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July 20, 2001

'24'

COMMEMORATIVE POSTAGE STAMP ON JHALKARI BAI

    The Minister of Communications, Shri Ram Vilas Paswan will release a commemorative postage stamp on Jhalkari Bai at a function at Lucknow on 22nd July, 2001. Issued by the Department of Posts (DoP), the stamp is in the denomination of Rs.4/-

    The saga of Jhalkari Bai is illustrative of the seriousness of discontent among the common people against the colonial dominance and the extent of popular participation in the struggle. She was a courageous woman who came from a humble background and played a valiant role in the Jhansi theatre of the revolt of 1857. She is a living memory in the folklore of the Bundelkhand region (which was part of the erstwhile state of Jhansi) even today. Jhalkari Bai bore an uncanny resemblance to Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi, because of which the Rani took a special liking to her and inducted her into the women’s wing of her army.

    When discontent against the British policies was brewing, the people of Jhansi rallied around Rani Lakshmi Bai and resolved to take up arms to uphold the independence of their state. In 1858, there were several attacks on the Jhansi fort by the British and their native allies. Though the recorded history does not reveal much about the antecedents or heroic exploits of Jhalkari Bai, the ever loyal Jhalkari Bai must have been a pillar of strength for the queen in those trying times. It is said that when the fall of the fortress became imminent, Jhalkari Bai and some generals convinced Lakshmi Bai to escape quietly with a handful of supporters. In a ploy to deceive the British, Jhalkari dressed up like the Rani and took command of the army. The British found out the truth too late, as the Rani had covered a considerable distance by then. Though Jhalkari Bai was forced to surrender, it is believed that the British military officers, who were impressed by her loyalty, courage and fighting prowess treated her with respect and freed her.

    The First Day Cover alongwith the information sheet will be available on sale at all Philatelic Bureaux/Counters and at selected Post Offices.