This glorious history is just 3 generations ago. This is the story of not independence of 1857 but a story for fight for the dignity and for own people against injustice. several novels have been written on Rani by Europeans, several TV serials and a Hollywood film Swords and Sceptres :The Rani of Jhansi (2017) acted by American Indian. Not sure if released or not. Film Manikarnika is going to be released in India on Jan,25, 2019.
How to reach : Jhansi is well connected by all cities of India by train. There is no airport here. Nearest airport (100 KM) is Gwalior and Khajuraho (178 KM).
We had one day stay at Jhansi. Reached Jhansi at 1.30 AM night, stayed in hotel Natraj Sarovar Portico. Called my cousin Brajesh next day morning and we all proceeded to see Orchha and then Jhansi fort. All was covered in span of 6 hours. Thanks for his company.
Name : Manikarnika Tambe, nickname Manu, named Lakshmi Bai after marriage.
Born : Varanasi, 19 Nov, 1828.
Father : Morepant Tambe. A courtier in court of Peshwa of Bithoor, 23 KM from Kanpur.
Education : Shooting, horsemanship, fencing, Mallakhamba (a type of yoga, aerobics).
Friends : Tatya Tope and cousin Nana Sahab.
Spouse : Maharaja of Jhansi, Raja Gangadhar Newalkar.
Favorite horses : Baadal, Pavan and Sarangi.
Travails : Mother died when Rani was 4 years old, married at age of 14, gave birth to son Damodar Rao at age of 23, died at age of 29. The whole life spent in conspiracies inside and wars with British.
Death : 1858. At age of 29. Due to treachery of Gwalior Peshwa (Sindhia), British surrounded Lakshmi Bai and killed her in Gwalior
A few anecdotes : Guide told us that one son was born to Lakshmi Bai when she was 19 years old, the son was poisoned by his devar for the greed of the throne for his own son. Do not know how far it is true but this must be fact propagated in public.
Just interesting fact which the guide told us that Damodar Rao had survived the battle of Lakshmi Bai in Gwalior by escaping. But villagers did not give him shelter due to fear of British and lived 2 years in seclusion in jungles and finally surrendered to British and got pension of Rs.10,000. Even today his 3rd generation is alive.
About Jhansi Fort
Luckily I got guide who left the guide job after 10 years but just for us he obliged. He seemed to be OK and good point that his narrations included what is locally prevalent about this fort in Jhansi.
As soon as we entered we saw a regular show TV documentary about the fort. Below are the iterations followed by guide to show us inside the fort.
After seeing the fort we moved to Rani Mahal where it is said that Lakshmi Bai lived for 4-5 months. This is about 2 KM from the fort and is in congested location. Parking is difficult in this region.
This fort belongs to a legend who was one of the gems of history after Rana Pratap who fought for her own land. We already know for what reasons Turks, Moguls, British established stronghold here. Lakshmi Bai is not a history of past but a lesson for future for us to teach us to live with proud and dignity.
“Twenty years after her death Colonel Malleson wrote in the History of the Indian Mutiny; vol. 3; London, 1878 ‘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, We cannot forget her contribution for India.”
Categories: Madhya Pradesh