The problem with men, especially men from Delhi who happen to be journalists, is that they see a statue of a woman with a sword raised on a horse and they immediately think it’s Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi. So when I told myrickcharioteertotakemetothestatue of the Rani of Jhansi at Hazratganj, helookedflummoxed.Helookedequally flummoxed when I mentioned that the statue was opposite the BJP party office in Lucknow.
Part of the mystery was cleared when I realised that the helmeted lady on the steed glistening in Goldfinger gold paint was not Lakshmibai but Maharani Avantibai of Ramgarh. I could be forgiven for mixing up the two ranis as both were from Madhya
Pradesh. Both fought the British and died in 1858 during the Mutiny.
Acrosstheisland-crossingatLalbagh, fromwhereAvantibaiisever-charging, is the BJP party office. Its walls are wrappedbyshamiana-likesaffronand white cloth. Inside, only one woman is projectedasaleaderlendingherweight with the boys in the War for Lucknow. On a billboard inside, alongside the smiling faces of Rajnath Singh, Kalraj Mishra and state party president KeshavPrasadMauryaisUmaBharati.
AlsofromMadhyaPradesh.Butwith Umaprobablyhopingforabetterresult than what befell Lakshmi and Avanti.