Rani Lakshmibai Birth Anniversary: Why Scindias are accused of helping British against 'Jhansi Ki Rani'?
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

One of the greatest Indian freedom fighters, Rani Lakshmibai was born on this day in 1828 in Varanasi as Manikarnika Tambe. After her marriage with the king of Jhansi - Maharaja Gangadhar Rao - She was renamed Rani Laxmi Bai.

She played an important role in the revolt of 1857, known as the first war of independence, as her kingdom fought against the British after the death of the king. She bravely fought against the imperial forces and died of battle injuries on June 17, 1858 near Gwalior.

Historians accuse the Scindia dynasty, the ancestors of BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, of joining hands with the British to scuttle what was described as the “sepoy mutiny” of 1857 and betray Rani Laxmibai. The Scindia dynasty ruled the erstwhile princely state of Gwalior.

In a bid to expand itself, the East India Company wanted to put an end to the rule of kings in India and attempted to occupy the kindom of Jhansi. The then Maharaja of Gwalior Jayajirao Scindia is said to have supported the British by accepting its defeat.

Siege of Jhansi

The East India Company had introduced the 'Doctrine of Lapse' that denied the right of adoption to rulers and subsequently, helped them annex their state on the grounds that it had no heir.

Lakshmi Bai, after the death of her husband, had adopted a child which was rejected by the British, but she refused to surrender her kingdom to the British and fought back. During the battle, Lakshmi Bai fled to Kalpi, near Gwalior, along with her forces and those of Tatya Tope. They defeated the army of Jayajirao Scindia and occupied his fort.

Jhansi came under the siege of the British East India Company forces after a fierce battle in March 1858. Rani of Jhansi along with her soldiers did not concede defeat even after being outnumbered. She continued the battle and fought valiantly till her last breath. Rani of Jhansi died in an encounter with the East India Company's forces near Gwalior in 1858.

When Kangana Ranaut’s film 'Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi' accused Scindias of betrayal

There is a popular urban myth, when Jyotiraditya Scindia's ancestors betrayed Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi by providing her with a “weak horse", during the revolt of 1857. While there isn’t any historical evidence, the references are drawn from Kangana Ranaut’s magnum opus Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi.

According to the film, shows Rani Lakshmibai calling out the Maharaja of Gwalior for bowing down to the British oppressors. "Jo apni maa ka sauda kar de, woh mar chuka hai.

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