Rani LakshmiBai: Fighting till Death

Although the Rani’s forces were small in numbers, the extraordinary courage of the Sirdars and the war strategy and courage of the Rani inflicted defeat on the British army. The day’s victory was due to the Rani.Next day (18th) before sunrise the British war bugle sounded. The pardon proclaimed by Maharaja Jayaji Rao had tempted some soldiers and they had joined the British. Information was also received that two brigades which were under the Rao Saheb had again transferred their allegiance to the British.

Rani Lakhsmi Bai sent for Ramachandra Rao Deshmukh and said: "today appears to be the last day of the war. If I die, consider my son Damodar more precious than my life and take care of him. One word more: if I die, make sure that my body does not fall into the hands of those who do not belong to my religion."As expected, that day Rose had the upper hand. A large part of the army of revolutionaries fell. Their guns fell into the hands of the British. The British army entered the fort swift as a flood.

There was no other course for the Rani than to escape from that place. Holding the horse’s reins in her teeth and flashing the sword with both the hands the Rani rode away. A few Pathan Sirdars, Raghunatha Simha and Ramachandra Rao Deshmukh were with here. The British army had encircled them.

Blood was flowing freely. The sun had the same hue in the western horizon. Darkness was approaching. A British soldier who came very near threw a dagger at the Rani’s chest. It struck her a little below the chest. The Rani killed the solider. Blood was flowing from her body. But there was no time to rest. The British army was pursuing her. When the Rani was about to cross the Swarnarekha Canal a shot from the gun or a British soldier who came there struck her right thing. Flashing the sword with her left hand, the Rani put an end to him.

Even the horse she had chosen for the hour of danger did not help. One thigh was numb. Blood was flowing from stomach. The sword cut inflicted by a British soldier who followed her speedily tore the right cheek. Her eye-ball was wrenched. Even then with her lefthand she cut off the arm of that solider.

Gul Mohamed ,who was the bodyguard of the Rani, could not bear his sorrow. He, a warrior who had fought bravely, began to weep. They washed the face with cold water. They poured water from the holy Ganga into her mouth. She recovered a little and with trembling lips muttered: "Hara Hara Mahadev.’ Thereafter she became unconscious.Raghunath Simha and Ramachandra Rao Deshmukh helped the Rani to dismount from her horse.A little later the Rani opened her eyes with difficulty. She was them muttering stanzas from the Bhagavad Gita which she had learnt by heart in her childhood. The voice grew feebler; her last words were, "Vasiudeva I bow to you." The fortune of Jhansi set.

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