Revolt of 1857 in Rajasthan
Rajasthan also played a main role in rebellion of 1857.
Till 1818 the almost kings of rajasthan has accepted the conservation of East India Company.
Main centers of rebellion:
Kota :-Major Burton and his TWO SONS were killed.
English Cantonments in Rajasthan During 1857:
The Famous Fighters of 1857 Rebellion from Rajasthan:
Tribal Revolts of Rajasthan
The Mangarh Revolt
The Govindgiri movement was named after the leader Govindgiri, a non-Adivasi born to the Banjara caste resident in the village Vedsa in Dungarpur. Socially, the movement has its origin in the great famine of 1899—Chhapania. During the famine, the crops failed completely and men and cattle perished in great numbers. The Christians and the Bhagats came forward to help the Bhils. Govindgiri styled himself as a monk. He declared that he was an incarnation of God , that it was his mission to reform the degenerate Bhils. He travelled in the regions of Dungarpur, Banswara, Sunt-Rampur, Idar and Panch-Mahals, which have been the Bhil land. In fact Govindgiri pressed for the processes of Sanskritisation among the Bhils. Fuchs observes:
He preached devotion to Rama; he forbade inter-dining with outsiders, even with Brahmins; he encouraged pious and virtuous living and the company of good people; his followers should always speak the truth, and abandon all kinds of falsehood; they should not steal, nor lust for another man’s wife; they should abstain from meat and wine; they should bathe daily and wear clean clothes. Govindgiri was activated by a sincere desire to reform the social habits and religious beliefs of the Bhils. Through his efforts, Bhils began to emerge from their old dark and uncivilised conditions. The teachings of Govindgiri were hailed as a gospel of freedom from age-old socio-religious bandages and they came out of the state of inferiority complex. The Bhils were taught to consider themselves equals to the higher Hindu castes. These ideas enlightened the Bhils and made them aware of their conditions and rights. These ideas also compelled them to think that they were made downtrodden by their present masters, the Rajas and Thakurs, while they were the owners of the land and ought to rule over it again. Therefore, this socio-religious reform movement culminated in the economic-politico movement.
Govindgiri became popular among the Bhils. In 1905 he established ‘Samp Sabha’, an organisation to unite the Bhils. The network of this sabha spread over a large area of Bhils. These activities alarmed the rulers, their officials and Jagirdars. They feared that Govindgiri’s influence might undermine and subvert their authority. This attitude generated reactions among the Bhils. The movement gradually took a political colour. Nearly half the population of these states was under the influence of Govindgiri’s movement. The immediate cause of the Bhil uprising in 1923 was the social and religious reform movement among the Bhils under the leadership of Govindgiri. The authorities tried to suppress this social and religious reform movement with strong physical assaults. In reaction to these tyrannies of the state and jagirdars, the Bhils united to fight against them under the leadership of Govindgiri. As a result, the British suppressed the Bhils and almost 1,500 Bhils died. They had the following demands:-
Meena Revolts (1851-1860)
In 1851 the Meenas of Jahajpur pargana in Udaipur state revolted against the British to show their anger and resentment towards the new order. The British brought this area under strict control of the Udaipur state. The proximity of the Meena tract to the British province of Ajmer made it possible to establish state authority. The oppression of the Mers in 1820-21 created unrest in the minds of Meenas of theJahajpur pargana. In fact, the British were suspicious of Adivasis and dealt with them accordingly and this led to an antagonistic feeling between the British and the Meenas. The revolts of the Meenas and Bhils were not solely against the British, but against the princely states as the British extended their policies through them.
In 1851, the Maharana of Udaipur appointed a new hakim (officer) of the Jahajpur pargana—Mehta Raghunath Singh— who was busy minting money from the pargana. He was mostly interested in raising the income of the pargana and reducing the expenditure. The Meenas decided to rebel against these changes. The Maharana transferred Mehta Raghunath and a new hakim, Mehta Ajit Singh, was appointed.
Bhil Revolts (1818-1860)
The Bhil tribe was known as a peaceful community, but the changes introduced by the British compelled them to revolt against the British imperialists and the native feudal order.
They were enjoying undisturbed forest rights before the British rule. The majority of Bhils inhabited the former princely states of Mewar (Udaipur), Dungapur, Banswara and Sirohi of Rajasthan. In 1818, the states of Mewar (Udaipur), Dungapur and Banswara and in 1823 Sirohi concluded treaties with the British. The Bhils of Mewar staterevolted against the new order that emerged out of the Mewar-British Treaty in 1818. Their numerical strength was the main source of their power to resist the well-equippedBritish and native forces.
Under the influence of the British rule, outsiders from plains, such as revenue officials, moneylenders, contractors,land grabbers, traders and shopkeepers, penetrated their habitation causing sufferings. They introduced new elements to poverty and imposed policies that made open the conflictsas they eroded their traditions. As they led a free life, they could not relish the semi-feudal and semi-colonial control. V.R. Raghavaiah rightly analysed that The tribals too initiatedstruggle to safeguard their honour, to protect their cherished.
Mer Revolt (1818-1821)
The Bhil and Mer revolts began coincidentally in 1881. The Mer Revolt was short-lived, while the Bhil revolt continued for a long time. The Mers were not under the direct control of any political authority, though parts of their territory were within the boundary of Mewar and Marwar states, and the Suba of Ajmer. The Mers never came under the control of the Rajputs, Mughals and Marathas. The British were the first who tried to bring them under complete subordination and this became the cause of the Mer revolt. The British wanted to impose tax which was possible only after they surrendered to the British but instead faced tough resistance before they could defeat them.
Major Freedom Fighters of Rajasthan
Thakur Rao Gopal Singh of Kharwa-Yes! Royalty did participate in freedom movement and this Thakur of Kharwa (near Ajmer) proved to be a patriot. He organised an armed revolt against British for which he had to face imprisonment for 4 years in Todagarh fort. He died in 1939. Every year people organise a Mela to commemorate their former Thakur near Ajmer.
Daulat Mal Bhandari-Bhandari took active part in the freedom struggle. In 1942 he formed the "Azad Morcha" in Jaipur and staged satyagrah. He was imprisoned for nine months. He also organised ‘Praja Mandal’ in the Jaipur State.He served as the Development and Agriculture Minister of the erstwhile Jaipur State in 1947 on being elected to the Jaipur State Legislative Assembly.
Lothoo Ram Jat - It is said that he was the one responsible for creating grounds of 1857 Revolution in Shekhawati region and Tatya Tope's all hopes in Shekhawati region were from Lothoo and his team. He could be regarded as 'Robinhood of Shekhawati'. But he died 2 years before revolution and his team had to surrender.
Harlal Singh- Harlal Singh was a campaigner in the farmers' movement of colonial India. Recruited to politics by the Jat Mahasabha, he remained a member of that organisation from 1925 to 1929. This Mahasabha was created by British to pacify Jats and prevent changes. . Later, in the 1940s, Singh served as president of an urban-based political protest movement, called the Praja Mandal, and was an important conduit between the urban and agrarian communities in their efforts seeking independence of India. Post-independence, and with the Praja Mandals now a part of the Indian National Congress, he was appointed by the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee as their organiser in the former princely state of Jaipur.
Sagarmal Gopa-Sagarmal Gopa was a freedom fighter born in affluent Brahmin family. He was a follower of Gandhiji and author of 'Jaisalmer ka Gundaraj'. He was expelled from states of Jaisalmer and Hyderabad but still he worked from Nagpur. He died at age of 46 after being tortured for 5 years by Jaisalmer state.
Rao Tula Ram- Rao Tula Ram belonged to a family of Jagirdars. He is regarded as the one to win Northern-Rajasthan and South-Haryana for the cause of 1857 rebellion. Noted as a good administrator and military commander, after the 1857 uprising ended, he left India, met rulers of Iran and Afghanistan and also established contacts with the Tsar of Russia, to seek their help in driving the British from India. His plans were cut short by his death from dysentery in Kabul on 23 September 1863, aged 38.
Pratap Singh Baharath- Pratap Singh Baharath was an independence activist from Rajasthan. He took prominent part in the revolutionary movement against British rule in India. He joined the Revolutionary Party as a follower of Ras Bihari Bose. He participated in the revolutionary plot to throw a bomb at Lord Hardinge, Viceroy of India on 3 December 1912. He was arrested in Banaras Conspiracy Case and was sentenced in Feb 1916 to five years RI. He was subjected to brutal torture in Bareilly Central Jail to force him to divulge the names of his compatriots. He refused. He died in the jail on 7 May 1918 as an unsung hero.
Religion and Social Reformers
Swami Keshawanand- Born at village Magloona in Sikar district of present-day Rajasthan in 1883, Swamiji, whose actual name was Birama, was the son of Thakarsi, a penurious camel-driver, and his wife Saran. The famine of 1899 forced the 16-year-old Birama to leave the desert region and move to Punjab in search of livelihood. Circumstances had induced in him an ineffable spiritual quest. He approached Mahant Kushaldas of the Udasin sect, to whom he expressed the desire to learn Sanskrit, to be able to study the higher Hindu scriptures from primary sources. Noting that Birama belonged to the Jat caste, which was barred from learning Sanskrit, On Mahant's advice he became a Sanyasi and in 1905 Kumbh Mela, He was conferred with the title of Swami Keshawanand by Mahatma Hirandji Avadhut.
The Jalianwalla Bagh Massacre of 1919, which caused a profound impact on the collective psyche of the Punjab, left Swami Keshawanand profoundly moved. He started attending the meetings of the Indian National Congress, joined the Indian Independence Movement under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, and participated in the non-co-operation movement, for which was imprisoned for two years (1921–1922) at Ferozepur. In 1930, he was given charge of Congress activities in Ferozepur district. He was again arrested the same year, but was soon released pursuant to the Gandhi-Irwin pact.
Royal Services (eg. State Police, Princely State Army,etc.)
Hanuman Singh Budania - . He was in police service of princely state of Bikaner. He was sympathetic to the people who did conspiracy against the state. This fact came to the notice of Bikaner Maharaja and he was warned on this. He left the police services of Bikaner state in 1942 to take part in the struggle for independence and joined Bikaner Rajya Praja Parishad. He spread the message of freedom movement from village to villages and made villagers member of this Parishad. . Maharaja enticed him by offering hundred murabas (irrigated land), but he refused. During the same period there was a conference of the Indian Praja Parishads going on in Udaipur, chaired by Jawahar Lal Nehru. Hanuman Singh Budania approached Pandit Nehru and told every thing to him.
In 1947 the farmer’s movement for freedom and abolition of Jagirs was in full swing. He was arrested along with 8000 participating farmers and left in unknown forest. Later he was arrested and punished with hard imprisonment for one year. To enhance the hardships in jail, snakes were left in his room. He was released only after India got freedom in 1947.
Vijay Singh Pathik alias Bhoop Singh Gurjar- This man initiated Satyagraha much before Mahatma Gandhi. He joined revolutionary organisation in his teenage and took active part against British rule in India. Pathikji’s non-cooperation movement was so successful that Lokmanya Tilak wrote a letter to Maharana Fateh Singh to meet the demand of the Bijoliya agitators. Mahatma Gandhi sent his secretary Mahadev Desai to study the movement.
It was Pathikji who fought for the cause of united Rajasthan and had taken up the issue with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel. He was jailed for having led the Kisan agitation in Bijoliya. The Kisan Panchayat, Mahila Mandal and Yuvak Mandal invited Pathik to come and lead them.Women of Mewar started to get respect from their folk men. Pathik made people feel that women and men equality is necessary to develop a prosperous society.