Rani of Jhansi

The statue of the Rani at Solapur depicts the escape from Jhansi on 3 April 1858, on her horse Badal with her adopted 7 year-old son Damodar Rao strapped to her back. She was 29 years old and a skilled fighter. Born on 19 Nov 1828 as Manikarnika, she was a Brahmin whose parents came from Maharashtra. In 1842 she married the Maharaja of Jhansi and afterwards was called Lakshmibai. She was widowed early in her marriage and became ruler in her husband's place. She was at first cooperative with British officials but when the sepoys mutinied she became a military commander of the inhabitants of Jhansi and a heroine of the Indian people. Her death made her a symbol of Indian Independence. She had a reputation for cruelty to prisoners but Sir Hugh Rose the general who led the army against her described her as personable, clever and beautiful. She died in battle, killed by a private of the 8th Hussars on 17 June 1858.

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by Stephen Luscombe