Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Tantya Tope, a highly spirited feedom fighter during the 1857 great Indian revolt


Tantya Tope/en.wikipedia.org/
 India is in the midst of Parliament election and the  2019 Indian general election is scheduled to be held in seven phases from 11 April to 19 May 2019 to constitute the 17th Lok Sabha. The counting of votes will be held on 23 May, and on the same day, the results will be declared. Legislative Assembly elections in  some of the states of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim will be held simultaneously with the general election. An interesting feature is in the state of Tamil Nadu there will be  by-polls for at least 18 Assembly seats that have been vacant since the recent court order. The 543 elected MPs will be elected from single-member constituencies using ''first-past-the-post voting''. The President of India nominates an additional two members from the Anglo-Indian community if he believes the community is under-represented.

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
Born as Ramachandra Panduranga to a Marathi Deshastha Brahmin family  from  Jola Pargannah, Patoda Zilla Nagar, the present day Maharastra, his name was tagged with the  title Tope, meaning commanding officer; his  first name  being Tantya meaning  General.  His father was  an important noble at the court of the Peshwa Baji Rao II.  It is said he was fond of wearing  white chukri-dar turban and we have run into numerous picture of him wearing this peculiar headgear for winch he was quite well-known.  In 1851, it was when Lord Dalhousie  introduced the ''Doctrine of Lapse'' and deprived Nana Sahib of his father's pension, Tatnya Tope was in rage and became  a sworn enemy of the British Company and its misrule. He supported  Nana Sahib and helped him  organize an anti-British upsurge secretly in collaboration with other aggrieved Indian rulers who were equally bent on getting rid of foreign rule in the Indian subcontinent.
SlideShare
After the uprising in Cawnpore (Kanpur)  that took place on 5 June 1857, Nana Sahib became the leader of the rebels. With the defeat of the British forces  and their surrender on  25 June 1857, Nana was soon declared Peshwa  and he defeated the forces led by General Havelock in battle two times. When the British failed again,  they withdrew to Bithur, and later moved over to  Awadh (now part of UP). From hereon Tantia Picketed up the thread and had begun to lead the Indian rebels on Nana's behalf  from Bithur.
1857 revolt, Indian rebels blown before the cannons. Islam21c
As the English company killed  thousands of Indian natives and took away so many rich Indian kingdoms, relegating the rich Maharajahs and  Nawabs to a lowly position, the rage among the people and, in particular,  the revolting Indian soldiers was way high. This resulted in the 
massacre of  of the British soldiers and civilians  at Cawnpore and  Tantia Tope was one of the leaders during this event that  took place on June 27, 1857. Since then, Tope  had well-planed his defensive strategy and  and in August 1857 kept the military officer  Sir Henry Havelock  under check. This was also true of  Gen. Charles Ash Windham at Cawnpore II,  whom he confronted from  November 27, 1857 to November 28, 1857. However,  luck ran out of Tope  and and his army and after a long unsuccessful struggle, they  had to face defeat at Cawnpore III when the British army counter-attacked  with additional support under  Sir Colin Campbell. Left with no choice, Tantya Tope and the other rebel forces did not want to take the risk and fled  to  Jhansi where  they took shelter under the Rani of Jhansi. At   Gwalior they  were of great help to her in her fight against the British. Rani Lakshmi Bhai, a daring woman,  was also revolting  with full force against the dishonest East India company officials who took away her kingdom because she had no natural legal heir to the throne. 

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
After the fall of Gwalior to the British, Tope and Rao Sahib, fled into the Rajputana and wanted to be at large  to fight against the English company after gathering a better army. 
Tope and the rebels went west towards Nimach.  In the mean time, the British wanted to keep an eye on Tope and had sent a troop in pursuit of him under  Col. Holmes . The British commander in Rajputana, Gen. Abraham Robert was able to attack the rebel force when they had reached a  place  between Sanganer and Bhilwara and now Tope and his army  fled to  Udaipur and Col Robert's forces defeated them   and Tope  crossed the Chambal River and reached the town of Jhalrapatan in the state of Jhalawar. 

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.
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tantia_Tope
 https://www.hindujagruti.org/articles/16_tatya-tope.html