Biography of Rani Lakshmibai – Rani of Jhansi

Rani Lakshmibai, who has written her name in the history of India’s freedom struggle with golden letter, is another name for courage. Rani Lakshmibai a strong patriot and a strong figure within the nationalist heart, proved her responsibility towards the country in the early stages of the freedom struggle against the British. Overcoming the various challenges of the social system imposed on women, she appeared as a shining image of patriotism in the interest of the country.

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Biography of Rani Lakshmibai

Biography of Rani Lakshmibai

Table of Contents

NameRani Lakshmibai[1]
Real NameManikarnika Tambe
Date of Birth19 November 1828
Place of BirthVaranasi
Father’s NameMoropant Tambe
Mother’s NameBhagirathi Sapre (Bhagirathi Bai)
Died18 June 1858

Rani Lakshmibai was the Queen of Jhansi state on the north side of India. Rani Lakshmibai was one of the first fighters of India’s freedom struggle that began in 1857 after the British captured India. Rani Lakshmibai, who cares to overrule British rule in India, is hailed as India’s ‘Joan of Arc’ in Indian history.

Early Life of Rani Lakshmibai

Rani Lakshmibai was born on November 19, 1828 to a Maharashtrian Karhade Brahmin family in Kashi Varanasi under Satara district. Her father’s name is Moropant Tambe and her mother’s name is Bhagirathi Sapre (Bhagirathi Bai). Rani Lakshmibai’s father was the Commander of the war of Kalyanpranth. Her father worked for Peshwa Baji Rao II of Bithoor district. The Peshwa called her “Chhabili”, which means “beautiful” and “lively and cheerful”. Though known among the masses of the society as Rani Lakshmibai, her real name was Manikarnika Tambe and everyone affectionately called her Manu.

Lakshmibai grew up with her father’s companion as she lost her mother at the age of four. It may be recalled that she was educated at home and taught to read and write instead of formal education. She was more independent in her childhood than others of her age; her studies include shooting, horsemanship, fencing and mallakhamba. Importantly, women’s place in the social system of that time was within the four boundaries of the house. But in the meantime Rani Lakshmibai’s way of life was somewhat different from other women. She was also independently trained in martial arts without being confined inside the house. For which at a very young age she learned Horse riding, self-defence, archery, etc. Lakshmibai’s companions at this time were Nana Sahib, Tatya Tope or Rao Sahib and many others. It may be recalled that Lakshmibai owned three horses. The names of the horses are: Pavan, Sarangi and Baadal.

Lakshmibai was brave and intelligent. It may be recalled that once her childhood partner Nana Saheb fell down from his horse while riding. At that time Lakshmibai showed exemplary courage and jumped out of her horse and rescued him.

Also Read : Biography of Ram Prasad Bismil

Marital Life of Rani Lakshmibai

Importantly, child marriage was prevalent in the Indian society at this time as women were not at the same level as men. For which Lakshmibai got married to Maharaja Gangadhar Rao Newalkar, the Maharaja of Jhansi, in May, 1942 at the age of fourteen. After she got married to Maharaja Gangadhar Rao Newalkar, she was named ‘Rani Lakshmibai’ in honour of the Hindu goddess Devi Lakshmi instead of Manikarnika Tambe as per the prevailing tradition of that time. Lakshmibai tried to gain knowledge on military affairs of the state after she became the queen of the Jhansi state.

Rani Lakshmibai became the mother of a son in 1851 after marriage but unfortunately at the age of about four months Rani Lakshmibai’s son Damodar Rao died. However, after the untimely death of the son, Maharaja Gangadhar Rao Newalkar and Rani Lakshmibai adopted a child called Anand Rao, the son of Gangadhar Rao’s cousin, as their son. The name Anand Rao was subsequently converted into Damodar Rao. He was renamed as Damodar Rao. It may be recalled that Rani Lakshmibai, who lost her son, had to lose her husband on November 21, 1853.

Opposition to the Principle of Abolition of Rights

After the untimely death of King Gangadhar Newalkar, the British East India Company, led by Governor General Lord Dalhousie, took up plans to subjugate the state of Jhansi under the British rule through the abolition of rights policy, pretending to be the future ruler of Jhansi, because Damodar Rao (born Anand Rao) was an adopted son, the British East India Company, under Lord Dalhousie, applied the Doctrine of Lapse, rejecting Damodar Rao’s claim to the throne and annexing the state to its territories.

This British plan and conspiracy was against Hindu law as well as Indian traditional practices. Rani Lakshmibai had applied to London several times in opposition to Lord Dalhousie’s indiscretion but her application was rejected by the British government. During this challenge, Rani Lakshmibai took the pledge of “Main Apni Jhansi Nahi Dungi”  and rebelled against the British and even she refused to leave her Raj fort. Importantly, British insisted Rani Lakshmibai on leaving the fort and given an annual pension of Rs. 60,000 and ordered to leave the palace and the fort.

The Revolt of 1857

It may be recalled that not only Jhansi but the British acquired one state after another through the policy of abolition of rights across India for which the first war of independence in India against the British began in 1857, known as the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857. It may be recalled that the sepoy mutiny spread to Delhi, Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad, Punjab, Central India and other parts of the country. It may be recalled that in this revolt the revolutionaries declared Bahadur Shah Zafar and Nana Saheb as their kings. Rani Lakshmibai also took over Jhansi in June 1857 and took over the rule of Jhansi on behalf of her minor son Damodar.

Later, on March 20, 1958, the British sent a large army led by Sir Hugh Rose to Jhansi to recapture Jhansi. This powerful army attacked Jhansi in such a way that women and children could not find a place to live. Rani Lakshmibai took help from Tatya Tope in parallel with the huge army going down in the fight against the British during this time. Both the Jhansi and the British Army had to face losses in this battle. Importantly, at this time Rani Lakshmibai tied her minor son Damodar Rao on her back and climbed on to the back of a horse named Badal and went down in the battle against the British. Unfortunately, however, the British won the battle.

Death

Rani Lakshmibai then fled with her followers and took shelter in Gwalior. But Rani Lakshmibai again faced British troops at Kotah-ki-Serai under Gwalior. Rani Lakshmibai, who fought hard with her son tied on her back and a sword in her hand, was injured and thrown off her horse by an English soldier. Lakshmibai fought without losing her strength even in this situation. But she was later brutally killed by a British soldier. She was badly wounded. Queen Lakshmibai, who did not give up her self even before her death, had the last wish that the British could not touch her body. She told a hermit to burn it. Which is why Rani Lakshmibai’s loyal attendant cremated her body after her death.

The British captured the city of Gwalior after three days. In the British report of this battle, Hugh Rose commented that Rani Lakshmibai is “personable”, “cleaver”, and “beautiful” and she is “the most dangerous of all Indian leaders”. Rose reported that she had been buried “with great ceremony under a tamarind tree under the Rock of Gwalior, where I saw her bones and ashes”.

Conclusion

Rani Lakshmibai, the queen of Jhansi, is a brave and powerful woman who has shone till date in Indian history. She was martyred after struggling hard to free Indians from British rule. Rani Lakshmibai is a glorious example of patriotism and national pride. She is a source of inspiration for the people across the country. Her name will always be recorded in golden letters in the history of India and will remain alive in the hearts of every Indian.

FAQ

1/ What was Rani Lakshmibai’s childhood name?

Answer: Rani Lakshmibai’s childhood name was Manikarnika Tambe.

2/ How did Rani Lakshmiba participate in the freedom movement?

Answer: Rani Lakshmibai took the stake of “Mein Apni Jhansi Nahi Dungi” and fought against the British with a strong sword tied her son to her back and sword in her hand. Patriotic Rani Lakshmibai was martyred on June 18, 1858 in The Kotah-Ki-Serai of Gwalior.

3/ What was the name of Rani Lakshmibai’s father and mother?

Answer: Rani Lakshmibai’s father’s name was – ‘Moropant Tambe’ and the mother’s name was – Bhagirathi Sapre (Bhagirathi Bai).

4/ Who is called as Joan of Arc in the history of India?

Answer: Rani Lakshmibai is called as the Joan of Arc in the history of India.

5/ When and where was Rani Lakshmibai born?

Answer: She was born on Kashi to a Maharashtrian Brahmin family in Varanasi under Satara district.

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