For The Freedom of Jhansi
After Kalpi the next important fort to defy the British might was Jhansi. 'Surrender my Jhansi? I will not. Let him try to take who dares' - Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi had thrown this challenge. She had put up a heroic resistance. The British led by Sir Hugh Rose, an experienced general, besieged the fort of Jhansi. The fort was pressed hard on all sides. All the points of entrance and exit were blocked. But Lakshmibai could not be cowed down. The twenty-three-year old widow and the handful of her soldiers faced all the dangers of the battle. The goddess of war, Lakshmibai, with her drawn sword, shone above one and all. Sir Hugh Rose, here nemy and the hero of a ...view middle of the document...
It could hardly be called an army. It was mostly a collection of cowards who had fled from battles, an unorganized crowd of sepoys. They did not share Tatia's passion for the cause. At one blow the army fell like a pack of cards. The sepoys fled. Their guns fell into the hands of the enemy. Those guns were now turned against Jhansi itself. Tatia had to retreat to Kalpi and save as many men as he could. The defeat dashed every hope of victory.
Tatia Tope's mission to rescue Jhansi had failed. The fall of Jhansi was now a question of time. Sir Hugh Rose had aimed at holding the Rani as his captive. But the Rani was feadess. Dressed as a warrior, she marched down the fort and in the middle of the night slipped out of the fort. When the British discovered it, they went in quick pursuit. The Rani crossed swords with those who followed her to catch her. Their chief Dowker was rewarded with a terrible wound. Her horse riced on the road towards Kalpi. Before the day broke Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi entered Kalpi.
Lakshmibai and Tatia Tope met.
Sir Hugh Rose turned his attention to Kalpi. As the seat of Tatia Tope Kalpi was
mocking the might of the British. It was time for him to strike. So with a large army he marched to Kalpi and stormed the fort. Tatia Tope and Lakshmibai fought every inch. But the tide had turned. After a series of battles Kalpi fell. Wealth and military supplies in huge quantities fell into the hands of the British. Years of sweat and toil were rendered utterly useless.
The rebel sepoys became desperate. They saw no sign of hope anywhere. But Tatia's spirit was undimmed. As soon as Kalpi fell Tatia disappeared. He had gone to Gwalior secretly. Gwalior was a Maratha kingdom. He had contacts there. He got into touch with the troops there. He stirred up their patriotic feelings. His burning patriotism moved every one. In no time he could rally them under the flag of freedom. The 'loyal' friends of the British, the king and the minister, had to run away. The British camp was still celebrating the victory of Kalpi when Tatia's capture of Gwalior took it by, surprise. Kalpi after Kanpur, and Gwalior after Kalpi - what a sensation Tatia had created! The sepoys began to beat their war drums from their new center-Gwalior.
Sir Hugh Rose acted quickly. Losing no time he made a bold bid for the recapture of the fort. The fort was attacked on June 18, 1858. Tatia and the Rani took the lead. They left no stone unturned. But defeat was in store. And what a defeat it was!Rani Lakshmibai was wounded on the chest. Her right eyeball came out. To avoid being captured she made good her escape on horseback. Blood was dripping from her delicate body. But the British were in hot pursuit. She ran and ran. But the end was inevitable. Wounded and bleeding, bathed in blood, she at last dropped dead. The death of the Rani paralysed the sepoys fighting for freedom. Tatia Tope was rendered friendless.
The last stage had came. The flames of the revolution...