Rani Lakshmi Bai, the fiery
Queen of Jhansi, also known as the Rani of Jhansi, one of
the great nationalist heroine of the first war of India
freedom, a symbol of resistance to the British rule in India
was born on 19th November 1835 at Kashi (Presently known
as Varanasi). Her father Moropanth was a Brahmin and her
mother Bhagirathibai was a cultured, intelligent and God
fearing lady. Mannikarnika (Manu) was the name of Rani Lakshmi
Bai in her childhood. Manu lost her mother at the age of
four. The Complete responsibility of the young girl fell
on the father. She completed her education and also learned
horse riding, Sword fighting and shooting on a target with
She was married to Raja Gangadhar Rao, the Maharaja of
Jhansi in 1842, and became the Rani of Jhansi. After the
marriage She was given the name Lakshmi Bai. The Marriage
ceremony was perform in Ganesh Mandir, the temple of Lord
Ganesha situated in the city of Jhansi. Rani Lakshmi Bai
gave birth to a son in 1851, but unfortunately this child
died when he was about four months old. After this tragedy,
Damodar Rao was adopted as son. Later on Maharaja Gangadhar
Rao also died on 21st November 1853. After the death of
Maharaja Gangadhar Rao, Rani Lakshmi Bai was left alone.
At this time she was eighteen years old. Rani Lakshmi Bai
did not lost her courage, She always remembered her responsibility.
At that time Lord Dalhousie was the Governor -General of India.
Though little Damodar Rao, adopted son of late Maharaja Gangadhar
Rao and Rani Lakshmi Bai was Maharaja's heir and successor as
per the Hindu tradition, but the British rulers rejected Rani's
claim that Damodar Rao was their legal heir. Lord Dalhousie decided
to annexe the state of Jhansi as Maharaja Gangadhar Rao had left
no legal heir. This misfortune of Jhansi was used by the Britishers
to expand there Empire.
In March 1854 the British ruler announced 60,000 ( Sixty Thousand)
annual pension for Rani and also ordered to leave the Jhansi fort.
Jhansi was in humiliating condition but it was like a silent volcano
before eruption.Rani Jhansi was determined not to give up Jhansi.
She was a symbol of patriotism and self respect. Britishers were
making every effort to destroy the freedom of country whereas
Rani was determined to get rid of Britishers.
Rani Lakshmi Bai strengthened the defense of Jhansi and she assembled
a volunteer army of rebellions. Women were also given Military
training. Rani was accompanied by her brave warriors, some of
them were Gulam Gaus Khan, Dost Khan, Khuda Baksh, Lala Bhau Bakshi,
Moti Bai, Sunder-Mundar, Kashi Bai, Deewan Raghunath singh and
Deewan Jawahar Singh. Along with all these warriors the local
population of Jhansi irrespective of their religion or caste were
always determined to fight and give their lives with pleasure
for the cause of Independent and their beloved Rani.
However on the second day of fighting, the great heroine of the
first struggle for India freedom, at the age of 22 years, lost her
life. That unfortunate day was 18th June of 1858.
The Britishers attacked Jhansi in March 1858.
Rani Jhansi with her faithful warriors decided not to surrender.
The fighting continued for about two weeks. Shelling on
Jhansi was very fierce. In the Jhansi army women were also
carrying ammunition and were supplying food to the soldiers.
Rani Lakshmi Bai was very active. She herself was inspecting
the defense of the city. However, after this great war,
Jhansi fell to the British forces.
On that black day, the British army entered the Jhansi
City. Rani Lakshmi Bai, still full of courage and deathless
patriotism dressed as a man, took up arms, her son Damodar
Rao was strapped tightly to her back. She was holding the
reins of her horse in her mouth. In the fierce fighting
she was using the sword with both her hands. When the situation
was not in control, Rani of Jhansi with some of her warriors
departed from Jhansi.
Rani Lakshmi Bai reached Kalpi. Many other rebellions force
joined her. Tatia Tope from Kalpi was also one of them,
from Kalpi Rani departed to the Gwalior. Again a fierce
battle took place. Rani Jhansi fought with deathless patriotism