She was born to a Maharashtrian family at Kashi (now Varanasi) in the year 1835. During her childhood, she was called by the name Manikarnika. Affectionately, her family members called her Manu. At a tender age she lost her mother and the responsibility of raising her fell upon her father. She was as dear to the Nana (Nana Ghunghupant) of Kanpur as her real sister; she had been with Nana from her early childhood, since she was a school student. While pursuing studies, she also took formal training in martial arts, which included horse riding, shooting and fencing.She had learned by heart the valorous stories of shivaji (a renowned king of Maharashtra).
In the year 1842, she got married to the Maharaja of Jhansi, Raja Gangadhar Rao Newalkar. On getting married, she was given the name Lakshmi Bai. Her wedding ceremony was held at the Ganesh temple, located in the old city of Jhansi. In the year 1851, she gave birth to a son. Unfortunately, the child did not survive more than four months. In the year 1853, Gangadhar Rao fell sick and became very weak. So, the couple decided to adopt a child. To ensure that the British do not raise an issue over the adoption, Lakshmibai got this adoption witnessed by the local British representatives. On 21stNovember 1853, Maharaja Gangadhar Rao died. On the death of her husband although she lost interest in life, she did not forget her responsibilities. She was a staunch Hindu; but she was tolerant of other religions, when she led an army in a Great War, Muslims followed her first as the Hindu did.
In 1853 Lord Dalhousie was the Governor General of British India. As per Hindu tradition, the adopted child Damodar Rao was their legal heir. However, the British rulers refused to accept him as the legal heir. As per the Doctrine of Lapse, Lord Dalhousie decided to seize the state of Jhansi. Rani Lakshmibai went to a British lawyer and consulted him. Thereafter, she filed an appeal for the hearing of her case in London. But, her plea was rejected. An order was passed asking the Rani to leave Jhansi fort and move to the Rani Mahal in Jhansi.The throne got shook, and the tension erupted among the royal heirs of the throne. Rani Jhansi was determined not to give up Jhansi. In aged India, a new wave of youth was spreading, all the inhabitants of India had realized the worth of their lost freedom, and all of them had decided to get rid of the British rule,the old swords started glittering again like new ones in the form of the freedom movement in 1857. She strengthened its defenses and assembled a volunteer army. Women were also given military training.
Sir Hugh Rose had heard about the defeat of Gwalior by Rani Lakshmibai. He realized that the situation could go out of control if time was wasted; therefore, he marched towards Gwalior. Lakshmibai and Peshva decided to fight the British as Sir Hugh Rose touched Gwalior. Lakshmibai took it upon herself to safeguard the East side of Gwalior. The unprecedented valour of Laksmibai inspired her army; even her maids attired in mens uniform took to the battlefield. The bravery of Lakshmibai resulted in the retreat of the British army.
No one could guess whether she was Laxmi or Durga Devi (Durga Goddess, also called Bhavani) or reincarnation of Devi durga.Her expertise in using a sword made the people of wonder.Holding the horses reins in her teeth, flashing the sword with both the hands, the valiant firebrand,legendary heroine, the Goddess of war, and the epitome of female bravery in India, Maharani Lakshmi Bai had been riding away through the ocean of British solders, as if Goddess Durga herself arrived on the earth to demolish the brigade of Demons. This is not a mare day dream of the patriot Indians, but this was how she fled away from the Gwalior fort when the fort was captured by company regiment.
On 18th June, the British attacked Gwalior from all sides. She decided to break the enemy front and go out rather than surrendering. While breaking the military front, she came across a garden. She was not riding her Rajratan horse. The new horse started going round and round near a canal instead of jumping and crossing it. Rani Lakshmibai realized the consequences and turned back to attack the British army. She got injured, started bleeding and fell from her horse. Being in a mans costume, the soldiers did not recognize her and left her there. The faithful servants of Rani took her to a nearby Gangadas Mutt and gave her Gangajal. She expressed her last wish that her body should not be touched by any British men and embraced a brave death.Her body was not found by the British soldiers and it was believed that a quick funeral was done secretly as per her standing instructions to her close followers. And thus the glorious life of this legendary heroine as well as the glorious era of the Indian rebellion history came to an end.The revolutionaries all over the world, the organization of Sardar Bhagat Singh and in the end even the army of Netaji Subhashchandra Bose were inspired by the valour shown by Rani Lakshmibai. Knowing the thrilling story of womanliness, courage, adventure, deathless patriotism and martyrdom, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, another unforgettable legendary hero of Indian rebellion history, created women brigade of his Indian National Army (INA) and it was named after her The Rani Of Jhansi Regiment. The Queen of Jhansi breathed her last at the young age of 23 years.
The great heroine of the First war of India Freedom. The life history of the Rani of Jhansi Lakshmibai, who preferred to sacrifice her life at the young age of 23 years in battle, is very inspiring, an ordinary girl who went on to become an extraordinary ruler. Her defiance against the British is exemplary even today. The fervor that she aroused gave birth to various leaders and revolutionaries who finally freed our nation from the British. She inspired many generations of Hindustanis, thus becoming immortal in the freedom fight. I bow before such a brave warrior, the Queen of Jhansi Lakshmibai. She surprised the British by showing extraordinary fighting spirit and valour in battles fought at Jhansi. Such an extraordinary lady, who tied her son on her back while fighting the battle, will not be found in the history of the world. The valour and brave death she chose, which gave inspiration to the patriots belonging to the Gadar party in the First World War, the organization of Shahid Bhagat Singh and to all revolutionaries from Swatatntryaveer Savarkar to Subhashchandra, is magnificent. Lot of literature has been written on the life history of Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi. Heroic poems have been composed in her honor by various authors and I remembered a poem in my eighth class written by Smt.Subhadra kumari chauhan. Her life is a thrilling story of womanliness, courage, adventure, deathless patriotism and martyrdom. She was the embodiment of patriotism, self-respect and heroism.
"Let noble thoughts come to me from all directions"
Miss.Shaija Vallikatri Bhaskaran
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