Short Biography on Rani Lakshmi Bai (India’s Joan of Arc)

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Short Biography on Rani Lakshmi Bai (India’s Joan of Arc)

Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi is known as ‘India’s Joan of Arc”. She is counted among the most influential fighters of the Great Indian Rebellion of 1857.

Birth Date & Birth place: Lakshmi bai was born in Varanasi on the 19 of November, 1828. Her birth name was Manikarnika.

Parents: Born in a Marathi Brahmin family, her fatherss name was Moropant Tambe and her mother was Bhagirathi Sapre. Unfortunately her mother died when she was as young as four.

Early Life: Since her mother died young, she was solely brought up by her father. Her upbringing made her to be an independent girl when compared to others of her age.

Education: She was home-schooled. Besides bookish education, she was also taught martial arts, horse riding, target shooting and sword fighting.

Marriage: Rani Lakshmibai got married to Gangadhar Rao, the ruler of Jhansi, at the age of 14. She gave birth to a baby boy but unfortunately the child could not survive long. The Maharaja then adopted a baby who was re-named as Damodar Rao.

Career/ Struggle against the British rule: This young lady, who was still in her twenties, was the widow of Gangadhar Rao, the last ruler of Jhansi. Gangadhar Rao died in 1853 without leaving a biological son.

The British enunciated the Doctrine of Lapse by which they became the heirs of those of India’s Maharajas who died without a male issue. The Kingdom of Jhansi was thus annexed by the British and the Rani was given a small pension.

Rani Lakshmi Bai swore undying vengeance against those who had usurped her kingdom. Thus, she assumed the leadership of the freedom-fighters when the Indian Army rose in revolt four years later.

They fought British troops at several places including Kanpur and was initially very successful, but the more disciplined and well-officered troops of the East India Company finally crushed the rebellion.

On May 22, 1858, the forces of Tantia Topi (also Tantia Tope) and Rani Lakshmi Bai were defeated at Kalpi. The Rani moved into the Gwalior Fort for a last stand. On June, 1858, she was slain while leading her troops, sword in hand, against a charge by the British cavalry.

Contributions/ Major Achievements:

  • Post her husband`s death she didn’t lose courage and bravely took over all his responsibilities at just 24 years of age.
  • She strongly revolted against the British when they treacherously tried to annex the territories of Jhansi.
  • Her fighting spirit and valor in all the battles of Jhansi, Kalpi and Gwalior took the British by surprise.
  • In 1857, Rani also defended Jhansi from invaders of Orchha and Datia.

Recognitation: Bronze statues of Rani on a horseback, has been put up both at Jhansi and Gwalior. ‘Joan of Arc” of the Indian Independence struggle is what the Rani is often known as.

Conclusion: She has secured a place in Indian history and has been immortalized, inspiring many subsequent generations of freedom fighters of India. The simple cenotaph of the Rani is about a mile from the Gwalior station.

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