Although after the British imposed their rule over India, resistance came from royalties across the country, but none were enough to shatter the British will. It was, however, in 1857, that the first blow came from the Indians. It awoke a new hope among them about and a vision to see independent India. In many ways, it ushered the spark of nationalism among the fellow Indians. The man behind this, as we all know, was a mere soldier in the Imperial Army, Mangal Pandey. Well, to tell the truth, we still don’t know much about him except for the obvious stuff—so, what are you waiting for? Read the list and know more about this personality:
As known to all, Mangal Pandey started the Sepoy Mutiny in India.
Mangal Pandey was born in Nagwa village in the Balliya district of Uttar Pradesh on 19th July 1827.
He joined the British in the year 1849, at the tender age of 18 and became a soldier with the 6th Company of the Bengal Infantry.
During his office at the Bengal Infantry at Barrackpore, the British introduced a new type of cartridge which was, apparently, made of cow and pig fat. Now, both the Hindus and the Muslims couldn’t use the cartridge, as they had to tear it off with their teeth, for religious reasons. It was Pandey who led a group of Indian soldiers to refuse the use of cartridge.
Perhaps Pandey was actually able to understand the true motive of the British—to divide the country into Hindus and Muslims to ease their dominance. Although many people term his rebellion as a portrayal of his “Dharma” as a Bhumihar Brahmin, a lot of people see this as a genuine effort to stop the atrocities of the British.
Whether out of his stubbornness or nationalistic zeal or religious ideology, we don’t know, but Mangal Pandey was so much angry and disappointed that, after revolting, he had even vouched to kill the first English person he sees.
Well, he kept his promise, and fired at Lieutenant Baugh. Although he missed his shot, Pandey was able to overpower the Lieutenant with a sword—so much was the zeal that, it is said, the Lieutenant and Major Hudson had to run back to save their arses.
It was essentially Mangal Pandey’s efforts that spread the Sepoy Mutiny from Barrackpore to Meerut, Delhi, Cawnpore and Lucknow.
It was due to Mangal Pandey’s genuine efforts that later the British contemplated their action and ordered the soldiers to use their own greasing (of ghee) over the cartridges. In fact, to solve this dilemma, Lord Canning even sanctioned the proposal of Major-General Hearsey.
Mangal Pandey, for his rebellious act, was imprisoned and sentenced a death penalty.
Mangal Pandey was tried at the Military court where he was asked the names who participated in the “crime”. And, he, like a true nationalist hero, kept mum which cost his own life.
Although he was scheduled to be hanged on April 18th, 1857, his death was rescheduled without any prior notification and was carried out 10 days beforehand.
Thus, Mangal Pandey became one of the first martyrs of India—since the day he died, he was referred to as Shahid Mangal Pandey.
It was due to the conglomeration sparked off by Mangal Pandey that the East India Company finally lost all the confidence of the British Empire and the colony of India went under direct rule of Queen Victoria.
The place where Mangal Pandey had attacked the British officers, and where he was later hanged, has been turned into a park now, and is known as “Shahid Mangal Pandey Maha Udyan”.
Designed by the artist C.R. Pakrashi, the Government of India, finally in 5th October 1984, issued postage stamps which bore the image of Mangal Pandey.
Pandey’s so-called treachery made him quite (in)famous among the British, so much so that he gave birth to a new English word! “Pandy” is a word in English Language which has been derived from his surname, and it means “Traitor”. Although it was quite colloquial in those days, it has slowly become obsolete.