Rani Laxmi bai is famous as “The Queen of Jhansi.” She remembered in Indian History as a skilled ruler and loyal patriot. She was also known as Manikarnika in Indian History. Laxmibai changed the male-dominated culture of women limited to stove and child. Now, Laxmibai’s name associated with Women Empowerment because of her bravery.
Identity: Manikarnika Tambe, After marriage name: Queen Laxmi bai Nevalkar
Born: At Varanasi on 19th November 1835
Father: Moropant Tambe
Marriage: In the year 1842, with the king of Jhansi organizations, Gangadharao Nevalkar
Death: On the day of 18th June 1858 at Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh
Story of the Rani Laxmi bai:
It was a time when the British monarchy well established in Indian territory. The Marathas, who were unbeatable for almost 50 years before the British rule, were also subordinate to the East India Company. The military base of the Peshwa, known as “Shaniwar Wada.” That stronghold of the Maratha empire was also under the rule of the East India Company.
Peshwa surrendered to the British East India Company. Therefore, Peshwa Bajirao II had to move to Varanasi after leaving Shaniwar Wada. Chimaji Appa was Peshwa’s younger brother.
Rani Laxmi bai:
Chimaji Appa’s close friend Moropant Tambe was Peshwa’s political advisor and administrative assistant as well. While in Varanasi, the Wife of Moropant named Bhagirathi Bai gave birth to a daughter. The Moropant named his daughter as name “Manikarnika.” Manikarnika means as a bejeweled earring. Manikarnika usually called with the nickname Manu.
Suddenly while in Varanasi, Chimaji Appa died. Then Peshwa migrated to “Bithur” in Uttar Pradesh. Moropant also went to Bithur along with Peshwa to assist in the work of Peshwa.
Childhood of the Rani Laxmi bai:
Manikarnika’s whole childhood pass in the Palace of Peshwa. So, Tatya Tope and the son of Peshwas, Nana Saheb (adopted), was her childhood friends of Manikarnika.
Since her childhood, Manikarnika had a sporty and courageous attitude. Therefore, Peshwa used to call her “Chabili.” Since Laxmi bai’s Childhood, Moropanta had told her stories about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and patriots of India. He also taught about the importance of patriotism and independence.
In those days of Indian society, people were not teaching girls. But Manu was love to read and write. The more noticeable thing was she leads in sports such as swordsmanship, Malla Khamba, and Horse Chesal.
Marriage of the Manikarnika (Rani Laxmi bai):
In May 1942, Manikarnika was married to Maharaja Gangadharrao Nevalkar of Jhansi. After marriage, according to the tradition of Jhansi province, Manikarnika has given a new name as “Laxmi Bai.”
Not only before marriage but also After the wedding, Laxmi bai use to horse ride. In the Palace, there was stable where highborn horses possessed. Among those horses, Pavaan, Sarangi, and Badal were especially dear to Rani Laxmi Bai. According to historians, to save Rani Laxmi bai, her horse named Badal had jumped from the castle wall. Afterward, Rani Laxmibai ran out of the Fort, far away from the reach of enemies.
In the year 1851, Gangadharao and Laxmi bai gave birth to a child. They named their son as “Damodarrao.” But this happiness not lasts long because the child died prematurely.
Gangadharrao’s Adoption of Anandarao:
After the death of their son, Gangadharao adopted the cousin’s son called “Anandrao.” In memory of dead son, the Maharaja Gangadharao had given name as Damodara Rao to Anandarao.
In November 1853, Gangadharrao died unexpectedly. Until this moment, Queen Laxmi bai not agreed with the idea of rebelling against the British. Finally, giving the reason of Damodara Rao was an adopted son of Gangadharrao, British governor General Lord Dalhousie rejected Damodara Rao’s claim on the throne of Jhansi. Dalhousie abruptly applied the policy termed as “Doctrine of Lapse.”
When Rani Laxmi bai informed about this, she angrily shouted,
This policy made Rani Laxmi bai as furious rebellion.
Enforcement of British East India Company to leave the Palace:
Afterward, Laxmibai forced to leave Palace and the Fort. In March 1854, she left Jhansi’s Palace. British East India Company admitted her to gave a pension of Rs 60000 per annum. Then, Laxmi bai stayed in Jhansi and started preparing for the revolt.
According to the Marathi writer Vishnu Bhatt Godse, Rani Laxmi bai the liked the sports of steeplechase and wrestling. Also, she accustomed to exercise early in the morning before breakfast. Sharp intelligence and humble disposition had made her personality unique from other women.
Background of 1857 revolt:
The revolt began on 10th May 1857 in Meerut. Laxmi bai told Captain Alexander Skene to send troops for self-defense. Here in the city, Laxmi bai had organized the Haldi-Kumkum program to inspire the citizen of Jhansi. She said to people that the Britisher was a coward and not need to be scared of them. All the women of Jhansi joined in that program.
Bloodshed did by Mutinies at Star Fort:
In June 1857, rebels of the local Bengal infantry seized the British stronghold named “Star Fort.” Afterward, the mutinies asked British officers to drop their weapons. After surrendering and leaving arms, Rebellions killed all Britishers along with their wives and children. Those Rebellions robbed treasures and ammunition in the Fort. British Army doctor Thomas Lowe wrote that Queen Laxmi bai was also involved in the massacre.
Finally, how could these Britishers leave the chance to disrepute the Queen Laxmi bai?
Rani Laxmi Bai Successfully Defended the Jhansi:
Anyway, the rebels subsequently collected ransom money from Laxmibai and threatened to destroy her Palace. Afterward, Rani Laxmi bai gave detailed information about incidents that happened to Erskine. Then, Commissioner of Saugor division named Major Erskine replied to her letter.
In reply, Erskine told the queen to manage the city until the new director of the British government reached. Laxmi bai’s army successfully stopped the attempt of rebellions to occupy the Jhansi. Finally, opponent prince Gangadharao’s nephew named Sadashiv Rao failed to capture the throne of Jhansi.
Attack on Jhansi Fort:
In January 1858, the British government declared that a military force was being sent to command the Jhansi. However, the advisers and army of Jhansi wanted to gain independence from British rule. Also, the delay in the arrival of the British military increased the confidence of Jhasi’s army. Also during this time, the army of Jhansi provided a good supply of ammunition and guns.
Revolt declaration to British General Hugh:
Finally, the British army arrived at Jhansi in March 1858. After analyzing fort General Hugh recognized that the defence system was stronger than before. Then, General asked Ran Laxmi bai to Surrender. Otherwise, destruction would take place everywhere. After thinking a lot, Queen Laxmibai decided to fight with the British army. Laxmibai said,
“We will fight for freedom. If victory is ours, we will know the taste of freedom. And if we lose, our spirit soul will be accelerated towards God by giving life in the battlefield”.
Rani Laxmi bai herself took the lead in defence of Jhansi.
War of Jhansi- Rani Laxmi Bai Vs Britishers:
From March 1858, the English artillery fire began at the Fort. Heavy guns also bombarded from the Queen’s party. Most noticeably, Jhansi’s army repaired the destructed walls within one night. The Queen also sought the help of Tatya Tope. Tatya Tope sent 20,000 troops. But the military failed to save the Jhansi. The British finally broke the walls of the Fort of Jhansi on, 2nd April 1858. Two divisions of the army entered the Fort. There was intense opposition everywhere in the Palace and outside.
Escape from the Fort of Jhansi:
Meanwhile, the Queen took her horse named Badal and jumped from the castle. At that time the horse Badal died. Later, a group of soldiers joined the rebel army of Tatya Tope which was fighting against the British rule. Under the Queen’s leadership, rebellions took control over the city of Kalpi and prepared on its excellent defence system. On the day of 22nd may again British troops attacked. At this time Queen Laxmi Bai led herself. But unfortunately, Laxmibai’s army is defeated again.
Final Struggle from Fort of Gwalior:
Afterwards, Rani Laxmibai, along with Nawab Banda, Tatya Tope, and Rao Saheb moved to the Fort of Gwalior. Nana Saheb declared as Peshwa. Queen Laxmibai’s attempted to unite the other rebels in India and use the Fort of Gwalior against the British but failed to do so. The other rebels did not agree therefore again faced defeat due to the lack of anti-British forces.
Rani Laxmi Bai death:
Death of Laxmi bai is another controversial topic. His death, according to British records, was the result of firing a pistol. On the other hand, Queen Laxmi bai had instructed the Christian monks to set their bodies on fire.
The Doctrine of Lapse:
Doctrine policy was a claim to cancelling policy known as the Doctrine of Lapse in English. If any of the rulers of India was unable to maintain the state or died without an heir. Then under this British incorporation policy, that state would have been abolished and came under the British East India Company.
Hunted Provinces by the policy of Doctrine of Lapse:
Under this policy, many smaller states subjected to the British East India Company. This policy strictly enforced during the reign of British General Dalhousie from 1848 to 1856. Important Bartons like Satara (1848), Jaitapur and Sambalpur (1849), Nagpur and Jhansi (1854) and Udaipur (Chhattisgarh), Oudh (1856), Tore and Arcot (1855) merged with the British East India Company under this policy.
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