Rani Lakshmibai was the queen of the Maratha ruled pricely state of Jhansi which is situated in the north central part of India. She played a very important role during the first war of India’s Independence started in 1857. She fought against the rule of the British East India Company in India and was one of the great leaders of the Indian Rebellion.
Life of Rani Lakshmibai
Born to a Maharashtrian family at Kashi in the year 1828 she was called as Manikarnika (Manu) in her childhood. She was born to Moropant Tambe and Bhagirathi Sapre. She lost her mother when she was just four years old. Her father used to work for a court Peshwa of Bithoor district. While pursuing studies she even took the training of horse riding, sword fighting and shooting on a target with a gun.
She was married to the Maharaja of Jhansi, Gangadhar Rao. She was called Rani Lakshmi Bai after her marriage. In the year 1851 she gave birth to a child but her son couldn’t survive more than 4 months. They adopted a child who was Anant but was been named as Damodar Rao after their actual son. To ensure that the British do not raise an issue Lakshmibai ensured that the adoption being witnessed by the local British representatives.
Invasion of the British
Lord Dalhousie was the Governor General of British India that time. As Damodar Rao was the legal heir to the throne the British rulers refused to accept him as the legal heir of Jhansi. Lord Dalhousie had decided to capture the state of Jhansi according to the Doctrine of Lapse. Rani Lakshmibai filed an appeal for the hearing of her case in London which was rejected. The British officials confiscated the state jewels and asked Rani to leave Jhansi.
Struggle of Rani Lakshmibai
She was a symbol of patriotism and self respect. She was firm in protecting her kingdom against the British rule and was not ready to leave Jhansi so she started seeking the support of others and formed a volunteer army. In her army not only men but women was also active. They were also given training to fight a battle and were taught horse riding, sword fighting and martial arts.
Rani Lakshmibai defended Jhansi from being invaded by the armies of the neighbouring rajas of Orchha and Datia. In 1858 the Britishers headed towards Jhansi and Lakshmibai gave them a tough fight which carried for two weeks. Finally, the Britishers were successful in the annexation of the city. However Lakshmibai succeeded in escaping along with her son. After her escape she went to Kalpi where she joined with Tatya Tope and then seized Gwalior.
Death of Rani Lakshmibai
When Britishers entered Rani Lakshmibai dressed as a man, strapped her baby back. She holds the horse reins in her mouth and had two swords in her hands. At the age of 22 she lost her life fighting for her kingdom. She was a brave freedom fighter and great leader.