Friday, July 16, 2010

The Spreading Fire

There was no change in the routine of the Rani. IN the midst of worship, prayer and religious discourses preparations for the war went on.

"Your Highness, why still this training for fighting? Can you not set apart some more time for meditation upon God?" questioned a bosom friend once.

"I am a Kshatriya woman; I am doing my duty. It is the duty of kshatriyas to protect the country and justice. If necessary, we must be prepared to fight. I cannot surrender to any enemy, I cannot just weep and die like a helpless widow. I shall fight for my cause and accept death with a smile"

On 4th June the revolution burst in Kanpur. Signs of trouble were seen in Jhansi the same day. One Havildar with a fewsoldiers entered the Star Fort, newly constructed by the British, and seized war materials and money.

Immediately arrangement were made to shift the British women and children to the for who were in their camp. The British officers came to request Rani’s help. "We are quite confident of bringing the situation under control. But at this difficult time you must also help us", they requested."

The Rani replied: "I do not have an army or weapons. If you agree I am prepared to get together an army to protect the People."

The British agreed to the proposal. But, when on the very next day the soldiers shot and killed a British officer, they were alarmed.

At once the senior officer raced to the Rani. He said, "We are men, we are not worried about ourselves. But you must afford shelter to our women and children in your palace."

The Rani’s friends advised her not to make any such promises. But she said firmly: "Our war is only against the men among the English, not against women and children. If I cannot check our solider in this matter how can I be their leader? The English women and children will get shelter in the palace immediately.’

So assured the Rani. And not only this; she fed and took care of them throughout the war.

The leaderless army had scored a victory over the British. The soldiers wished to loot Jhansi. The Rani then gave her jewels and money to the soldiers and they were satisfied. The army marched towards Delhi.


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