Of all the greatest warriors of India, Rani Lakshmibai who was the Rani of Jhansi, is remembered the most for her bravery and fight against British Raj in India. She was one of the leading figures of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and became a symbol of resistance with her courage against the British. Also Read - 'Tribute to India's Bravest Sons': Twitter Remembers Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev & Rajguru On Shaheed Diwas
Rani Lakshmibai was born Manikarnika Tambe on November 19, 1828 in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh to a Marathi Karhade Brahmin family. After her mother died when she was four, she was raised by her father Moropant Tambe, who worked as an advisor in the court of Peshwa Baji Rao II of Bithoor district. Her father had always encouraged her to learn horsemanship, shooting, fencing, archery and self-defence. Also Read - Senior Congress Members Pay Tribute to Jawaharlal Nehru on His Death Anniversary
She was then married to the king of Jhansi, Gangadhar Rao Newalkar, and got the name Rani Lakshmibai in honour of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi. Rani Lakshmibai then gave birth to a baby boy named Damodar Rao, but he did not survive and passed away after four months. She and the king then adopted a child named Anand Rao, who was the son of Gangadhar Rao’s cousin. The boy was then renamed Damodar Rao, on the day before the Maharaja died due to an illness. Also Read - Rajiv Gandhi Death Anniversary: PM Modi, Rahul And Sonia Pay Tribute; Priyanka Dedicates Poem to Father
After the death of Gangadhar Rao Newalkar, Rani Lakshmibai took on the responsibility of ruling Jhansi. When the British tried to annex the state to its territories, because she had no legitimate child of her own, the Rani was believed to have said, “I shall not surrender my Jhansi.”
During the siege of Jhansi on March 23, 1858, she defended it from British troops led by Sir Hugh Rose. When by April 2 the British began to gain ground, the Rani withdrew from the palace to the fort. After finding that resistance in the city was useless she decided to leave and join either Tatya Tope or Rao Sahib.
As per the stories of old, with Damodar Rao tied to her back she jumped on her horse Badal from the fort and escaped into the night. The Rani later joined additional rebel forces, including Tatya Tope, and occupied the town of Kalpi. When on May 22 British forces attacked Kalpi, the Rani along with the surviving rebels fled to Gwalior.
The Rani lost her battle against the British on June 17 in Gwalior, and many Indian soldiers lost their lives. To the very end, Rani Lakshmibai fought valiantly and even surprised the British with her grit and determination. Her spirit of nationalism and courage inspired many generations of freedom fighters in India, and she is talked about till this day.