“Chamak uthi san sattavan mein, yeh talwar purani thi, Bundeley Harbolon key munh hamney suni kahani thi, Khoob ladi mardani woh to Jhansi wali Rani thi”
These lines by a renowned Hindi poet, Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, perfectly captures the bravery of the queen who single-handedly fought the Britishers in an attempt to gain freedom – Rani Laxmibai.
On her birth anniversary, we bring to you the story of one of the most important warriors of India’s freedom struggle.
- Born to Moropant Tambe and Bhagirathi Sapre in 1828 in Varanasi, she was known as Manikarnika Tambe.
- Her mother passed away when she was just four and she was raised by her father, who used to work as an advisor in the court of Peshwa.
- Growing up with the boys in the Peshwa’s court, she was trained in martial arts, sword fighting and horse riding.
- In May 1842, she was married to the King of Jhansi, Gangadhar Rao Newalkar. After marriage, she came to be known as Rani Lakshmibai.
- Laxmibai gave birth to a son in 1851, who died just four months after being born. Later she and Maharaj adopted Rao’s cousin’s son, Anand Rao, later named Damodar Rao.
- In 1853, soon after adopting Damodar, Gangadhar Rao died of illness. Taking an advantage of this unfortunate event, East India Company imposed the Doctrine of Lapse.
- As per this doctrine, any state under the company’s rule will be annexed by the company if the ruler did not have a legal male heir.
- So, in accordance with this doctrine, the East India Company refused to accept Damodar Rao as the heir of Jhansi.
- But Rani Lakshmibai was not someone who would take this unjust diktat so, she revolted against the Britishers.
- With the help of other Indian leaders, she fought battles in Jhansi, then Kalpi and finally at Gwalior.
- On June 18, 1858, she lost her life in the Battle of Gwalior.
Though the queen lost her life at such a young age, her bravery inspired many youths to come forward and fight for their country’s freedom.