Back in the 18th century, male freedom fighters were abundant. They were muscular, physically fit as a fiddle and were trained to protect the people from enemies. The fighters were so good in their attacking approach as they have kept the enemy forces at bay.
At that time, people would simply not believe if there is a brave female fighter to take on the British forces but there was one fearless woman who was willing to give absolutely everything for the nation and she was simply an outstanding warrior named Jhalkaribai. She was the first ever human bomber against the British.
Hailing from economically backward sections of the society, she was cut above the rest as she was promoted as an advisor to the legendary Rani Laxmibai. Interestingly, she was present during the battle of Fort of Jhansi, where she disguised herself as ‘Rani Laxmibai’ and took full charge of the army of 4,000, which indeed gave the real queen a sigh of relief to escape in the meantime.
A fantabulous fighter during the Rebellion of 1857, Jhalkaribai was one of a kind! She wasn’t scared of anything as she instilled fear in the hearts of the British army and left behind a subtle legacy for millions to follow suit.
Jhansi’s tale is one that needs to be told!
Hailing from Jhansi in Bhojla village, Jhalkari was born on November 22, 1830, to Sadoba Singh and Jamuna Devi. She is the only child to her parents and her dad took complete care of her when her mother died unexpectedly when Jhalkari was at a very young age.
Poverty-stricken Jhalkari’s family had to go through tough times which were really hard to imagine. Being a part of the Kori caste, a Dalit community was abused through and through. She didn’t have the chance to dream about going to school and get quality education like many others.
At an age when children were taught how to read, write and study, Jhalkari was taught to set an example of single-handed bravery. She was trained to wield a weapon deftly and day by day she gained confidence. She even developed a useful skill by taking vigorous horseback-riding lessons.
Interesting incidents of her bravery continue to be told in various households in Jhansi even today.
It should be noted that once when dacoits tried to attack the house of a businessman living in the village, it was the bravest Jhalkari who drove them away with ease. She is also believed to have assassinated a tiger with her axe when the animal tried to pounce on her once in the jungle.
There is also another thrilling encounter again in the jungle about how she once locked horns with a leopard with just a stick and eventually getting the better of the fierce animal when she alone managed to shoo the animal away.
The fateful meeting between Jhalkaribai and Rani Laxmibai:-
Jhalkari may have never stumbled upon Rani Laxmibai had it not been for her engagement to Puran Singh, who is a brave soldier in the queen’s army. A soldier of his calibre, Puran Singh was simply the best among the rest and his exquisite skills impressed the generals in the court. It was this time that the fateful meeting between Jhalkaribai and the warrior queen would take place.
During Gauri Puja, Jhalkari went to the fort along with a women crew from the village. It was when the legendary ‘Jhansi ki Rani’ spotted her. She was astonished by the mysterious resemblance she shared with Jhalkari and also inquired about her quickly.
When the queen was told about Jhalkari’s brave acts, Jhalkari’s life took a massive turn as she was promoted to the women’s wing of the army. In what was a life-changing experience, Jhalkari was trained to shoot and incite cannons as the army was preparing for a British invasion.
There is also a statue in her honour in Gwalior state and in the year 2001, the government of India unveiled a stamp to pay tribute to a warrior who lived and died defending her people and her country.
There is a lot of chaos regarding her death. Some records say that the year of her death as 1958 whereas in some accounts, she was set free to live a long life and passed away due to natural causes in 1890.
(With inputs from Better India)