Whenever we talk about the Indian history, we often find stories of betrayal, cheating and backstabbing of our kings and queens from their own people. Few Kings who were greedy and wanted to enjoy the power never fought the British and instead accepted defeat and became the part of East India Company, as a result they turned against those few brave Kings and queens who were ready to fight against the British.
One such unfortunate queen who lost her life because of internal coup was none other than Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi. Lakshmi Bai was regarded one of the most courageous and brave warrior who single-handedly fought against the British after the death of her husband. Although she was a women, her courage and valour was no less than any men, she dressed like a men, led troops on battle field from front holding sword in her hand.
During 1850’s there were numerous battles fought against the British, especially in the areas of Kanpur, Faizabad, Patna, Lucknow, Jhansi, Meerut, Delhi and Gwalior. The most important point in these battles were the number of Kings who really supported India and wanted to end the British rule. Most of the Kings who truly fought for the country either lost the battle or were victims of policies of the East India Company. Rani Lakshmi Bai was one among them.
The policies of the East India Company only aimed at ending the rule of powerful Kings in India. So they introduced the ‘Doctrine of Lapse’ and therefore the princes were denied the right of adoption. Dalhousie therefore annexed the states of Maratha States of Satara, Nagpur and Jhansi. Lakshmi Bai after the death of her husband had adopted a son called Anand Rao which was out rightly rejected by the British. This had triggered angry response from Lakshmi Bai and had denied to be under the British Raj.
The British under Lord Dalhousie also introduced the Avadh and thousands of soldiers and nobles got unemployed. Their policies on land, completely ruined both the peasants and the landlords. Indian handicrafts completely collapsed and the craftsmen were impoverished. He opened up market for the England goods and all Indian workers were left without jobs.
Lakshmi Bai, inspite of tense situation kept her state calm and did not want to revolt against the British until necessary. But In the year 1858, Sir Hugh Rose attacked Jhasnsi and demanded the surrender of the state. Lakshmi Bai decided not to surrender and decided to defend their kingdom. The battle went on for 2 weeks and there was heavy firing on Jhansi and her forts were destroyed. In the Jhansi army, women were also carrying ammunition and were supplying food to the soldiers. Lakshmi Bai was very active and she lead the army all alone with utmost courage. She even inspected the forces everyday and attended their needs. In the mean time an army of 20,000, headed by the rebel leader Tantya Tope, was sent to relieve Jhansi and to take Lakshmi Bai to freedom.
Although British had just 1,600 soldiers they possessed advanced weapons and were very well trained compare to Tantya Tope and Lakshmi Bai’s soldiers. Lakshmi Bai’s forces were not able to fight the powerful British. Realizing the situation, Lakshmi Bai had fled the city at night along with her son Anand Rao and arrived at Kalpi ( Near Gwalior) along with her forces where she joined other rebel forces, including those of Tantya Tope.
From here the combined force of Tantya Tope and Lakshmi Bai entered the city of Gwalior where they defeated the army of the Maharaja of Gwalior Jayajirao Scindia who had gone against his own country and accepted defeat in the hands of British without fighting.
This was time the Raja of Gwalior back stabbed Lakshmi Bai. Lakshmi Bai and Tantya Tope after defeating the Raja had occupied a fort where they reserved their army. The Raja of Gwalior pretended to help Lakshmi Bai and gave her a weak horse saying that her trusted horse had died after her escape from Jhansi. Lakshmi Bai who used the weak horse which did not respond well and could not jump the canals to cross rivers and Lakshmi Bai had to return to Gwalior to face the enemy’s forces.
During the fight, Lakshmi Bai was attacked by British forces and was seriously injured in the attack. She could not recover from the injuries and died on 17th June 1858. General Hugh Rose who witnessed the brave Jhansi Ki Rani described her as the “remarkable for her beauty, cleverness and perseverance”, had been “the most dangerous of all the rebels.”
This Raja of Gwalior is said to be mainly responsible for the death of Jhansi Ki Rani by providing a weak horse and prevented her from escaping the city. The same family which is responsible for betraying Lakshmi Bai are even today enjoying the power and glory. Madhav Rao Scindia was the minister in the Union government of government and his son Jyotiraditya Scindia even today sits in the Parliament backing Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi.
Aishwarya S **