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Khoob Ladi Mardani Woh Toh Jhansiwali Rani Thi- A Poem by Subadhara Kumari Chauhan

Prayagraj (Allahabad), Uttar Pradesh

November 24, 2022

Subhadra Kumari Chauhan’s poem Khoob Ladi Mardani Woh Toh Jhansiwali Rani thi (Bravely Fought the Warrior Queen) showcases Rani Laxmibai’s involvement in the Uprising of 1857. It was published in 1930 in the collection called Mukul. Chauhan was born on 16 August, 1904 in Nihalpur village in Prayagraj district. She penned her first poem when she was nine years of age.

The present poem is written in a ballad form and charts the progression of Lakshmi Bai’s life from a young girl to a warrior fighting for her people, linking it with the nationalist movement. Chauhan calls battle weapons as Lakshmi Bai’s “childhood friends”. Well-versed with the stories of Shivaji, she was showcased as an incarnation of a war goddess and a child of the Marathas. Fighting against the British is seen as symbolic of sacrificing her femininity and thereby acquiring the description- “mardaani” or manly. The poem became a rallying cry for the freedom fighters in the 1920-30s.

Chauhan herself participated in the Non-Cooperation Movement as well as the Jhanda Satyagraha in Jabalpur and was jailed twice for her involvement in protest against the British in 1923 and 1942.

Source: Indian Culture Portal

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