven,reports,treatments, pandemic, covid, world