Guwahati: There isn’t any Indian who wouldn’t have grown up listening to Subhadra Kumari Chauhan’s famous poem ‘Jhansi ki Rani’. Her stories of valor and incorrigible resistance against the British, still continue to fill everyone’s heart with immense pride and gratitude. It is the result of the unprecedented bravery of Rani Lakshmi Bai, that today her image comes first in our mind, whenever we talk about the brave queens of India.
Today is the birth anniversary of Rani Laxmi Bai, who awakened India’s dormant urge for freedom from British rulers. Her fight has been etched on the hearts of Indians forever. On the death anniversary of Rani Laxmi Bai, let’s know about her life journey which is full of indomitable courage and inspiration.
Tryst with destiny: From Manikarnika to Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi
Rani Lakshmibai was born on 19 November 1828 in Kashi. Her father’s name was Moropant Tambe. Lakshmibai’s childhood name was ‘Manikarnika’. She was affectionately addressed as ‘Manu’. Manu’s mother died in childhood. Manu’s father used to work with Peshwa Saheb of Bithur. The Peshwa saheb raised Manu like his own daughter. He named Manu ‘Chhabili’. From childhood, Manu started learning about using weapons. She became proficient in horse riding and fencing under the guidance of Nana Saheb and Tatya Tope.
In the year 1842, Manu got married to the King of Jhansi, Gangadhar Rao. She was 12 years old then. After marriage, she got the name ‘Lakshmibai’. she gave birth to a son. Her son lived for a few months and then passed away. After this incident, the king adopted his nephew and named him Damodar Rao. However, after the death of his first son, King Gangadhar became very sad. Due to deteriorating health, he got bedridden. After some time, the king of Jhansi died, and state management’s responsibility fell to Rani Lakshmibai, which she managed efficiently.
Rani Laxmi Bai made it clear to the Britishers that she will never surrender Jhansi to them. She took this pledge. Till her last breath, the queen fought against the British.
At that time the British were not accepting the adopted sons as heirs of the kings. According to their rule, If a king didn’t have any successor related by blood, Then after the death of the king, the entire state administration and management used to fall into the hands of the British. The British were not ready to accept the adopted child as heir. The British, under this policy, ordered the merger of Jhansi into the British Empire and assured the queen of pension. Rani Laxmibai did not agree to this contract in any way. His only pledge was to protect the freedom of Jhansi.
Rani Lakshmibai bravely protected Jhansi for seven days. She fought the British bravely with her small armed force. She single-handedly fought with the British, riding on a horse, tying Damodar Rao behind her back. The war couldn’t go on like this for many days. Accepting the request of the chieftains, the queen left for Kalpi. After reaching there, She conquered the fort of Gwalior with the help of Tatya Tope and Nana Saheb. After few days, General Smith and Major Rules with their army marched to Gwalior, pursuing the queen with full force. After a fierce battle, Rani Lakshmi Bai died on 18 June 1858.
The devotion of the queen towards the motherland, awakened the spirit of freedom among thousands of people. She inspired many women to participate in the freedom movement. She sacrificed her life for the dignity and freedom of her people. No doubt, She was a true queen and a brave fighter.