Birth anniversary of two ‘Iron Ladies’ of India: Rani Laxmi Bai and Indira Gandhi
On November 19, two queens were once born in the Royal ethos of ancient India – one reigned the nation and one reigned the battlefields. Both outstood and outshone ruling over the thrones that we presume men to take hold of. Both sacrificed, and both mutated the gender morphosis of our society where men are warmly welcomed to rule the country but women are confined just till the kitchens. Laxmi Bai and Indira Gandhi – are till date idolised by many people in India for their bravery and valiant contribution to the society. Let us take a look on some interesting facts about these brave women idols.
Rani Laxmi Bai was the queen of the princely state of Jhansi, located in the northern side of India. She was one of the leading personalities of the first war of India’s Independence, which started in 1857. Commonly known as ‘Jhansi Ki Rani’ her original name was ‘Manikarnika’ who was born in a Maratha family in Varanasi. Her name ‘Laxmibai’ was changed after her marriage to King of Jhansi Gangadhar Rao Newalkar. Lakshmibai and Gangadhar Rao adopted Rao’s cousin’s son, Anand Rao, who was later renamed as Damodar. Due to the Doctrine of Lapse, Britishers did not accept Damodar Rao as the legal heir after the death of Gangadhar Rao. They seized the state jewels, granted her an annual pension of Rs 60,000 and asked her to leave the fort forever. It is believed that prior to sepoy mutiny, Lakshmibai was unwilling to rebel against the British but changed her mind in 1858 when commanding officer of the British forces, Sir Hugh Rose, demanded the surrender of Jhansi.Lakshmibai gave a great fight to the British. She died on June 17, 1958, martyring her life for India’s freedom. November 19, the birth anniversary of Rani Lakshmibai, is celebrated as Martyr’s Day in Jhansi.
Indira Gandhi was born in one of the most powerful family in India, she was the daughter of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Known as the ‘Iron Lady’ marked her first step towards creating history by becoming the first women Prime Minister of India in 1966. She also holds the distinction of been the second longest serving Prime Minister of India. She served as Prime Minister from 1966 to 1977 and from 1980 until her assassination in 1984. A famous slogan of the 1970s says it all, ‘Indira is India and India is Indira.’ During her tenure as Prime Minister she faced the toughest situation of her time. Indira Gandhi left behind her a lasting political legacy and her family became one of the most prominent political names in India.