|Agra, UP. Statue of veer Jhalkaribai. www.alamy.com|
|india postage stamp. iStampGallery.Com|
Jhalkaribai (22 November 1830-1858), an Indian woman soldier had played a commendable role in the Sepoy Mutiny during the battle of Jhansi. She was a soldier in the women's army of Queen Laxmibai of Jhansi. Coming from a poor Kori family, she began her career as an ordinary soldier in Laxmibai's army. Her fighting ability, courage and curiosity to learn various aspects of military warfare came handy for her and this helped her rise to a position of power and quick promotion. Her level of success in the army and administration was so rapid she became Rani Laxmibai's advisor and actively participated in discussions involving vital security matters. Jhalkaribai also developed a strategy on her own to protect the queen, particularly in the battle fields. This unique strategy worked well during the rebellion. In the height of the battle of fort of Jhansi, the British were after Rani Laxmibhai to capture the fort. Under the doctrine of lapse, the British wanted to take over the Kingdom of Jhansi and the Gwalior fort and queen Laxmibhai did not budge. Jhalkaribai disguised herself as the queen and fought on the front as a ploy to let Jhansirani escape safely out of the fort which was almost in siege.
|Queen laxmibai of Jhansi. Indiatimes.com|
Jhalkaribai, daughter of a Sadoba Singh, and Jamuna Devi( born on November 22, 1830) was from Bhojla village near Jhansi. Right from the early childhood, Jhalkaribai was brought up like a boy and was trained in horse-riding and using weapons. Being a dalit girl, she had no basic education, however she became a trained woman warrior. She married a man by the name of Puran Singh who was in the artillery unit of Rani Laxmibai. Puran Singh introduced her to Rani Lakshmibai and Jhalkaribai was inducted into the Woman's army. The advantage she had was she bore close resemblance with Jhansibhai.
|Jhalkaribai. 1857 Twitter|
The image of Jhalkaribai has gained political significance in North India in the recent years on account of some politicians who have their eyes set on the Dalit votes. Some political parties churn out stories on Jhalkaribai creating a social myth and awareness and a sense of pride in the Dalits. The death anniversary of Jhalkaribai is celebrated as Shahid Diwas (Martyr Day) by various Dalit organizations.
The Government of India's Post and Telegraph department has issued a postal stamp on Jhalkaribai and ASI under the union government is setting up a museum inside the Jhansi Fort in memory of Jhalkaribai and queen Laxibhai and their life history, etc. These two brave women ware part of the early rebellion against the British and their obnoxious and unjust rule in India.