After the celebrations were over, Gangadhar
Rao wrote a letter to the Company. He gave all the details about the adoption and
requested the Company to recognize the adopted son as the heir. He suggested that, till
Damodar Rao came of age, Rani Lakhsmi Bai should be recognized as his representative. The
Maharaja reminded the Company of the friendly relations between Jhansi and the Company.
The letter was handed over by the Maharaja to Major Ellis with a request to give it to
The Maharaja shed tea5rs when handing over the letter. He was overcome by emotion and
his voice was choked. The sobs of the Maharani crying behind the curtain could be heard.
Gangadhar Rao told the Major: "Major Saheb, my Rani is a woman. But she is endowed
with many qualities which even the ablest men of the world should appreciate." As he
was speaking, unknown to him, his eyes were filled with tears.
"Major Saheb, please see that on no account Jhansi becomes on orphan," he
Within a few days, on 21st November 1853,Gangadhar Rao died. The
inexperienced 18-years-old Lakhsmi Bai became a widow.
A Hindu woman that too, a young woman and a widow bound by the chains of
custom; in addition, the responsibility of a state with no protection; on one side,
Dalhousie who was waiting to annex the kingdom; on the other; Damodar Rao, an infant in
her arms-this was the plight of Lakhsmi Bai. Limitless, endless her problems and her
Lakshmi Bai sent a number of petitions to Dalhousie for a decision on the
Maharajas representation. Three months passed, but there was no reply.
On one unfortunate day, in March 1854, Dollhouses order arrived.
It read: The Company does not recognize the right of the late Maharaja Gangadhar
Rao adopt an heir. It has, therefore, been decided to merge Jhansi in the British
provinces. The Rani should vacate the fort and live in the palace situated in the city.
She will b paid a monthly pension of rupees five thousand.
The Rani could not believe it at first. She was taken aback for some time, and then
exclaimed: "No, impossible: I shall not surrender my Jhansi."
It did not take her long to realize how difficult it was for the small state of Jhansi
to appose the British might and cleverness, when even the Peshwas had bowed before it. The
kings of Delhi also were on their knees before the British
After the British took over the government from her, the Ranis daily routine
changed. Every morning the hours from four to eight were set apart for bathing, worship,
meditation and prayer. From eight to eleven she would to out for a horse ride, practise
shooting with a gun, and practise swordsmanship and shooting with arrows, with the reins
hold in the teeth. Thereafter she would bathe again, feed the hungry, give alms to the
poor and then have food; then she rested for a while. After that she would exercise
lightly in the evening. Later she would go through some religious books and hear religious
sermons. Then she worshipped her chosen deity and had supper. All things were done
methodically, according to a strict time-table.