Jhansi Ki Rani Laxmi bai

Short Introduction:

Identity: Manikarnika Tambe, After marriage name: Queen Laxmi bai Nevalkar
Born: At Varanasi on 19th November 1835
Father: Moropant Tambe
Mother: Bhagirathibai
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


Rani Laxmi bai, who is known as “The Queen of Jhansi”, is known in Indian history as a skilled ruler and loyal patriot. Manikarnika changed the male-dominated culture of women as stove and child. Rani Laxmibai is one of the few examples in the world in which women who participated in the wars.

The background story of the Queen of Jhansi :

It was a time when the British monarchy planted their feet in India. The Marathas, who were invincible for almost 50 years before the British rule, were also subject to the East India Company. “Shaniwar Wada”, the military base of the Peshwa, who was the stronghold of the Maratha empire, also went under the auspices of the East India Company.
Therefore, Peshwa Bajirao II had to move to Varanasi after surrendering. Chimaji Appa was Peshwa’s younger brother.

Childhood of the Rani Laxmi bai:

Moropant Tambe was a close friend of Chimaji Appa. Also, Moropant was Peshwa’s political advisor and administrative assistant. While in Varanasi, Bhagirathi Bai the Wife of Moropant gave birth to a daughter. The Moropants named his daughter as “Manikarnika”. Manikarnika means as a bejewelled earring. Manikarnika used to be called Manu at home.
Meanwhile, Chimaji Appa died suddenly while in Varanasi. Then Peshwa migrated to “Bithur” in Uttar Pradesh. Moropant also came to Bithur for assisting in the work of Peshwa.
Manikarnika’s whole childhood goes to Peshwa’s Palace. Tatya Tope and the son of Peshwas (adopted) named Nana Saheb, was a childhood friend of Manikarnika.
Since from her childhood, Manikarnika has been a sports attitude and courageous. Therefore, Peshwa called her “Chabili”. Since childhood, Moropanta told Manikarnika about Chhatrapati Shivray and inspiring stories about him. He also affirmed the importance of patriotism and independence.
In those days, people were not teaching girls. But Manu liked to read and write. More noticeable, she was a leader in sports such as swordsmanship, Malla Khamba, and Horse Chesal.

Marriage of the Manikarnika (Rani Laxmi bai):

Manikarnika was married on, May 1942 to Maharaja Gangadharrao Nevalkar of Jhansi. After marriage according to tradition in the Jhansi dynasty, Manikarnika was renamed as “Laxmi bai”. Also After marriage, Laxmi bai used to ride. In the surrounding of his Palace, there was stable where ethnic horses possessed. Among them, the Pavaan, sarangi, Badal, these horses were especially dear to Rani Laxmi Bai. According to historians, her horse the Badal had jumped from the castle. Afterwards, Rani Laxmibai ran out of the Fort, safe from the 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, and the child died prematurely.

Gangadharrao’s Adoption of Anandarao:

After the death of their son, Gangadharao adopted the cousin’s son Anandrao. In memory of his son, the Maharaja Gangadharao renamed Anandarao as Damodara Rao.
In November 1853, Gangadharrao died unexpecteadly. Until this moment, Queen Laxmi bai was unhappy with the idea of rebelling against the British. Subsequently, because Damodara Rao was an adopted son of Gangadharrao, the British Governor-General Lord Dalhousie rejected the claim of Damodara Rao on the throne of Jhansi. Dalhousie suddenly applied the Doctrine of Lapse. When informed about this, Laxmibai angrily shouted,

“I will not give my Jhansi!”

Laxmibai’s words spread peace in the court.

Enforcement of British East India Company to leave the Palace:

On March 1854, taking a pension of Rs 60000 per annum under British orders, Laxmibai was forced to leave Palace and the Fort. Laxmi bai stayed in Jhansi and started preparing for the next uprising.
According to the Marathi writer Vishnu Bhatt Godse, Rani Laxmi bai the likes the sports of steeplechase and wrestling. Also, they were accustomed to exercise early in the morning before breakfast. The sharp intelligence and humble disposition that she had in living and adorning her personality set her apart from other women.

Background of 1857 revolt:

The rally began on 10th May 1857 in Meerut. Laxmi bai told Captain Alexander Skene to send a troop for self-defence. Here in the city, Laxmi bai organizes Haldi-Kumkum program to inspire the citizen of Jhansi and telling that British was coward and not to be scared of them. All the women of Jhansi joined in that program.
On June 1857, rebels of the local Bengal infantry seized the British stronghold named “Star Fort”. Afterwards, mutinies asking British officers to drop their weapons. After surrendering and losing arms, Rebellions murdered Britishers along with their wives and children by robbing treasures and ammunition in the Fort. British Army doctor Thomas Lowe wrote that Queen Laxmi bai was also involved in the killing.
After all, how Britisher leave the chance to disrepute the Queen Laxmi bai? Anyway, the rebels subsequently collected ransom money from Laxmibai and threatened to destroy her Palace. Consequently, Rani Laxmi bai given detailed information about incidents happened. But, Commissioner Major Erskine not listened and replied to her letter. In the north, Erskine wrote a letter to tell her to manage the city until the new director of the British government arrived. Laxmi bai’s army successfully stopped the attempt of rebellion to occupy the Jhansi. Subsequently, 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. 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.
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.
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.

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’s 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.
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.

You can read about other Extraordinary Freedom Fighters here:

Freedom Fighters of India

Featured Image Credits: Wikimedia

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