The Queen of Jhansi

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 115th birthday.

Subhadra Kumari Chauhan
Indian
1904 – 1948

 

The throne was shaken and tensions rose among the Raajvanshs, the royal heirs,
In aged India, new ideas were taking hold,
The people of all India lamented their lost freedom,
And decided to cast off British rule,
Old swords glittered anew as the freedom movement of 1857 started.
The Bandelas and Harbolas sang once again of the courage of the Queen of Jhansi,
How she fought like a man against the British intruders
So was the Queen of Jhansi.

She was as dear to the Nana (Nana Ghunghupant) of Kanpur as his real sister,
Laxmibai was her name, her parents only daughter
She’d been with Nana since her schoolgirl days
The spear, knife, sword, and axe were her constant companions.
She knew by heart the tales of valor of Shivaji
The Bandelas and Harbolas sang once again of the courage of the Queen of Jhansi,
How she fought like a man against the British intruders
So was the Queen of Jhansi.

None were sure, was she Laxmi or Durga devi or Devi durga reincarnate?
The people of Marathward were awed by her (expertise) skill with the sword,
They learned from her how to fight, the strategy of war,
To attack and humiliate the enemy were her favorite sports.
Her love for Maharashatra-kul-Devi was equaled only by her love for Bhavani.
The Bandelas and Harbolas sang once again of the courage of the Queen of Jhansi,
How she fought like a man against the British intruders,
So was the Queen of Jhansi.

Laxmibai was married in Jhansi, with great jubilation
Entering the joyous city as Queen,
Grand celebrations were held in the palace in Jhansi, in honor of her coming.
Just as when Chitra met Arjun or Shiv had found his beloved Bhavani.
The Bandelas and Harbolas sang once again of the courage of the Queen of Jhansi,
How she fought like a man against the British intruders,
So was the Queen of Jhansi.

Her presence was a blessing at the palace of Jhansi and candles of celebration burned long
But as days passed the dark clouds of misfortune overshadowed the royal palace.
She put aside her bangles and prepared for battle
For fate was unkind and made her a widow
Grief stricken she was, with no heir for her king,
The Bandelas and Harbolas sang once again of the courage of the Queen of Jhansi,
How she fought like a man against the British intruders,
So was the Queen of Jhansi.

The candlelit hope of Jhansi had died and Dalhousie was overjoyed at his luck.
He’d long awaited the time to usurp this kingdom
He sent his solders to Citadel and raised the flag of Britain on the royal palace,
British rule came to Jhansi as a guardian comes to an orphan,
While with tear filled eyes the Rani watched as her city became deserted.
The Bandelas and Harbolas sang once again of the courage of the Queen of Jhansi,
How she fought like a man against the British intruders,
So was the Queen of Jhansi.

Despotic kings used flattery and lies
And came to India disguised as poor merchants
Dalhousi exerted his power, ill-gotten, and changed the fate of India,
Insulting all of India’s leaders, without exception.
The Queen played the part of a maidservant, but truly she was still the Queen,
The Bandelas and Harbolas sang once again of the courage of the Queen of Jhansi,
How she fought like a man against the British intruders,
So was the Queen of Jhansi.

The capital Delhi fell, followed by the fall of Lucknow,
Peshwa was imprisoned in Bithur and the Nagpur tragedy occurred.
And after the fall of Nagpur, Udaipur, Tanjore satara, and Karnatak fell quickly at the hands of the intruders.
The British already had control of Sindh, Punjab and Assam.
It was the same sad tale for Bengal,Madras and many other states.
The Bandelas and Harbolas sang once again of the courage of the Queen of Jhansi,
How she fought like a man against the British intruders
So was the Queen of Jhansi.

Feeling sick with helplessness the Rani wept bitterly for her beloved India.
Her royal ornaments and clothes were being sold in the markets of Calcutta.
This humiliation was published in the British daily papers:
“Buy the ornaments of Nagpur, buy the Naulakha locket of Lucknow” were the highlights of this loss of honor.
This is how the honor of the royal ladies of India was sold to foreigners.
The Bandelas and Harbolas sang once again of the courage of the Queen of Jhansi,
How she fought like a man against the British intruders
So was the Queen of Jhansi.

Both the poor and the royals suffered insult and atrocity at the hands of the British rulers.
Brave soldiers of India recalled the honor of their ancestors,
The lost treasures, the names and titles of great warriors and leaders, like Ghunghupant, and Nana,
The beloved sister of Nana, Rani, the Queen, invited him to Ran-Chandi,
To awaken the sleeping, divine spirit of the Indian people, the holy war had already begun.
The Bandelas and Harbolas sang once again of the courage of the Queen od Jhnasi,
How she fought like a man against the British intruders
So was the Queen of Jhansi.

The desire for freedom was as a burning fire of revolt, from the royal palace to the poor and common folk,
This spark, which was born in the inner soul of the people.
It consumed Jhansi first, then spread in Delhi and engulfed even Lucknow,
In Merat, Kanpur and Patna, the struggle for freedom raged strong,
Which inspired the peoples of Jabalpur and Kolhapur
The Bandelas and Harbolas sang once again of the courage of the Queen of Jhansi,
How she fought like a man against the British intruders
So was the Queen of Jhansi.

In that great freedom struggle, many brave brothers lost their lives.
Among them: Nana Ghunghupant, Tantya, great Azeemullah,
And many more: Ahmedshah Moulvi, Thakur Kunwar singh, Sainik Abhiram.
Though by the British, they were considered rebels and their sacrifices a crime,
Their names will always shine in the heavens of the ancient history of India.
The Bandelas and Harbolas sang once again of the courage of the Queen of Jhansi,
How she fought like a man against the British intruders
So was the Queen of Jhansi.

Well, leave the tale of the bravery of those great men, and back to the battlefield of Jhansi
Where Laxmibai stands boldly like a man among other brave men,
Lt. Walker met her in battle, and pushed back this brave army of men,
But as Rani drew her sword, drums thundered in Heaven,
Walker retreated after Rani wounded him, astonished at her skill and agility.
The Bandelas and Harbolas sang once again of the courage of the Queen of Jhansi,
How she fought like a man against the British intruders,
So was the Queen of Jhansi.

Rani pursued Walker for hundreds of miles to the (city) of Kalpi,
Where his horse was exhausted and fell to the ground, Walker was thrown off as well.
In the field of Yamuna, Rani was defeating the British once more,
Rani pushed back the British and took control of the state of Gawalior,
The British soon left and ended their rule of Vsindia of Gawalior,
The Bandelas and Harbolas sang once again of the courage of the Queen of Jhansi,
How she fought like a man against the British intruders
So was the Queen of Jhansi.

The British army reorganized, under the command of General Smith,
And still the freedom fighters prevailed.
Rani was joined in the battle by Kaana and Mandra, and all together they fought furiously,
But, alas, when Commander Hughrose came with reinforcements,
The Rani was completely surrounded on the field.
The Bandelas and Harbolas sang once again of the courage of the Queen of Jhansi,
How she fought like a man against the British intruders,
So was the Queen of Jhansi.

Though deeply wounded, Rani still fought her way through the British army,
But alas! Rani’s horse became mired in a canal at the edge of the field of battle,
And while she struggled with the untrained animal, the British caught up with her there,
Like a lioness she fought, all alone while being attacked from all sides,
She fell mortally wounded, the glorious death of a martyr.
The Bandelas and Harbolas sang once again of the courage of the Queen of Jhansi,
How she fought like a man against the British intruders,
So was the Queen of Jhansi.

A battlefield martyr was Rani. Her departed soul was then riding a divine vehicle, moving towards heavens
Her light enjoined to the Divine, as a true heir of divinity
Only 30 years of age, she was a superhuman, she was a holy being.
In the form of a freedom fighter, she came to give us light and a noble life,
She showed us the path of freedom and taught us the lesson of courage
The Bandelas and Harbolas sang once agina of the courage of the Queen of Jhansi,
How she fought like a man against the British intruders,
So was the Queen of Jhansi.

Oh Rani Laxmibai, India will remember you forever, Blessed Rani,
Your life’s sacrifice awakens an Eternal freedom in the soul of India’s people,
History may forget, Jhansi may be destroyed,
But your name Rani, Queen of Jhansi, will be an eternal memorial of courage
The Bandelas and Harbolas sang once again of the courage of the Queen of Jhansi,
How she fought like a man against the British intruders,
So was the Queen of Jhansi.

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