500+ Words Essay on Rani Lakshmi Bai
Rani Lakshmi Bai, a dauntless warrior queen, immortalized in poetries and revered for her unparalleled bravery and sacrifice. She was one of the leading leaders of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and became a symbol of defiance to the British Raj.
Rani Lakshmi Bai was an Indian queen of the Maratha princely state of Jhansi district in Uttar Pradesh, India. She always challenged the patriarchal society and defied laws restricting women.
Childhood Days of Rani Lakshmi Bai
She was born in 1828 in the town of Varanasi into a Maratha Brahmin family. She was named Manikarnika Tambe and was nicknamed Manu. Her father was Moropanth Tambe and mother Bhagirathi Sapre. Her parents came from Maharashtra. Her mother died when Manu was just a little girl.
Her father worked for Peshwa Bajirao II of Bithoor district. She received her education at home long with Peshwa’s sons, Nana Sahib and Rao Saheb. Because she was trained with boys, she inhabited many men like traits. Her Brothers treated her as their little sister.
Her studies included reading, writing, horse riding, archery, fencing and mallakhamba. She was a tomboy and vibrant and extremely beautiful. The Peshwa’s affectionately called her ‘Chabili’ meaning playful.
The most exciting activity she enjoyed was horse riding. She owned three horses named Baadal, Pawan and Sarangi. Once Nana Saheb fell from his horse and was about to get crushed under the horse’s feet when she showed excellent strength and presence of mind to save him.
Marriage to Gangadhar Rao Newalkar
In May 1842, she was married to the king of Jhansi, Maharaja Gangadhar Rao Newalkar. He named her Lakshmibai in honour of Hindu Goddess Lakshmi. When Lakshmibai got married, she was only seven years old, and Maharaja was senior to her by many years in age. After marriage, she took a keen interest in administrative and military affairs.
She had a son in 1851 but unfortunately died three months later, and there was no one to succeed the throne. Concerned with this grave situation the Maharaja and Rani adopted s little boy, son of Gangadhar Rao’s cousin and names him Damodar Rao.
A few years later, Maharaja fell ill and passed away on 21st November 1853. Lakshmi Bai functioned as queen regent to the child. The shrewd Britishers took advantage of this situation and imposed the Doctrine of lapse.
According to it if a ruler died without an heir, his kingdom will be annexed. Britishers refused to accept the adopted child and confiscated the territories. When Lakshmi Bai learnt about this, she cried out, “I will not surrender Jhansi.” But she was ordered to leave the palace and the fort.
The Uprising of 1857
Rani Lakshmi Bai was enraged by the Britishers and waged war against them. Her military force was less in number as compared to the British. She trained them in different tactics and skills. Since she was exceptionally skilled in swordsmanship, she instructed her army to be furious in the battle and told them to practice more with the swords. The Revolt of 1857 began in Meerut, and it was the first war of Indian independence.
Soon, the war extended to other states of India like Delhi, Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh. The revolt of Jhansi began on 4th June 1857 when Rani Lakshmi Bai invaded British companies’ treasury and magazine. Bahadur Shah Zafar ascended the throne, and Nana Saheb was appointed his Peshwa.
She defeated the British in many encounters fearlessly and with courage. Once again, she began to rule as a regent of her minor son. She proclaimed independence on the fort by hoisting the flag of Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar.
The Britishers were infuriated by her and sent a large force under Sir Hugh Rose to recapture Jhansi on 20th March 1958. Rani Lakshmi Bai fought tirelessly with the British army with the support of Maharaja Scindhia of Gwalior and Raja of Tikamgarh.
She even gained the support of Tatya Tope who charged the English troops from the rear. The battle went on for a week, and both the sides encountered heavy casualties, and her soldiers were outnumbered. Finally, Sir Hugh Rose defeated her not by force but by treachery. The fort was recaptured by him.
Rani Lakshmi Bai escaped the fort with the help of her loyal fighters and reached Kalpi. There the British sent huge reinforcement under General Smith. With the help of Tatya Tope and her two female attendants, Mandra and Kashi, she fought valiantly but was defeated again.
She fled with her horse where she was hit by a bullet and wounded terribly. Her horse was also injured severely. She was able to fight until the end and finally collapsed. Her soldiers quickly burned her body before the Britishers could get their hands on it.
Rani Lakshmi Bai was a women warrior as brave as a lion on the battlefield, a compassionate and caring mother to her adopted son and a beautiful and loving wife to her husband. Her patriotism is unmatched in the Indian History.
The British underestimated her strength initially, but as she marched ahead by attacking them on several fronts, they realized that they are dealing with someone who is too powerful and strong willed. There are only a few women fighters in Indian history who can be compared to Rani Lakshmi Bai.
Her sacrifice and martyrdom is a great source of motivation to Indian patriotism. Her name and life are written in golden letters in Indian history.
She placed an example of grit, exceptional skill, and military tactics on the future generation and respected even today and proved that despite being a woman and a mother she did not give away her rights and fought for the freedom of the nation.
She died on 18th June 1858 and was just twenty-three years old. After her death, Sir Hugh Rose commented that Rani Lakshmi Bai was ‘personable, smart and beautiful and she is the most dangerous of all Indian leaders.” The poem ‘Jhansi Ki Rani’ written by Subhadra Kumar Chauhan is the most famous composition and taught in schools even today.