India is not only the largest democracy in the world and but also has the largest voters across India, including tribal areas. This free election provides an opportunity to express our gratitude to the early freedom fighters of our country who sacrificed their lives for our freedom and, in the recent past, I have posted on some of the brave personalities and the present post is on Tantya Tope, a highly motivated warrior from Maharastra whose heroic exploits will linger on for ever in the annals of Indian history.
Tatya Tope, a great Maratha military leader of repute and guts played a crucial role in the 1857 great Indian rebellion against the East India company run by the proxy British government and their unjust and oppressive rule. In the long-drawn rebellion, Tope became a martyr and one of the illustrious sons of the Indian subcontinent who sacrificed their lives for the Indian freedom from the British.
|Indian postal stamp. Tantya Tope. Veethi|
|1857 revolt, Indian rebels blown before the cannons. Islam21c|
Tantya Tope helped Rani Lakshmibai seize the city of Gwalior when the British launched a major assault on Gwalior. However, the victory was short lived as Lakshmi Bhai and Nana had to face a formidable British army with better artillery power and military weapons. Tope and Rao Sahib, nephew of Nana Sahib, helped Lakshmi Bhai escape from Gwalior during the major assault on the city by the British. Tope's army was defeated by General Napier's British Indian troops at Ranod and after further defeat at Sikar he abandoned the campaign.
|Great warrior, Tatya Tope Hindu Janajagruti Samiti|
Being resolute and committed Tope never gave gave up his fight against the British though the 1857 Revolt was put down by the British and normalcy was almost restored in many places. Tantya Tope continued his resistance against the English company as a guerrilla fighter in the jungles and the state forces were behind him despite the state ruler's warming. From here, Tope kept changing his places to avoid arrest and by 1859 after a few vain attempts to attack the British army, he sough the asylum of Man Singh, Raja of Narwar who had no better relation with the ruler of Gwalior. Taking advantage of the revelry between the two Indian rulers, the British were successful in negotiating with him to surrender Tantya Tope to them in return for his life and protection of his family from any reprisals by the Maharajah of Gwalior. The British gave Tope a good chase and he roughly traversed 2800 miles through the dense, dangerous and dark jungles of India, high mountains and swollen rivers. On many an occasion, he outsmarted the wily and tricky Bobs. Alas! fate had it that he was betrayed by his own friend Raja Mansingh. He said boldly, "What I did, was for my mother and I have no regrets".
Tope admitted the charges brought before him saying that he was answerable to his master the Peshwa only. The lone rebel leader was executed by the British Government at Shivpuri on 18 April 1859 and the ''Sun'' set forever on the First War of India's Independence. The last rebel of the great Indian rebellion was put to death. Tantya Tope fought for India's freedom with the same spirit and guts till he was taken to the gallows. Equally interesting is the fact that he proved to be a great warrior and military leader in all his battles against the British and the people and the rebels reposed trust in his sincerity and dedication to drive the British out of India. A worthy courageous Indian freedom fighter who lives in the heart of every patriotic Indian.