Despite decades of male oppression, women have always managed to emerge in leadership roles, from queens who ruled without a king to women who made their way into military positions. These military queens hail from every age and from every place of the world like the Trung Sisters, who fought to defend ancient Vietnam from the invading Chinese, or Zenobia of Palmyra, who opposed invading Roman forces and tried to carve out her own sphere of influence in her homeland of Syria.
And then there’s the most bravest and powerful historial woman Rani of Jhansi, also called Lakshmibai, born as Manikarnika, was the queen of the Maratha-ruled Jhansi State, situated in the north-central part of India. She was one of the leading figures of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and became for Indian nationalists a symbol of resistance to the rule of the British East India Company in the subcontinent. This 19th-century Indian Queen is a fascinating figure. Raised to fight and ride, Lakshmi was married to the ruler of Jhansi in northern India but was widowed at quite a young age. Childless, couple adopted a young boy as their heir, but their British overlords used this opportunity to formally annex Jhansi. However, the Queen wasn’t taking this lying down; at age 22, in 1858, she rose up against the British. For over a year, war raged between the British invaders and the Queen Regent of Jhansi. The British forces battered down her men; in the Spring of 1858, they besieged her home, and she barely managed to escape. Later, Lakshmi managed to recapture the fortress of Gwalior, then marched to confront the British army, a conflict in which she was killed.
The year 2017 marks 159th death anniversary of the beloved Rani of Jhansi who died in battle, her memory deserves to be revived. History is rarely the face of objective truth. Histories are perspectives and many times multiple. Whatever the facts, Lakshmi Bai has gone down in history as the woman who made her mark in a traditionally male space. Popular narrative has made it convenient for her to negotiate gender boundaries — she is both valorous on the battlefield and the mother of a son, destined to be king. She is the Bharat Mata, the manifestation of she who fights for the ‘sons of her soil’ and she whose ‘modesty and virtue’ must never be outraged. Lost her mother at a tender age of four. Raised by her father ,educated at home,she took formal training in martial arts which included archery, horsemanship, self-defence,fencing.
Lakshmi bai won the hearts of her people for her sagacious approach. She used to invite women from all caste for the celebrations like Sankranta, Chaitra Gauri. It was an important step towards social justice. Her heart was at the right place. Rani fought battles in a planned, organized manner. Her sword always moved at a lightning speed. Britishers were amazed with her courage, bravery. She was adamant that she will not fall into the hands of Britishers dead or alive. She has inspired generations and she will continue to inspire future generations. She encouraged women empowerment. Her army had women fighters and soldiers from all communities including the Afghans. The Indians lost the First War of Independence., but Rani of Jhansi sowed the seeds of Independence and heroism. India will never forget her name. She is immortal.
In the words of Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, -the first woman Satyagrahi to court arrest in Nagpur, was an author and poetess and her famous composition in Hindi – Jhansi Ki Rani, is an emotionally charged poem describing the life of Rani Lakshmi Bai, learning and listening to which I grew up and took inspiration to be as brave as I am today.
सिंहासन हिल उठे राजवंशों ने भृकुटी तानी थी,
बूढ़े भारत में आई फिर से नयी जवानी थी,
गुमी हुई आज़ादी की कीमत सबने पहचानी थी,
दूर फिरंगी को करने की सबने मन में ठानी थी।
चमक उठी सन सत्तावन में, वह तलवार पुरानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।
When a Greek pirate ship sails in to loot the wealth of the Cholas, it is brutally defeated by the navy and forced to pay a compensation. A payment that includes a twelve-year-old girl, Aremis. Check out this new historical novel Empire (http://bit.ly/DeviEmpire) with a warrior woman, Aremis at the heart of the novel.
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