The US war hero, General George S Patton had once said, “It is foolish and wrong to mourn for those who died, we should rather thank God that such men lived.” Our nation has been blessed with such bravehearts, who have proved time and again that courage knows no boundary. Let us have a look at some of those heroes, who were in no way less than their famous counterparts, but were unjustly forgotten by the Marxist historians in order to glorify a chosen few –
1) Veerepandiya Kattabomman –
One of the first Indians to openly rebel against the British imperialists, Veerepandiya Kattabomman Karuthayya Nayakkar was an influential Polygar [Palayakkar] warrior, who refused to accept the suzerainty of either the Britishers, or their stooges deployed as the rulers of their beloved Madurai province, like the Nawab of Arcot. He rebelled against the British East India Company, and used guerilla tactics in order to keep them at bay. However, he was betrayed by the ruler of Pudukottai, who got him arrested by revealing his location. He was ultimately hanged on 3 January 1760, thus becoming one of the first martyrs in the Indian freedom struggle.
2) Velu Nachiyar –
Known as one of the most underrated warriors who had rebelled against the British Empire; Rani Velu Nachiyar had taken on the British long before Rani Lakshmi Bai had immortalized herself with her actions during the Great Revolt of 1857. In 1780, she attacked the British with all her might, and when she found the place where the British stored their ammunition, she arranged a suicide attack, which was executed successfully, leaving the British with no ammunition. Nachiyar was one of the few rulers who regained her kingdom, and ruled it for ten more years, until 1790, when she abdicated the throne in the favour of her daughter, Vellucci.
3) Tirot Sing –
A tribal leader from Meghalaya, U Tirot Sing Syiem rebelled against the British when they attempted to occupy the Khasi Hills. Despite being armed with no modern weapons, Tirot Sing had led a valiant fight against the British. Had it not been for an unceremonious betrayal, Tirot Sing could’ve even forced the British out of his land. However, he was shot, captured and sent to the prison, where he died in captivity in 1835.
4) Veer Kunwar Singh –
Kunwar Singh of Arrah is still one of the most underrated revolutionaries when we talk about the Revolt of 1857. Veer Kunwar Singh was 80 years old when he led the rebellion against the British at Jagdishpur in Arrah, Bihar. It is said that when Kunwar Singh was shot in his left wrist, he deemed his hand as useless and cut it, offering it to the Ganges. Like Velu Nachiyar, Kunwar Singh not only rebelled against the British, but also won back his kingdom with elan. Sadly, he did not live long to enjoy his victory, and died on 26 April 1858, only 3 days after his forces won back the fort of Jagdishpur.
5) Bir Tikendrajit –
Bir Tikendrajit Singh was an influential Manipuri warrior, who refused to accept the British rule in Manipur, and rebelled against their high handedness, forcing the British to declare a war on Manipur in 1890. Despite having been defeated, Bir Tikendrajit continued to fight with guerrilla tactics, until he was captured and executed in Imphal on 13 August 1891.
6) Chapekar Brothers –
Devout Sanatanis by birth and trained in all kinds of warfare, the three brothers – Damodar Hari Chapekar, Balkrishna Hari Chapekar and Vasudev Hari Chapekar were extremely outraged by the callous treatment meted out to the residents of Pune and Chinchwad by the British imperialists in the name of implementing the provisions of the Plague Committee, following the outbreak of the bubonic plague, that had killed millions that year.
Livid with the fact that the British were celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria’s coronation after killing so many Indians, the three brothers decided to kill the man responsible for all the mess created – ICS officer William C Rand. The moment Damodar spotted Rand in his carriage, he shouted ‘Gondya Ala Re!’, and jumped onto the carriage to shoot Mr. Rand. The officer accompanying Mr. Rand, Lt. Ayerst, died on the spot, while William Rand died much later, on 3 July 1897.
Following their actions, the three brothers went into hiding. They were however betrayed by the Dravid brothers, due to whom Damodar and Balkrishna were arrested, tried and subsequently hanged in 1898 and 1899 respectively. Vasudev, along with a teenager Khando Vishnu Sathe, avenged his brothers’ death by slaying the traitors, and he was later arrested, tried and hanged on 8 May 1899. Though a teenager, Khando Vishnu Sathe was sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment.
7) Alluri Sitarama Raju –
A brilliant tribal revolutionary, Alluri Sitarama Raju was one of the chief leaders who led the Rampa rebellion, where tribals rebelled against the British rule in the modern state of Andhra Pradesh. He led several raids on the British establishments in Andhra Pradesh, and continued his guerrilla warfare, until he was eventually trapped by the British in the forests of Chintapalle, then tied to a tree and was executed by gunfire in Koyyuru village on 7 May 1924.
8) Komaram Bheem –
A tribal leader, and considered by some as a close associate of Alluri Sitarama Raju, Komaram Bheem was an eyesore for both the British Empire and the Nizam of Hyderabad. He led his rebellion from the forests, and died fighting against the imperialists on 24 October 1940.
9) Surya Sen –
A schoolteacher by profession, nobody ever thought that a man as simple as Surya Sen would one day force the British to stay out of Chittagong for a full week. He led 64 teenagers along with a few of his associates and attacked the important British establishments in Chittagong, forcing them to flee. However, he failed to retrieve enough ammunition and was forced to retreat to Jalalabad Hills, where the revolutionaries fought the British and defeated them successfully, but at the cost of their 12 comrades. Surya Sen, also known as Surjya Sen, continued his guerrilla warfare until 1933, when he was betrayed by Netra Sen. He was sentenced to death, and executed after brutal torture on the night of 12 January 1934.
10) BBD Trio –
The trio of Benoy Bose, Badal Gupta and Dinesh Gupta had raided the Writers Building, and killed the Inspector General of Calcutta police, NG Simpsons, following which they had a fight with the British police. Not willing to surrender, Benoy took a cyanide pill, while Badal and Dinesh shot themselves. Dinesh however survived, following which he was hanged by the British in 1931.
11) Vithal Laxman Kotwal aka Veer Bhai Kotwal –
An educated graduate, Vithal Laxman Kotwal led his Kotwal Dasta, who paralyzed the electricity supply of Bombay Presidency by felling the wooden pylons that supplied electricity to Bombay and its industries. He died fighting in an encounter against the British police in 1942.
12) Matangini Hazra –
An old Gandhian lady, Matangini Hazra boldly led the procession against the British during the Quit India Movement. Despite being shot thrice, she continued to march with the flag, until she succumbed to the injuries, aged 72. Her death infuriated the masses of Tamluk, who successfully rebelled against the British, forming a parallel government of their own.
We hope that these revolutionaries get their due, and may they never be forgotten.