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    Mangal Pandey birth anniversary: Remembering his contribution to Indian freedom struggle

    Mangal Pandey birth anniversary: Remembering his contribution to Indian freedom struggle

    Mangal Pandey birth anniversary: Remembering his contribution to Indian freedom struggle
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    By CNBCTV18.com  IST (Published)

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    Mangal Pandey was born in an aristocratic Brahman family on July 19, 1827, in a town near Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh. In 1849, Pandey joined the army of the British East India Company and served as a sepoy in the 6th Company of the 34th Bengal Native Infantry in Barrackpore

    The great 'Sepoy Mutiny' of 1857 had first sprouted the dream of independence among Indians. A number of historical and unforgettable incidents took place during the era, which played a pivotal role in the freedom movement.
    Mangal Pandey spearheaded the Revolt of 1857 against the British and without his mention the story of India's Independence Movement would be incomplete.
    Who was Mangal Pandey?
    Mangal Pandey was born in an aristocratic Brahman family on July 19, 1827, in a town near Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh. In 1849, Pandey joined the army of the British East India Company and served as a sepoy in the 6th Company of the 34th Bengal Native Infantry in Barrackpore.
    While in Barrackpore, it is believed that the British has introduced a new type of Enfield rifle that required soldiers to bite off the ends of the cartridge in order to load the weapon. A rumour spread that the lubricant used in the cartridge was either cow or pig lard, which was in conflict of the religious beliefs of both Hindus and Muslims. The sepoys were furious with its use in the cartridge.
    On March 29, 1857, Pandey attempted to incite his fellow sepoys to rise up against the British. He attacked two of those officers and when he was restrained, he attempted to shoot himself. However, he was eventually overpowered and arrested.
    After being tried, Pandey was sentenced to death. He was supposed to be hanged on April 18, but fearing the outbreak of a large-scale revolt, the Britishers moved his execution to April 8.
    His impact on Indian freedom struggle
    After his death, a larger insurrection started following resistance and revolt against the use of Enfield cartridges in Meerut later that month. The rebellion soon engulfed the entire nation. This led to the revolt of 1857 being called the first war of Indian independence.
    Nearly 90,000 men joined the mutiny. The Indian side faced losses in Kanpur and Lucknow, but the British had to retract to the Sikh and Gurkha forces.
    Following the 1857 Mutiny, the British Parliament passed an act to abolish the East India Company. India became a crown colony directly under the Queen.
    Mangal Pandey ignited the spark that finally won India its independence 90 years later.
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