Martyrs’ Day in Uttar Pradesh Date in the current year: November 19, 2024

Martyrs’ Day in Uttar Pradesh In addition to National Martyrs’ Day, observed on January 30 to commemorate the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, several Indian states have established their own observances in honor of those who gave their lives for Indian independence. For example, Martyrs’ Day in Uttar Pradesh is celebrated on November 19.

This day is the birth anniversary of Lakshmibai, the Rani (queen) of Jhansi, a princely state in North India located in the present-day state of Uttar Pradesh. She was one of the leaders of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and a symbol of resistance to the British colonial authorities for Indian nationalists.

Lakshmibai was born on November 19, 1828 into a Marathi Brahmin family. She received a good education at home and was more independent than other girls of her age. In addition to reading and writing, the future queen studied fencing, shooting and horsemanship.

At the age of 14, Lakshmibai married Gangadhar Rao, the Maharaja of Jhansi, who was three decades her senior. Their first and only child was born in 1851 and died when he was just four months old. The couple officially adopted a five-year old son of the Maharaja’s cousin and named him Damodar Rao. In his will, Gangadhar Rao named the child his heir and appointed his wife the regent.

The Maharaja died the day after adoption, and soon the British East India Company rejected Damodar Rao’s claim to the throne since he was an adopted child and annexed Jhansi. Despite Lakshmibai’s appeals, she lost control over Jhansi and was ordered to leave the palace and the fort.

When the Indian Rebellion of 1857 broke three years later, Lakshmibai asked for permission to raise a garrison to protect herself and her son from rebels, and was granted one. In June, rebels seized a fort in Jhansi and massacred British officers along with their wives and children. The Rani paid the rebels a large sum of money to persuade them to leave Jhansi.

Being the only source of authority in Jhansi after the massacre, Lakshmibai assumed the administration until the arrival of a British representative. She was still loyal to the British at that point. However, when she didn’t receive the promised support and was accused of helping the rebels kill British officers in the fort, the Rani turned against British rule.

Lakshmibai defended Jhansi from British troops when the city was besieged in March 1858 and joined Tantia Tope’s troops as a cavalry commander. Together, they seized the city of Gwalior. The Rani was killed on June 18, 1858 by a British soldier near Gwalior, becoming a symbol of resistance for Indian nationalists.

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Martyrs’ Day in Uttar Pradesh, holidays in India, regional observances, Rani of Jhansi, Lakshmibai