The portrait of Indian women in India is magnificent. Indian women are prospering in each and every field. Our history pages our filled with the sages, saga and stories of the women achievers. They are no more restricted to chores of household and have moved out of the four walls of the house.
Women of India are glorious and have won accolades around the world for her diligence, entrepreneurial skills and will power. They have unveiled the barriers of ignorance and shackled the chains of male dominance. Today, women in India are walking alongside the men in the society.
Bundele Harbolon ke munh humne suni kahani thi,
Khoob ladi mardani woh to jhansi wali rani thi
Rani Lakshmibai is the epitome of female bravery. She was the queen of the Maratha-ruled princely state of Jhansi in North India. She was one of the greatest nationalist heroine and leading figures of the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
She was born on 19th November 1835 at Kashi (presently known as Varanasi). Childhood name of Rani Lakshmi Bai was Mannikarnika (Manu). She lost her mother at the age of four. Manu was educated at home and learned horse riding, sword fighting, shooting on a target with a gun and other fierce battle techniques.
She married Gangadhar Rao, the Raja of Jhansi, at the age of 14. After her marriage, she was given the name Lakshmi Bai. Rani was eighteen when her husband, Raja Gangadhar Rao died. At that time Lord Dalhousie was the Governor-General of India. In the absence of a legal heir to the throne, British ruler ordered Rani Lakshmibai to leave the Jhansi fort. Rani Jhansi was determined not to give up Jhansi and get rid of Britishers. Rani Lakshmi Bai did not lost her courage and determination, she always remembered her responsibility.
She strengthened the defense system of Jhansi and assembled a volunteer army of rebels. Women were given military training to equip them to battle on the battlefield. When the Britishers attacked Jhansi in March 1958, Rani Jhansi along with her brave and faithful warriors fought with the British army. The battle continued for about two weeks. Rani Lakshmi Bai fought the battle fiercely. However, after the war, Jhansi fell to the British forces.
Rani Jhansi fought the battle with patriotism and martyrdom. She will be remembered forever for her courage, bravery, endurance and wisdom. The first female unit of the Indian National Army was named after her. Veer Ras poem on Rani Laxmibai are recited by school children. Rani Laxmibai is an icon and has set an example for the younger generation.
Begum Hazrat Mahal was a great Indian freedom-fighter. She played a major role in India`s first struggle for independence against the British. She was born at Faizabad, Awadh, India. She was also known as the `Begum of Awadh` after marriage with Lucknow ruler, Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. She was bestowed the title `Hazrat Mahal` after the birth of their son, Birjis Qadr.
Begum Hazrat Mahal was gifted with inborn qualities of physical charm and organizational skills. After her husband was exiled to Calcutta, she took charge of the affairs of the state of Awadh. She worked in cooperation with a group of supporters, like Sarafad-daulah, Maharaj Bal Krishna, Raja Jai Lal and Mammon Khan to revive the fortunes of Awadh. During India`s First War of independence (1857-58), Hazrat Mahal led a band of her supporters and worked in close association with leaders including Nana Saheb. Hazrat Begum was not only a good strategist but also fought in the battlefield. She was able to seize control of Lucknow and declared her son, Prince Birjis Qadr, as the King of Avadh. When her forces lost the battle, she escaped from Lucknow and tried to organize soldiers again in other places. She joined the Maulvi of Faizabad in the attack on Shahjahanpur.
She rejected the offer to accept a pension of Rs12 lakh allowance and status held out to her by the British against whom her hatred was unrelenting. She spent sometime in Terai and ultimately left for Nepal. After bearing misfortune and misery throughout the period of resistance, she died in 1879. Begum Hazrat Mahal`s grave is in an Imambara, in Nepal`s capital. Rana Jang Bahadur who had given refuge to Begam and her seven companions ordered the construction of the grave.
Begum Hazrat Mahal is an icon of the India`s first Freedom Struggle. To commemorate her contributions to the Indian Independence, the stamp was issued in her honor in 10th May, 1984 by the Government of India.