Hindus have a deeply ingrained propensity to instantly believe anything that is anti-Hindu and react skeptically for anything that is pro-Hindu. Not astonishing at all as that is the way we have been brought up, fed on distorted history authored by ‘Sarkari-Secular’ historians ranging from Nurul Hasan / Irfan Habib to Ramchandra Guha. ‘Sarkari-Gyan’ peddled by these ‘Sarkari’ intellectuals has done havoc to the society. Our roots have been seriously attempted to be pulled out by these ‘Sarkari’ intellectuals post-1947 decades. Even British historians revised their views of several events of history viz. English Civil War or Gladstonian liberalism. Yet, our ‘Sarkari’ histo-intellectuals like Romilla Thapar, DN Jha et.el. are still extremely allergic to nerve-rattling realities of Mughal / British era.
War Of Freedom 1857, WOF-1857 hereafter, was a complex one. If Mangal Pande/Tatya Tope /Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi were consuming themselves against British occupation, there were so many others who battled British occupiers for very different reasons altogether. Subedar Bakht Khan is glorified in Lal Quila’s Sound & Light as the soldier who fought British in Delhi, was in fact a Wahabi warrior. Now do not assume, Wahabis of 1857 were our freedom fighters. This Khan was ‘Chela’ of Maulvi Sarfaraz Ali, an “Imam of Mujahideens”, principal leader of Jihad against British. These Wahabis were active in Patna too. Azamgarh Proclamation and pamphlets of those days liberally invoked terms like “extirpating the infidels”, “Mujahideens”, “Standard of Mohammed” etc. This Islamic / Wahabi agitation ran parallel to the nationalistic struggle orchestrated by Tatya Tope and others. Ban on cow-slaughter by Bahadur Shah Zafar was merely a ploy to hoodwink Hindu-nationalist warriors and lure them to the camp of Wahabis. Zafar appeared to be more worried about future of his 14 year old Begum Zeenat Mahal than anything else. He had no treasury, no soldiers and no arms to fight back. Last Mughal along with his Begums and large number of offsprings was in dire straits. When he was captured by British occupiers, he begged for his life unlike CS Azad/Martyr Bhagat Singh who used to roar like revolutionaries before British despots. British occupiers of the country somehow managed a proclamation issued by the Ottoman Caliph mandating Indian Muslims to remain loyal to the British Occupation. Gov. General Lord Mayo in 1870 prompted a group of Ulemas to issue a Fatwa, declaring India then, Dar-ul-Islam. Fanatics like Zafar/Sarfaraz Ali can never be regarded as freedom fighters. Our entire war against Islamic terrorism shall be defeated if such fanatics are accepted as freedom fighters.
For Mughals, 1857 irruption was certainly the last ditch effort by Muslims to reclaim their own rule from British occupiers while Marathas/Rajputs/Jats/Sikhs were certainly not fighting to revert to Islamic medievalism. And there were Maharajas of Patiala, Jind and Nabha who were recommended to be trusted by Sir John Lawrence, Commissioner of Lahora Division. Further, he wrote, “…Their Maulvis taught them it was only lawful for true Mussalmans to submit to the rule of an infidel if there was no possibility of successful revolt, and they watched for the chance of again being able to make Islam supreme. The late Sir George Campbell says that the mutiny was a ‘sepoy revolt, not a Hindu rebellion.’ However, by all means, War of Freedom 1857 was certainly not merely a rebellion. Personalities as diverse as Veer Savarkar to JL Nehru converged to the same perception as eloquently as said so.
In his title “Sepoy War In India”, John Williams affirmed, “credit for continuance of British occupation of India largely goes to Indians who handed over the country to them on a platter”. Another book ‘Sirgujishte Delhi’ published diary of one Jeevanlal who happened to be profoundly trusted by the British and he was very close to them. Jeevanlal was an important figure in BS Zafar’s Darbar and close to the royal family. He was an eye-witness to the events of 1857. He narrated all events sequentially from May 11 to May 14, 1857 and forwarded it to Charles Metcalf, the then Joint Magistrate of Delhi. Later he was appointed ‘Munshi’ of David Octerloni and Sir John Metcalf. As he was a trustee on both sides, he comfortably passed on details of freedom movement activities as well as whereabouts of freedom-fighters. He had conveyed to his British masters, exit plans of Zafar’s army from Lal Quila one day in advance. He had also conveyed to British occupiers, details of deployment of canons and other armaments at Lahori Gate and Delhi Darwaza. They all used to be lavishly rewarded by Britishers for their ‘courageous’ acts as they used to describe that. Britishers used to patronize gangsters too, with the sole intention to torment Hindus and molest Hindu women. Maulvi Razab Ali, Mirza Ilahibakht, Turava Ali, Fateh Mohammed, Altafat Ali, Gaurishanker, Mir Mohammed Ali, Harchand, Meghraj, Kallu Mian, Mehboob Khan, Sajan Gujjar, Prabhu Rustam, Man Singh, Jawahar Singh happen to be some other prominent traitors. They had played crucial role in defeating first serious effort to attain independence in 1857. These are indeed, just a few stray instances of treachery. There have been scores of such instances throughout.
WOF 1857 sparked by Mangal Pandey was successfully concluded on May 10, 1857 i.e. by this day, Bharata was completely liberated from British occupation, 350 districts equivalent to ‘Riyasats’ absolutely free from Union Jack till Sept. 19, 1857. Almost 52,000 British occupiers were slaughtered by freedom-fighters in mere 15 days, some 250 or so survived by hiding their real identities variously viz. some masqueraded as Sadhu-s, painted their bodies dark brown to look like Hindu-s etc. Survivors escaped to Britain, narrated their horror tales and planned deviously to re-capture Bharata. On being approached by them, some Kings in Bharata agreed to be on the side of British occupiers. Jiwajirao Scindia of Gwalior, Maharaja Rajinder Singh of Patiala, Hira Singh of Nabha, Raghubir Singh of Jind, Nizam of Hyderabad Salar Jung, Maharaja of Travanacore were among 60 royals who committed support to British invaders. Scindias had offered them 40,000 soldiers and 1,00,00,000 gold-coins too. A section of Scindia’s Army revolted and they joined the faction led by Tatya Tope, Jhansi’s Laxmi Bai and Nana Peshva. Freedom fighters fought valiantly like warriors yet lost ground steadily owing to Royal’s collusion with British occupiers. British soldiers numbering 64,000 and supported by royal soldiers wrought havoc in the country, mercilessly slaughtered men, burnt alive all old men, brutally raped and ravaged lakhs of women and with maximum cruelty, speared children. They thus, de-populated thousands of villages across the nation. Finally, by Sept. 19, 1857 Bharata was re-captured by British occupiers. Magnitude of plunder of wealth, manuscripts, art work that followed, was unprecedented in human history. During 19th and 20th centuries, majority of Nobel Prizes were awarded to Europeans/Americans for discoveries already authored in Sanatana scriptures looted by them.
Almost half of Bharatiya soldiers did not participate in the Battle 1857 which was leveraged by British historians for declaring it a mere Sepoy Mutiny or a battle between Christians vs. non-Christians. It was also painted by some as a war incited by ‘upper-caste’ Hindus against British occupiers though all sections of Hindu society had actively participated including women as much as 50% of all freedom-fighters. It was a full-fledged War of Freedom participated by people from all walks of like. Even peons in ‘Sarkari’ departments did not let any opportunity go for attacking British occupiers. WOF 1857 signified recognition of our civilizational identity that brought diverse people together under a gigantic banyan tree of nationalism dedicated to just one cause, “British-Occupiers, quit Bharata”. It is extremely unfortunate that some 60 Royals acted against their own subjects in collusion with British occupiers and turned the decisive victory into defeat. It is imperative that all citizens of the nation hold identical views when it comes to nation’s interests irrespective of differences and diversities in all or any other aspect. Very genuine effort in this direction was undertaken for the first time in 1925 when one of the greatest visionaries ever born in this nation, Dr. KB Hedgewar founded RSS in Nagpur. The organisation has grown steadily, proved their worth several times since their foundation and now encompasses entire nation like a gigantic banyan tree. We sincerely expect, those sanguinary, tragic chapters of dismal history shall never be allowed to recur anytime in future in this nation.