India. The 1850s. Who would rise to defend her country, become a symbol of freedom, an inspiration to women and men country-wide, and stand up to the British and their plans to take over her kingdom?
Meet Lakshmi Bai - the queen who became a regent in her 20s, and went on to become a key leader in the resistance against the British, as a leader in the Rebellion of 1857.
Lakshmi Bai: Queen Regent and eventual rebellion leader in the 1850s.
Image credit: HistoryExtra
Early Days: Becoming Queen Regent
Born in 1828 and home-educated under her Commander father, Laksmhi learned quickly and prospered intellectually from an early age, despite the patriarchal environment in which she grew up.
In addition to her academic studies, she trained in martial arts as well as horse riding and sword proficiency.
She became queen regent when she married the Maharaja of Jhansi, but her husband passed away before they had children, leading to her being banished from court after the premature death of her husband.
Leading A Rebellion
When fighting broke out in 1857 against the British (who had recently taken power in several kingdoms in India), Lakshmi Bai was named regent of Jhansi and began leading rebel troops, garnering large support due to her reputation, ferocity, and unwavering belief in what was right.
An artist's depiction of Lakshmi Bai, fearless in battle, mounted on a horse.
Image Credit: The Logical Indian
Along with her rebel army and other leaders, she was successful in taking back several cities and fortresses, restoring local leaders to their rightful positions.
A Proud Demise: Death In Battle
Whilst dressed as a man in battle (so as not to give herself away and also to confuse the enemy), Lakshmi was killed in battle while taking on a British attack. She fought valiantly after being thrown off her horse, and was then likely wounded by the sabre of an enemy soldier.
She is still remembered to this day as a warrior queen and, in the words of one British commander, was "the most dangerous of all Indian leaders". She was seen as an inspiration to many, having always fought for justice and what she believed was right.
A tributary statue in Solapur (India), dedicated to Lakshmi Bai.
Image Credit: India Today