Rani Lakshmibai was born on 19th November, 1828. She was named ‘Manikarnika’ when she was born in Varanasi, in a Marathi Brahmin family. Back then, no one knew that this lady’s name will be etched in history, forever.
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।
This is the most famous composition written for the famous queen in a Hindi poem by Subhadra Kumari Chauhan.
On her birthday today, we bring you seven facts about her life that will bring out a beautiful portrait of the fearless queen.
1. Rani Laxmibai was very young when her mother passed away:
Her father’s name was Moropant Tambe and her mother was addressed to as Bhagirathi bai. They were cousins of Nana Sahib. When Manikarnika was just 4 years old, her mother passed away and after that the Peshwa of Bithoor district brought her up like her own daughter, as her father, Moropant Tambe worked in the Peshwa’s court. The Peshwa fondly called her ‘Chhabili’ or playful.
2. She was married when she was just 14:
In May, 1842, she was married to Maharaja of Jhansi, Raja Gangadhar Rao Newalkar. It is after her marriage that she was called ‘Lakshmibai’ in honour of Goddess Lakshmi.
3. Her son, died only when he was four months old:
Rani Lakshmibai gave birth to a son in 1851, who was later named Damodar Rao. After his death when he was just a four month old baby, the Maharaja of Jhansi adopted his cousin’s son who was named Anand Rao and later renamed him as Damodar Rao. He was to be treated as their own child and be an heir to the kingdom.
4. A year and a half after her son died, he husband also passed away:
The Maharaja of Jhansi passed away in 1853, leaving the kingdom behind to Rani Lakshmibai. Soon after, the British government implemented the Doctrine Of Lapse that disallowed any kingdom to have an adopted heir. Rani Of Jhansi rebelled against this policy and refused to leave Jhansi when the British asked her to do so, offering her a pension of Rs. 60,000. She fought against the British, till her last breath.
5. She loved horses and horse-riding:
Her favourite horse was named ‘Badal’. She also had two other horses named Sarangi and Pavan. Badal died when Lakshmibai jumped with her son on the horse in the night from the fort when she decided to join Tantia Tope and Nana Sahib in their rebellion. She often depicted in pictures with her son on her back, riding her horse and fighting a battle.
6. She herself fought the British in a battle where 5,000 Indian soldiers were killed:
On June 17, 1858, in Gwalior, when Rani Lakshmibai was trying to leave the area, the British tried to stop them which resulted in a battle where over 5,000 soldiers of her army were killed. It is during this battle that Lakshmibai is said to have put to on a sawar’s uniform and attacked one of the British soldiers. She was wounded in this battle and shortly afterwards she passed away. According to another account. Rani Lakshmibai,dressed as a cavalry leader, was badly wounded in this battle and asked a soldier to burn her body as she did not want to be captured by the British. She was later cremated.
7. She was referred to as the ‘most dangerous of Indian leaders’ by a British commander in a report:
Commander Hugh Rose, in a report about the battle of Gwalior had said that she was “personable, clever and beautiful” and that she is “the most dangerous of all Indian leaders”. He had also said that she was “buried with great ceremony under a tamarind tree under the Rock of Gwalior, where I saw her bones and ashes”.
Rani Lakshmibai was ahead of her times and her contribution can never be forgotten.
Preview Photo: The Logical Indian