Rani Lakshmi – The Queen of Jhansi

“We fight for independence. In the words of Lord Krishna, we will, if we are victorious, enjoy the fruits of victory”

Rani Lakshmibai (19 November 1828-18 June 1858) famously known as ‘Jhansi ki Rani’ was the Queen of the Maratha ruled princely state of Jhansi in North India (currently present in Jhansi district in Uttar Pradesh, India) and a leader of the Indian Mutiny of 1857-58. Originally named as Manikarnika she was born to a Maharashtrian Brahmin family. She had a usual upbringing and was more independent in her childhood than others of her age. In the Pasha’s court, she was trained in target shooting, fencing, martial arts, horsemanship, and sword fighting.

At the age of 14, she was married to Maharaja Gangadhar Rao Nawalkar- the King of Jhansi, and was given the name Lakshmibai. Post marriage she gave birth to a son but unfortunately, the child did not survive more than our month, later the couple adopted child and was named Damodar Rao. As per the Hindu tradition, he was their legal heir. After the death of Maharaja Lord Dalhousie, the British governor-general of India refused to recognize the adopted heir and applied the ‘Doctrine of Lapse’, annexing the state to its territories. She was granted an annual pension of Rs. 60,000 and ordered to leave the Jhansi fort; however, she was determined not to leave her empire of Jhansi and strengthened its defense.

“I shall not surrender my Jhansi.”

She assembled an army of rebellions, where women were also given military training. After the ferocious long war when the British army entered Jhansi, Lakshmibai tied her son Damodar Rao to her back and fought bravely using two swords in both hands. Unfortunately, Jhansi was besieged but Rani escaped to Kalpi where she joined other rebel forces including those of Tatya Tope. She departed to Gwalior and marched east to confront a British counter-attack led by General Rose where this great warrior martyred her life for Indian freedom. She believed, “If defeated and killed on the field of battle, we shall surely earn eternal glory and salvation”

Life lesson- Stop playing the victim game. After the death of her husband, Rani never played victim cards or blamed someone else or her problems. They never feel sorry for themselves nor do they want any sympathy or support from others. They take charge of the situation, lead from the front by example; seek help from others not to solve their problems but address the problems of the entire community at large. They are calm, composed, patient, optimist, and full of positive energy. They keep moving and are never stuck in the past or make decisions based on regrets.

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