Rani Lakshmibai Essay in English

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Rani Lakshmibai

The great heroine of the Indian History, Maharani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi was like Joan of Arc of France. They both have so many great qualities in common. The most important of these is that they both struggled and fought hard for liberating their respective countries from slavery and foreign rule.Joan of Arc was later beatified in 1909 and then canonised and declared a saint in 1920. Lakshmi Bai and the Maid of Orleans, both made supreme sacrifices for their respective countries and set a glorious example of patriotism and national pride.They both have been a source of much inspiration for national honour and sacrifice for it all these years. Their martyrdom has been unique and exemplary and a subject of much admiration and emulation. Lakshmi Bai was born on November 1, 1835 at Kashi (Varanasi). Her father Moropant Tambe was a highly respected Maharashtra Brahman. She was called Manoo Bai in her childhood.

Maharani Lakshmi BaiWhen she was about 3-4 years old her mother died. Therefore, she was brought up by her father alone who taught her horse-riding, and martial arts besides the three R’s. After her mother’s death, they had come to Bithoor and were living with Baji Rao.

She was not only intelligent and brave but also very beautiful. She was the childhood companion of Nana Sahib. Once Nana fell down from his horse and was about to be crushed under the horse’s feet when she showed exemplary courage and presence of mind. She jumped down from her own horse and saved Nana Sahib by pulling him out of danger.

She was married to Raja Gangadhar Rao, the king of Jhansi. He was senior to her by many years in age. Since her marriage she came to be known as Lakshmi Bai, meaning goddess of wealth. After her marriage she began to take keen interest in fine arts and military affairs of the State. Lakshmi Bai and Raja Gangadhar Rao had a son, but unfortunately he died early and there was no heir to succeed the throne.

Therefore, they adopted the Child Anand Raj who was the son of Vasudev Rai, the Raja’s brother in a family relation. The Raja fell ill and then died on November 20, 1853. But the then Governor General of India, Dalhousie did not recognize this adoption and so planned to annex Jhansi under his policy of lapse.

It was against the tradition and practice of the Hindu law which approved the practice of adoption and recognised adopted sons as legal and lawful heirs to the property and titles of the adoptive fathers. The refusal to recognize her adoption was totally unjustified and so it infuriated the brave Rani Lakshmi Bai. Finally, her State was annexed into the British State. This clever and dubious move of annexation also annoyed the people in general.

Lakshmi Bai made a couple of petitions against Dalhousie’s wrong decision but they were turned down. She also appealed to London, but again it proved an exercise in futility. By 1857 there broke out the first war of Indian Independence, also known as the Mutiny of 1857.

Dalhousie had also annexed some other States on the pretext of mis-governance. He regarded the so called mis-governance as a justification for annexing States under the doctrine of lapse. The revolt of 1857 began at Meerut on May 10. The actual date fixed for the revolt was May 31, 1857 but it began three weeks ahead because people were so impatient, restive and emotionally charged against the exploitations of the British.

It was actually the first war of Indian Independence and had popular support. Soon it spread to Delhi, Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad, Punjab, Madhya Bharat and other parts of the country like a wild fire. Bahadur Shah Zafar was declared king and Nana Sahib his Peshwa. The revolt of Jhansi began on June 4, 1857 with the seizure of the company’s treasury and magazine.

Lakshmi Bai took no time in joining the revolt and struggle for independence. She took command of the revolutionary forces and captured the fort on June 7, 1857. She once again began to rule as Regent on behalf of her minor son.

She declared her independence and hoisted the flag of the Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar. Therefore, a massive force under Sir Hugh Rose was sent to recapture Jhansi on March 20, 1958. Lakshmi Bai gave a good fight to the British army which was supported by Maharaja Scandia of Gwalior and Raja of Tikamgarh.

Lakshmi Bai personally supervised all the war preparations. She also sought the help of Tantya Tope, who attacked the English troops from the rear. The terrible battle raced almost for a week and both the sides sustained heavy losses. Finally, the Sir Hugh Rose was successful in recapturing the fort, however, not by force but by treachery.

Lakshmi Bai escaped from the fort in time with some her loyal followers and fighters and reached Kalpi. There she joined other revolutionary leaders like Tantya Topa and Rao Sahib to give another big fight to the enemy. Soon she captured the fort of Gwalior from Jiyaji Rao Scindia. Scindia sought the British help and support at Agra. The British were too willing to extend the support and a huge force was sent to fight her under the generalship of Hugh Rose.

The revolutionaries fought bravely under the Rani for four days against very heavy odds. Lakshmi Bai herself fought bravely along with her two female attendants, Mandra and Kashi. She dressed as a male commander inflicted heavy losses on Hugh’s forces and finally she was victorious on June 17, 1958.

But soon there was huge reinforcement to the British troops as General Smith joined Hugh Rose and there ensued again a fierce battle. Rani Lakshimi Bai fought with exemplary courage and valour. She fought single-handedly till one English horseman struck her on the head from the rear and another wounded her breast. Fatally wounded and yet she did not lose courage and continued fighting bravely. She was able to kill both of her assistants before she collapsed and fell down from her horse on the ground.

Her dead body was immediately removed from the scene by her loyal attendant Ramchandra Rao and lit the funeral pyre. She died with a sword in her hand and the enemy could not touch her at all. They day when Maharani Lakshmi Bai died fighting for the freedom from the foreign rule was June 17, 1858 and then she was barely 23 years old.

There are only a few parallels to Maharani Lakshmi Bai in the world history. No sacrifice was too great for her in the defense of her motherland. Had there been few more heroes and heroines like her, India would have been free and independent long before 1947.

She was really the bravest of the brave who in later years became a great symbol of national pride and patriotism and inspired Indian patriots and freedom- fighters to lay down their life at the feet of Freedom and Liberty. There are many cities, markets, institutions etc. named after this brave soul called Maharani Lakshmi Bai. Many songs and poems have been written and status set up in her honour and memory.

Her name and life have been written in golden letters in the history of India. Ever since her great sacrifice and martyrdom, her example of bravery, courage and military skill have been a great source of inspiration and encouragement to Indian patriotism. Undoubtedly she was one of the great leaders of the First War of Indian Independence and the greatest heroines of Indian history.

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