After the British took over India, most of the people of India made efforts to free India from British occupation. The first freedom struggle to liberate India from the British was started in the year 1857. During this freedom struggle, along with the kings of many states of India, the common people also bravely came forward to fight against the British. People like Tantia Tope, Rani Laxmibai, Mangal Pandey used all their force to make this freedom struggle a success. Mangal Pandey is a notable name in the history of India’s freedom struggle. Mangal Pandey was one of the most notable leaders of the first freedom struggle and the Sepoy Mutiny that started against the British in 1857. He was martyred by sacrificing his highest to liberate India from the clutches of the British rule.
Biography of Mangal Pandey
|Date of Birth||July 19, 1827|
|Place of Birth||Nagwa Village, Ballia District, Uttar Pradesh|
|Father’s Name||Divakar Pandey|
|Mother’s Name||Abhairani Pandey|
|Death||April 8, 1857|
Early Life of Mangal Pandey
Mangal Pandey, who was the first martyr in India’s freedom struggle, was born on July 19,1827, in the then village of Nagwa, into a very conservative upper caste Hindu family in present-day Ballia district of Uttar Pradesh. However, some people have also called Mangal Pandey’s place of birth in Surhur village in Faizabad district. Mangal Pandey’s father’s name is Diwakar Pandey.
Mangal Pandey, who had a social mind since childhood, completed his primary and secondary education and joined the British East India Company as a Sepoy at the age of twenty-two in 1849. For the ambitious minded Mangal Pandey, his sepoy job was a ladder on the road to progress. It may be recalled that Pandey was serving as a soldier of The Bengal Native Regiment no. 34 during the Great Revolt of 1857. But a clash of religious beliefs arose with the ambitions of Mangal Pandey’s life engaged in the ambitious-minded sepoy profession.
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Significantly, soon after joining the British East India Company as a Sepoy, Mangal Pandey witnessed the discriminatory treatment and discord between the British soldiers and the Indian soldiers working there. There was a vast difference between the British Army and the Indian Army in front of the English officers.
It is to be noted that the indigenous armies were always obliged to bow down before the English officers, but in the case of the English soldiers, these obligations were not seen. There was also a disparity/partiality between the indigenous army and the British army in terms of paying salaries. The salary of an Indigenous/Indian Jawans/soldiers was only Seven rupees. On the other hand, the salaries of the English Sepoys were high. All the facilities were not given to the Indigenous Soldiers in respect to English Soldiers. There was no scope for promotion of indigenous soldiers. It is to be noted that in the event of the death of Indian soldiers in the war, the British did not even take the news of the family for the sake of courtesy, except for financial assistance.
Importantly, in 1853, the British government introduced a new type of firearm called the Enfield Rifle (556 Caliber P/53). Where the opening of the cartridge had to be torn with the teeth before the cartridge i.e. the bullet was fired. As soon as this weapon became popular in India, there were reports that the opening of the cartridge was made of cow-pig fat. This led to the loss of caste by both Hindu and Muslim armies. Because cow as food for Hindus in Indian society and pigs are religiously forbidden for Muslims. While most of the Indian soldiers refused to use rifles in the desire to destroy their religion, the British repeatedly pressured them to use rifles. This led to anger in the minds of The Indian soldiers against the Britishers.
This was followed by an organized revolt of the Sepoys against the British at the Army Cantonment in Barrackpore. It may be recalled that on March 29, 1857, at the Army Cantonment in Barrackpore, Mangal Pandey encouraged other soldiers to revolt against the British officers and attacked British officials. He told other soldiers that, “Come out, the Europeans are here,” and “from biting these cartridges we shall become infidels”.
Aware of this behaviour of Pandey British Sergeant-Major James Hewson reached the army camp and directed the Indian Army officer Jemadar Ishwari Prasad to arrest Mangal Pandey. But Ishwari Prasad disobeyed the order of Major James Hewson and told that his NCOs had gone for help and that he could not take Pandey by himself. In response Hewson ordered Ishwari Prasad to fall in the guard with loaded weapons. Subsequently, to control this situation, Sergeant-Major’s adjutant Lieutenant Henry Baugh arrived at the field shouting ‘Where is he? Where is he?’ Hewson in reply called out to Baugh, ‘Ride to the right, sir, for your life. The sepoy will fire at you! At that point Pandey fired at the Baugh. Importantly, no Indian army extended a helping hand to the British during this period. It may be recalled that an army man named Shaikh Paltu took care to extend a helping hand to the British, but he was attacked by Indian soldiers with stones and shoes.
The two British officers were seriously injured when they were attacked by Pandey. For which British officials had recommended the arrest of Pandey. But Pandey, who was unwilling to hold him by the British, tried to shoot himself with his gun and die. However, he recovered gradually as the bullet injury was not very serious. Some people believed the act was carried out under the influence of some drugs. But when asked if he was drunk in the trial when he was subsequently produced in court to dare to attack the English, Pandey replied that he committed it with full awareness and in a healthy state. Mangal Pandey was sentenced to death at the end of the trial proceedings.
Mangal Pandey was hanged on April 7, 1857 at the age of 29, after the end of the trial proceedings by producing him in court for daring to attack the English. A few days later, on April 21, Ishwar Prasad was also sentenced to death. He was the first martyr of India’s freedom movement. The incident had caused strong resentment among the indigenous jawans/sepoys. It was from here that the first great revolt for India’s independence began, known as the Sepoy Mutiny in history (The Revolt of 1857).
Later, the revolt, initiated by Mangal Pandey, quickly spread to various parts of India, including Meerut, Delhi, Lucknow, Jhansi, Gwalior etc. After the death of Pandey. Indian insurgents looted arms depots from army cantonments and set fire on fire and killed British civilians at various places. Later, the rebellion spread to Delhi and lasted for several days. However, for a long time, the Indian Army could not maintain its fighting streak.
In 1984, the Government of India issued postage stamps to honour Mangal Pandey, who is considered a powerful hero in modern India, to keep his memory alive. Apart from this, a film called Mangal Pandey: The Rising was also made to promote the life of the patriotic Mangal Pandey. The film starred Aamir Khan, Rani Mukerji, Ameesha Patel, and others.
The Roti Rebellion was exhibited in 2005. Apart from this, several films and stage plays have been written based on his life. It is important to note that the influence of Mangal Pandey in social life is that the British called all the soldiers as ‘Pandey’ in this war of independence. Apart from this, a park named Shaheed Mangal Pandey Maha Udyan has been established in Barrackpore in memory of Mangal Pandey.
Mangal Pandey is a legend who inspired a subjugated nation to fight for freedom by freeing it from the clutches of subjugation from Britishers.
Mangal Pandey is the brave and powerful warrior who has been shining in Indian history till date. He was the first martyr in the freedom struggle by fighting for the first time to free the Indians from British rule. Mangal Pandey is a glorious example of patriotism and national pride. He is a source of inspiration for the people of the entire country. His name will always remain etched in golden letters in the history of India and will remain alive in the hearts of every Indians.
1. Who was the first martyr of India’s freedom movement?
Ans: Mangal Pandey was the first martyr of India’s independence movement.
2. Who initiated the Sepoy Mutiny?
Ans: On March 29,1857, Mangal Pandey started the Sepoy Mutiny at the Army Cantonment in Barrackpore.
3. Why did the British government sentenced Mangal Pandey to death?
Ans: Pandey was sentenced to death on April 7, 1857, at the Army Cantonment in Barrackpore, for encouraging other Indian soldiers to rebel against British officers and attempting to kill a British officers.
4. In which year did Mangal Pandey died?
Ans: On April 7,1857, at the age of 29, the British government sentenced Mangal Pandey to death.
5. When was Mangal Pandey born?
Ans: Mangal Pandey was born on July 19, 1827, in the then village of Nagwa, to a very conservative upper caste Hindu family in present-day Ballia district of Uttar Pradesh.
6. What is the father’s name of Mangal Pandey
Ans: Divakar Pandey.
7. What is the mother’s name of Mangal Pandey?
Ans: Abhairani Pandey.
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