6 February, 2019
You must surely have read and heard about a movie called Manikarnika, that is slowly taking the country by storm. This is the true story of a very courageous woman, whom all of us know as none other than Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi. She was born as Manikarnika Tambe, in 1828 in Varanasi. Her parents were Moropant Tambe and Bhagirathi Sapre, and while her mother died when she was quite young, her father worked in the Maratha Peshwa’s court. The famous freedom fighters Nana Sahib and Tatya Tope were her cousins, and she grew up playing along with them. She was educated at home and learned even shooting, horsemanship, fencing. She was married to the Maharaja of Jhansi, Raja Gangadhar Newalkar and later called as Rani Lakshmi Bai. She is a well-revered figure in the Indian freedom struggle, for her battle of Jhansi and participation in the freedom struggle of 1857.
Know her story and tell your grandkids!
The personal story
In 1851, Rani Lakshmi Bai gave birth to a son named as Damodar Rao; he, however, died when he was just four months old. Hence, her husband the king adopted a son of his cousin as his son and named him Damodar Rao. The adoption was done on the day of his death, in the due presence of the British officials, with an official letter indicating that after his death, the boy and his widow, the Rani Lakshmi Bai, should be given due rights and respect of Jhansi governance.
However, after the king’s death, Lord Dalhousie, the then Governor-General, brought in a rule called the Doctrine of Lapse and wanted to usurp the governance of Jhansi. The Doctrine of Lapse rule stated that the British would get to rule any of the Kingdoms, where the ruler was found to be an incompetent one, or if he died without having any male heir to take over.
When Rani Lakshmi Bai was informed about the Governor-General’s decision not to acknowledge her adopted son as heir, she resisted their takeover. It was 1854, when she was asked to leave Jhansi, after been awarded a pension by the British. She held out till the first freedom fight of 1857 started taking shape. When the British tried to take control of Jhansi by force, in 1858, she led her army, on horseback, with her little son on her back and fought the British.
Ultimately, she fled to Gwalior and there too, lead the fight against the British and was conquered. There are different versions of her death in the battle of Gwalior, and her tomb still exists at Phool Bagh in Gwalior. There are folk tales and songs of her extreme courage and bravery, in not giving in to the mighty British. She was a highly independent lady, who fought for the freedom of her motherland.
The movie that has recently been released is the story of Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi, and it is the renowned actress Kangna Ranaut, who is taken the lead role as Rani Lakshmi Bai. She has also partly directed the movie, along with the other director Krish. The movie also stars other actors such as Atul Kulkarni, Jisshu Sengupta, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, and Ankita Lokhande and has received mostly good reviews, and is currently running to full houses. The movie as per the reviews is good for a patriotic watch to understand, how the Queen of Jhansi, bravely started off the resistance to the British rule of India.
There is another recent movie called, Uri: The Surgical Strike, based on the surgical strikes that India successfully carried out against militants in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (Pok). With Uri and Manikarnika more or less releasing around the Republic Day time of 26th Jan, the patriotic spirits have been running high in India. People have taken to social media to talk about their movie outings and their experiences.
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