Rani Lakshmibai - Legends of our Land

Lakshmibai, The Rani of Jhansi (c. 1828/1835 – June 17, 1858)(Marathi was the queen of the Maratha-ruled princely state of Jhansi in North India. She was one of the leading figures of the Indian rebellion of 1857, and a symbol of resistance to British rule in India.

Alternate name: Manu,Manikarnika

Place of birth: Kashi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Place of death: Gwalior,India

Movement: 1857 rebellion

Early life

She was born at Kashi and died at Gwalior. Her childhood name was Manikarnika. She is sometimes referred to as the Boudicca of India.

Lakshmi Bai was a Maharashtrian born sometime around 1828 at Kashi (presently known as Varanasi). An alternate date of 19 November 1835 was asserted by D. B. Parasnis in his biography of the Rani. However, no other credible historian agrees with this date and all the evidence points to 1828. The simplest and most direct evidence comes via John Lang. In his account of his meeting with the Rani in 1854 he mentions that her vakil said she was a woman of about 26 years.[citation needed]

Her father Moropanth Tambey was a Karhade Brahmin and her mother Bhagirathibai was cultured, intelligent and was affectionately called Manu by her family. Manu lost her mother at the age of four, and responsibility of looking after the young girl fell to her father. She completed her education and martial training, which included horse riding, fencing and shooting, when she was still a child.

She was married to Raja Gangadhar Rao Newalkar, the Maharaja of Jhansi in 1842, and became the queen of Jhansi. After their marriage, she was given the name Lakshmi Bai. The ceremony of the marriage was performed at the Ganesh Mandir, the temple of Lord Ganesha situated in the old city of Jhansi. Rani Lakshmi Bai gave birth to a son in 1851, but this child died when he was about four months old.

In 1853 Gangadhar Rao fell very ill and he was persuaded to adopt a child. To ensure that the British would not be able to contest the adoption, the Rani had it witnessed by the local British representatives. Maharaja Gangadhar Rao expired the following day, 21 November 1853.


At that time, Lord Dalhousie was the Governor General of British India. Though little Damodar Rao, adopted son of late Maharaja Gangadhar Rao and Rani Lakshmi Bai, was Maharaja's heir and successor under Hindu tradition, the British rulers rejected Rani's claim that Damodar Rao was their legal heir. Lord Dalhousie decided to annex the state of Jhansi under the Doctrine of Lapse.

The Rani then did the unprecedented: she sought the advice of a British lawyer, John Lang, and appealed her case in London. Although these petitions were well-argued, they were ultimately rejected. The British Indian authorities clearly sought to punish Rani for her presumptuous behavior.[citation needed] They confiscated the state jewels and deducted her husband's debts from her annual pension of Rs. 60,000. She was required to leave Jhansi fort for the Rani Mahal in Jhansi town, as well. But Rani Lakshmi Bai was determined to defend Jhansi. She proclaimed her decision with the famous words :Mi mahji Jhansi nahi dehnar (I will not give up my Jhansi).

The War

The Ranee of Jhansi, an illustration from Chambers's History of the Revolt in India. London, 1859.

Jhansi became a center of the rebellion upon the outbreak of violence in 1857. Rani Lakshmi Bai started strengthening the defense of Jhansi and assembled a volunteer army. Women were recruited as well as men and given military training. Rani was accompanied by her generals. Many from the local population volunteered for service in the army ranks, with the popular support for her cause on the rise.

In September and October of 1857, the Rani led the successful defense of Jhansi from the invading armies of the neighboring rajas of Datia and Orchha.

In January of 1858, the British Army started its advance on Jhansi, and in March laid siege to the city. After two weeks of fighting the British captured the city, but the Rani escaped in the guise of a man, strapping her adopted son Damodar Rao closely on her back. She fled to Kalpi where she joined Tantya Tope.

During the battle for Gwalior the Rani met her death on 17 June. During this battle the Rani's original horse was mortally wounded. He had to be replaced by a younger, more energetic, but less trained horse.

The folklore surrounding her during the war is that during the battle the Rani was trying to escape and two British officers followed her. The horse reached a cliff and being insufficiently trained, could not pass over it. The British set upon her by surrounding her. As she was cornered, she knew there was only one option to take was to jump off which she did. A Brahmin, who found her, carefully took her into his ashram. She lay there unconscious for a moment then her last words were "Jai Hind!", meaning victory to India. In actual fact, most sources have the Rani being shot or run through with a saber and there is no mention of a cliff. It is also unlikely that the many princes who led the Mutiny were in any way more than peripherally concerned with the concept of a united India. All were uniformly concerned with the loss of their personal powers and privileges, and at most, with regional issues. Indeed Laksmi Bai's main objective throughout the Mutiny seems to have been to secure the throne of Jhansi for her adopted son. For a considerable length of time after the start of the Mutiny, she was in correspondence with the British and professed to be on the British side, stating in her letters that she hoped in return that the East India Company would eventually restore all privileges to her son. There are also allegations that Lakshmi Bai did not do enough to prevent the massacre of the British garrison at Jhansi. It is probable that soldiers in her pay took part in the massacre.

The British captured Gwalior three days later. In his report of the Battle for Gwalior, General Rose commented that the Rani had been "the bravest and the best" of the rebels. Because of her unprecedented bravery, courage and wisdom and her progressive views on women's empowerment in 19th century India, and due to her sacrifices, she became an icon of Indian nationalist movement.


The fall of Jhansi and the death of Rani Lakshmibai was the last series of the resistance to British Raj under the Sepoy Mutiny. Its immediate effects included:

Due to her bravery, she became a national hero and the epitome of female bravery in India. When the Indian National Army, formed by Subhas Chandra Bose of Indian prisoners of war to fight the British created its first female regiment, it was named after her.

Her father, Moropant Tambe, was captured and hanged a few days after the fall of Jhansi.

Her adopted son, Damodar Rao, was given a pension by the British Raj, although he never received his inheritance.

The administration of an undivided India passed on from the East India Company to the British crown.

The Rani was memorialized in bronze statues at both Jhansi and Gwalior, both of which portray her in equestrian style.

Literature on Jhansi ki Rani

The Queen of Jhansi is English translation of Jhansir Rani by Mahashweta Devi. This book is fictional reconstruction of life of Rani LaxmiBai and was originally published in Bangla, year 1956, ISBN 81-7046-175-8.

Subhadra Kumari Chauhan created a famous heroic poem in honour of Jhansi ki Rani which is very popular in India.

Flashman in the Great Game - Two meetings between Flashman and the Rani are described in this historical fiction about the Indian Revolt by George MacDonald Fraser.

The Rebel (Jhansi Ki Rani) is a new film by Ketan Mehta, and is a companion piece to his film "Mangal Pandey: The Rising. The screenplay is by Farrukh Dhondy from a story by Chandra Prakash Dwivedi. The film is currently in pre-production. IMdB page

La femme sacrée, in French, by Michel de Grèce. A novel based on the Rani of Jhansi's life in which the author imagines an affair between the Rani and an English lawyer.


Maza Pravas: 1857 cya Bandaci Hakikat 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.

See also

Jalkari Bai

Subhadra Kumari Chauhan

Rani of Jhansi Regiment

[edit] External links A politically incorrect history of the Rani of Jhansi,

Lakshmibai, Rani of Jhansi

John Lang's account of his meeting with the Rani

Timeline for Lakshmibai, Rani of Jhansi from birth until her death.

In memory of our Rani

Poetry on Jhansi Ki Rani by Smt Subhadra Kumari Chauhan

Ron Schuler's Parlour Tricks: Lakshmi Bai, Maharani of Jhansi

Sincere Regards,

N.J. Krishna

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From India, Madras

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Hr Generalist


Abul Kalam Muhiyuddin Ahmed (11 November 1888 – 22 February 1958) was an Muslim scholar and a senior political leader of the Indian independence movement. He was one of the most prominent Muslim leaders to support Hindu-Muslim unity, opposing the partition of India on communal lines. Following India's independence, he became the first Minister of Education, Government of India. He is commonly rememberd as Maulana Azad; he had adopted Azad (Free) as his pen name.

As a young man, Azad composed poetry in Urdu as well as treatises on religion and philosophy. He rose to prominence through his work as a journalist, publishing works critical of the British Raj and espousing the causes of Indian nationalism. Azad became a leader of the Khilafat Movement during which he came into close contact with Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi. Azad became an enthusiastic supporter of Gandhi's ideas of non-violent civil disobedience, and worked actively to organise the Non-cooperation movement in protest of the 1919 Rowlatt Acts. Azad committed himself to Gandhi's ideals, including promoting Swadeshi (Indigenous) products and the cause of Swaraj (Self-rule) for India. He would become the youngest person to serve as the President of the Indian National Congress in 1923.

Azad was one of the main organisers of the Dharasana Satyagraha in 1931, and emerged as one of the most important national leaders of the time, prominently leading the causes of Hindu-Muslim unity as well as espousing secularism and socialism. He served as Congress President from 1940 to 1945, during which the Quit India rebellion was launched and Azad was imprisoned with the entire Congress leadership for three years. Azad became the most prominent Muslim opponent of the demand for a separate Muslim state of Pakistan and served in the interim national government. Amidst communal turmoil following the partition of India, he worked for religious harmony. As India's Education Minister, Azad oversaw the establishment of a national education system with free primary education and modern institutions of higher education. He is also credited with the foundation of the University Grants Commission, an important institution to supervise and advance the higher education in the nation.

Tiruppur Kumaran (1904 - 1932) was an Indian revolutionary, who participated in the Indian independence movement. Kumaran was born in a small village in the Tamil Nadu region of south India. Kumaran died from injuries sustained from a Police assault during a protest march against the British colonial government. Kumaran died holding the flag of the Indian Nationalists, which had been banned by the British.

Kumaran is revered as a martyr in Tamil Nadu and is known by the epithet Kodi Kaththa Kumaran - Kumaran who saved the Flag.

From India, Tiruppur

Vanchinathan, popularly known as Vanchi, was an Indian freedom fighter and a martyr. He lived in Shenkottai, then in the state of Travancore, now in the state of Tamil Nadu.
On June 17, 1911, Vanchi assassinated Ashe, the district collector of Tirunelveli, who was also known as Collector Dorai. He shot Ashe at point-blank range when Ashe's train had stopped at the Maniyachi station, en route to Madras. He committed suicide thereafter. The railway station has since been renamed Vanchi Maniyachi.
Vanchi was a close collaborator of Varahaneri Venkatesa Subrahmanya Iyer (normally shortened to V.V.S.Aiyar or Va.Ve.Su Iyer), another freedom fighter who sought arms to defeat the British.

From India, Tiruppur

Chennamma(1778 - 1829) was born in a Kakati,almost 56 years earlier than Rani Laxmi Bai, in a small village north of Belgaum in Karnataka. She was married to Raja Mallasurja. With this marriage she had only one son who died in 1824. She adopted Shivalingappa and made him heir to the throne. The British East India Company did not accept this and ordered expulsion of Shivalingappa with the help of their policy Doctrine of lapse.The Rani defied the order. A great battle ensued. The Rani fought the British with great courage and skill. She could not, however, hold out for long. She was taken captive and lodged in Bailhongal Fort where she died on 21-02-1829.

Chennamma was the first lady who fought against british for their unwanted interference and tax collection(Kappa).Chennamma was a legendary queen who fought the British army from her base in the small kingdom of Kittur in the Belgaum district of Karnataka State, India. She was ably aided in her struggle by her Lieutenant Sangolli Rayanna.

She is considered as the epitome of the kannada women pride along with Onake Obavva and Keladi Chennamma.

From India, Tiruppur
SWAMI VIVEKANANDA'S inspiring personality was well known both in India and in America during the last decade of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth. The unknown monk of India suddenly leapt into fame at the Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893, at which he represented Hinduism. His vast knowledge of Eastern and Western culture as well as his deep spiritual insight, fervid eloquence, brilliant conversation, broad human sympathy, colourful personality, and handsome figure made an irresistible appeal to the many types of Americans who came in contact with him. People who saw or heard Vivekananda even once still cherish his memory after a lapse of more than half a century.

In America Vivekananda's mission was the interpretation of India's spiritual culture, especially in its Vedantic setting. He also tried to enrich the religious consciousness of the Americans through the rational and humanistic teachings of the Vedanta philosophy. In America he became India's spiritual ambassador and pleaded eloquently for better understanding between India and the New World in order to create a healthy synthesis of East and West, of religion and science.

In his own motherland Vivekananda is regarded as the patriot saint of modern India and an inspirer of her dormant national consciousness, To the Hindus he preached the ideal of a strength-giving and man-making religion. Service to man as the visible manifestation of the Godhead was the special form of worship he advocated for the Indians, devoted as they were to the rituals and myths of their ancient faith. Many political leaders of India have publicly acknowledged their indebtedness to Swami Vivekananda.

The Swami's mission was both national and international. A lover of mankind, be strove to promote peace and human brotherhood on the spiritual foundation of the Vedantic Oneness of existence. A mystic of the highest order, Vivekananda had a direct and intuitive experience of Reality. He derived his ideas from that unfailing source of wisdom and often presented them in the soulstirring language of poetry.

The natural tendency of Vivekananda's mind, like that of his Master, Ramakrishna, was to soar above the world and forget itself in contemplation of the Absolute. But another part of his personality bled at the sight of human suffering in East and West alike. It might appear that his mind seldom found a point of rest in its oscillation between contemplation of God and service to man. Be that as it may, he chose, in obedience to a higher call, service to man as his mission on earth; and this choice has endeared him to people in the West, Americans in particular.

In the course of a short life of thirty-nine years (1863-1902), of which only ten were devoted to public activities-and those, too, in the midst of acute physical suffering-he left for posterity his four classics: Jnana-Yoga, Bhakti-Yoga, Karma-Yoga, and Raja-Yoga, all of which are outstanding treatises on Hindu philosophy. In addition, he delivered innumerable lectures, wrote inspired letters in his own hand to his many friends and disciples, composed numerous poems, and acted as spiritual guide to the many seekers, who came to him for instruction. He also organized the Ramakrishna Order of monks, which is the most outstanding religious organization of modern India. It is devoted to the propagation of the Hindu spiritual culture not only in the Swami's native land, but also in America and in other parts of the world.

Swami Vivekananda once spoke of himself as a "condensed India." His life and teachings are of inestimable value to the West for an understanding of the mind of Asia. William James, the Harvard philosopher, called the Swami the "paragon of Vedantists." Max Muller and Paul Deussen, the famous Orientalists of the nineteenth century, held him in genuine respect and affection. "His words," writes Romain Rolland, "are great music, phrases in the style of Beethoven, stirring rhythms like the march of Handel choruses. I cannot touch these sayings of his, scattered as they are through the pages of books, at thirty years' distance, without receiving a thrill through my body like an electric shock. And what shocks, what transports, must have been produced when in burning words they issued from the lips of the hero!''



Chicago, September 11, 1893

Sisters and Brothers of America,

It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us. I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world; I thank you in the name of the mother of religions, and I thank you in the name of millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects.

My thanks, also, to some of the speakers on this platform who, referring to the delegates from the Orient, have told you that these men from far-off nations may well claim the honor of bearing to different lands the idea of toleration. I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to Southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation. I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn which I remember to have repeated from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated by millions of human beings: "As the different streams having their sources in different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee."

The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a vindication, a declaration to the world of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita: "Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me." Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But their time is come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honor of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.


Chicago, September 27, 1893

The World's Parliament of Religions has become an accomplished fact, and the merciful Father has helped those who laboured to bring it into existence, and crowned with success their most unselfish labour.

My thanks to those noble souls whose large hearts and love of truth first dreamed this wonderful dream and then realized it. My thanks to the shower of liberal sentiments that has overflowed this platform. My thanks to this enlightened audience for their uniform kindness to me and for their appreciation of every thought that tends to smooth the friction of religions. A few jarring notes were heard from time to time in this harmony. My special thanks to them, for they have, by their striking contrast, made general harmony the sweeter.

Much has been said of the common ground of religious unity. I am not going just now to venture my own theory. But if any one here hopes that this unity will come by the triumph of any one of the religions and the destruction of the others, to him I say, "Brother, yours is an impossible hope." Do I wish that the Christian would become Hindu? God forbid. Do I wish that the Hindu or Buddhist would become Christian? God forbid.

The seed is put in the ground, and earth and air and water are placed around it. Does the seed become the earth, or the air, or the water? No. It becomes a plant. It develops after the law of its own growth, assimilates the air, the earth, and the water, converts them into plant substance, and grows into a plant.

Similar is the case with religion. The Christian is not to become a Hindu or a Buddhist, nor a Hindu or a Buddhist to become a Christian. But each must assimilate the spirit of the others and yet preserve his individuality and grow according to his own law of growth.

If the Parliament of Religions has shown anything to the world, it is this: It has proved to the world that holiness, purity and charity are not the exclusive possessions of any church in the world, and that every system has produced men and women of the most exalted character. In the face of this evidence, if anybody dreams of the exclusive survival of his own religion and the destruction of the others, I pity him from the bottom of my heart, and point out to him that upon the banner of every religion will soon be written in spite of resistance: "Help and not fight," "Assimilation and not Destruction," "Harmony and Peace and not Dissension."

From India, Madras

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