Mangal Pandey was the first freedom fighter and martyr (a person who is killed because of his faith) was renowned for his bravery amidst his colleagues. He was an Indian soldier with all the good qualities and with the stunning ability to embrace his death peacefully. He was hanged ten days before his execution and it was kept secret as the British were alert of the fact that if he remains alive it will seriously bring in risk to the British rule.
His Early life
Mangal Pandey was born on 19th July, 1827 in a village in Uttar Pradesh in a Bhumihar Brahmin family. He has joined the East India Company’s army at his 18 years of age. He is chiefly known for his association in an attack on numerous regiments’ officers which marked the opening stage in what came to be known as the India’s First War of Independence or Indian Mutiny of 1857.
The outbreak of the Sepoy Rebellion
Sepoy Rebellion also known as the First War of Independence happened in 1857 because of this brave son of India, Mangal Pandey. He was the torch-bearer who woke-up the Indian masses and made them fight for the nation which was dying under the British rule.
The cause of the rebellion
This mutiny was a result of numerous grievances however the pinpoint was reached when the soldiers were ordered to load their new rifle by biting off their cartridges. The soldiers had to open and pour the gun powder into the rifle’s muzzle and then stuff the cartridge case which was greased with the fat of pork and beef. This was against the religious beliefs of Muslims and Hindus while Hindus consider cow to be sacred and Muslims regard pork as unclean.
The Hindu sepoys (Indian soldiers) saw this as an endeavor for breaking their caste as an introduction to make them all Christians. The Muslim troops too were disgusted and no less offended than the Hindus which led to the revolt.
The 1857 incident
On the parade ground, Mangal Pandey attacked his British sergeant, injuring him and wounded an Adjutant (senior officer) with a sword after failing to shoot at him. He was court-martialed (imprisoned) on 6th of April and was hanged at Barrackpore on 8th of April, 1857.
His attack and punishment was greatly seen all over India as the opening scene of what came to be known as the Indian Rebellion of 1857. His action became widespread among his fellow soldiers and is assumed to have been one of the factors leading to the general series of mutinies that broke out during the following months. He was the first freedom fighter who reaped the seed for a struggle which gave India, the freedom and made India the free nation.
The Indian Government commemorated Mangal Pandey by way of issuing a postage stamp which bears his image on 5th of October, 1984. There is the park created in memory of him named Sahid Mangal Pandey maha udyan at the place where he had attacked the British officers and was hanged in Barrackpore.