''Rani Tapaswini'' - an unsung patriotic woman - Will the government erect a statue worth her name?

rani-tapaswini .hindujagruti.org

Among Indians  there was no dearth of  daring and courageous women whose patriotism was in full flow during the early colonial rule and never failed to take up the cudgels  for a common cause - freedom from the unjust british rule. Unfortunately, either due to lack of courage of conviction and ignorance or unintentional oversight their contribution remained deeply buried and unnoticed.   Rani Tapaswini (Sunanda), Rani Laxmibai’s niece and the daughter of Sardar Narayana Rao  was one such a person.  Like Lakshmi Bai she was  one of the strongest symbols of resistance against British rule in India

Widowed in her childhood,  she had spent  much of her time  in spiritual pursuits  and intense prayer. Leading a sort of monastic life,  her favorite goddess being Chandi. However, her focus was more on spiritual aspects and  reading books in related fields than others.   The amazing aspect about her was though she gave due importance to asceticism and mild temperament on one hand her inherent courage and endurance when facing tough situations became tools for her to face challenges in he future. Having found no happiness and  peace of mind in materialistic life, she began to pay attention to the management of the kingdom Quite disgusted with the British, their dishonesty and brutality, she was ready to take up the reigns of her royal family and  

underwent training in  the intricacy  of warfare, horse-riding, besides  management, etc. Upon her father's demise, she became more responsible than ever before  to safeguard her citizens and their welfare
Rani Tapaswini got into action and and wasted no time to improve the security of the kingdom. She  had her father’s huge fort restructured and repaired  to confront unexpected intrusions from the enemies; apart she had  recruited and trained soldiers for the upkeep of the kingdom. 

East India Co. squeezing money, India bwindia.net
Driven by greed and over ambition the EIC was on a land-grabbing binge after the fall of Bengal in the mid 1700s. Their quest for seizing more lands  in the subcontinent continued unabated. The English company already set their eyes on the  kingdom headed by  Rani Tapaswini. Her unexpected  imprisonment without any inquiry. wa not a palatable and they faxed criticisms. Soon she was released from the prison and the English thought she would never posed a threat to their hegemony and land expansion. 

 Upon release from the confinement Rani Tapaswini  moved over to  Naimisharanya  and engaged in religious services to  Goddess  Chandi. Her intense prayer and spiritual pursuits  made her more popular  among the people. As more and more people sought her guidance and blessings, her ashram became crowded. The British assumed that he rani took to  renunciation to lead  a sort of ascetic life  as her religious fervor was overwhelming at hat point of time. People called her ‘Mata (mother) Tapaswini’.

People, including Indian soldiers visiting her ashram vented out their feeling against the British who openly practised racism and treated them in an obnoxious way. The more she heard about their atrocities Rani became more enraged and took a bold decision to revolt against the English whose nasty behavior and racial superiority pushed them to the fag end of tolerance.    Insults and insinuation people suffered on their own land by the foreigners changed Rani Tapaswini persona  and she felt compelled to do something about it. 

1857 revolt against the English Co, India. .slideshare.net

Through her fiery speeches and  preaching Rani induced patriotism in countless devotees and soldiers from British regime to protest against the British. Since the beginning of 1857 the atrocities of EIC officials, in particular, army   drove he people to the edge of exasperation; natives working for the company were in rage. At this juncture, the saints and fakirs understood the predicament of these people and sympathized with them. In order to enhance  their patriotic zeal and understand  the value of Freedom, they whipped up the sentiments by emotionally appealing to them. They brought to light the following points: 

1857 revolt, India /slideplayer.com

 01. The British look down upon you as inferior creatures, 

02. They insult and intimidate you based on your race and skin color, 

03. Since their arrival in India, they have looted our resources, taken away our lands  and reduced our economy to shambles Reason: There is no unity among th various Indian rulers.

 04. Indian soldiers who do more work  are paid less salary than their  counter parts. Reason: indians are racially inferior.

05. In a subtle manner they are keen to covert the natives to Christian worship.  

 Rani Tapaswini gave powerful speeches nd asked the people to remain united regardless of castes and advised the people  to free India from the oppressive British regime by massive revolts.

Quite impressed, during the tumultuous period early patriots like  Nanasaheb, Balasaheb, Tatya Tope, and Ajimulla Khan  sought the advice of  Rani Tapaswini  before embarking on a big rebellion in 1857 that began in the Meerut Cantonment.  An interesting fact emerged  in the ensuing revolt. As suggested by Rani Tapaswini and others, the saints and fakirs visited interior places and impressed on the common people and civilians to participate in the revolt. The crucial move was made secretly and it did not rise any suspicion among the wily  and watchful British.  Unfortunately, after a long battle lasting for a long period, the revolt was put down by the British after the fall of Delhi that was controlled by the rebel soldiers. Latest firearms, powerful artillery power backed by reinforcement and man power had en edge over the rebels. .  

Having understood the futility of revolting against the mighty British  with civilians and soldiers, Rani Tapaswini took a different course of action by way of secretly contacting Maharajahs and rulers who had close contact with the British for their survival and to run their kingdom without any trouble and at the same time not losing all the trappings that would go with their covetous post. Rani Tapaswini made  sincere efforts to change the attitude of the rulers who were selfish. She along with Nanasaheb personally got in touch with rulers like the king of Nepal, Jungbahadur, ruler of Darbhanga and others and advised them in the freedom struggle instead of being powerless king worth his name.
Tapaswini with help from  Lokmanya Tilak and Khadilkar, the sub editor of ‘Kesari’ she took the freedom struggle forward. With the latter,  she secretly started a weapons factory in Nepal, using tiles making unit as a front.  Arms were imported from Nepal to be supplied among the revolutionaries and freedom fighters to use them against the wily British. The aging Rani  was against the partition of Bengal on communal line by lord Curzon . Having come to know that  many Indians wanted to remain under the British yoke  and not concerned about freedom she was quite upset and disappointed. Rani Tapaswini, niece of Rani of Jhansi died in 1905 unsung and forgotten. This great woman fought for India's freedom stoically but with courage of conviction relegating the royal trapping to the back stage. The Indian government must commemorate her  sacrifices by way of erecting a lasting monument in the place of her birth. He freedom exploits will inspire young minds in India and promote patriotisms.
(Reference : Mahan Bhartiya Krantikari (Great India Freedom Fighters), 1st part 1770 to 1990, writer: Mr. S.D. Zambare, (Maharashtra Rajya Sahitya Ani Sanskruti Mandal, Mumbai) 
(Daily Sanatan Prabhat, New Moon day, Kaliyug Year 5112 (11.07.2010)