India’s Hero Mangal Pandey

Mangal Pandey

Mangal Pandey, born on July 19, 1827 (Akbarpur) and died on April 8, 1857 (Barrackpore), was an Indian solider who is known for the Sepoy mutiny, or popularly known as the First War of Independence of 1857.

Mangal Pandey was born into a Brahmin family of landowners in Faizabad, which is now in Uttar Pradesh in northern India. According to the sources, he was enrolled in the British East India Company’s army in 1859. He was a part of the 6th Company of the 34th Bengal Native Infantry, which dominantly had Brahmin Sepoys.

He was deployed at the Barrackpore Garrison when a new Enfield riffle was introduced in India, which required the solders to bite off the ends of the greased cartridges to load them. A hearsay surfaced among the Sepoys about the greased cartridges being lubricated with either cow or pig lard, which was not liked the Hindus nor the Muslims.

This was assumed to be a deliberate attempt by the Britishers to hurt the religious sentiments of the Indians, eventually leading to a revolt.Mangal Pandey on March 29, 1857, provoked  his fellow soldiers to attack the Britishers and also assaulted two British officers. He attempted to shoot himself after being restrained and was arrested. After a trial, he was sentenced to death and was hanged on April 8th, 1857. He was hanged 10 days prior to the scheduled date, which was April 18, because the Britishers feared a large-scale revolt. After his execution, an uprising was observed in May in Meerut opposing the use of the Enfield rifle.

July 19 is observed as Mangal Pandey Jayanti and the government of India in 1984 issued a commemorative postage stamp of his portrait.