Revolt of 1857 is often been described as India’s first war for Independence. On 29th March 1857, Mangal Pandey, a soldier of 34th regiment revolted at Barrackpur cantonment. The revolt soon spread over the entire area from the neighbourhood of Patna to the borders of Rajasthan. There were six main centres of revolt in these regions namely Kanpur, Lucknow, Bareilly, Jhansi, Gwalior and Arrah in Bihar. Rajasthan was one of the states which actively took part in the rebellion of 1857. Unfortunately, most rulers of Rajasthan did not extend any help to the national forces during revolt of 1857 in Rajasthan instead they helped the British forces in crushing the revolt.
Revolt of 1857 in Rajasthan
In 1832 A.G.G (Agent to Governor General) Headquarter was established in Ajmer. Mr. Locket was the first A.G.G of Rajasthan. In 1845 the headquarter was transferred to Abu.
During the revolt of 1857, George Patrik Lawrence was the A.G.G. and Rajasthan was divided into 6 British Cantonments:
- Naseerabad – Ajmer
- Devali (Deoli) – Tonk
- Erinpura (Arinpura) – Pali
- Kota – Kota
- Kherwara – Udaipur
- Beawar (Byawar) – Ajmer
Last two cantonments did not participate in the revolt.
Revolt at Naseerabad
Naseerabad was the first place in Rajasthan where the Revolt of 1857 began on 28 May. The news of revolt of Merrut reached A.G.G. George Lawerence and he sent 15th Bengal Native Infantry located in Ajmer to Nasirabad due to which the dissatisfaction among the soldiers was born. Soon news of soldiers revolt also reached the soldiers in Nasirabad, and on 28 May 1857, the soldiers of the Native Infantry revolted in Nasirabad. Soldiers of 30th Native Infantry also joined in and after burning & capturing the cantonment soldiers left for Delhi.
Revolt at Neemach
When the news of Naseerabad revolt reached Military officer of Neemuch Colonel Abbot, he forced soldiers to take the oath of loyalty in parade ground on June 2, 1857. During the oath taking event itself, a cavalry soldier Ali Baig blurted out in anger that the Britishers themselves did not stand by their oath of Awadh and hence Indians too are not obliged to abide by their oath. As a result on June 3, 1857, soldiers of Neemuch also revolted After buring the cantonment they started for Delhi via Chittor, Hammingarh., Baneda and Shahpura and joined the revolutionaries there and fiercely attacked the British army.
Captain Shawers reached Neemach with the forces of Mewar and A.G.G. Lawrence sent the forces of Kota and Bundi to Neemach Britishers again took the control of Neemach on 8th June, 1857.
Revolt at Erinpura
In Erinpura cantonment, Jodhpur the Indian units of British forces revolted on 21 August, 1857. They marched towards Delhi shouting Chalo Delhi Maro Firangi’. On the way Thakur Kushal Singh Champavat of Auwa agreed to lead the soldiers and stood against the British Empire. Kushal Singh Champavat became the leader of hostile feudal lords of Maharana Takht Singh. By interference in the inheritance of Bithoda, he alienated Takht Singh.
On August 21, 1857, the Jodhpur legion revolted by the military coupe. Since Kushal Singh was opposed to the British, he added these rebels with him. The combined forces defeated Jodhpur State forces near Auwa and lieutenant Heathcoat had to retreat. After the incident, A.G.G. Lawerence reached Auwa and fierce battle followed. General Lawerence forces were defeated and rebel forces killed political agent monkmesson.
To avenge the defeat of Auwa, force was sent to Auwa under AGG George Lawerence Disa and Brigadier Holmes. Another firece battle followed but this time Kushal Singh was forced to flee. He fled towards Salumbar and the British looted Auwa and took the idol of Sugali Mata to Ajmer.
Thakur Kushal Singh surrendered before British on 8th August, 1860. Later, Major Tailor investigation commission exonerated him and he died in 1864 in Udaipur.
The battle of Auwa has been termed as “Battle of Black &Whites” in the folk songs of Rajasthan
Revolt at Kota
The rebellion forces of Kota revolted under the leadership of two any officers: Mehrab Khan and Jadaya Kayashion 15th 1857. They killed resident Major Burton, his two sons and a doctor on 15 October, 1857. On 3 March 1858 the British forces under General Roberts crushed the rebellion at Kota. Mehrab Khan & Jaidayal Kayasth were hanged after this revolt.
Bharatpur remained distrurbed during the entire rebellion period and people of Goû and Mewati took part in the rebellion openly. On 31 May 1857, Bharatpur forces rebelled and Major Morrison fled towards Agra
In October 1857, the rebel soldiers of Gwalior and Indore came to Dhaulpur. They grouped with the local rebels and put pressure on Dholpur ruler for providing artillery. About 1000 rebels under Rao Ramchandra and Hiralal then fled to Agra with the guns of Maharana Dholpur.
In the end, the rule was re-established with help from forces of ruler of Patiala.
Consequences of Revolt of 1857 in Rajasthan
As a result of mutiny of 1857, Amarchand Kathian of Bikaner was hanged.
Since many leaders of the revolt were feudal lords, the British decided to destroy the power of the feudal system through various methods after the dissolution of the war.
During the rebellion, the British were helped by the native rulers, so after the suppression of the rebellion, the British gave them titles and awards. Maharaja Ram Singh I of Jaipur helped the British with his resources and he was rewarded with title of “Sitar-e-Hind” and pargana of Kothputli.
During the rebellion period, the British had to face severe inconvenience in sending their army from one place to another. Thus, after the dissolution in 1865 AD, the road leading to Jaipur and Ajmer and the road going to Nimach by Naseerabad through Chittorgarh was constructed.
After the coup, there was a change in the traditional social structure of Rajasthan as well. After the suppression of revolt, modern education was disseminated and the English rules were executed in all the states. Because of this, the importance of Brahmins was reduced.
This revolt created a new consciousness and awakening in the public. According to Shri Nathuram Kharagawat, “The general public also participated directly or indirectly in this enmity.”
Reasons for failure of the revolt of 1857 in Rajasthan
The main reasons for the failure of the revolt of 1857 in Rajasthan were:
- Indigenous rulers were short-sighted, they were devotees of the British, so they did not support rebels.
- There was no definite leader of the rebels; in addition they lacked unity and organization.
- The rebels were not as skilled as the British in the battlefield.
Important facts to remember
Maharaja Sardar Singh (Bikaner) was the only ruler who went outside Rajasthan to Badlu of Punjab to suppress the revolt with his forces
The Famous Fighters of 1857 Rebellion from Rajasthan:
- Lala Jaydayaal & Mehraab Singh (Advocate in Kota Darbaar)
- Thakur Khushaal Singh (Jodhpur)
- Suryamaal Missonn (Poet of Bundi Darbaar)
- Rawat Keshri Singh & Rawat Jodhsingh (Mewaar)
- Tarachan Patel (Tonk)
Tantya Tope in Rajasthan
Tantya Tope entered Rajasthan, with the rebels of Gwalior. The forces of Nawab of Tonk under Vazir Khan also supported Tantya Tope against Britishers. Tantya Tope advanced towards Jaipur Via Banswara and Mewar where prince Feroze met him. On March 1, 1858 the rebels broke the cordon of Britishers and reached Sikar via Alvar but were defeated by the forces of Colonel Holmes.
Tantya Tope then advanced towards Mewar via Bundi but General Abraham Roberts defeated him near Bhilwara.
Tanya Tope again entered Banswara on 11th December, 1858. Maharaval Lakshan Singh escaped to jungles but Man Singh Rukka, a companion of Tope helped the Britishers and captured him in the jungles of Narwar. He was hanged on 18th April, 1859 in Sipri (Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh).
City- Political Agent – Ruler of State during Revolt of 1857 in Rajasthan
- Bharatpur – Morrison – Maharaja Jaswant Singh I
- Jaipur – William Eden – Maharaja Ram Singh II
- Jodhpur – Mac Mason – Maharaja Thakat Singh
- Kota– Major Burton – MahaRao Ram Singh
- Udaipur – Captian Shawers– Maharana Swaroop Singh