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Jhalkari Bai Koli
Jhalkaribai Statue at Gwalior.jpg
Statue of Jhalkaribai in Gwalior
Born(1830-11-22)22 November 1830[1]
Bhojla Village, Jhansi state
DiedApril 5, 1858(1858-04-05) (aged 27)[2]
Cause of deathMartyrdom
Statue of Jhalkari Bai
OccupationWarrior/Army Personnel
OrganizationWarrior/Army Personnel
Known forBeing the most prominent advisor to Rani Lakshmibai
MovementIndian Rebellion of 1857
SpousePuran Singh (an Artilleryman from the Artillery Unit of Rani Lakshmibai)
  • Sadovar Singh (Farmer) (father)
  • Jamuna Devi (mother)
Jhalkari Bai Postal Stamp

Jhalkaribai (22 November 1830 – 5 April 1858)[2] was a woman soldier who played an important role in the Indian Rebellion of 1857. She served in the women's army of Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi. She eventually rose to a position of a prominent advisor to the queen, Rani of Jhansi.[3] At the height of the Siege of Jhansi, she disguised herself as the queen and fought on her behalf, on the front, allowing the queen to escape safely out of the fort.[3][4]


Jhalakaribai was born to Sadova Singh and Jamunadevi on 22 November 1830 in Bhojla village in a Koli/Kori[5][6] family near Jhansi.[1] In her youth, she is claimed to have stood her ground when attacked by a tiger and killed it with an axe.[7] She reportedly once killed a leopard in the forest with a stick she used to herd cattle.[8]

After the death of her mother when she was very young, her father raised her. Consistent with the social conditions of the era, she lacked formal education, but was trained in horseback riding and the use of weaponry.[citation needed]

Jhalkaribai bore an uncanny resemblance to Laxmibai and because of this she was inducted into the women's wing of the army.[9][3]

Military service[edit]

In the queen's army, she quickly rose in the ranks and began commanding her own army.[10] During the Rebellion of 1857, General Hugh Rose attacked Jhansi with a large army. The queen faced the army with 14,000 of her troops. She waited for relief from Peshwa Nana Sahib's army camping at Kalpi that did not come because Tantia Tope had already been defeated by General Rose. Meanwhile, Dulhaji from Thakur community, in charge of one of the gates of the fort, had made a pact with the assailants and opened the doors of Jhansi for the British forces. When the British rushed the fort, Laxmibai, on advice of her courtier, escaped through Bhanderi gate with her son and attendants to Kalpi. Upon hearing of Laxmibai's escape, Jhalkaribai set out for General Rose's camp in disguise and declared herself to be the queen. This led to a confusion that continued for a whole day and gave the Rani's army renewed advantage.[4]

In addition, she was a close confidante and advisor to the queen playing a key role in the analysis of the battle, alongside Laxmibai.[10][11][12]


The death anniversary of Jhalkaribai is celebrated as Shahid Diwas (Martyr Day) by various Koli organizations.[13] The movement to establish Bundelkhand as a separate state has also used the legend of Jhalkaribai to create the Bundeli identity.[14] The Government of India's Post and Telegraph department has issued a postal stamp depicting Jhalkaribai.[15]

The Archaeological Survey of India is setting up a museum at Panch Mahal, a five-storey building located inside the Jhansi Fort in remembrance of Jhalkaribai.[16]

She is referred to in the novel Jhansi ki Rani written in 1951 by B. L. Varma, who created a subplot in his novel about Jhalkaribai. He addressed Jhalkaribai as Korin and an extraordinary soldier in Laxmibai's army. Ram Chandra Heran Bundeli novel Maati, published in the same year, depicted her as "chivalrous and a valiant martyr". The first biography of Jhalkaribai was written in 1964 by Bhawani Shankar Visharad, with the help of Varma's novel and his research from the oral narratives of Kori communities living in the vicinity of Jhansi.[17]

Writers narrating the story of Jhalkaribai. Efforts have been made to place Jhalkaribai at an equal footing of Laxmibai.[17] Since the 1990s, the story of Jhalkaribai has begun to model a fierce form of Koli womanhood, has acquired a political dimension, and her image is being reconstructed with the demands of social situation.[14]

President Ramnath Kovind unveiled the statue of Jhalkari Bai at Guru Tegh Bahadur Complex in Bhopal on 10 November 2017.[18]

Depiction in film[edit]

Manikarnika (2019), a Hindi film starring Ankita Lokhande as Jhalkaribai has been made.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Sarala 1999, p. 111
  2. ^ a b "When Jhalkari Bai fought as Lakshmi Bai". Tribune India. Archived from the original on 11 May 2008. Retrieved 26 March 2010., which quotes Mr. Nareshchandra Koli stating her date of death as 4 April 1857. Sarala (1999, pp. 113–114) notes that she died in 1881. Varma & Sahaya (2001, p. 305) notes that she died as a very old woman without giving any exact date of death.
  3. ^ a b c Sarala 1999, pp. 112–113
  4. ^ a b Varma, B. L. (1951), Jhansi Ki Rani, p. 255, as quoted in Badri Narayan 2006, pp. 119–120
  5. ^ "Ankita Lokhande celebrates birthday with Manikarnika co-star Kangana Ranaut, Mouni Roy and other TV stars. See pics, video". Hindustan Times. 19 December 2018. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  6. ^ "वीरांगना झलकारी बाई". hindi.webdunia.com. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  7. ^ "Rediff On The NeT: Jhalkari Bai, a little known chapter on a woman's courage in colonial India". www.rediff.com. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  8. ^ Sarala 1999, p. 112
  9. ^ "Commemorative Postage Stamp on Jhalkari Bai – Latest Releases". Archived from the original on 9 December 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  10. ^ a b Narayan, Badri (7 November 2006). Women Heroes and Dalit Assertion in North India: Culture, Identity and Politics. SAGE Publications India. ISBN 9788132102809.
  11. ^ Vishwakarma, Sanjeev Kumar. Feminism and Literature: Text and Context. Allahabad (India): Takhtotaaz. pp. 132–139. ISBN 978-81-922645-6-1.
  12. ^ Gupta, Charu (2007). "Dalit 'Viranganas' and Reinvention of 1857". Economic and Political Weekly. 42 (19): 1739–1745. JSTOR 4419579.
  13. ^ Badri Narayan 2006, p. 125
  14. ^ a b Badri Narayan 2006, p. 129
  15. ^ Badri Narayan (2006, p. 119) mentions "Today, the Koris, like other Dalit castes, use the myth of Jhalkaribai for the glorification of their community. They also celebrate Jhalkaribai Jayanti each year to enhance their self respect and elevate the status of their caste. It is a matter of great pride that she was a Dalit Virangana (brave woman warrior) born in the Kori caste and they highlight this dimension while recounting her brave deeds."
  16. ^ Tankha, Madhur (28 February 2014) ASI to set up Jhalkari Bai museum at Jhansi Fort – NEW DELHI. The Hindu. Retrieved on 21 November 2018.
  17. ^ a b Badri Narayan 2006, p. 119
  18. ^ Prez unveils Jhalkari Bai's statue. Daily Pioneer (11 November 2017)