Queen of Jhansi – World’s Last Functioning Vedic Government – 1857-58 AD

Pendant with Painting of Rani of Jhansi, Lakshmi Bai

Many have spoken of Ram-Rajya or the ideal Vedic Kingdom. Most believe it to be a mythological ideal that may or may not have existed thousands of years ago. Yet history reveals that a such an ideal functioning Vedic administration existed as recently as 1858 AD. This was a functioning Vedic government led by an ideal Vedic Ruler. She was Queen Lakshmi Bai, the famous Rani of Jhansi. Noted as a brave warrior and military leader, she died at 29, battling the British. She was a living legend even during her short reign and lifetime. Long a source of inspiration, Lakshmi Bai remains as an icon of Independence and the Heroic Spirit.

Royal Palace of Jhansi

Below is a very brief account from the book `Rani of Jhansi -Lakshmi Bai’ by E. Jaiwant Paul. It highlights a rare glimpse into the actual functioning of a Vedic based administration and governing system.

“The Rani’s daily routine at this time was to get up at 5 am. The first thing she did was to exercise in the gymnasium. She spent an hour or two every day practising with Indian clubs and honing her skills with the sword, wrestling and horse riding. She would then take a bath with fragrant attar (of roses) and wear a Chanderi sari of faultless white. She would next sit down for her daily prayers and worship with the court musicians providing the music for the puja.

Later in the morning the sardars and other state officials came to pay their respects. There were one hundred and fifty of them and even if any one of them failed to turn up, her keen eye would notice the absence and the next time they came, she would ask the reason for it. After lunch she would take an hours rest, unless there was some urgent work. At 3 pm she held the durbar (audience).

For this function she usually wore male attire, which consisted of Jodhpur breeches, a blue silk jacket and a turban. A sash went around her waist in which she carried a sword, the hilt and scabbard of which were embellished with rubies.

She was tall and beautiful and her attire added to her already impressive presence.

Occasionally for the durbar, she opted for conventional garments and wore a white sari with several strings of pearls around her neck and diamond studded bangles and rings. She sat on a gaddi or throne, flanked by two attendants bearing maces (clubs) damascended with silver and gold.

Jhansi Ganesh Mandir

At the durbar Diwan Lakshman Rao, the Chief Minister, presented the relevant documents to her which she quickly scanned and issued clear and precise orders. She would sometimes write her orders in her own hand but usually she issued them orally to be taken down by clerks. Hers was an open court and anyone who had a grievance could walk in and present their case. She decided civil and criminal cases on the spot.

The Maha Lakshmi Murti at the Mahalakshmi Temple of Jhansi worshipped by Queen Lakshmi Bai. Maha Lakshmi was also her ‘clan’ Kuldevi, Family-Goddess.
Jhansi’s Maha Lakshmi Temple and Lake today

Twice a week the Rani and her son went in procession to the Maha Lakshmi Temple with its lake filled with lotus flowers. The procession was an impressive one and wound through the main streets of the city. Sometimes she went on horseback and at other times by palanquin decorated with curtains and gold brocade.

The Interior of the Mahalakshmi Temple features a Portrait of Queen Lakshmi Bai

Her ministers, feudatories and other officials mounted on horses accompanied her. At the head of the procession was a drummer and a flag-bearer while the rear was taken up by a mounted escort of soldiers in Maratha uniforms. A further touch of glamour was added by her beautifully attired handmaidens who walked alongside her palanquin. If it became dark, men bearing flaming torches lit the way. At the palace gates, the melodious notes of the shenai greeted her return.

One cold wintry evening, while returning from the temple she saw the poor of the town in course cotton garments huddling around a hastily built fire in the by-laws of the city. She got down from the palanquin and asked them all to come to her palace in four days time. All the tailors of the town were kept very busy for those four days. When the poor in their hundreds gathered in front of the palaces, every one of them was handed over a woollen jacket, cap and a blanket.”

A letter written by Rani Lakshmibai in the Persian Language; citing the hypocritical tricks of Lord Dalhousie for annexing the kingdom of Jhansi, found 2009 in the British Library, UK.
Royal Seal of Rani Lakshmi Bai
Fortress of Jhansi 1880s

Samadhi Stahl Tomb of Queen Lakshmi Bai
Jhansi ki Rani 1953 India’s First Technicolor film was on the life of Queen Lakshmi Bai
The Tiger and the Flame’ 1956 Promotional Poster/Serbian

Watch ‘The Tiger and the Flame‘ (JHANSI KI RANI, 1953) is quite an unusual film, a big-budget Indian historical epic filmed in English, billed in the credits as “India’s First Picture in Color by Technicolor.”

Source: Rani of Jhansi – Lakshmi Bai – A Tribute to Lakshmi Bai, the Rani of Jhansi, the Legendary and Valiant 19th-century Queen, who lives more in ballads, folk tales and stories of Bundelkhand, Central India, than in written accounts. Available Here

Life of Queen Lakshmi Baiwikibio

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