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Rani Lakshmibai

Lakshmi Bai, the Rani of Jhansi (c.19 November 1835 17 June 1858)[1] (Marathi- ) was the queen of the Maratha-ruled princely state of Jhansi, situated in the north-central part of India. She was one of the leading figures of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and a symbol of resistance to the rule of the British East India Company in the subcontinent.


Rani Lakshmibai's Childhood

Lakshmibai was born in the holy town of Kashi. She was named Manikarnika and was nicknamed Manu.[2] Her father was Moropant Tambe and her mother Bhagirathibai Tambe. Her parents hailed from Maharashtra. [3] Her mother expired when she was four. Her father worked for a court Peshwa of Bithoor district. The Peshwa brought her up like his own daughter. The Peshwa called her as "Chhabili". The meaning of Chabili is light-heartedness. She was given education at home.

She was more independent in her childhood unlike others of her age. She studied archery, horsemanship, self-defence. Tatya Tope, was her mentor.

Lakshmibai was married to the Maharaja of Jhansi, Raja Gangadhar Rao, in 1842. After her marriage she was called as Lakshmibai. The Raja was very friendly to her. She[4] gave birth to a boy named Damodar Rao in 1851. However, the child died when it was four months old. After the death of their son, the Raja and Rani of Jhansi adopted a child Anand Rao. Anand Rao was the son of Gangadhar Rao's cousin, and was renamed as Damodar Rao. However, it is said that the Raja of Jhansi never recovered from his son's death, and died on 21 November 1853.

Because Damodar Rao was adopted, the British East India Company, under Governor-General Lord Dalhousie, applied the Doctrine of Lapse, rejecting Rao's claim to the throne and annexing the state to its territories. In March 1854, Lakshmibai was given a pension of 60,000 Rs. and ordered to leave the palace and the fort.

First War of Independence in India (1857)

Rani Lakshmibai as shown in a 19th century painting On May 10, 1857 the Indian Rebellion started in Meerut. The rumour that the bullet casings supplied by British to its soldiers were coated with pork and beef began to spread throughout India. During this time, the British were forced to focus their attention somewhere else and Lakshmibai was ruling Jhansi alone and she began leading her troops swiftly and efficiently to quell skirmishes initiated by other princes. The city was relatively calm in the midst of unrest in the region but Jhansi Rani Lakshmibai conducted Haldi Kumkum ceremony with pomp in front of all women of Jhansi to provide assurance to her subjects and to convince them that the city was under no threat of attack.[5]

Till this point, Lakshmibai was hesitant to rebel against the British. Lakshmibai's forces killed many east India Company officials and their wives and children on 8 June 1857 in Jokhan Bagh. [6] She fought with British troops when the Sir Hugh Rose besieged Jhansi on 23 March 1858. An army of more than 20,000, headed by Tatya Tope, was sent to relieve Jhansi but they failed to do so when they fought with the British on 31st March. Hugh Rose and an Indian general betrayed Rani Lakshmibai[7]. Three days later the besiegers captured the city. Jhansi Rani Lakshmibai escaped in the night with her son, surrounded by guards.[6]

Statue of Rani Laxmi Bai in Agra
Statue of Rani Laxmi Bai in Agra
With Anand Rao, Jhansi Rani Lakshmibai decamped to Kalpi with her troops, where she joined additional rebel forces, including Tatya Tope. They moved on to Gwalior, where she grouped rebel forces and defeated the army of the Maharaja of Gwalior. They could occupy a strategic fort at Gwalior. However, on 17 June 1858,[8] while battling against 8th (King's Royal Irish) Hussars in Kotah-ki-Serai near the Phool Bagh of Gwalior, she was mortally wounded and a few locals cremated her body. The British captured Gwalior after three days. In the British report of battle, Hugh Rose was reported hurt badly and he commented that the Jhansi Rani Lakshmibai is "perserable, clever and beautiful" and she is "the most dangerous of all Indian leaders".[9][10]

The crematorium of Jhansi Rani

In fiction

  • Flashman in the Great Game by George MacDonald Fraser, a historical fiction novel about the Indian Revolt describing several meetings between Flashman and the Rani.
  • La femme sacr e, in French, by Michel de Gr ce. A novel based on the Rani of Jhansi's life in which the author imagines an affair between the Rani and an English lawyer.
  • Rani, a 2007 novel in English by Jaishree Misra.
  • "Nightrunners of Bengal a 1951 novel in English by John Masters.
  • "Manu" and "Queen of Glory", (2011 & 2012) by Christopher Nicole, two novels about Lakshmibai from the time of her marriage until her death during the 'Indian Revolt' as seen and experienced by an English woman companion.

In films and television series

Historical studies

  • The Queen of Jhansi, by Mahasweta Devi (translated by Sagaree and Mandira Sengupta). This book is a reconstruction of the life of Rani Lakshmi Bai from extensive research of both historical documents (collected mostly by G.C. Tambe, grandson of the Queen) and folk tales, poetry and oral tradition; the original in Bengali was published in 1956. ISBN

See also


Maza Pravas: 1857 cya Bandaci Hakikat (marathi "My journey: the truth about the 1857 rebellion") by Vishnu Bhatt Godse. Amar Balidani by Janki Sharan Verma Zila Vikas Pustika, 1996 97, Jhansi Meyer, Karl E. and Shareen Blair Brysac. Tournament of Shadows Washington D.C.: Counterpoint, 1999.

External links

bn: de:Lakshmibai fr:Lakshm B gu: ko: hi: kn: ml: mr: ms:Rani Lakshmibai ja: pnb: ru: - sa: simple:Rani of Jhansi ta: te: ur: vi:N ch a Lakshmibai zh:

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