Rani Laxmibai, the queen of Jhansi is one of India’s legendary fighters who not gave Britishers the taste of their own medicine. She was very young when she died and is worshipped with respect in India as an example for many.
While even after such a little or no training, she handled the circumstances that she was put into and she protected her land and people religiously. She fought until her last breath valiantly, changing all the social stigmas about women and war during those times.
Even until today, her life events are taught as lessons to students in schools. On the day of her birth, here are some interesting facts about Rani Lakshmi Bai you probably never heard of.
1. Not Lakshmi Bai by birth, but Manikarnika
Although Kangana Ranaut’s movie unfolded the hidden truths for us, before the movie, many of us never knew that Rani Laxmi Bai’s birth name was Manikarnika. She was born on 19th November 1828.
2. She lost her mother at the age of 4
Manikarnika was born to father Moropant Tambe and mother Bhagirathi Sapre (aka Bhagirathi Bai), who came from Maharashtra. After her mother’s died when she was only 4, she was raised by his father.
3. In her childhood, she was called ‘Chabbili’
His father worked for in the court of Peshwa Baji Rao II of Bithoor district. The Peshwa called her “Chhabili”, which means “playful”. Peshwa helped her father to raise her like his daughter.
4. Received Different Education than others
While she was brought up in the court of Peshwa, she lived in a more open environment. As a result, she received a different but better education than others. She was educated in shooting, horsemanship, and fencing.
5. The Name ‘Rani Laxmi Bai’
Manikarnika was married in May 1842 at the age of 14 to the Maharaja Gangadhar Rao Newalkar of Jhansi. As a part of the tradition, her name was changed to Lakshmi Bai after marriage. His husband was the 5th Maharaja of Jhansi, a vassal of Maratha Empire situated in northern India.
6. Her firstborn died in 4 months
In 1851, Rani Laxmibai gave birth to a baby boy who was named as Damodar Rao. Unfortunately, he could not live long and die at the age of 4 months old only.
7. Adoption of a Son
As a result, the Maharaja adopted a child named Anand Rao, who was the son of his cousin and renamed him as Damodar Rao. It happened a day before the Maharaja died. The adoption was completed in the presence of the British political officer. The officer also authorised the transfer of the government of Jhansi to his widow, Rani Laxmibai for her lifetime.
8. Rani Laxmibai was Queen-Charming as she preferred riding horses and palanquins. She would love to move in between palaces on horseback. However, she was always accompanied by a small escort group.
9. Extremely difficult fight against the British
When the Britishers tried to annex Jhansi under the Doctrine of Lapse, they were in for a tough fight. Hugh Rose, the commander of who British forces, found the fort well-defended and demanded the surrender of the city. He threatened to destroy it if his command was refused.
10. Rani’s epic proclamation just before the battle of Jhansi
To respond to Rose, Rani proclaimed after a due deliberation that read, “We fight for independence. In the words of Lord Krishna, we will if we are victorious, enjoy the fruits of victory, if defeated and killed on the field of battle, we shall surely earn eternal glory and salvation.”
11. Most Dangerous of all Indian leaders
As a British report about the Battle of Jhansi quotes, Hugh Rose, commented that Rani Lakshmibai is “personable, clever and beautiful” and that she is “the most dangerous of all Indian leaders”. He also reported that the queen had been buried “with great ceremony under a tamarind tree under the Rock of Gwalior, where I saw her bones and ashes”.
12. Col. Malleson’s Mention
20 after her death, Colonel Malleson mentioned Rani Laxmmibai in his book ‘History Of The Indian Mutiny’; vol. 3; London, 1878. It read ‘Whatever her faults in British eyes may have been, her countrymen will ever remember that she was driven by ill-treatment into rebellion and that she lived and died for her country.’
13. She lived and died the death of a soldier
Rani Laxmibai died at the age of 22 years. She died fighting like a soldier. She departed in the clothes of a soldier, mounted on her charger. She was buried in Phool Bagh, Gwalior with the body of her close Muslim friend lying next to her. She defended Jhansi from British troops till her last breath.
14. Her palace has now been turned into a museum
Rani Lakshmi Bai’s palace, now called ‘The Rani Mahal’, is now a museum and has a collection of archaeological remains of the period between the 9th and 12th centuries AD.