New Delhi: Like every year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute on Rani Laxmibai on her birth anniversary on Monday.

In such customary tweets, the Prime Minister makes it a point to pay tributes to towering personalities from history differently on every anniversary. In 2014, it was recalling John Lang, rarely remembered today.

The prime minister had gifted his former Australian counterpart Tony Abbott a copy of the petition filed by the gentleman in question in 2014.

John Lang, who?

John Lang was an Australian lawyer who represented Laxmibai in her legal battle against the East India Company in the case of annexation of her kingdom Jhansi.

 Lang was summoned by the queen after she heard that he had won a case for an Indian merchant against the Company.

Professor Amit Ranjan, who is ready with a book on Lang, describes him as a “curious character. A negotiator of this sub culture.”

"He fought cases only for the Indians against the British. As a journalist, he wrote against the British. He also published military gossip in his newspaper,” added Ranjan, who is also the recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship 2015-2016.

Lang, not only played an important role in Laxmibai’s battle against the British but also provided a first-hand account of her, her personality and her palace.

The unrest against the British was triggered by the doctrine of lapse — an annexation policy applied by Lord Dalhousie in India, which rejected adopted children as the rightful heir to the throne. 

Ranjan believes that involving Lang in her business was a mistake by Laxmibai as the government would not have let go a chance to defeat him.

Exactly what was feared, happened. The petition against the seizure of Jhansi was dismissed by the court within a week.

After this, we all know the story of Laxmibai’s sacrifice for saving her kingdom.

Lang, who spent most of his years in Meerut and Mussoorie, learnt Hindustani, wrote about his meetings with Nana Sahib, Tantiya Tope and the nobility of Awadh and even edited the newspaper The Mofussilite.

Ranjan also said that he married an Anglo Indian girl and had a son, but no one has any account of what happened to them.

Lang, after spending 22 years in the country, died at the age of 48 in 1864.