If we Indians are asked to name somebody who played a vital role in India’s First War of Independence in 1857, Mangal Pandey would undoubtedly be a unanimous answer. Let us know more about this fearless freedom fighter, who sacrificed his life for the country.
Mangal Pandey was born on July 19, 1827, at Nagwa, in the Ballia district of Uttar Pradesh. However, some historians claim that Mangal Pandey was not born in Ballia, but in Surahurpur, Uttar Pradesh. He was born to Divakar Pandey and Abhairani Pandey, in a landowning upper-caste Brahmin Hindu family. Great respect and faith was instilled in him for the Hindu religion and beliefs.
The British East India Company, which governed a large part of the Indian Sub-Continent, needed an army to protect them and their activities. Consequently, a lot of regiments, formerly known as battalions were formed to serve this purpose. These regiments usually employed a lot of locals, especially the Brahmins. The Indian men who joined as soldiers in these regiments were known as ‘Sepoys’ in the Infantry.
The Bengal Native Infantry was one such regiment. Mangal Pandey, who was a very ambitious young man, joined the 34th Bengal Native Infantry. He wanted to achieve great success in his career and joined the Infantry with a lot of determination. However, very soon, dissatisfaction started to grow among the Indians on account of differences and unfair treatment received from the British. There were quite a few reasons for this discontent; cultural, religious and social being some of them.
When you protect your country, religion protects itself.
Till today, you have seen our loyalty, now you’ll see our anger
The gun is a very unfaithful lover, anytime it can change its direction, there is no trust
Every person should safeguard his religion– Mangal Pande
Mangal Pandey — a soldier who is the national hero of India. He is best known as the man who caused the first spark of discontent in the ranks of the Sepoy and organized a rebellion.
As a result, this led to the Indian Rebellion, one of the most important events in the history of India, the main driving force of which was the Sepoy.
He was born on July 19, 1827, in Nagwe, the Ceded and Conquered Provinces, into a Brahmana family. At the age of 22, Pandey enlisted in the British Army. His distinguishing feature was his tall stature.
Mangal became a soldier in the 6th Company of the 34th Bengal Regiment. Initially, the young man was very inspired by his military career, which he considered a stepping stone to further professional success. However, over time, Mangal became disillusioned with military service.
But he managed to leave his mark on the history of India and the British Empire without having a successful military career. The fact is that in the regiments of the Indian infantry, rumors were beginning to spread about new cartridges with a shell soaked in pork and cow fat in 1857.
To load the weapon, it was necessary to break this shell with his teeth, which offended the religious feelings of Muslims and Hindus (a cow is a sacred animal in Hinduism, and a pig is unclean in Islam).
Many soldiers were convinced that the British wanted to defile their religions. Pandey, who was a Hindu brahmana, was furious with the use of fat in cartridges. Mangal decided to organize a protest.
Mangal Pandey began to operate on March 29, 1857. He incited other soldiers to revolt against the British Empire. The call for an uprising resonated among the Sepoy, and they refused to arrest Pandey on the orders of the general.
Only one of the soldiers remained loyal to the British monarchy. He was subsequently promoted in rank in recognition of his loyalty.
One of the army lieutenants learned of the uprising and rode his horse to disperse the protesting soldiers. Seeing him, Pandey fired, but the bullet passed the British officer, hitting his horse.
The lieutenant fired a musket, but he also missed. Then, Mangal attacked the British with a sword. At this crucial stage, another Indian soldier intervened and tried to contain Pandey. Realizing that arrest was imminent, Mangal decided to kill himself, but failed.
A few days later, the British decided to execute him. The execution was scheduled on April 18, 1857, but the British authorities, fearing another major revolt, hung it on April 8, 1857.
The revolt by Mangal Pandey united the Sepoy and the peasants. It provoked and accelerated the series of protests across India, the result of which was the great Indian rebellion of 1857.
This man is a symbol of the struggle of the Indian people against British rule. In recognition of his services to India, Mangal Pandey was depicted on a postage stamp in the year one thousand nine hundred and eighty-four.
The Shahid Mangal Pandey Maha Udyannazvan Park is also named in honor of the national hero. It is located in the North Twenty Four Parganas, West Bengal.
Several films and plays are based on the biography of this Indian soldier, including the film Mangal Pandey:
i. The Rise and a play called Rebellion.
He died at a very young age of 29, on April 8, 1857. He was hanged to death as a punishment for his attack on two British soldiers.
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