How It All Began

“… 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 in 1857.”

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 Regiment.

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 rebellion against the British during the 1857 Mutiny.


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