Lakshmibai

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s): 91
  • Published: February 16, 2013
Read full document
Text Preview
Lakshmibai was born probably on 19 November 1828 in the holy town of Kāśi (Varanasi) into a Brahmin family. She was named Manikarnika and was nicknamed Manu.[6] Her father was Moropant Tambe and her mother Bhagirathi Bai. Her parents came from Maharashtra.[7] Her mother died when she was four. Her father worked for a court Peshwa of Bithoor district who brought Manikarnika up like his own daughter. The Peshwa called her "Chhabili", which means "playful".[citation needed] She was educated at home. She was more independent in her childhood than others of her age; her studies included archery, horsemanship, and self-defence.[citation needed] Manikarnika was married to the Maharaja of Jhansi, Raja Gangadhar Rao, in 1842,[4] and was afterwards called Lakshmibai (or Laxmibai).[8] She gave birth to a boy named Damodar Rao in 1851, but when he was four months old he died. The Raja adopted a child called Anand Rao, the son of Gangadhar Rao's cousin, who was renamed Damodar Rao, on the day before he died. The adoption was in the presence of the British political officer who was given a letter from the raja requesting that the child should be treated with kindness and that the government of Jhansi should be given to his widow for her lifetime. After the death of the raja in November 1853 because Damodar Rao was adopted, the British East India Company, under Governor-General Lord Dalhousie, applied the Doctrine of Lapse, rejecting Damodar Rao's claim to the throne and annexing the state to its territories. In March 1854, Lakshmibai was given a pension of Rs. 60,000 and ordered to leave the palace and the fort.[9] Rani Lakshmibai was accustomed to ride on horseback accompanied by a small escort between the palace and the temple though sometimes she was carried by palanquin.[10] Her horses included Sarangi, Pavan and Badal.In the early age of 1857,a rumour that the cartridges supplied by the East India Company to the soldiers in its army contained pork or beef fat began to spread throughout India [11] On 10 May 1857 the Indian Rebellion started in Meerut; when news of this reached Jhansi the Rani asked the British political officer, Captain Alexander Skene, for permission to raise a body of armed men for her own protection and Skene agreed to this.[12] The city was relatively calm in the midst of unrest in the region but the Rani conducted a Haldi Kumkum ceremony with pomp in front of all the women of Jhansi to provide assurance to her subjects,[when?] and to convince them that the British were cowards and not to be afraid of them.[13][14] Till this point, Lakshmibai was reluctant to rebel against the British. In June 1857 a few men of the 12th Bengal Native Infantry seized the fort containing the treasure and magazine, and massacred the European officers of the garrison along with their wives and children. (Her forces did not kill any East India Company officials and their wives and children in Jokhan Bagh on 8 June 1857 but she was subsequently accused by the British of that.[15]) An army doctor, Thomas Lowe, wrote after the rebellion characterizing her as the "Jezebel of India ... the young rani upon whose head rested the blood of the slain".[16] Four days after the massacre the sepoys left Jhansi having obtained a large sum of money from the Rani, and having threatened to blow up the palace where she lived. Following this as the only source of authority in the city the Rani felt obliged to assume the administration and wrote to Major Erskine, commissioner of the Saugor division explaining the events which had led her to do so.[17] On July 2 Erskine wrote in reply that he requested her to "manage the District for the British Government" until the arrival of a British Superintendent.[18] The Rani's forces defeated an attempt by the mutineers to assert the claim to the throne of a rival prince who was captured and imprisoned. There was then an invasion of Jhansi by the forces of Orchha and Datia (allies of the British); their intention...
tracking img