RaniLaxmibai of jhansi ( 1835-58) is romanticized as a great woman who fought for the "Independence" of India . She was a brave woman who took on the might of the Raj and died fighting. In her last battle her troops were surrounded by Sir Hugh Rose and she was killed on 17 March 1858. Sir HughRose the British commander was himself wounded and later commented that " The Rani was the bravest and greatest of the commanders of the mutiny".
All this is very well but some half truths need to be re-stated for history to recognize the truth. The Rani was married at the age of 13 to Raja of Jhansi Maharaj Ganghadhar Rao Newalkar who was 40 years older to her. She gave birth to a son in 1851, who died and after that the maharaj Rao and Laxmibai adopted another boy as heir. This was not recognized by the British.
The Mahraj Rao died in 1853 and Rani Laxmibai carried out a ceremony installing the adopted boy as the heir. She appealed to the English to recognize this. The British however did not approve and the Rani repeatedly appealed to the English to recognize the young adopted boy as the heir to the throne of Jhansi. She was not all inclined to fight the English and many overtures to the East India Company. In case the British had accepted the young adopted boy as the Maharaj of Jhansi, the Rani was prepared to side with the East India company.
The rejection of her request led the Rani to launch her fight against the British. Her entire aim was very limited and just consisted of allowing her adopted son to rule Jhansi, freedom of India was never in her mind. Thus the rani was interested in local issues, but her army despite being aided by Tantya Tope was defeated on all fronts. She fought bravely, but it is small consolation for the poor performance of the troops of Tantya Tope and the Rani in battles with the English army.