The British who had come to India for trade, stayed in the county to subjugate the Indians. It was the time when every citizen of the country felt the humiliation of the British hegemony. In 1857 a sepoy serving with the British East India Company informed against the issue of the greased cartridge to the soldiers; the rounds were rumoured to have been smeared with either cow or pig grease. This was against the religion for both the Hindus and Muslims. A staunch Hindu Brahmin Mangal Pandey finally decided that he had enough. Today on his 191st birth anniversary, let us look at some less known facts about the brave Indian freedom fighter.
Five Facts about Mangal Pandey:
1. Mangal Pandey was born on July 19, 1827, at Nagwa, Ballia district which is now a part of Uttar Pradesh. At the age of 18, he saw a column of sepoy infantry on the march which inspired him to join the East India Company Army in 1849. He was a soldier in the 6th Company of the 34th Bengal Native Infantry.
2. In the mid-1850s, a new Enfield rifle was introduced to India and cartridge was said to be smeared with animal fat, primarily pigs and cows. To use the gun, the soldiers would have to bite off the ends of the cartridges.
3. Hearing that Britishers had deliberately used pig or cow fat in an attempt to defile their religions, fearless Mangal Pandey decided to take violent action. He took his gun and shot down his British Sergeant Major and then another officer before being overpowered. His move inspired millions to stand up and fight against the British.
4. Sensing that his arrest was inevitable, Mangal Pandey tried to kill himself. He shot himself in the chest and bent bleeding but was not severely wounded. Pandey was arrested and brought to trial.
5. Fearing the outbreak of a more significant revolt, the British officials hanged him on April 8, 1857, at Barrackpore, Kolkata.
Mangal Pandey’s actions against the Britishers triggered a series of revolts all over India. Hindus and Muslims, Kings and Commoners, everyone fought together against the same enemy, led to the First War of Independence in 1857. The Indian government issued a postage stamp bearing his image to commemorate Mangal Pandey’s brave contribution,