Rani of Jhansi Lakshmibai had Pashtun gunners and bodyguards in her service

The famous Rani of Jhansi, one of the leading figures of the Indian war of Independence of 1857, had Pashtuns gunners and her personal bodyguards were a thousand Pashtuns who died defending her to the last man in the final battle in which the Rani fell. (Ref: “Rani of Jhansi” by Jaiwant Paul, page 99 and 100).

Those Pashtun soldiers in her service were referred to as “Walayatis” (Ref: Jhansi Gazetteer, 1965) which indicate that they were not Indianized Pathans but Pashto speaking migrants from Pakhtunkhwa/Afghanistan. Pashtuns used to refer to their country as Walayat or Wilayat and the Indians called them Walayatis. The terms Walayat and Walayati assumed the meanings of foreign country and foreigner respectively in India. Later the term Walayat was applied to England and Englishmen. 

Rani of Jhansi
Rani Lakshmibai, made in 1885 (c). Source



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