Jhansi Queen's letter found in British Library
London: A letter written in Persian by
Lakshmibai, Rani of Jhansi, to the then governor-general of
the East India Company Lord Dalhousie has been discovered in
the British Library.
The letter found in the archives of the library was
written shortly before the start of India's first war of
independence in 1857.
"This a letter written by an iconic talisman for the
nationalist narrative in India. The letter is part of a
collection of documents known as the Bowring Collection,"
Deepika Ahlawat, research curator for the Victoria and Albert
Museum's Maharaja exhibition currently being staged in London
"The collection is named after Lewin Bentham Bowring,
a civil servant working in India who gathered a remarkable
collection of documents, photographs and ephemera relating to
the maharajas," she said.
In the letter, the Rani of Jhansi describes the
fateful events on the night her husband died.
Ahlawat said: "But under the doctrine of lapse then
being imposed by the EIC, any Indian kingdom whose ruler died
without an heir, or who was guilty of misrule - was subsumed
into Company territory".
Lakshmibai wrote that her husband adopted a suitable
heir before his death by performing all the necessary rites
for her adopted son, Damodar Rao, to be accepted as the next
Raja of Jhansi.
But Lord Dalhousie did not recognise the adoption and
threatened to annex Jhansi. In 1857 the Rani joined the
rebellion against the British and personally led her troops in