ASI to set up Jhalkari Bai museum at Jhansi Fort

In remembrance of doughty soldier in the Jhansi Army Veerangana Jhalkari Bai, who fought the British disguising herself as Rani Lakshmibai, the Archaeological Survey of India is now all ready to set up a grand museum at Panch Mahal, a five storey building located inside the Jhansi Fort.

According to ASI Additional Director-General B. R. Mani, the nodal agency will commence work in right earnestness as Union Culture Minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch on Thursday made a formal announcement about the same.

“We have to see to it that the Jhansi Fort is not damaged. It is important that people from far and wide understand the significance of Jhalkari Bai,” said Dr. Mani.

The ASI, which comes under the Union Culture Ministry, proposes to display sculptures and architectural heritage at the museum to highlight the history, archaeology of the area and life history of Jhalkari Bai and her queen Rani Lakshmibai.

Born into an economically backward family, Veerangana Jhalkari Bai started off as a soldier in Rani Laxshmibai’s Durga Sena but rose into prominence due to her extraordinary courage and taking responsibility for security of Lakshmibai. That she bore striking resemblance to Lakshmibai also helped as she was able to hoodwink the British and save Jhansi’s queen from getting killed.

Unveiling a plaque of the Veerangana Jhalkari Bai Archaeological Museum at Jhansi Fort at a function at National Museum here, Ms. Katoch said: “Undoubtedly, Jhalkari Bai was a brave warrior who sacrificed herself for Rani Lakshmibai.”

At the function, speakers also recalled stories of how Jhalkari Bai killed a tiger with an axe in the jungles and her decision to fight the British instead of performing the last rites of her husband.

Union Minister of State for Rural Development Pradeep Jain ‘Aditya’ assured all monetary assistance in the construction of the museum.

“The museum will be showcasing Rani Lakshmibai’s sword and other materials belonging to her,” he said.

Mr. Jain said he would also ensure that the statues of Rani Lakshmibai and Veerangaana Jhalkari Bai are installed in the Parliament House complex.