Rani Lakshmibai 191st Birth Anniversary: Remembering the Queen of Jhansi and Her Valour

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Born on November 19, 1828, as Manikarnika Tambe, Rani Lakshmibai or the queen of Jhansi, is remembered for her leading role in the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Rani was married to the King of Jhansi, Raja Gangadhar Newalkar in 1842.

The warrior queen is best known for her rebellion against the British Raj in the face of adversity – a fact that has engraved her name in the pages of Indian history.

On her 191st birth anniversary, here’s looking at a few interesting facts about her:

She was born in Varanasi to a Marathi Karhade Brahmin family. Her father was an employee of Peshwa Baji Rao II of Bithoor district. It was here, that she, along with her childhood friends, Nana Sahib and Tantia Tope, learnt shooting, horsemanship and fencing, along with Mallakhamba.

The ‘Jhaansi ki Rani’ had a son Damodar Rao, who died within four months of his birth. Following the death of the infant, her husband Gangadhar Rao adopted a cousin’s child Anand Rao, who was renamed Damodar Rao a day prior to the death of the Maharaja.

Lord Dalhousie refused to acknowledge the child and applied the Doctrine of Lapse, and annexed the state. However, the Rani refused to accept the Lord Dalhousie’s decision.

The Rani of Jhansi gave a tough fight to the British during the two weeks siege of the city. It is believed she strapped her little son Damodar Rao, on her back and fought with swords in both her hands.

The queen died while fighting a squadron of the 8th Hussars under Captain Heneage, on June 18, 1858, in Kotah-ki-Serai near the Phool Bagh of Gwalior.

Colonel Malleson who wrote the book History of the Indian Mutiny; vol. 3; London, 1878, spoke about Rani Lakshmibai in it and said that whatever the queen’s fault may have been in the eyes of the British, “her countrymen will ever remember that she was driven by ill-treatment into rebellion, and that she lived and died for her country, We cannot forget her contribution for India.”