Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Khoob ladi mardaani vah to jhansi vaali raani thi.


Even before reading about this brave woman in my history chapters, I knew her all thanks to my mom. My mother was inspired by this lady who was an epitome of bravery and courage & this translated into me and my sisters playing her character many a time during the ‘Mono-Acts’. Those fiery dialogues made me realize she was no ordinary woman. She died at a tender age of 22 years, but is considered to be a lion at heart. And she still lives on….

Rani Laksmi bai was born on 19th of November 1835. The great heroine of the First war of Independence of 1857. She was the embodiment of patriotism, self-respect and heroism. She was the queen of a small state, but the empress of a limitless empire of glory. Rani Lakshmi Bai became a national heroine and was seen as the epitome of female bravery in India. When the Indian National Army created its first female unit, it was named after her.

Birth & Childhood

She was born to a Maharashtrian family at Kashi (now Varanasi). During her childhood, she was called by the name Manikarnika. Affectionately, her family members called her Manu. She also took formal training in martial arts, which included horse riding, shooting and fencing. In the year 1842, she got married to the Maharaja of Jhansi, Raja Gangadhar Rao Niwalkar. On getting married, she was given the name Lakshmi Bai. Two years later she gave birth to a son. Unfortunately, the child did not survive more than four months.

Beginning of the unrest

In the year 1853, Gangadhar Rao fell sick. So, the couple decided to adopt a child to ensure that the British do not raise an issue over the adoption. The same year Maharaja died.

Because Anand Rao, the adopted son was not biologically related to the Raja, the East India Company, under Governor-General Lord Dalhousie, was able to install the doctrine of lapse, rejecting Rao's rightful claim to the throne. Dalhousie then annexed Jhansi, saying that the throne had become "lapsed" and thus put kingdom of Jhansi under his "protection". In March 1854, the Rani was ordered to leave the palace at the Jhansi fort. Lakshmi Bai was furious, and she spent the next few years passionately protesting. When her appeals left her empty-handed, she hired a British attorney to fight for her against the Company’s unjust rule. She at least made small headway, receiving a pension and permission to stay in the palace


Jhansi became the focal point of uprising before Sepoy Mutiny. Rani of Jhansi began to strengthen her position. By seeking the support of others, she formed a volunteer army. The army not just consisted of the men folk, but the women were also actively involved. From the period between Sep-Oct 1857, Rani defended Jhansi from being invaded by the armies of the neighboring Rajas of Orchha and Datia.

However, the army under Sir Hugh Rose declared war on 23rd March 1858. When his army entered Jhansi City, the Rani herself took up arms. She put on the clothes of a man and she fought like the Goddess of War. Whenever she fought the British army bowed down. Her organization of her forces and her fight – worthy of a man – surprised Rose. Finally, the Britishers succeeded in the annexation of the city. However, Rani Laksmi Bai managed to escape along with her son, in the guise of a man.

The Death of Rani - Battle of Gwalior

Along with the young Damodar Rao, the Rani decamped to Kalpi along with her forces where she joined hands with other rebel forces, including those of Tantia Tope. Then Rani and Tantia Tope moved on to Gwalior. At Gwalior, the combined rebel forces defeated the army of the Maharaja of Gwalior when his armies deserted to the rebel forces and they occupied the strategic fort at Gwalior. However on the second day of fighting, on 18 June 1858, the Rani met her destiny. As expected, that day Hugh Rose had the upper hand. A large part of the army of revolutionaries fell. British army entered the fort swift as a flood.

There was no other course for the Rani than to escape from that place. Holding the horse’s reins in her teeth and flashing the sword with both the hands the Rani rode away. Blood was flowing from her body. But there was no time to rest. When the Rani was about to cross the Swarnarekha Canal a shot from the gun or a British soldier who came there struck her right thigh. Flashing the sword with her left hand, the Rani put an end to him. She was taken to Baba Gangadas’ ashram where she died.


For her immense effort, she is referred to as the 'Icon of the Indian Nationalist Movement'. Her story became a beacon for the upcoming generations of freedom fighters.

In the words of the British General Sir Hugh Rose, who fought against the Rani several times wrote ‘Although she was a lady she was the bravest and best military leader of the rebels. A man among the mutineers.’


  1. Velu Nachiyar..
    Rani Velu Nachiyar (Tamil: இராணி வேலு நாச்சியார்) was an 18th-century Indian queen from Sivaganga. Rani Velu Nachiyar was the first queen to fight against the British in India, even preceding the famous Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi.[1]

    Her life[edit]
    She was the princess of Ramanathapuram and the daughter of Chellamuthu Sethupathy. She married the king of Siva Gangai and they had a daughter - Vellachi Nachiar. When her husband Muthuvaduganathaperiya Udaiyathevar was killed, she was drawn into battle. Her husband and his second wife were killed by a few British soldiers and the son of the Nawab of Arcot. She escaped with her daughter, lived under the protection of Hyder Ali at Virupachi near Dindigul for eight years.[2] During this period she formed an army and sought an alliance with Gopala Nayaker and Hyder Ali with the aim of attacking the British. In 1780 Rani Velu Nachiyar fought the British and won the battle. When Velu Nachiyar finds the place where the British stock their ammunition, she builds the first human bomb. A faithful follower, Kuyili douses herself in oil, lights herself and walks into the storehouse.[3] Rani Velu Nachiyar formed a woman's army named “udaiyaal” in honour of her adopted daughter — Udaiyaal, who died detonating a British arsenal. Nachiar was one of the few rulers who regained her kingdom and ruled it for 10 more years.[4]

    Velu Nachiyar is the first queen who fought for the freedom against British in India and succeeded. The Queen Velu Nachiar granted powers to Marudu brothers to administer the country in 1780. Velu Nachiar died a few years later, but the exact date of her death is not known (it was about 1790). Marudu brothers are the sons of Udayar Servai alias Mookiah Palaniappan Servai and Anandayer alias Ponnathal. They are native of Kongulu street of Ramnad. They belonged neither to the family of the ancient poligars nor to their division of the caste.[5]

  2. K.M.S. Abuthahir.
    Dear Brothers and Sisters, Those who fought and laid their lives for cause of freedom of India should be respected as True Patriots whether they are Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs or others. As long as Patriotic people like Sanam is living in this country, the secular fabric of India cannot be damaged by any villains.

  3. K.M.S. Abuthahir.
    Dear Brothers and Sisters, Those who fought and laid their lives for cause of freedom of India should be respected as True Patriots whether they are Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs or others. As long as Patriotic people like Sanam is living in this country, the secular fabric of India cannot be damaged by any villains.


A closer look at them