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Rani Lakshmi Bai

   

Category : Essays

Posted by Fri, August 24th 2012

622

(THE FIERY QUEEN OF JHANSI)

 

"History is created with legends as history in its ancient origins grew out of legends. Heroes and heroines of ancient legends are not fleshly-and-blood humans. Tilley belong to mythical time and perform feats far beyond the abilities of ordinary human beings. Many such individuals get endowed with the halo of a hero or a It fringe. Their lives and deeds become the subject of popular legends, son of and stories. In India those who are seen to have sacrificed their lives far the country ^freedom quickly become recipients of the reverence for heroes. Freedom fig/tiers have an automatic pass to enter the J hallowed national pantheon. It then becomes a sacrilege—almost an act of treason to re evaluate such national figures. Rani Lakshmi Bai, the queen of Jhansi is one such individual."

 Rani Lakshmi Bai. the fiery Queen of Jhansi, also known as the Rani of was bom on 19th November 1835 at Kashi. Her father Moropanth was a Biahjil and her mother Bhagirathi Bai was a cultured, intelligent and orthodox lady Manni kamika (Manu) was the name of Rani Lakshmi Bai in her childhood. When slier was only four years of age she lost her mother, The complete responsibility young girl fell on the father. She completed her education and also learned horse ridding sword fighting and shooting on a target with a gun.

She was married to Raja Gangadhar Rao, the Maharaja of Jhansi in 1 Wits became the Rani of Jhansi. After the marriage she was given the name Lakshmi Bai. The marriage ceremony was performed in Ganesh Mandir, situated in the city of Jhansi. Rani Lakshmi Bai gave birth to a son in 1851 but unfortunately this childdial at the age of four months. After this tragedy she adopted Damodar Kao as sun on Maharaja Gangadhar Rao also died on 21st November 1853. After tin . Maharaja Gangadhar Rao, Rani Lakshmi Bai was left alone. At this time she eighteen years old. Rani Lakshmi Bai was a bold and brave Iady. She did not courage.

 At that time Lord Dalhousie was the Governor-General of India. Thou, Damodar Rao, adopted son of late Maharaja Gangadhar Rao and Rani Laxmi Bai was Maharaja's heir and successor as per the Hindu tradition but the British didn't accept Rani's claim that Damodar Rao was their legal heir. l.ord Dalhoua decided to annexed the State of Jhansi as Maharaja Gangadhar Rao had left no heir. This misfortune of Jhansi was used by the Britishers to expand their Empire.

The Rani was given a life pension of Rs. 60.000 and was allowed to live in 11 city palace. When the decision to annex Jhansi was communicated to her, apparently declared, "Men Jhansi nahin dungi", but there was no resistance offered lo the British takeover.

Like in the other States the British annexed in the 19th century, British rule began on the wrong foot in Jhansi by riding roughshod over the sentiments of the Indian people. The British government resumed the villages assigned to the temple of Mahalakshmi, the deity of the royal family. It allowed cow slaughter which had been prohibited in the town of Jhansi. It refused the Rani money for her son's sacred thread from the trust left by Gangadhar Rao. The people of Jhansi and the Rani herself thus had enough reasons to be dissatisfied with the British. In a very vital sense the grievances of the people and the personal grievance of Laxmibai were inseparable. The izzat of the Rani was tied to the honour of Jhansi and its people. Insult inflicted upon her was an insult on Jhansi. Similarly, a dishonor done to the people of Jhansi also reflected on the ruler. Jhansi was in humiliating condition but it was like a silent volcano before eruption. Rani Jhansi was determined not to give up Jhansi. She was a symbol of patriotism and self-respect. Britishers were making every effort to destroy the freedom of country whereas Rani was determined to get rid of Britishers.

Rani Lakshmi Bai strengthened the defense of Jhansi and she assembled a volunteer army of rebellions. Women were also given Military training. Rani was accompanied by her brave warriors, some of them were Gulam Gaus Khan, Dost Khan, Khuda Baksh, Lala Bhau Bakshi, Moti Bai, Sunder-Mundar, Kashi Bai, Deewan Raghunath Singh and Deewan Jawahar Singh. Along with all these warriors the local populations of Jhansi irrespective of their religion or caste were always determined to fight and give their lives with pleasure for the cause of independent and their beloved Rani.

The Britishers attacked Jhansi in March 1858. Rani Jhansi with her faithful warriors decided not to surrender. The fighting continued for about two weeks. Shelling on Jhansi was very fierce. In the Jhansi army. women were also carrying ammunition and were supplying food to the soldiers. Rani Lakshmi Bai was very active. She herself was inspecting the defense of the city. However, after this great war, Jhansi fell to the British forces.

 On that black day, the British army entered the Jhansi City. Rani Lakshmi Bai, still full ot courage and deathless patriotism dressed as a man, took up arms, her son Damodar Rao was strapped tightly on her back. She was holding the reins of her horse in her mouth. In the fierce lighting she was using the sword with both her hands. When the situation out of control, Rani of Jhansi with some other warriors departed from Jhansi.

 Rani Lakshmi Bai reached Kalpi. Many other rebellions joined her. Tatia Tope from Kalpi was also one of them, from Kalpi Rani departed to Gwalior. Again a fierce battle took place. Rani Lakshmi Bai fought with deathless patriotism and martyrdom.

However on the second day of fighting, the great heroine of the first struggle for India freedom, at the age of 22 years, sacrificed her life. That unfortunate day was 18th of June 1858. In the extraordinary polarity of a voiceless national hero and a promiscuous rebel we have probably lost the precious human being. A human being caught in very troubled times; a human being who had no training to handle public affairs or the crises that circumstances drew her into. In a world completely dominated by men she tried valiantly in the best way she could to save her honour, the honour of Jhansi and do the best according to what she thought was the best for her subjects.

 

Vocabulary

1. feats—act, effort, deed, exploit. 2. endowed—talented, gifted, intelligent, ingenious, 3. hallowed—sacred, sacrosanct, consecrated. 4. annexed—taken, seized, arrested, apprehended. 5. deity—divinity, god. goddess, idol. 6. roughshod—shod with horseshoes that have calks. 7. grievances—complaint. Injury, case. 8. vital—essential, contribute, indispensable. 9. humiliating—mortifying, humbling, disgracing. 10, eruption—burst. outburst, flow. 11. shelling—bombardment, shelling, air attack. 12. strapped—in great   . need of money. 13. reins—the kidneys or the region of the kidneys. 14. martyrdom—   | torment, agony, pain, distress. 15. promiscuous—confused, jumbled, diverse. 16. rebel—  | insurrectionist, revolutionary.

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