A Tribute to Womanhood

Welcome to "I Am Woman"...a tribute to all those women who had the courage and perseverance to stand up and fight for their rights. Thanks to those who came before us we enjoy a freedom unknown to women not too long ago. But, sadly, in many parts of the world, women continue to be repressed. In fact, even in this country there are women living today under the threat of violence...completely controlled by a violent spouse. Some may make it; others won't. Hopefully, one day ALL women will be free. May that day come soon.


Rani Lakshmi Bai

(National heroine and the epitome of female bravery in India)

She was born November 19, 1835 at Kashi...which is presently known as Varanasi; her birth name was Maharashtrian; her family called her Manu.   Her father was a Brahmin...her mother a cultured and God fearing woman who died when Manu was only four, and as a result, the responsibility of raising her fell upon her father.  And, not only did he make sure that his daughter had completed her education, she also learned horseback riding, sword fighting, and shooting targets with a gun...not your typical trainings for a woman back in those days.

It was 1842 when Manu married the Maharaja of Ghansi  in the temple of the Lord Ganesh and became the Rani of Jahnsi, and after the marriage, she was given the name Lakshmi.  In 1851 she gave birth to a son who, unfortunately died when he was only four months old.  Not much later, her husband fell ill and became very weak.  Having no heir, the couple decided to adopt a child, and, to make sure that the British had no grounds to raise an issue over the adoption, she had the adoption witnessed by the local British representatives.  Alas, this did no good.

On November 21, 1853, the Maharaja died; Lakshmi was 18 years old at the time. The British rulers refused to accept the adopted son as the heir to the throne, and the government of India agreed stating that Jhansi would be broken down.  The British confiscated the state jewels and an order was passed ordering Lakshmi to leave the Jhansi fort.  But, Lakshmi refused to give up on Jhansi and in doing so, became a symbol of patriotism and self-respect.  

Lakshmi formed a volunteer army...both men and women folk...who were all given military training to fight a battle, and during 1857, the successfully defended Jhansi from raids by neighboring rajas.  Then, in January of 1858, the British army attacked.  The conflict went on for two weeks, and Lakshmi was determined not to surrender. The shelling to the fort was fierce, and the women were carrying ammunition and food to the soldier.  Lakshmi, herself, was overseeing the defense of the city.  It was a fierce battle, but eventually, Jhansi fell to the British.

Lakshmi dressed herself as a man and had her baby strapped to her back and with the horse reins in her mouth and swords in each of her hands, she managed to escape with some of her warriors.  They made it as far as Kalpi where she joined with other rebel forces. There, she donned warriors clothes and rode into battle to save the Gwalior Fort. She fought valiantly, but, however, on the second day of the battle, on June 18, 1858, Lakshmi, the great heroine of the first struggle for Indian freedom, fell on the battlefield.  It has been said that a Brahmin found her lying unconscious on the battlefield and carried her to an ashram where she died.  She was 22 years old.  

Because of her bravery, courage, and wisdom, and her progressive views on women's empowerment in India, as well as her sacrifices, Lakshmi has become an icon for the independence movement.  When the Indian National Army created its first female unit, it was named after her. 



  1. a great salute to this great martyr " Rani Lakshmi bai"

    Syed Shuaib Irfan - +91-8057327764
    Gulaothi (Bulandshahr) U.P.

  2. Very nice article, thank you for sharing the details of great leader.
    Best Regards

  3. thanks a lot for giving such a good article about maharani lakshmi bhai

    best regards



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    Thanks in advance!