I often wondered as to why the street I was born in was called “Mani Kanika” which is often misspelt as “Mani Karnika”. With a very scanty historical background and less of inquisitiveness, I never bothered to know the implication of the term or its genesis. However, on seeing the serial “Jhansi Ki Rani”, I came to know of the meaning and implication of the term in the context of my street named after the legendary queen of Jhansi defying and devouring the British Govt. till she died which heralded the history of fight for freedom with “Sepoy Mutiny of 1857” beginning to alert the foreign rulers on the shape of things to come, culminating in their doom on the fifteenth of August, 1947.
The purport of my writing is not to tell you about the history of freedom struggle or about the war and achievements of Mani Kanika; but behind the success of “The Queen Of Jhansi” was one man who can outstandingly be called as the first and foremost freedom fighter of India. He was locally and popularly called Chakhi Khuntia or Chandan Hajuri, I feel proud that his great grandson was in the same class with me and his grandson, a friend and classmate of my father. Strange but true that the great grand daughter of Chakhi Khuntia was the classmate and best friend of my wife who also hails from the same street. Perhaps the circle would have been complete if my children would have had the same privilege which could not be due to my transfer and posting elsewhere in the State.