Reading Time: 3 minutes
- Mangal Pandey, whose name is often preceded by Shaheed meaning a martyr in Hindi, was an Indian soldier during the pre-independence era. A member of the 34th Regiment of the Bengal native infantry of the East India Company, Mangal Pandey is counted among the most popular figures associated with India’s freedom struggle in present times.
- He was born on 19 July 1827 in the Nagwa village in the Ballia district of the Uttar Pradesh state. There still exist families in this village who claim to the descendants of Mangal Pandey.
- Mangal Pandey, who joined the sepoy force of the British East India Company in the year 1849, at the age of 22.
- A sepoy working under the British East India Company, Mangal Pandey’s name got etched into the pages of the Indian history after he attacked his senior British officers in an incident, which is today remembered as the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 or the India’s First War of Independence.
- The reason behind this was the rumor that the cartridges used by Indian sepoys were greased with the fat of cow and pig. Due to this, he was later captured and hung till death on 8 April in 1857.
- Mangal Pandey, who was a devout Hindu and practiced his religion strictly. It was rumoured that the cartridge used in the Enfield P-53 rifle which was being used by the Indian sepoys was greased with the fat of pig and cow fat.
- These cartridges had to be bitten off in order to remove the cover prior use and this went against the religious beliefs of the Muslims and Hindus.
- The general opinion was that the Britishers had deliberately done this to hurt the sentiments of Indians. And this was the main reason behind the outburst of Pandey’s anger.
- It was due to the conglomeration sparked off by Mangal Pandey that the East India Company finally lost all the confidence of the British Empire and the colony of India went under the direct rule of Queen Victoria.
- The place where Mangal Pandey had attacked the British officers, and where he was later hanged, has been turned into a park now, and is known as “Shahid Mangal Pandey Maha Udyan”.
- Designed by the artist C.R. Pakrashi, the Government of India, finally in 5th October 1984, issued postage stamps which bore the image of Mangal Pandey.
- Pandey’s so-called treachery made him quite famous among the British, so much so that he gave birth to a new English word! “Pandy” is a word in the English Language which has been derived from his surname, and it means “Traitor”.