Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi was born at Bitur, the seat of the Peshwas on June 15, 1834. Her parents named her Manu Bai. In her childhood, she learnt the use of weapons. She had war-like qualities which helped her a lot in her later life.
Her Married Life:
At the age of twenty, she was married to Raja Ganga Dhar Rao of Jhansi. According to Hindu custom, she was given a new name in her new home. She became known as Rani Lakshmi Bai. But she could not enjoy the two years of her marriage. Being women of high qualities, she faced this calamity bravely and courageously.
Quarrel with Governor-General:
She had no issue. Hence she thought of adopting a son. Lord Dalhousie the Then Governor General of India did not allow her to do so. He wanted to make Jhansi the part of British India. But Lakshmi Bai did not tolerate this injustice. She stood against him. She bitterly opposed foreign rule. For this purpose she led a revolution against foreign rule. She refused to obey the orders of the Governor-General. She adopted a son and declared herself independent. Nana Sahib, Tantia Tope and Kanwar Singh all were waiting for a change. They joined hand with Rani.
Struggle against Foreign Rule:
India was divided. A party of opportunists besieged Jhansi. Naya Khan was the leader of the party. He demanded seven lakhs of rupees from Rani. She had to sell her ornaments to dispose him off. This traitor joined the British. He again led a siege to Jhansi. The Rani rose against them. She filled the hearts of her solider with the spirit of heroism. She fought bravely and defeated them badly.
Death of Tantia Tope and Treachery of her Diwan:
Jhansi was again invaded in September, 1857. Large armies had arrived from England. The Rani was asked to surrender, but she did not. The result was that the city was stormed and captured by the British. At this time the news of Tantia Tope’s death reached her this news was very discouraging. But she said firmly, “So long as there is a drop of blood in my veins and a sword in my hand, no foreigner dare to spoil the sacred land of Jhansi”. Soon after, Diwan Dinkar Rao played the traitor. So they had to leave Gwalior.
Her Defeat and Death:
Now the Rani began to organize a new army. But she had not the time enough to do so. Col. Smith attacked her with large army. She fought heroically. She was badly wounded. So long as she lived, she kept the flag of independence flying.
The Indians lost the first war of independence. But the Rani sowed the seeds of independence and heroism.