RANI JHANSI (1835 - 1858 )
Rani Lakshmi Bai, the fiery Queen of Jhansi, also
known as the Rani of Jhansi, one of the great nationalist
heroine of the first war of India freedom, a symbol
of resistance to the British rule in India was born on 19th November 1835 at
Kashi (Presently known as Varanasi). Her father Moropanth was a Brahmin and
her mother Bhagirathibai was a cultured, intelligent and God
fearing lady. Mannikarnika (Manu) was the name of Rani Lakshmi Bai in her
childhood. Manu lost her mother at the age of four. The
Complete responsibility of the young girl fell on the father. She completed her education
and also learned horse riding, Sword fighting and shooting on a target with a gun.
She was married to Raja Gangadhar Rao, the Maharaja of Jhansi in 1842,
and became the Rani of Jhansi. After the marriage She was given the name Lakshmi Bai. The
Marriage ceremony was perform in Ganesh Mandir, the temple of Lord Ganesha situated in the
city of Jhansi. Rani Lakshmi Bai gave birth to a son in 1851, but unfortunately this child
died when he was about four months old. After this tragedy, Damodar Rao was adopted as
son. Later on Maharaja Gangadhar Rao also died on 21st November 1853. After the death of
Maharaja Gangadhar Rao, Rani Lakshmi Bai was left alone. At this time she was eighteen
years old. Rani Lakshmi Bai did not lost her courage, She always remembered her
At that time Lord Dalhousie was the Governor -General of India. Though
little Damodar Rao, adopted son of late Maharaja Gangadhar Rao and Rani Lakshmi Bai was
Maharaja's heir and successor as per the Hindu tradition, but the British rulers rejected
Rani's claim that Damodar Rao was their legal heir. Loard Dalhousie decided to annexe the
state of Jhansi as Maharaja Gangadhar Rao had left no legal heir. This misfortune of
Jhansi was used by the Britishers to expand there Empire.
In March 1854 the British ruler announced 60,000 ( Sixty Thousand)
annual pension for Rani and also ordered to leave the Jhansi fort. Jhansi was in
humiliating condition but it was like a silent volcano before eruption.
Rani Jhansi was determined not to give up Jhansi. She was a symbol of
patriotism and self respect. Britishers were making every effort to destroy the freedom of
country whereas Rani was determined to get rid of Britishers.
Rani Lakshmi Bai strengthened the defense of Jhansi and she assembled a volunteer army of
rebellions. Women were also given Military training. Rani was accompanied by her brave
warriors, some of them were Gulam Gaus Khan, Dost Khan, Khuda Baksh, Lala Bhau Bakshi,
Moti Bai, Sunder-Mundar, Kashi Bai, Deewan Raghunath singh and Deewan Jawahar Singh. Along
with all these warriors the local population of Jhansi irrespective of their religion or
caste were always determined to fight and give their lives with pleasure for the cause of
Independent and their beloved Rani.
The Britishers attacked Jhansi in March 1858. Rani Jhansi with her
faithful warriors decided not to surrender. The fighting continued for about two weeks.
Shelling on Jhansi was very fierce. In the Jhansi army women were also carrying ammunition
and were supplying food to the soldiers. Rani Lakshmi Bai was very active. She herself was
inspecting the defense of the city. However, after this great war, Jhansi fell to the
On that black day, the British army entered the Jhansi City. Rani Lakshmi Bai, still full
of courage and deathless patriotism dressed as a man, took up arms, her son Damodar Rao
was strapped tightly to her back. She was holding the reins of her horse in her mouth. In
the fierce fighting she was using the sword with both her hands. When the situation was
not in control, Rani of Jhansi with some of her warriors departed from Jhansi.
Rani Lakshmi Bai reched Kalpi. Many other rebellions force joined her. Tatia Tope from
Kalpi was also one of them, from Kalpi Rani departed to the Gwalior. Again a fierce battle
took place. Rani Jhansi fought with deathless patriotism and martyrdom. However on the
second day of fighting, the great heroine of the first struggle for India freedom, at the
age of 23 years, lost her life. That unfortunate day was 18th June of 1858.
1. Maajha Pravas by Vishnu Bhatt Godse.
2. Amar Balidani by Janki Sharan Verma
3. Zila Vikas Pustika, 1996-97, Jhansi