Jhansi Rani Lakshmi Bai: History, Short Note, Contribution in Freedom Struggle

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Rani Lakshmi Bai was a significant figure in the 1857 revolt and was also famous and one of the most renowned freedom fighters in India. She was born on 19th November 1828 in Varanasi and died on 18th June 1858. Rani Laxmi Bai was the wife of Maharaja Gangadhar Rao, Raja of the Maratha princely state of Jhansi. After the marriage, she came to be known as Jhansi Rani. Some key points related to the life of Rani Lakshmi Bai freedom fighter, are written hereunder:

  • She was married at the age of 14 in 1842.
  • In 1851, Damodar Rao was born (son of Jhansi Rani), but he died after 4 months of birth.
  • Later, her husband Gangadhar Rao adopted his nephew Anand Rao and renamed him Damodar Rao.
  • In 1853, Gangadhar Rao died.

Rani Lakshmi Bai was among the greatest warriors of the Revolt of India (1857) and became an emblem of antagonism to the British Raj for nationalists of India. The complete history of Rani Lakshmi Bai, her biography, and her contribution as a freedom fighter are shared below.

Who was Rani Lakshmi Bai?

Rani Lakshmibai or Jhansi Rani Lakshmi Bai was born on 19 November 1828 in the village of Varanasi. She had a nickname of Manu and was also popularly known as Manikarnika Tambe. After her marriage with the Raja of Jhansi, Gangadhar Newalkar, she became the queen of Jhansi, a state in Maratha princely state, and valiantly fought against the British.

Rani Laxmi Bai was one of the bravest women freedom fighters of India who fought several battles alongside Nana Sahib and Tatya Tope. Jhansi Rani Lakshmi bai died on June 18, 1858, fighting a war against Britishers led by Sir High Rose.

Rani Lakshmi Bai History

Below mentioned is the history and biography of Lakshmi Bai and how she came to be known as Jhansi Rani Lakshmi Bai.

  • Her father’s name was Moropant Tambe, and her mother’s name was Bhagirathi Sapre, who belonged from Maharashtra.
  • Rani Laxmi Bai’s father was the War Commander of Bithorr District under Peshwa Baji Rao II, and her mother passed away when she was four.
  • She acquired education without visiting a school and was competent in reading and writing.
  • She was independent even during her childhood and had expertise in horsemanship, fencing, and shooting.
  • Rani Lakshmi Bai had a baby boy in 1851, who passed away due to an incurable disease after completing four months.
  • The Maharaja adopted Anand Rao, Gangadhar Rao’s cousin’s son. He was named Damodar Rao just one day before the death of Maharaja.
  • The adoption occurred in front of the British political officer who received a note from the Maharaja demanding that the kid be treated with affection and that the Jhansi government should be assigned to his widow for her whole life.
  • After Maharaja’s demise in 1853, the British East India Company laid the Doctrine of Lapse, refusing Damodar Rao’s share of the throne under Governor-General Lord Dalhousie, and taking over the state to its colonies because Damodar Rao was an adopted son.

About Rani Lakshmi Bai [1853 – 1857]

Lakshmi Bai’s history has been a very struggling journey between 1853 till May 1857. Lord Dalhousie sought to conquer Jhansi since the king had no natural successor when Maharaja died while registering the Doctrine of Lapse.

  • When notified of this, Rani Lakshmi Bai screamed the quote, “Main Apni Jhansi Nahi Doongi” (I shall not leave my Jhansi).
  • In 1854, Lakshmibai was granted a yearly allowance of Rs. 60,000 and requested to depart from the fort and the palace.

Soon after the decision to not leave Jhansi and get ready for battle if need be, the Revolt of 1857 began.

Role of Rani Lakshmi Bai in Revolt of 1857

The 1857 Revolt started in Meerut, but Rani Lakshmi Bai governed Jhansi as a monarch for her juvenile son. Let us learn the role of Jhansi Rani in the revolt of 1857 by reading the following points:

  • British forces under the authority of Sir Hugh Rose docked at the Jhansi fort to capture it in 1858 and insisted that the city succumbs to him or it would be eradicated.
  • Rani Laxmi bai nullified and asserted, “We fight for independence. In the words of Lord Krishna, we will, if we are victorious, appreciate the fruits of victory; if conquered and massacred on the battlefield, we shall surely gain everlasting recognition and rescue.”
  • The fight lasted for two weeks, and Rani courageously directed her troop of males and females to rival the British.
  • Despite a courageous battle, Jhansi lost the war.
  • Rani, tying her newborn son on her back, fled to Kalpi on the back of a horse.
  • Rani captured the Gwalior fort along with Tatya Tope and other revolutionary soldiers.
  • Rani Lakshmi Bai cruised to Gwalior, Morar, to oppose the British.
  • She died while battling in Gwalior on 18 June 1858, 23 years of age.

Short Note on Rani Lakshmi Bai

For all UPSC aspirants, it is important to read the short note on Rani Lakshmi Bai to be well aware of her life and major events which marked an important period in Indian History. In her childhood, the Peshwa Baji Rao ll of Bithoor district called her Chhabili. Rani of Jhansi was later called Lakshmibai (or Laxmibai) in praise of the Hindu divinity Devi Lakshmi and, according to the custom of Maharashtra, wherein women are offered a new title after marriage. According to Vishnu Bhatt Godse, Rani Laxmi Bai practised wrestling, weightlifting, and steeplechasing every morning before a meal.

Rani Laxmi Bai was the 1857 Revolt Leader from Jhansi who fought against Hugh Rose. She also fought along with Tatya Tope and captured the fort of Gwalior. She was dressed as a warrior when she passed. The tomb of Rani Lakshmi Bai is at the Phool Bagh area in Gwalior. Jhansi Lakshmi Bai’s palace, also called the Rani Mahal, is now a museum.

It is hardly surprising that one British officer referred to Queen Rani as the most dangerous Indian leader, given that she was a force to be reckoned with. He contrasted this by saying she was a lovely, intelligent, and attractive woman.

Rani Lakshmi Bai Contribution in Freedom Struggle

Freedom Fighter Rani Lakshmi Bai became an emblem of opposition against British rule for subsequent nationalists in India. She is remembered as a wonderful martyr who fought for the freedom of Indian citizens, and she is a sign of woman power and heroism.

She actively participated in the Revolt of 1857, leading her own army in defense of Jhansi. Her exemplary leadership, military strategy, and unwavering courage inspired countless Indians to join the fight for independence. Despite facing overwhelming odds, she fought valiantly and became a symbol of resistance and female empowerment. Rani Lakshmi Bai’s sacrifice and dedication earned her a revered place in Indian history as a national heroine and an inspiration for future generations of freedom fighters.

Sir Hugh Rose commented on the given quote about Rani Laxmi Bai.

“Remarkable for her beauty, cleverness and perseverance, Rani Lakshmi Bai had been the most dangerous of all the rebel leaders. The best and bravest of all.”

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