Annexation of Jhansi

Annexation of Jhansi 1854

The previous unjust usurpations based upon the alleged right of the British Government to resume, in default of the direct heirs, in favor of the Paramount was again asserted around the same time, but with some diversity of application.

In Bundelkhand, the state of Jhansi was held by a Maratha chief who was actually a vassal of the Peshwa. In 1806, the state was promised “British protection” to the Maratha Chief. But in 1817, the Peshwa in Poona ceded all his rights over Bundelkhand to the British East India Company.

The Raja of Jhansi was Gangadhar Rao, who married to the daughter of Moropant Tambe, a Brahmin , who worked at the court of Peshwa at Bithur. Name of this jovial, beautiful and brave daughter of Moropant was Manu who was married to Gangadhar Rao at the age of 13 years. She was given the name of Rani Laxmi Bai after marriage. She was largely gifted, possessed great energy and was taught self defense, archery, horse riding and all other things a brave soldier is taught.

In 1853 the Raja of Jhansi Gangadhar died childless and the hand of the despoiler had lashed Laxmibai into a fury which was not to be governed. Under Hindu law she possessed the right to adopt an heir to her husband when he died childless in 1854.

  • But Lord Dalhousie refused to her the exercise of that right, and declared that Jhansi had lapsed to the paramount power.

In vain did the Rani dwell upon the services which in olden days the rulers of Jhansi had rendered to the British Government, and quote the warm acknowledgments made by that Government. Lord Dalhousie was not to be moved. He had faith in his legions. With a stroke of his pen he deprived this high-spirited woman of the rights which she believed, and which all the people of India believed, to be hereditary.

That stroke of the pen converted the lady, of so high a character and so much respected, into a veritable tigress so far as the English were concerned. For them, thereafter, Laxmibai would have no mercy. There is reason to believe that she entered into negotiations conspirators of the explosion that had to take place in 1857. Before that there was the Annexation of Oudh, to take place.

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