War of Independence 1857- the role of Punjab.

War of Independence 1857- the role of Punjab.

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Short History – War of Independence 1857

As the movement includes people from different strata of society. Therefore, the people were from the elite class to the ordinary people of India. Consequently, they were parts of the resistance movement. In addition to it, there are many factors that led to the final outburst. Therefore, the main factors were political, economic, and religious in nature.

British India Company introduced a new rifle. This rifle gathered momentum for the resistance movement. The greased cartridges were made from the fat of cows and pigs. As the pig was forbidden for Muslims. Similarly, the cow was sacred to the Hindus. Therefore, it was unacceptable for both communities. They have to bite these cartridges of the new rifle. But it would have meant a breach of their faith.

Read also: Culture of Pakistan, cultural diversity in Pakistan

Freedom fighters in major cities of India

Moreover, this issue further stirred up the situation. When, a young officer, Mangal Pandey, opened fire on a British officer. Then, Mangal Panday was hanged to death. But the rebellion swelled. Than, thousand of rebellion soldiers reached Delhi. Similarly, they requested Bahadur Shah Zafar to patronize the freedom war.
Bahadur Shah Zafar appointed Bakht Khan as chief commander to encourage the freedom fighters. They controlled Delhi and left for Agra.

Begam Hazrat Mahal

Then the rebellions spread to all the major cities of India. They gave a tough time to the forces of the East India Company. Lucknow was the capital city of Awadh. Begum Hazrat Mahal was the wife of the former king of Awadh. She gave a hard time to the British forces. However, when the British captured the city, she managed to escape.

Nana Sahab

Then, Nana Sahab was the adopted son of Peshwa Baji Raw 11. Initially, he gave a tough time to the British forces. Then the British captured their city, Kanpur. All the prisoners died. They were being put in front of fire cannons.

Rani Lakshmi Bai

Then the other major center was Jhansi. Rani Lakhsmi Bai was leading the freedom fighters. She was only 22 years old. Rani Lakhsmi Bai kept fighting until her death.

Kanwar Singh

Kunwar Singh and his brother Amar Singh were freedom fighters in Danapur. They captured Arrah, the district headquarter.

Khan Bahadur Khan

Khan Bahadur Khan was a brave freedom fighter in Bareilly. He formed his own parallel government in Bareilly. The British forces captured the city. Then he escaped to Nepal. Similarly, he was arrested and sent back to India. He was hanged to death in 1860.

Gujera Movement

The horrible resistance came from the Gujera Movement which engulfed sections of Kamalia, Pindi Sheikh Musa, and Syedwala. The other fearful resistance was from Harappa, Chichawatni, Talumba, and Sarai Sidhu. Then, Shorkot, Jamlera, Sahuka, and Pakpattan also gave a tough time to the British forces.

Book on Punjabis and war of independence 1857.

Punjabis are accused of the transfer of authority to the crown. Some say that they were not active in the resistance against the British. The book is covering some of the facts which are more balanced in the history of freedom in the subcontinent.

Punjab and the War of Independence 1857-1858
Author: Turabul Hassan Sargana
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Price: 795
Pages: 294

Maha Ranjit Singh became a ruler of India in the middle of the eighteenth century. Muslim elite cooperated with the British as a way of retribution. According to the author, Punjabis were the real freedom fighters.  They were the first who fought in different centers as freedom fighters.
However, there were different clans and rivalries among themselves. Therefore, the freedom fighters were not successful on many fronts. Moreover, the British have had modern technology and financial system. They had efficient administrative machinery, better communication, and transport. They had a better war strategy and concentration of power to the civil bureaucracy.


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