Woman of steel

India in the early 1800s was a place of riot, extortion and was trapped under the unsympathetic British rule. Being one of the richest country for spices and hard earned labour, the Indians not living under royalty were suppressed under the British rulers, even leading to the death of many. In times that hold importance of freedom, a young woman in her teens made a decision to change the world from wrong doings and eradicate the biased rule of another country over India. Rani Lakshmi Bai, a soul filled with patriotism and love for the country, stood up and fought with all her will to sustain a free Hindustan.

The Queen of Jhansi was born on 18th November 1828 in Varanasi. Since her childhood she was trained and taught to be a warrior and an independent woman to live on freely and to dream of an ‘Azaad’ Bharat. She was educated not only in her native languages but in English as a foreign language. Her maiden name was Manikarnika, which later after her marriage was known as Rani Lakshmi Bai. Manikarnika lost her mother at a young age and her responsibility entirely fell upon her Father, Moropant Tambe. He trained her for becoming the best version of herself by teaching her the importance of martial arts, horse riding, sword fighting, as well as shooting.

In the year 1842, Manikarnika married the King of Jhansi, Raja Gangadhar Rao Newalkar. On getting married into Jhansi, she was given the title of Rani Lakshmi Bai as a token of respect and honour to the new Queen of Jhansi. Being the Queen of Jhansi, Rani Lakshmi Bai couldn’t tolerate the cruelty of the British on poor Indians and setting them under their foot, to make a division between the elite and the common people of Jhansi. Crime and injustice against the people of Jhansi increased day by day, with the growth in death, either due to murder or suicide.

In the year 1851, Rani Lakshmi Bai gave birth to her son but within the period of four months, she lost him to illness. Thereafter, along with her husband, she decided to adopt a son for the future of Jhansi, for an heir to follow his father’s footsteps as Raja Gangadhar Rao was falling sick by every increasing day. Leading to this, in the year 1853, the Raja and Rani adopted a boy, Damodar Rao. Later in the year, Raja Gangadhar Rao Newalkar passed away and set the journey for Rani Lakshmi Bai to sit in his throne and lead Jhansi to its glorious future.

The British wanted Jhansi under their rule completely, and a woman ruling the kingdom only boosted their ego and insecurities. Rani Lakshmi Bai got a notice by one of the British officer, Major Ellis to evacuate and handover Jhansi to the British. Infuriated by this act, Rani Lakshmi Bai said her famous words, “Meri Jhansi Nahi Dungi.” With this spirit, she fought for the freedom of Jhansi and ripped it off of the British rule.

The battle for freedom and survival started three years after with a huge massacre on the palace of Jhansi in the midst of the night, in order to capture the Queen as commanded by Sir Hugh Rose. Lakshmi Bai and her soldiers fought bravely against the surprised attack. As Jhansi was attacked terribly, the Queen of Jhansi, tied her son to her back and rode on a horse till she reached Kelpi. The Peshwa understood the situation and helped her with an army of her own. This was a stepping stone for all the woman inspired and taught by Rani Lakshmi Bai for a better world and a brighter future. With the upcoming war, woman were made warriors to fight against the injustice caused by the British.

On the day of the battle, Rani Lakshmi Bai fought with fire in her veins and courage in her blood. She fought till her last breath and created history by burning herself on the battle field so no Englishmen could touch her even after death. Rani Lakshmi Bai, a true warrior Queen inspired millions across the country and even today she lights the hearts of every woman who have to fight their own battles of bravery and sacrifice. As it is rightfully said, “Khoob ladi Mardani, Jhansi ki Rani”.