My heroes: Queen of Jhansi Rani Lakhsmibai
Lakhsmibai was born on 19 November 1828 in the holy town of Varanasi into a Marathi Brahmin family. She was named Manikarnika and was nicknamed Manu. Her father was Moropant Tambe (a retainer of Chimnaji Appa, the brother of Baji Rao) and her mother Bhagirathi Sapre (Bhagirathi Bai).
Her parents came from Maharashtra. Her mother died when she was four. Her father worked for a court Peshwa of Bithoor district who brought up Manikarnika like his own daughter. The Peshwa called her “Chhabili”, which means “playful”. She was educated at home and was more independent in her childhood than others of her age; her studies included shooting, horsemanship, and fencing.
After the death of the Maharaja in November 1853, because Damodar Rao the prince was adopted, the British East India Company, under Governor-General Lord Dalhousie, applied the Doctrine of Lapse, rejecting Damodar Rao’s claim to the throne and annexing the state to its territories. In March 1854, Lakshmibai was given an annual pension of Rs. 60,000 and ordered to leave the palace and the fort.
Rani then prepared for battle and issued a proclamation: “We fight for independence. In the words of Lord Krishna, we will if we are victorious, enjoy the fruits of victory, if defeated and killed on the field of battle, we shall surely earn eternal glory and salvation.”]
She defended Jhansi against British troops when Sir Hugh Rose besieged Jhansi on 23 March 1858. She lost the battle and fled to Kalpi to join other forces of Tatya Tope , was followed by the British army finally to Gwalior where she died of her wounds in the battle and was cremated.
The British said that whatever her faults in British eyes may have been, her countrymen will ever remember that she was driven by ill-treatment into rebellion, and that she lived and died for her country. The queen of Jhansi is thus remembered as one of the great and very courageous leaders who gave her life for the country.She was 30 years of age when she died.