My favorite heroine of Indian History is Maharani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi. She was born on November 1, 1835, at Kashi (Varanasi). In her childhood, Lakshmi Bai was called “Manoo”. Even in her early childhood she was very courageous.
Her mother died when she was only a child. her father came out to Bithoor, due to some financial trouble, and began to live with his relative, ‘Baji Rao’, Here she received her early education with her cousin Nana Sahib, the son of Baji Rao. She was very much interested in horse riding and other arts of warfare. Once Nana Sahib fell down from his horse and was about to be crushed. But Maharani Lakshmi Bai showed great presence of mind and courage. She jumped from her own horse and caught hold of the leg of the horse which was about to fall on Nana. She quickly pulled out Nana and thus saved him. Though Nana had received serious injuries, yet she encouraged him by telling him that the injuries were ordinary and that he would be quite alright within a day. So courageous was she from her childhood.
She was married at the age of fourteen to Raja Gangadhar Rao. He was Raja of Jhansi and was about 50 years old at the time of marriage. But along with Raja Gangadhar Rao, Lakshmi Bai was married to the throne of Jhansi also. She was immortalized by that marriage. Now she became Maharani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi.
During her married life at Jhansi, she took keen interest in the find arts as well as in military training. She knew the evil designs of the British Government very well. Lord Dalhousie was the Viceroy of India at that time. He wanted to annex Jhansi also. The English rulers refused to recognize the adopted son of Gangadhar and Lakshmi Bai. In fact, they were violating the treaty of Jhansi at every step. Maharani Laxhmi Bai felt annoyed at their attitude.
Soon after the adoption of Damodar Rao and the declaration that he was the heir to the throne of Jhansi, Raja Gangadhar Rao died. Now the acts of cruelty of English rulers towards the Rani of Jhansi began to increase day-by-day. Be she was ever prepared to meet the challenge of the foreign rulers. She knew how to die but not how to bow her head.
The English rulers tried their best to take over the State of Jhansi in their own hands. They promised to give a decent pension to the Maharani. Bu the Maharani could not tolerate that her Jhansi should be ruled by the English. She flatly refused to accept the pension and to hand over Jhansi to them. The foreign rulers diverted all their energies towards Jhansi. But they knew nothing about the strength and courage of Maharani Lakshmi Bai. They forget that they would be playing with fire. if they marched towards Jhansi. To face the sword of Maharani was to face death. Not only did she fight herself against the tyranny of the foreigners but she also spread awakening among other Indian rulers. She was true fighter for the freedom of the motherland.
There is no other parallel in Indian History to Maharani Lakshmi Bai. No sacrifice was too great for her in the cause of her motherland. Had there been few other fighters like Rani of Jhansi, our country would have been free long, long ago. Her last wish at the time of her death was that no English man should touch her body. She was the bravest of all the brave fighter for freedom.