|Rani Avantibai postal stamp..www.sablf.com|
Raja Vikramaditya Singh, the ruler of Ramgarh State, died leaving behind his wife Avantibai. She was a Lodhi-warrior-queen of Ramgarh in Mandla District of Madhya Pradesh. As there was no legal heir to the throne, the British annexed her kingdom in 1851 under the doctrine of lapse introduced by wily Lord Dalhousie. You may recall this tricky doctrine did not recognize legal adoption of heir under the Hindu rites.
Considering Avanti Bhai's widowed status, the British rulers were unsympathetic towards her. This disgusting act angered the queen. Not only did Avantibai vow to win back her land from the British, but also got into action by raising a powerful army of four thousand trained soldiers with ample support from local zamindars (land lords) and rulers and personally led it against the British in 1857. Though initially she succeeded in subduing the British army in the war, in the subsequent encounters she and her able army were unable to contain the British. The British had far superior fire powers and efficient war weapons. Facing imminent defeat, she did not want to take the risk of getting caught by the British and punished by them. All of a sudden she took out the sword and killed herself on 20th March,1858 thus becoming yet another one among the women martyrs who sacrificed their lives to free India from the unjust and tyrannical British rule.
|coast guard ship Rani Avantibai.www.thehindu.|