Mangal Pandey, The First Warrior Of The First War of Independence
Immensely regarded as a hero of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and one of the most famous freedom fighters India has ever had, Mangal Pandey was a sepoy (sipahi) in the 34th Bengal Native Infantry (BNI) regiment of the British East India Company. Though his biography inspired many cinematic productions and he is a hero for all of us; the British considered him a traitor and a mutineer. Here’s taking a glimpse at his life.
The Brahmin Soldier:
Born on 19th July, 1827 in Nagwa, a village in the upper Ballia district (Uttar Pradesh), Pandey was a brahmin. Being a soldier of the 6th company of the Bengal Native Infantry, he joined the East India Company’s army in 1849.
The Revolt of 1857 – The First War of Independence:
In those times, new Enfield rifle was introduced into India that required a soldier to bite off the ends of greased cartridges to load the weapon. A rumor spread that the lubricant used was either cow or pig fat, which hurt the sentiments of both Hindus and Muslims. The sepoys started to believe that the British have deliberately used the fat on the cartridges. This lead to a several chain of events and on 29th March, 1857, Pandey attacked two British officers and attempted to shoot himself. However, he was overpowered by the British soldiers and was arrested.
The Soldier’s Demise:
The first warrior of the first war of independence was then executed on April 8, 1857. However, his attack on the British officers triggered the revolt of 1857.
Tributes Paid By The Country:
The Indian Government paid tributes to this fallen idol by issuing a stamp bearing his image on 5th October, 1984. A park has also been named after him in West Bengal. Named ‘Shaheed Mangal Pandey Maha Udyan’, it is at the spot where he was executed.