It was a great experience to visit Jhansi and remember the story of the great queen who fought against the British. Her real name was “Manukarnika” and she was renamed “Laxmi Bai” when she got married to the king of Jhansi – Gangadhar Rao, when she was only 13.
Manu was supposed to be very valiant and talented in the art of warfare. But, after she lost her only child and husband, the British asked her to vacate the Jhansi fort under the “Doctrine of lapse” and accept a pension, which she refused.
Rani Laxmi Bai played an important role in the first war of independence in 1857. However, thanks to traitors, she was finally forced to kill herself to avoid being captured by the British, when she was only 23 🙁 🙁 (The British claim that they killed her during battle, in their version of history)
Had read about her long back in school, but forgotten most of the history. Our guide was very good and retold the story very well. He also suggested that we should visit the Jhansi museum and Rani Mahal, which were very good.
Jhansi is now a dusty (due to stone crushing industry) city, but the Mahal, fort and museum are well maintained. Hotels in Orccha – about half an hour away, are much better places to stay. If interested, you can stay in Orccha and make a day trip to Jhansi. Our guide narrated the famous Hindi poem praising her valour “Jhansi ki Rani” for us. Here’s one verse from it:
झाँसी की रानी (Jhansi Ki Rani) – सुभद्रा कुमारी चौहान (Subhadra Kumari Chauhan)
इस स्वतंत्रता महायज्ञ में कई वीरवर आए काम,
नाना धूंधूपंत, तांतिया, चतुर अज़ीमुल्ला सरनाम,
अहमदशाह मौलवी, ठाकुर कुंवर सिंह, सैनिक अभिराम,
भारत के इतिहास गगन में अमर रहेंगे जिनके नाम.
लेकिन आज जुर्म कहलाती उनकी जो क़ुर्बानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वो तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी.