Marathi Culture and Festivals

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Rani Laxmi bai 


Rani Lakshmi Bai, the fiery Queen of Jhansi, also known as the Rani of Jhansi, one of the great nationalist heroine of the first war of Indian freedom, a symbol of resistance to the British rule in India was born on 19th November 1835 at Kashi (Presently known as Varanasi). Her father Moropant was a Brahmin and her mother Bhageerathi Bai was a cultured, intelligent and God fearing lady. Manikarnika (Manu) was the name of Rani Lakshmi Bai in her childhood. Manu lost her mother at the age of four. The Complete responsibility of the young girl fell on the father. She completed her education and also learned horse riding, Sword fighting and shooting on a target with a gun.

She was married to Raja Gangadhar Rao, the Maharaja of Jhansi in 1842, and became the Rani of Jhansi. After the marriage She was given the name Lakshmi Bai. The Marriage ceremony was perform in Ganesh Mandir, the temple of Lord Ganesha situated in the city of Jhansi. RaniLakshmi Bai gave birth to a son in 1851, but unfortunately this child died when he was about four months old. After this tragedy, Damodar Rao was adopted as son. Later on Maharaja Gangadhar Rao also died on 21st November 1853. After the death of Maharaja Gangadhar Rao, RaniLakshmi Bai was left alone. At this time she was eighteen years old. RaniLakshmi Bai did not lost her courage, She always remembered her responsibility.


The Britishers attacked Jhansi in March 1858. Rani Jhansi with her faithful warriors decided not to surrender. The fighting continued for about two weeks. Shelling on Jhansi was very fierce. In the Jhansi army women were also carrying ammunition and were supplying food to the soldiers. Rani Lakshmi Bai was very active. She herself was inspecting the defense of the city. However, after this great war, Jhansi fell to the British forces.


On that black day, the British army entered the Jhansi City. Rani Lakshmi Bai, still full of courage and deathless patriotism dressed as a man, took up arms, her son Damodar Rao was strapped tightly to her back. She was holding the reins of her horse in her mouth. In the fierce fighting she was using the sword with both her hands. When the situation was not in control, Rani of Jhansi with some of her warriors departed from Jhansi.

Rani Lakshmi Bai reached Kalpi. Many other rebellions force joined her. Tatia Tope from Kalpi was also one of them, from Kalpi Rani departed to the Gwalior. Again a fierce battle took place. Rani Jhansi fought with deathless patriotism and martyrdom. However on the second day of fighting, at the age of 23 years, lost her life. That unfortunate day was 18th June of 1858.

Some references shows her death is on june 17 and some on june 18. A big salute to the brave queen and her work.


खालील माहिती साधना बेंद्रे लॉस अन्जेलीस ह्यांनी पाठविली आहे : 


रे हिंद बांधवा थांब या स्थळी…
थोर राणी लक्ष्मीबाईंची कर्मभूमी,झाशीचा किल्ला…
उत्तर भारतात रेल्वेने जाता-येता सतत खुणावणारा,मर्दानी राणी लक्ष्मीबाईंच्या शौर्यगाथी वास्तव्याने पावन झालेल्या झाशीच्या किल्ल्याला पाय लागल्याला २५ वर्षांहून अधिक काळ.लोटूनही,गतस्मृतीगंध मनात अजूनही दरवळतोयं."मेरी झांशी नही दुंगी" चे दृढ निश्चयी बोल कानात घुमत साद घालत असतानाच वरपर्यंत वाहने जात असलेल्या झाशीच्या भव्य किल्ल्यात मार्गदर्शकासोबत प्रवेश केला.त्याने दिलेल्या माहितीनुसार,ओरछाचा राजा वीरसिंग देव यांनी इ.स.१६१३ मध्ये हा झाशीचा किल्ला बांधला.राणी लक्ष्मी बाईंचे आजोबा या राजाचे परममित्र असल्याने,त्यांनी तिच्या लग्नात हा किल्ला गंगाधरपंतांना आंदण म्हणून दिला.
प्रत्यक्ष किल्ले दर्शनाला सुरुवात झाली ती तेथील गणेश मंदिरातील गणरायाला नमन करून…
मुख्य प्रवेशद्वारी होती सलामी देण्याची तोफ़,आणि दरवाज्यावर घंटा.कोणाला काही तक्रार,सूचना करायची असल्यास,त्या घंटेच्या दोरीचे टोक मुद्दाम किल्ल्या खाली ठेवलेले.किल्ल्याच्या मध्यवर्ती भागात होता दोन मजले जमिनीवर,आणि तीन मजले जमिनीखाली असलेला,राणीचा पाच मजली राजवाडा.जमिनीवरच्या मजल्यांचा इंग्रजांनी पार विध्वंस करून,विद्रूप करून टाकलेला.या राजवाड्या समोर गंगाधरपंतांचा दरबार भरत असे.किल्ल्यात कैद्यांना ठेवण्यासाठीच्या अंधारकोठड्या,फाशी देण्याची जागा बघायला मिळते.मात्र राणी लक्ष्मीबाईंच्या राज्य कारकिर्दीत एकालाही फाशी देण्यात आलं नाही.एक सुरेख शिवमंदिरही किल्ल्यात आहे.
'मोतीलाल' यांनी बनवलेली सप्त धातूंची कडकबिजली तोफ,अष्ट धातूंची भवानीशंकर तोफ,आणि विशेष म्हणजे त्या चालवणारी मुख्य महिला तोपची होती मोतीबाई.ही मोतीबाई,मुख्य तोपची गुलाम गौसरखां,आणि अश्वप्रमुख खुदाबख्श या ४ जून,१८५८ रोजी मारल्या गेलेल्या राणीच्या सैन्याधिका-यांच्या समाध्या,यांसारखी १८५७ च्या स्वातंत्र्यसंग्रामातील स्मृतीस्थळं पाहताना नतमस्तक होत होतं.आपल्या अल्पवयीन दत्तक पुत्राला पाठीशी बाधून राणीने घोड्यावरून किल्ल्याच्या ज्या तटावरून बेधडक उडी मारली,त्या थरकाप उडवणा-या आठवण जागेला मूक वंदन करताना अत्यादराने गहिवरुन आलं.धन्य,धन्य ती शूर साध्वी,जिच्या महान कर्तृत्वाने उजळून निघालेल्या झाशीच्या किल्ले दर्शनाने पुण्य मिळाल्याचं आंतरिक समाधान लाभलं.झाशी गावात असलेल्या राणीच्या महालात आहे पुरातत्व संग्रहालय.(फोटो -Google images मधून).
झाशीपासून फक्त १६ कि.मी.वर आहे आवर्जून भेट द्यावी अशी बुंदेला रजपुतांची एके काळची राजधानी 'ओरछा' ! रम्य बेटवा नदी किनारीच्या ओरछात १६व्या शतकातील पुरातन राजवाडे,मंदिरे,स्मारके,इ.आजही बरेचसे जसेच्या तसे जपलेले पहायला मिळतात.(Vasanti Khandekar Ghaisas )