Rani Lakshmibai (born November 19, 1828 – died 18 June 1858) was a queen of the Maratha ruled Jhansi kingdom and the first Indian independence struggle of 1857. He only struggled with the army of the British Empire at the age of 23 and he died in the battlefield.
Lakshmibai was born on 19 November 1828 in the city of Bhadaini in Varanasi district. His childhood name was Manikarnika but lovingly called him Manu. His mother’s name was Bhagirathibai and father’s name was Moropant Tambe. Moropant was a Marathi and giving service for Maratha Bajirao. Mother Bhagirathi was a cultured, intelligent and devout year, and then she died. Because there was no one to take care of Manu in the house, so the father started taking manu along with him in the court of Peshwa Bajirao. Where Chanchal and Sundar Manu all started calling him “Li” by love. In his childhood, Manu also took up arms training with the teachings of the scriptures.
In 1842, they were married to Maratha ruled king of Jhansi Gangadhar Rao Nevala and they became queen of Jhansi. After marriage, his name was Lakshmibai. In 1851, Rani Laxmibai gave birth to a son. But at the age of four months he died. In 1853, when the health of Raja Gangadhar Rao was severely worsened, he was advised to take adoption boy. Raja Gangadhar Rao died on 21 November 1853 after adopting his son. The adopted son was named Damodar Rao.
British Raj filed a lawsuit against child Damodar Rao in the court under his state’s grab policy. Although there was a lot of debate in the lawsuit, it was dismissed. British officials seized the treasury of the state and released the verdict of cutting off her husband’s debt from the Queen’s annual expenditure. As a result, the queen had to leave Jhansi’s court and go to the Queen Mahal of Jhansi. But Rani Laxmibai did not give up and she decided to protect Jhansi state in every situation.
Jhansi became a major center for the struggle of 1857, where violence erupted. Rani Laxmibai started strengthening the security of Jhansi and started the formation of an volunteer army. Women were recruited and trained in war in this army. The general public also supported the struggle. Jhalakari Bai, who was the leader of Lakshmibai’s dream, gave him a prominent place in the army.
In the months of September and October 1857, neighboring states of Orchha and Datia kings attacked Jhansi. The queen successfully failed it. In January 1858, the British army started moving towards Jhansi and surrounded the city in the month of March. After two weeks of fighting, the British army captured the city. But Rani Damodar succeeded in escaping from the British with Rao. Rani ran away from Jhansi and reached Kalpi and met Tatya Tope.
The joint forces of Tatya Tope and Queen captured the fort of Gwalior with the help of rebel soldiers of Gwalior. Rani Lakshmibai died on 18 June 1858, fighting with the British army at Kota’s inn near Gwalior. In a report of the war, British General Heroes commented that Rani Laxmibai was remarkable for her beauty, cleverness and perseverance, even the most dangerous in the rebel leaders.
“From the bards of Bundela we have heard this story / She fought much valiantly, she was the queen of Jhansi.”
“बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।”