“… I want … a unit of brave Indian women
to form a death-defying Regiment who will wield the sword which
Rani of Jhansi wielded in India’s First War of Independence
Subhas Chandra Bose speaking at the Padang on 9 July 1943.
The Rani of Jhansi
Regiment, c. 1940s.
Among the masses attending Bose’s rally on 9 July was Dr.
Lakshmi, who responded immediately to his appeal to form a Women’s
Regiment. She visited many families to persuade the women to join
the INA. Many were reluctant because they firmly believed that the
traditional role of a woman was to be at home. However, she managed
to gather 20 enthusiastic girls who were willing to break those
traditional barriers. The girls presented the guard-of-honour to
Bose. He was impressed and invited Dr. Lakshmi to lead the Women’s
On 12 July 1943, Bose announced the formation of the Women’s
Regiment, naming it “Rani of Jhansi Regiment”, after
the Rani (Queen in Hindi) Lakshimbai (1835-1858) who rose in
against the British during the 1857 Mutiny.