Today we revisit a 2011 episode of the podcast. Lakshmi Bai was born into wealthy family in 1830, but she was far from the typical aristocrat. In this episode, Deblina and Sarah recount the life and work of Lakshmi Bai, from her youth to her instrumental role in the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This episode of stuff. You miss than history glasses, brought to you by W W formerly wait. Watchers they have lost
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Saturday, everybody. We have a new podcast coming out on our network, it's called unpopular and it is about resistors revolutionaries and other people who challenge the status quo. Eaves Jeff CO
be hosting. The show and listeners may already know her from this day in history class and we are both really excited about it. Yes, for sure, and in the spirit of that theme, that day we are returning to lax me by Ronnie of John C and her role in the indian rebellion of eighteen, fifty seven, which is also known as India's first war of independence. This episode is for March of twenty eleven with hosts Sarah and Dublin, and then Holly, and I also talked about the rebellion back in August of twenty seventeen. But in that episode within talk about locked me by or her role
in it stay tuned the end for peak and unpopular. You can also find that show or subscribe to it. On, I heard you up. Apple pod casts Google podcast, and wherever else you get your protests,
Welcome to stuff you mean
History class of production of I hurried use. How stuff works
hello and welcome to the past, I'm doing a truck, reporting and unfair it out Answer- and I have been talking a lot this month, women's history month about real life. Amazon's and it's interesting,
when you're talking about female warriors Joan of ARC as one who always comes up, she's kind of the big name among female warrior, absolutely and in case you're, not familiar Joan of ARC, of course, is a national matter,
in France for leading an army to several victories during a hundred years. War and she's. Also a catholic saint, said movies man about her books written about her
Famous away up there, but it's interesting she
so famous that a lot of female warrior sense then have been compared to her and they ve even earn.
the Joan of ARC nickname. You know attached to whatever country therefrom there there quite a few of them actually yeah for
for Augustine at the Aragon, is called spanish Joan of ARC and there's also
enemies Joan of arc. I think you guys have touched on her before I and, if I remember correctly, I'm pretty sure she predates Joan of arc which make that kind of strange tat.
all that Europe, your gang, had that nickname after the fact, but whatever what you gonna do, but this is all just took out of sight
Today's episode, which is about India's Joan of ARC a woman named, looks me by now looks me by who is also known. As the Ronnie of John C, she became famous for her role in the indian mutiny of eighteen, fifty seven, which is sometimes thought of as India's first war of independence, from the
of course, and her life is uniquely wrapped up in all the factors that led to this rebellion. So that's kind of why we wanted to focus on her out of all these other Joan of ARC student,
yeah. I mean another interesting fact about her if she is still quite import
in modern India, she is considered a national heroin and there are statues of her story is told in things like novel than movies and ballads. Just like like Joan of ARC, I mean how about that illustrated. Comex, I mean she she's a well known figure yeah. I think Prime Minister, in their Gandhi, even appeared as looked me by in a political commercial in the nineteen eighty, so she's kind of all over the place, all sorts
different facets of of popular culture and her story has become the stuff of legend and, as we know, with legends a lot of times once history becomes
agenda, we sort of get a little murky on. What's fact in what's fiction, so that's what we're gonna look at today were just really going to consider who is looked me by what are the real facts about her and why she alternately known as India's Joan of ARC and India's decibel, depending on who you have that Sheldon Tee Thou uncommon, though we're gonna start at the beginning, talk a little bit about her childhood
Is it really lays a pretty strong groundwork for the woman she become? She was born November 19th, one thousand eight hundred and twenty seven to a brahmin family in Banaras, which is in northern India, and
with a good family. It was even maybe a prominent family, but they didn't really have that,
much money. It seems according to
Rainier jurists, biography the Ronnie of John C rebel against. Will they didn't have that much money, because her parents had left their home in Maharashtra in central end?
in exile, because the ruler there was banished by the British so well. They had been high ranking and while her father had
high ranking, he might have had a little trouble reestablishing himself in a new part of the country.
And never really attained, that hive and income yet so that just kind of sets up her family for you, but
three buys original name was money Carnegie and her parents called her Manu now manage childhood was kind of unique for a little girl growing up in India around that time, and that's mainly because her mom Vugui Ruthie passed away when she was about for you.
Old and her dad more upon Bombay, remained a widower for more than a decade. So really know big conservative corrective influence that female influence in her life, who would have put her on the path to
I guess a more feminine upbringing, no one. There are telling you to stand up straight and behave in the rooms and she was naturally fight
Steve. She was kind of a little tomboy and because she didn't have this female influence in her life, she got to stay that way. She was allowed to stay that way and some source to say that it was her dad who is actively encourage
saying that tomboyish behaviour and are you know he was teaching her how to do things like right horses and had a fence and shoot, and that was all part of her education. Other sources such as Gerasa
suggest that her father, really he just might,
not ban in the picture enough to be that closely watching her education, yes,
She got to kind of run free, let around when I wanted. So what is known
her thou, regardless of what really happened, is that she became very skilled, rider and learn how to use weapons, and most likely did this before she got married, because it would have been very inappropriate for a woman who is your traditional maharajah wife to to do these things, especially because she quote
a horse like a man in addition to these manly skill. She also learn to read and write, which was still kind of unusual for girls that Roma time. Yes, though, inner she comes out
a young girl with unusual talents, and it seems like maybe some of this stuff, what even dissuade potentials
but she does get married in eighteen, forty, two she's about fifteen years old and she becomes the second wife of Google Thar Raw
no Walker. Who is a lot older than her his child less, but how
is the maharajah of John C, which is a principle
be about two hundred fifty miles South EAST of Dolly and
to give you a little background on terms were going to be using
I think from here an out or pretty much gonna be calling her the Ronnie erasure,
India is a prince or a king of a particular area and his wife is known as a Ronnie soap she's a queen,
princess. I didn't you seem at you mention that about how her behaviour might dissuade potential suitors, because it's not really clear how the match got the match between these two occurred.
It's an odd couple. They really are and her family really well.
that wealthy, but here's one theory, that's out there
why the Rajah picked her. Apparently he had a tendency to cross dress, sometimes
Theatre roles when you played female roles, but sometimes not sometimes he would just where
women's jewellery around and stuff like that, since this was rather
widely known at the time. It suggested that this may have limited his choices and second bride somewhat, so he may have had to settle for this noble, but not particularly well off bride,
miles and Jack from work. We recorded a pike has together in the masters
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today. After her marriage, money starts going by the name luxury by, and this suggests a reverence for the goddess of prosperity and happiness. So let me was the patron deity of her husbands, family, and this would have made sense for her to do her to change it.
like this year, is a good move in and she really did seem to embrace her role as Ronnie. She, she sort of put aside what she was used:
to doing pretty easily. It seemed and try really hard
and for a very long time to have a child in an air, and it didn't happen, I think years and years went by
but finally Lakshmi by and the Rajah took a journey in eighteen, fifty one kind of a pilgrimage to sacred hindu sites and not long
for that she got pregnant and gave birth to a fun, and you can imagine this couple was incredibly excited now to finally have an air and assign at that, but unfortunately for them. That excitement in last very long because the baby died at only three months old and they didn't know why it happened. He just died suddenly in and they were unfortunately not just in trouble. For personal reasons. After that yeah I mean they're. Personally, personally, their grieving, but there are other consequences as well and that, because of something called the doctrine of lapse, they now have to worry about this too. So here's little back onto the doctrine of lapse. It's a formula that was devised by Lord Dollhouse E, who was governor General of India from around eighteen for
eight to five eighteen, fifty six and the doctrine. It reflected this general desire on the part of the British to expand the territory that they had in India and just to give you a little bit of background on, I guess indian custom before that. Damn I'm politics. Finally, politics exactly. According
two indian tradition, a ruler who didn't have any natural errors could adopt a person who would then have all the personal and political rights of a son. So, for example, the Rani of Jhansi himself had been an adopted are so as precedent for it there. However, the hell is he with this new doctor and he basically asserted great Britain's right as the paramount power to approve adoptions. So what it did is in practice. It gave the british the opportunity to reject a lot of last minute adoptions and therefore take over this territory. He had to step in and and collect lamp
my piece, which was obviously what their greater policy was exactly. But this didn't stop the running raja from trying to do the same thing in eighteen, fifty three younger thou become seriously ill and adopts a distant five year. Old cousin name
damage our role as his son, and he draws up adoption papers and a will.
The boy is the air and the Ronnie as his regents, and he presents them to Major Ellis who was serving as an assistant political agent at Jhansi at the time- and this was all done on November 20th, one thousand eight hundred and fifty three.
Shortly and about the Rajah dies, the very next day, yeah through family. You have this kind of last minute paper work that has gone down this british policy that doesn't really look that kindly on these adoptions, especially a last minute. One like this,
and it seems so that things might work out for a minute, because Alice is sympathetic to the Ronnie and he forwards that information to his superior major, John Malcolm but Malcolm,
even though he is not that keen on the idea of the Ronnie Being Regent, he still describes her to Don T, as quote a woman, highly respected and esteemed, and I believe, fully capable of doing justice to such a charge. So it still seems like maybe the the british earning get behind this particular adoption at least yeah. Unfortunately, though, thou how's, he refuses to acknowledge them with our role as air and the new british superintendent Captain Alexander skin
comes to John C and takes control under the doctrine of lapse without any opposition, so british are now and control, and it seems that the Ronnie is out of luck. The estates tied up in and she's allowed to keep the town palace as a personal residents, but she loses all of the the country estate and she only gets this annual pension of about five thousand rubies and from that she's expected to pare husbands. Dat, though not again,
deal at all of which she doesn't, except that no, she doesn't except it right away. She keeps submitting letters to contest the doctrine of lapse. She submits letters in December February
April. Of that year and she keeps submitting many letters and tall- I think early eighteen, fifty six or so so she doesn't give up
most of these letters, however, aren't even forwarded to Lord how's. He so she's
really being taken seriously. At this point, her attempts to get the ear of british officials just its falling on deaf
There is not a lock, it seemed so she consults where the british Council John Lange, who is trying in trying to get her to agree to this pension sheet, that she wouldn't accept, and she says to him, and this has become a kind of a famous quote. She says Mary John Zena, he doom gay, and this means I will not give up my Chauncey.
Making a stand under foot down, but meanwhile we're gonna catch you up with good. What's going on in the rest of India, there were tensions mounting among the sea poise, which were indian troops in the British EAST, India, company Army and actually Kennison Jane a very long time ago did an episode on the EAST, India Company, and they mention see poison that we could go, learn a little bit
extra about them, but on the surface it seem like D. The tensions that were or mounting among these troops were caused by room.
For the time that the cartridges for newly issued Enfield rifles were greased with either cow or pig fat and dependent
on whether you were a hindu or Muslim. See boy, though it be sacrilegious when you had to tear open the cartridges with your teeth. So the fear was that the British were were doing this on purpose. They knew that this was likely to
does religious related offence and they were doing it to undermine the sea boys faith and eventually make it easier for them to convert them all to Christianity, yeah. That was the rumour at the time, as he said, but historians tend to think that the tensions that were building up and before this they were more due to the so called reforms that were being made to indian customs and culture around that time or in the years leading up to it, for example, widows being allowed to marry. That was something that
is very radical change. Land reform had displaced many landowner, so these things at the Ronnie was experiencing. Others were experiencing them too, and they were happy. You can imagine how that would cause some pretty widespread
discontent Sew in Murat on May. Ninth, one thousand eight hundred and fifty seven. Eighty five of the sepoys who refused to use the Enfield cartridges were tried and put into irons and that started off of major rebellion. The next day, three regiments stormed the jail and killed officers and their families, and they marched from there to Delhi, which was fifty miles away
and from there the steeply rebellion really just kind of spreading. It started as this localised incident, but it started to spring up elsewhere, like little brush fires and a few leaders took charge and train
formed what had been a mutiny into and organise resistance. They were really gonna. Give the british some trouble yeah
actually, the mutiny made its way to Jhansi to on June Sixth, one thousand eight hundred and fifty seven the troops at Chauncey mutinied and shot their commanding officers. Captain skiing. At this point he gathers all the Europeans in the city which there were sixty six of them and that included about half of them. I think we're women and
They took refuge in the fort, which was pretty well designed as a defence. It could withstand a siege and had an internal
water supply, but they really didn't, have that much food. It also. It wasn't gonna, be a long term solution to this stand on afford to stay there long
on June. Eighth skiing leads the British out of the fort and they were massacred by June twelfth. The mutineers had left Chauncey four dollars
oh a bad situation, a very bad situation and considering how unhappy the Ronnie had been with the government. Many british people believe that she was behind the mutiny,
There was never any real proof from this and, as we're gonna see it, it certainly did not benefit her in any way. But still people were suspicious. This is where the just about part of the title comes from,
so she sent a letter afterwards in as she knows that people are suspicious ever since she sent a letter to the british authorities and she recounted everything that had happened to her and she said among
a lot of other things quote that they, the mutineers afterwards behave with much violence against herself in her servants and extorted a great deal of money from her. So you know basically just trying to make the point
They must with me to know I was not their leader. I didn't help. Get this whole thing going again
expresses its a long letter and you can find exerts on it in various essays and in biographies. But she basically is like hey. I'm sorry. This happen to you. This is really sad, but my hands are tied. It couldn't
anything about it. She sends another letter later saying that there was anarchy, army and c, and she asked for orders from the British and they issued a proclamation
as in the Ronnie to manage the district and tell they could send soldiers there to restore order- and I was really surprised by this part, because
up until now. You know the British have been trying to strip her of any power. She had, and here they are authorizing her too, to raise an army, pretty amazing yeah. I think it shows you know that they did think that she had
some brains. They had some respect for her. They just didn't want her to actually have any land yet
absence of any other british option. We will let you run the placing a little while until we get there, but you know in general, but she does start
bring up this army while managing the district in prison.
Clearly. At this point it is to defend Chauncey from neighbouring districts and rebels, maybe a distant claimant, to the three
And you know just anybody who make common cause trouble Yassin according
The military history, some of her troops, included mutineers from the former Jonesy Garrison, which is kind of suspicious. I ask your probably didn't, help her cause and trying to convince
bull, that she wasn't response does at any other enough from them right than Gerasa says at her army included some women too, and that this was an indicator of how devoted and loyal her subjects were it to her, because they were willing to cast aside tradition to fight with her. This episode is broad you by Moscow and the Mossy Ex thirty, a truly remarkable suv, the six thirty a size to be actual in the city while still having the interior space and utility to go anywhere
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speaking of tradition, leave led to mention the appearance of this woman to and her mannerisms them, because she she cut quite a figure, I mean to say the least- she's been described as being fair and hand. Some, even though, according to MR, the british men who described her face with a little on the round fine, but she quote had a noble presence and figure and a stern expression and in
stead of following the traditional customs of widows at the time and dressing all in white and not wearing any jewelry, she came out
men's clothes. Sometimes this code of Dark Blue, a beautiful turban on her head and this embroidered cloth around her waist and jewelled a jeweled sword. I mean sheep
She must have been pretty amazing, looking internationally out leading an army yeah, definitely- and she, I guess, had some moves to. People have said that these new, no, they saw her practicing her
deals on horseback and with their weapons out. You know, while she was getting this army together and one of us,
charmeuse, which I love, I think I was trying to remember this very earlier, but can remember at it, was that she would be on a horse and twice,
being a sabre in each hand with the reins of the horse and her teeth so very skilled. Indeed, I would be really scary if you, if you saw someone coming with two
yeah. I don't you worry about my teeth. I'm talking to you.
over a little bumpers bumping yeah, but she had bigger problems there than her tea. They mean that was not her tongue.
That was not her talk concern and I mean, if you wanted to show people, you are tough, hey, that's the way to do it. Suffice to say:
soon got the opportunity to show off her skills in January. Eighteen. Fifty eight major general sir Hugh rose, who ends
being named as her major opponent in this whole affair. I thank March towards the city with soldiers and as late as
be wary, the Ronnie told her british advisers that she would in fact returned the district to the british when they got there, so their army, exactly she didn't seem, does as the relief she's been waiting for right. So not confrontational, thus point, but that's not what really happened.
Isn't that nice hand off was a it's not how rose treats the situation at all on March, twenty fifth eighteen, fifty eight rose in his forces, attacked, Chauncey and again according to military history luxury by resisted, because she wasn't sure if she was going to be executed. If she was captured
I think she really believe that the British, after all, they still want really happy with her after the mutiny and really blamed her for it still many of them to the officials, at least in and clearly the relations between her and the British were muddled, to say the least mean she didn't know what
factory was going on, though, by March Thirtieth, most of the rockies guns were disabled and for its walls had been breached and by April third, the British broke into the city and they took the palace and stormed the fort, but she got out she escaped on horseback in the night,
were that final assault- and this is the amazing part partner, a few. If you look up a picture of her you'll see dramatists nations not entirely accurate, but she escaped into the night on horseback with her ten year old, adopted son strapped to her back. I think he mentioned that she knew she was gonna hafta to ride, to faster
have him sitting in front of her. Yet after her back yet I mean this is where you see a lot of the legend command. You hear many different accounts of how this escape might have occurred, but in general we think that he was dropped. Her back tied to her with a sash and that she and a bunch, maybe up to three hundred of her troops, escaped in the middle of the night and it's a little bit sketchy, because how did they get past the british troops? But maybe they were just confused in the dark, but I mean whence the Ronnie without she road, like the wind cause, she was afraid that the British were, after her and at such he rode anywhere from eighty six to ninety three miles in twenty four hours to get all the way to the fortress of copy where she joined up with some of the other resistance leaders, yeah non us ahead, rouse ahead and thought the Adobe. These were well known, resistance leaders. They had been involved in other mutinies elsewhere in India going on at the time, and so they grouped together
joined forces, and they face the British in two consecutive battles, starting from copy one on May six, but which they were forced to retreat from and another one where they were defeated again on May twenty second or twenty third somewhere around their number
It's not. That was the end at that point, but that wasn't actually the case on May thirtieth. The rebels reached Gwawl earlier, which controlled both a grand trunk road and the telegraph lines between Agua in Bombay
there, they met Joy G, Roush, India, the Maharajah
Walter and he was a british loyalist and actually tried to stop them. At this point he tried to kind of pushed the rebels back and not let the men, but his troops ended up switching sides and he had to flee to Ankara. So at this point, the rebels have control of squalor, yeah, pretty big bunch of em to buy now and on June, sixteenth roses forces close and though so it's important to know up until this point locked me by
not then out at the head of of these rebel battles, but she was the one who led what remained of heard John C contingent out too, to stop roses forces on while her she went out to battle dressed in male clothing. She had on the red uniform of a cavalry officer. She was wearing a white turban ever her short hair. She really
cut quite an inspiring figure, but during the battle she was shot from her horse and killed and its belief that she was cremated really soon after that, because she was terrified that her body would fall into british hands and and not be treated respectfully and after
her death while you're fell pretty soon after that, and the organise rebellion really fizzled out and
even though locked me by herself, did not really men any of these battles. It seems like her personality in her bravery, really left a big impression on people. Yet it's really that I think, as you mentioned her personality, that's really made her a symbol of the fight for indian independence.
at the time. I think it was sort of true as well. I mean british newspapers proclaimed, looks me by the Gazelle of India Bit even Sir Hugh ROW,
her big rival in this whole battle compared, has fallen adversary to Joan of ARC. So that's you know. Maybe one of the first places that we see that, and he reported her death to William Augustus Duke of cumbersome
in this way. He said the Ronnie is remarkable for her bravery, cleverness and perseverance. Her generosity to her subordinates was unbounded. These qualities, combined with her rank, rendered her the most dangerous of all rebel leaders, and I mean
that's interesting- and I mentioned this a minute ago when we were talking about how strange it is that they gave her the, but they gave her permission to raise an army in the first place, but that they would be so distressing,
love her claims, yet so admiring of her personality and her her capability? I just think it some at an early, it saddens me adds a huge contradiction, but I mean I think we see that a law throughout women's history and rose had more praise for her and maybe somewhat dubious praise. I guess, depending on how you like to study or women's history, he said. Although she was a lady, she was the bravest and best military leader of the rebels, a man among the mutineers, so his highest complex
was comparing her to a man and so does the popular folk song, but I think that it might put it a little better. Better yeah definitely works right. So the folks on Ngos have
Currently, like a man, thought she, the Ronnie of John C on every parapet, a gun. She sat raining fire of Hell. How well like a man, thought Dorani of John see how valiantly and well? Thank you so much for joining us on this Saturday. If you have heard an email address or a facebook url or something similar over the course of today's episode, since it is from the archive that might be out of date. Now you can email us at history, podcast at how stuff works, dot com and you can find us all over social media at missed in history, and you can subscribe to our shadow on Apple podcast, Google Podcast, the eye heart
your lab, and wherever else he wasn't, the pod gown stumpiness than history, glasses of production of Iheart Radios, Housetop works for her pocket
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just for a moment a world where nobody ever questioned the way things are
one where no person ever challenged common thought or believed in thinking
behind the limitations of contemporary knowledge
wherein no one ever have the guts to propose new ideas for fear of being signed or killed. Without protest. There would be no progress. I, for one, am thankful that there were plenty of people in history,
used to effect the conventions of their time. People like Galileo's, who was punished and confined for suggesting facts that other people could it fathom.
and formal LEO Ransom Cootie who stood up for women.
Nigeria when their needs were being ignored,
when they were alive, their ideas, scare actions there. I DAS City, with despised by so many people. Of course they had supporters, but their opposition made them targets of hate and state sanctioned denounced may, even though their dissent was based in research and experience and driven by desire for meaningful change. They still need hearts of enemies, ploy, its human nature to values, stability and patterns. It makes sense for us to be resistant to change in being wrong, just sucks, but changes inevitable, and we have to think forward if we're going to move forward, even if it costs us. I'm even after every week on unpopular will reach back into the past to tell the story of someone who challenged the status
what connecting the dots between their history and the history that we're making. Today we can be so quick to dismiss beheld ideas when they seem too big to align with how we see the world make us uncomfortable or shatter our pride or power. It's easy to reject change its harder to be open to new ideas, and often it's hard to be the person who's calling for meaningful change in the face of people who can be arrogant, stubborn and-
unwilling to accept that change, but somebody has to do it and sometimes it pays off. Is it worth it to speak out when it feels like a world? Is against you
the first episode of Unpopular comes out on me, thirty it. After that, you can look forward to a new episode. Every Tuesday click the subscriber in a heart, radio, app apple pie, cask or wherever you get. Your pike has to make sure you don't miss a single episode, everybody. So this episode of stuff to blow your mind is sponsored by the all New Mazda, see Ex thirty, which actually just got to tee
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who then and continuous- and I think that's what's going on here, but it's also got a beautiful design on the outside yeah. I mean it. Basically, you see at thirty his size to be agile and the city while still having the interior space inutility to go anywhere at any time. You know encouraging an active lifestyle and to your point, is that the idea that did you not haven't a tool to wrestle the machine to get where you're going there is there is a meeting of the man in the machine is also a very nice driving experience in a visual way where I, like. The car doesn't have a touch screen and in a word like you, can see. Those touch screens come up and in kind of distracting, while you're trying to navigate through the features and stuffily driving instead its more traditional kind of command controls that you go with buttons and low
from the steering wheel, but it actually makes for a much nicer, less distracted drive. You got your eyes on the road you safer to ya, you not playing the video game that drives the car, you driving a car, but it's also got connected car features. They give you convenient safety peace of mind this garden in car wifi, option, remote engine start stop and door lock vehicle status navigation,
service. Vehicle finder automatic nine, when one dialing in the event of an accident so is really got it all, and I really truly enjoyed driving this car so for more information on Mazda and the first ever see Ex Thirty go to Mazda, USA dot com, slash I heart or better yet to see the entire Mazda vehicle line up visit your local area, Mazda dealer today,