BIHAR & FIRST WAR OF INDEPENDENCE—1857 The first war of independence-1857 was an Indian response to the accumulated grievances of the people of this country against the British Authority in India . We have learnt about the battle of the PLASI ( 1757 ) and the battle of BUXUR ( 1865 ) . But BIHAR was not ready to accept the consequences of both the battles as they were detrimental to the well-being of the people of BIHAR . So the people , especially , ZAMINDARS were ready to fight with the alien Rulers who had usurped the power and functioned as De-Facto Rulers of BIHAR as such . Though limited in character it took a form of war against the British Rule in India including BIHAR . Started as a MUTINY from DANAPUR ( DINAPUR ) military cantonment in which about 2000 sepoys of three regiments revolted against the British Authority , the immediate cause of which was the bullets supplied to these sepoys were covered with tallow and which were required to be beaten off from teeth before loading in the rifles . This was against the ethos and Cultures of the local sepoys most of whom were vegetarian and hated cow/pig tallow . They were accompanied by more than eight thousand villagers of the nearby villages under the able leadership of ZAMINDAR OF JAGDISHPUR , BABU VEER KUNWAR SINGH and they marched towards ARRAH ( A TOWN NEAR PATNA ) in the end of 1857 to overthrow the British Authority completely from ARRAH as such . The Rebellion could not end as his brother BABU AMAR SINGH carried on his fight against the British Rule in BIHAR even later .
The role of BABU VEER KUNWAR SINGH , a PARMAR RAJPUT of UJJAINI clan of JAGDISHPUR , ARRAH , was that of a Commander who led the rebelling sepoys of DANAPUR cantonment and thousand and thousand of local villagers at the age of eighty with his two brothers : BABU AMAR SINGH & BABU HARE KRISHAN SINGH , and occupied district headquarters of ARRAH on 25th July, 1857 . By adopting the guerrila warfare techniques , he defeated a body of EUROPEAN & SHIKH army sent from the DANAPUR cantonment to fight against him after he captured the British Establishment of ARRAH . However , it was with the help of a British Commander , VINCENT EYRE , who was on his way to ALLAHABAD , the British Army after serious fight with BABU VEER KUNWAR SINGH near BIBIGANJ got success in taking back the besieged garrison of ARRAH on August 2 ,1857 . After disarming the people of ARRAH he marched towards JAGDISHPUR , captured it , demolished almost all main buildings of BABU VEER KUNWAR SINGH’S palace . Now BABU VEER KUNWAR SINGH had started organizing principalities of BANDA , REWA and KANPUR . In March 1858 , he captured AJAMGARH but he couldn’t retain it for long as BRIGADIER DOUGLAS compelled him to retreat back towards his native place at ARRAH , BIHAR who , while crossing the river the GANGAGES got a bullet in his arm . He sacrificed his injured arm to the mother GANGAGES on April 21 , 1858 willingly apprehending poison of the bullet maight reach other parts of his body . Injured VEER KUNWAR SINGH reached JAGDISHPUR and fought the Commander of the British Army Captain LE GRAND and defeated him . His Estate was recovered from the British Army on April 23 , 1858 . The UNION JACK ( FLAG OF BRITISH ) was brought down from the fort of JAGDISHPUR and he hoisted his own flag there . But he couldn’t survived for long . On April 26 , 1858 he died in his own fort of JAGDISHPUR . But Rebellion against the British Rule did not stop and it was carried over by his brother BABU AMAR SINGH .
The revolt that started from MEERUT on May 10 , 1857 spread like a wild fire and engulfed the entire northern INDIA including BIHAR . On July 3 , 1857 the revolt against the British Rule in PATNA was led by one PIR ALI . And the Deputy Opium Agent of the PATNA OPIUM AGENCY , Dr. LYELL was brutally killed which was taken as a major attack on the colonial revenue . One should know that OPIUM & INDIGO trades were the major source of revenue for the British Officials from BIHAR PROVINCE . The Ganjetic BIHAR and BANARAS-GAZIPUR region of Northern INDIA was the main producer of OPIUM for the British Agent in this area . That’s why the intensity of revolt in this region was comparatively high . WILLIAM TAYLOR ( about whom I have written blogs earlier ) was then Commissioner of PATNA COMMISSARY . He carried out operations against Rebellion led by PIR ALI and others . PIR ALI was convicted and hanged to death along with sixteen other rebels . Seventeen were given severe punishment and two people were transported to penal settlement as such . But WILLIAM TAYLOR could not stop the revolt to spread . It spread to almost all parts of BIHAR . It was a popular movement in which not only ZAMINDARS but the common men took part . The British historians termed it as a MUTINY but for Indian Historian like VEER SAVARKAR , it was ‘ THE FIRST WAR OF INDEPENDENCE ‘.