Which Bharatiya would not feel proud of listening to the events of the great war of independence of 1857? It was a wonderful, amazing and unique event in world history which shook the whole world in general and the British Indian empire in particular. It was a collective and countrywide challenge of the People of Bharat against the imperialist British Government. Millions of people were killed in it. The British not only committed genocide but also carried out terrible plunder. This struggle lasted more than a year in a row.
• The misinformation was spread that the struggle was confined only to North India, and it was merely soldier mutiny. But the truth is, the whole of India had fought this battle of independence collectively. The whole country fought this war-Soldiers, feudal, peasants, labourers, Dalits, women, and intellectuals all fought for justice.
• “The reality is that there was a revolt against the British rule by the people of the entire region of the north and northwest of India.”–Justine McCarthy said in “History of our own Times”.
• The Freedom Struggle of 1857 was not merely the whims of the kings and some soldiers in power. That attempt may have failed, but it was fruitful for the future. Despite all the brutality, the British could not suppress the desire of the Bharatiya people to achieve independence.
• The British had badly crushed the intense desire of the Bharatiya people to achieve independence, it is said – the reality is that this was the beginning of the collective efforts to achieve independence. It was the beginning of the throwing the yoke of the British from the shoulders not only continued but has also affected the Bharat of the future at large.
• Anyone who contributed to the Swatantray Mahayagya is revered.
There are three important sides to the 1857 revolution.
- There was Satyagraha and Armed Revolution for independence by various individuals and institutions
- Some people migrated abroad and created an atmosphere in favour of freedom and assisted the efforts being made in Hindustan for independence.
- Satyagraha and movements across the country endeavoured in Akhil -Bharatiya manner.
In ‘A Survey of Indian History’, Sardar Panikkar wrote – “Everyone had the same and similar objective – to get national independence by driving the British out of the country. From this point of view, you cannot call it a rebellion. He was a great national upliftment.”
Tatya Tope said in front of the judge at Shivpuri Cantonment: “I am well aware that due to the struggle with the British, one has to go towards the mouth of death. I don’t need any court, nor do I have to participate in the case.”
Vasudev Balwant Phadke said, “O People of Hindustan! Why should I not accept death like a Dadhichi? Why not try to free you from slavery and misery through my sacrifice? I bow to you all last.”
The ‘Amrit Bazar Patrika’ wrote about Vasudev Balwant Phadke in November 1879: “He had all the great personalities who are sent to the world for the attainment of the work of significance. He was an angel. The height of his personality will be a comparison with the Satpura and the Himalayas as compared to that of the normal human being.”
Christianization of Hindustan
The East India Company had an emphasis on the Christianization of Hindustan. There was a strong movement that grew in England to spread Christianity in India and convert its Hindu and Muslim subjects to that faith. By the Charter Act of 1813, Christian missionaries were permitted to enter the Company’s territories in India to propagate their religion and spread Western education. The Christian missionaries took every opportunity to ridicule the Hindu as well as the Islamic religion. They denounced idolatry, ridiculed the Hindu gods and goddesses and criticized the philosophy and principles of Hinduism and Islam. The teaching of Christian doctrines was made compulsory in educational institutes run by the missionaries. Thus, the interference of the British authorities in social customs and practices through social legislation and the encouragement given by the government to Christian missionaries in their proselytizing activities created a sense of apprehension and hatred in the minds of Indians. (Patrick Brantlinger, Rule of Darkness, pg202) In military cantonments, Ram, Krishna, the Prophet, the Vedas, and the Qur’an were abused by Christian missionaries, and they were punished when the Indian soldier resisted. Discontent with the bulk conversion of the soldiers began to swell inside. With government assistance, Christian missionaries began to grow|
In 1857, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the East India Company said in a speech in the House of Commons regarding the Christian of Hindustan: “God has handed over the vast empire of Hindustan to England, it is so that the Christian flag should be hoisted from one end of Hindustan to the other. Each should put all his might and work hard to do the great work of Christianising Hindustan so that there is no stone unturned.”
The vicious cycle of conversion was also carried out among the soldiers. An officer (British) of the Bengal Army wrote in his report: “For the last 28 years, I have constantly been working to Christianize the soldiers because it was my military duty to free the Indian soldiers from the claws of Satan and take refuge in Jesus.”
(Context: Response to the Freedom Struggle of 1857; Author–Sridhar Paradkar)
Countrywide form of freedom struggle
1857 Places of the Freedom Struggle
Delhi, Lucknow, Allahabad (Prayag), Azamgarh, Fatehpur, Banaras (Varanasi), Gorakhpur, Agra, Mathura, Kanpur, Sitapur, Farrukhabad, Jaunpur, Mainpuri, Etawah, Etah, Aligarh, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Bareilly, Moradabad, Shahjahanpur, Badaun, Saharanpur, Bijnor, Almora, Bageshwar, Champawat, Nainital, Pithoragarh, Udham Singh Nagar, Banda, Hamirpur, Jhansi, Jalaun, Sagar, Khandwa, Khargone, Burhanpur, Barwani, Neemuch, Udaipur, Indore, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Bareilly, Moradabad, Shahjahanpur, Badaun, Saharanpur, Bijnor, Almora, Bageshwar, Champawat, Nainital, Pithoragarh, Udham Singh Nagar, Banda, Hamirpur, Jhansi, Jalaun, Sagar, Khandwa, Khargone, Burhanpur, Barwani, Neemuch, Udaipur Ujjain, Guna, Sehore, Jhalawar, Kota, Banswara, Pratapgarh, Chittorgarh, Gwalior, Calcutta (Kolkata), North24 Parganas, Patna, Ranchi, Kangra, Amritsar, Peshawar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur, Rawalpindi, Sialkot, Mahendragarh, Ambala, Ferozepur, Peshawar, Sahiwal, Chittagong, Dhaka, Jalpaiguri, Bhagalpur, Hazaribagh, Palamu, Singhbhum, Kolhapur, Karachi, Hyderabad, Hyderabad and Nagpur.
The moral consequences of the freedom struggle were the same in north and south India. The issues of conflict with the British were the same. In Savarkar’s words, the main aim of the struggle was to preserve swarajya swadharma.
The major attempts to overthrow the English power in South India were
• December:1856- Armed conflict in Satara by Rangoji Bapu
• May 1857- Pune armed rebellion attempts
• 1857-Revolt of the Army Platoon in Mumbai
• 1857 -Sirpur was invaded under the leadership of Bhima Naik in Khanadesh
• July 1857- the revolt of the 27th Platoon of Kolhapur
• August November 1858-Tatya Tope’s invasion of Kargund
October 1857-November 1858- Bhagoji Naik’s clash with the British army in Nashik
• December 1857- An encounter with the British army at Trimbakeshwar led by Joglekar
• March 1858 -Revolt against the British in Beed
• 1858-59- Revolt in Sawantwadi
• February 1857 -The armed rebellion of Radhakrishna Dandsen at Midi (Andhra) in Parla
• June 1857- The revolt of the 30th Platoon of Kadapa (Andhra)
• June 1857-Revolt of Hyderabad’s first cavalry
• July 1857- Ascent of the Independence Flag at Machilipatnam and the fall of Rajahmundry
• Attack on Jagiapet
• Organization in Jamkhindy and Bijapur
• 1859-60- Encounters with British forces at Aurangabad by Rohillas and Bhils at Vaijpur in 1859
• February 1857- The army of Shorapur attacked the British army
• 1859-Davidson was invaded in the Nizam’s court
•1857- The army of Ramrao, nephew of Chhatrapati Shahu of Satara, fought the British at Bidar
• November 1857- Attack on the British army in Mudhol
• 1858- Anti-British protests in Mysore state|
• July 1858 Revolt of the 8th Platoon of Madras at Valore|
• 1857-The revolt of the 29th local platoon of Belgaum |
• 1858-The British attacked Karwar |
• May 1858- The head of the British representative, Menson, was beheaded in Suraban.
• War of the King of Nargund with the British
• 1858-The British were attacked under the leadership of Bhimrao of Mundargy
• 1858 Revolt of Dipuji Rane of Goa
• Revolt of the 18th Platoon of Vellore (Madras) |
• 1858- Revolutionary Rebellion in Chingalput (Madras)
• July 1857- Revolt of the 25th and 45th Platoon of Queclone (Kerala|