Tag Archive | independence

Jhansi ki Rani: The Queen of the Rebellion

Hello everyone! So I realized that in previous years, I almost always start off an article apologizing because I haven’t written an article in so long. This time, however, I’m doing well! So it seem odd to not have to start off with an apology, but let’s plunge ahead! Fun fact about this article: this is the first article associated with a future podcast episode! So, this article will be a short version on what we’re going to presenting in the podcast, also excluding opinions and analysis! We already have the show notes written up, so hopefully that episode will be released soon, along with retroactively releasing podcasts on older episodes! So that’s something fun to look forward to!

So, this article has actually been in the works for a little over a year. The inspiration came when I was sitting with my grandmother watching tv. Like any good Indian nani (maternal grandmother), she was watching Indian dramas, and this particular one happened to be about a female child, rebelling against the very foundations of Indian culture and tradition. I was pleasantly surprised by this drama as nobody randomly fell off a cliff or got amnesia in an entire episode, as usually happens with Indian dramas. Upon further research, I learned this drama was based off the true story of Jhansi ki Rani (Queen of Jhansi) (Here‘s [1] information on the drama, if anyone is interested). And thus began my research into this awesome female historical figure.

Jhansi ki Rani, who will be lovingly referred to as “Rani” for the rest of the article, is a huge historical figure in India. She is known for having largely assisted what is known as the first Indian independence movement, which was almost 100 years before the official Independence movement in the 1940s. Today, poems, songs and legends of her still exist as a testament to the strength of the Indian Will, as well as an inspirational character.

Rani was born 1827 in the city of Benares, under the name Manakarnika, although her childhood nickname was Manu. Her parents worked under the Raja Baji Rao II in Maharashtra, but they were all forced to move to Bithur. During this time, Rani built a very close relationship Nana Sahib, who was the oldest son of the Raja. Unfortunately, Manu’s mother died when she was 4 years old, which left her father to single-handedly raise her for the next 10 years, during which time, he unusually did not remarry. In her childhood, Rani was known to have an incredibly feisty and independent personality, having taught herself martial arts, reading and writing.

At the age of 15, Rani was married to Maharaja Gangadhar Rao of Jhansi. At this point, she took on the name Lakshmibai, deriving her name from the Goddess Lakshmi that the Jhansi royal family was incredibly fond of. Unfortunately for the royal couple, they had great difficulty producing an heir, and when they finally did 9 years into their marriage, the baby died at 3 months of age. The Maharaja, who was already very old, was close to dying so the couple adopted a distant 5 year old cousin – Anand Rao – who became known as Damodar. The Raja died very soon after the adoption, which resulted in the British annexing the state of Jhansi in April on 1857. After the Maharaja’s death, the British refused to allow the Rani to continue to rule. At this point, Rani was only 26.

In early May, a large fire broke out in the city of Meerut. The cause of this was rumors that the British had been tricking the Indian soldiers (who were mainly Hindu and Muslim) into biting into cow and pig fat, which is a huge taboo to respectively both religions. This caused a riot to broke, and eventually, this riot spread through India at roughly the size of present day Scandinavia in matter of days. This set the stage for what is now known as the First War of Indian Independence on 1857. To this day, there is still a considerable amount of argument about whether the Rani was helping the British or not. What we know for sure is that while the British were dealing with the riots taking place all over the country, Rani was managing Jhansi on her own and even putting down minor rebellions.

Completely unrelated, major fighting broke out in Jhansi in early May. Despite Rani trying to help and asking for British troops from afar to come assist, every British person was brutally murdered in Jhansi, after a 3 day siege of the fort. Rani continued to rule but on March 23rd, the British back-up finally came, demanding that Rani give up the throne, which she then refused to do. A war soon started against the British, with Rani personally leading her troops into battle and commanding the front lines. Unfortunately, Rani’s numbers were no match against the trained British forces, that had top-of-the-line artillery and weapons. Rani is said to have jumped over the walls of the Jhansi fort, with her son tied to her back, leading her troops into a retreat towards her allies – her childhood friend Nana Sahib, and a man named Tatia Tope.

As the British rejoiced, Rani and company decided to use this opportunity to take over another town, Gwalior, from the British. By the time the British troops from Jhansi had arrived, Rani and company had completely taken over the town. Eventually, the British pushed out Rani and company from Gwalior. In the retreat, her father was captured and hung several days later. Also during the escape, Rani was attempting to lead her troops to retreat, when she was caught off-guard by a British and cut-down. However, due to the fact that she was wearing man’s clothing, the soldier didn’t recognize her and left her for dead. Her followers soon came to her aid, and as she was dying, asked that she be cremated immediately after her death, as she feared the British would try to gain possession of her body. She died on June 18, 1858, and the British officially took Gwalior 3 days later. Rani’s comrades survived however, and Rao Sahib and Tatia Tope continued to lead guerilla attacks until they too were captured and executed. Nana Sahib, on the other hand, somehow managed to escape and disappeared, becoming his own legend.

Jhansi Ki Rani Portrait

Jhansi Ki Rani Portrait

Jhansi Ki Rani

                                   Jhansi Ki Rani

Jhansi Ki Rani in battle with her son on her back

Jhansi Ki Rani in battle with her son on her back

Sources:

  1. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1685078/
  2. https://books.google.com/books?id=N-KpcaLP8VgC&printsec=frontcover&dq=jhansi&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAWoVChMIgviMvPHtxwIVw3E-Ch03gA3z#v=onepage&q=jhansi&f=true
  3. http://www.liveindia.com/freedomfighters/jhansi_ki_rani_laxmi_bai.html
  4. http://www.historynet.com/lakshmi-bai-rani-of-jhansi.htm

Great Britain and Why It’s Not So Great…

Hi everyone! I’m on spring break now so expect lots of articles. We’ve got this one, one on the red panda, and another one that i don’t remember what i was going to write about. Haha, ya i’m kinda forgetful! So as promised, here’s the article on why i blame Great Britain for practically everything wrong in the world!

I’d like to point out first of all, that these are only relating to modern day topics. I’m not even going to REACH into the mess of their past and how the screwed everyone else over too. Here, I’m just going to talk about India/Pakistan/Bangladesh, Israel/Palestine, Australia, and of course Canada.

We’ll first start with the mess that is present-day India. Way back in the hay-day, England’s chartered East India Company, went into India and began bargaining for spices and such. Eventually they ended up colonizing the entire country. However, when their soldiers (who were Hindu and Muslim) found out that the bullets they were using were coated in cow and pig fat, there were huge riots all over the country. These riots eventually led to the dismemberment of the East India Company and Britain decided that they would instead set up what became known as the British Raj. After WWII, they decided they weren’t up to the task of keeping many of their territories, and wanted to “give India their independence.” The problem was, that the British had stifled the Indian people so long (they weren’t allowed to make their own cloth or salts and any food produced was handed to the British) that they had become overly dependent on the British. So not only were they not ready for independence at this point (i’m ignoring Gandhi cause i personally believe he was an idiot and a hypocrite but i’ll get into that some other time), but there was also the issue that the BRITISH hired a completely clueless idiot to divide the country into 3 parts, which are today Hindustan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. He, ignorantly, divided the country based on regions of religious concentration (i.e. Hindus and Muslims, completely ignoring other major religions like Sikhs). This, unfortunately, split some villages in pieces, and even worse, split major states into two different countries. You see, for people from Punjab, our identifier isn’t to our country, it’s to our state. So whether you live in Pakistan or India, if someone asks where you are from, you say Punjab, not India. This bond, though present in other states, does not run as deep. Therefore, when the map maker cut Punjab in half, there were huge riots in Punjab that are ignored by most present-day historians. To cut Punjab in half was like cutting a country within a country itself in half. Either ways, once the British deemed this entire affair settled they left. What they ALSO failed to take into account was that there was also a very important region in the north called Kashmir, which was important to BOTH countries not only for its resources, but for its culture. Though i have to say that today, both India and Pakistan need to stop acting like children and MOVE ON, it IS the fault of the British that wars break out every 10 years or so between India and Pakistan for Kashmir, and within Punjab for the creation of a land called Khalistan (land of the Sikhs), as the Sikhs were completely ignored in the partition movement, and are present in Pakistan AND India today. And let’s not forget that because Pakistan was split into East and West Pakistan (the East being present-day Bangladesh) being COMPLETELY separated from each other by a huge land mass called INDIA, there was no way for the central bureaucracy, which was based in west Pakistan to send support to Bangladesh when the faced their frequent flooding and tsunamis and other natural disasters. AGAIN, there was another independence movement, but this time, East Pakistan from West Pakistan. Until today, Bangladesh and Pakistan are not stable countries at all, with India being covered in poverty, pollution, and corruption – all because the British thought taking over a completely independent land in the first place in the name of profit was a good idea.

That takes care of the India section, so now we move onto the Israel-Palestine issue. Now my knowledge on this area is a bit rusty, but essentially, after WWII, the Jews of the world needed a place to go. So, Britain, in their infinite wisdom, decided that giving them a piece of holy land that they had ALSO promised to Palestinians when they were displaced from their own land as well, would be a good idea. Essentially, Britain promised the same piece of land to two different parties who had hated each other for centuries. When Britain finally realized its mistake, it was too late, and the two parties were already at the point of a full out war. With the US supporting Israel though, the Jews won and managed to keep a small section of land. By this point, Britain had dropped the issue in the US’s lap and had head for the hills with its tail between its legs. Israel, however, was a country completely surrounded by Islam-centered countries, and had to hold its own for quite some time, with only the US to rely on. When Egypt attacked them, the Israelis somehow managed to GAIN land, and took land away from the Palestinians. Once the US finally brokered a treaty with Israel and Egypt, other countries began to follow suit, albeit it after a VERY long and uneasy period. However, the Palestinians never consented to these “infidels” on their land, and until this day, war and extreme hate continue between the two half-nations.

With Australia, as i’ve pointed out before, England is responsible for the natural decimation of the land, and its because of them that very few indigenous species remain in Australia. However, what i HAVEN’T mentioned before is that the British rudely stampeded into Australia because they needed somewhere to send their convicts and wiped out the Aborigines of the area to accomplish this. Therefore, all the people who originally colonized Australia were convicts. Now this isn’t to say that all the people in Australia are bad people, as this took place hundreds of years ago. What this DOES say is because of the natural decimation caused by the British and their convicts, there are HUGE droughts in many parts of Australia, which would not have occurred if the natural fauna and flora were still present. Furthermore, though it has finally stabilized, the government of Australia was for the longest time in shambles.

On a side note, the British also send unwanted children to Australia on their own without any family. This part didn’t even happen that long ago, as many of these children are still alive in Australia today. If you’re interested, here’s an article on the apology that Britain made a little too late, after the Australians but up a fight.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/11/16/world/main5669845.shtml

Finally, we reach the Canadians. Surprisingly, or maybe not, the Canadians were one of the only Commonwealths that didn’t want independence. They had a healthy and very dependent relationship with Britain, even though they were mainly French speaking from the time they were conquered by the French in the early days of North American colonization. However, Britain forcibly broke them off when they could no longer support their colonies after WWII. To me, this is like taking a child away from his parents and say “Here, survive on your own.” As much as I hate Britain, this perhaps was not the right way to handle the situation. Ultimately, i feel this left the Canadians somewhat confused and in shock, and although they are better for it now, they still maintain a strong relationship with the British and continue to see the Queen as their monarch. Her birthday is even a national holiday. As much as i love the Canadians, i can’t help but feel a little sad for them, because they are such a great country and people, but somehow managed to get stuck with idiots like the British.

So it is for these reasons that i hate Britain. And to clarify, when i say Britain, i mean the government, not the people (i have too much family living there to properly hate the people, plus everyone in England is very pleasant and kind! It’s just the government that seems to be full of idiots). And i didn’t even touch upon the atrocities that occurred when there was a monarch on the throne or even after England became a constitutional monarchy. In essence, Great Britain really sucks.

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