How many of us remember the great contribution of that great Indian leader in the Indian Mutiny of 1857 and one of its finest Generals who was hanged to death in Shivpuri in Madhya Pradesh when he was just forty five old popularly called the tallest figures of grand Indian struggle to the Company rule? As the memories of People by and large are short, let us remember and pay our respectful homage to that great personality who was popularly known as Tatya Tope though his actual name was Ramachandra Pandurang Tope! However, you are most welcome to have glimpse of his life-history that is appended below in brief.
(Photo of Tatya Tope)
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Bishwa Nath Singh :
Tatya Tope is remembered with reverence as one of the finest Generals and as an Indian leader in the Indian Mutiny of 1857.His full name was Ramachandra Pandurang Tope who was born in village Yeola in Maharashtra in 1814. He was the only... son of Pandurang Rao Tope and Rukhmabai,. His father was an important noble at the court of the Maratha Peshwa Baji Rao II who had shifted his family with the Peshwa to Bithur where his son became the most intimate friend of the Peshwa's adopted son, Nana Dhondu Pant known as Nana Sahib and Maharaja Madhav Singh Ji. In the year1851, when Lord Dalhousie deprived Nana Sahib of his father's pension, Tatya Tope also became a sworn enemy of the British. In May 1857, when the political storm was gaining momentum, he won over the Indian troops of the East India Company, stationed at Kanpur that had established credibility of Nana Sahib's authority and became the Commander-in-Chief of his forces. When Nana Sahib's forces attacked the British entrenchment in June, 1857, General Wheeler's contingent incurred heavy losses as a result of successive bombardments, sniper fire, and assault. Also slow supplies of food, water and medicine added to their misery and they decided to surrender, in return for a safe passage to Allahabad. But despite Nana Sahib's arrangements, some confusion at the Satichaura ghat led to attacks on the departing British by the rebel sepoys, and were either killed or captured. The surviving British women and children were moved from the Savada House to Bibighar (the House of the Ladies), a villa-type house in Kanpur. Retaliation occurred as Company forces started approaching Kanpur, and Nana Sahib's bargaining attempts had failed(in exchange for hostages). Nana Sahib was informed that the British troops led by Havelock and Neill were indulging in violence against the Indian villagers.Nana Sahib, and his associates, including Tatya Tope and Azimullah Khan, debated about what to do with the captives at Bibighar. Some of Nana Sahib's advisors had already decided to kill the captives at Bibighar, as revenge for the murders of Indians by the advancing British forces. The details of the incident, such as who ordered the massacre, are not clear. Hearing the screams and groans inside after the first fire, the rebel soldiers declared that they were not going to kill any women and children. An angry Begum Hussaini Khanum, the Bibighar in charge, termed the sepoys' act as cowardice, and asked her lover Sarvur Khan to finish the job of killing the captives. Sarvur Khan hired some butchers, who murdered the surviving women and children with cleavers. After losing Gwalior to the TopeTope launched a successful guerrilla campaign in the Sagar and Narmada regions and in Khandesh and Rajasthan. The British forces failed to subdue him for over a year. He was, however, betrayed into the hands of the British by his trusted friend Man Singh, Chief of Narwar, while asleep in his camp in the Paron forest. He was defeated and captured on April 7, 1859 by British General Richard John Meade's troops and taken to Shivpuri where he was tried by a military court. Tope admitted the charges brought before him saying that he was answerable to his master Peshwa alone. He was executed at the gallows on April 18, 1859. There is a statue of Tatya Tope at the site of his execution near the present collectorate in Shivpuri town in Madhya Pradesh. Tope was considered as a marvelous hero of India as recorded by Colonel G.B. Malleson [1 of the then British Army.. In pursuit of him, Brigadier Parke had marched, consecutively, covered three humdrded sixty four Kilometers in nine days, and, again, one hundred twelve Kilometers in forty-eight hours;. Colonel Holmes, through a sandy desert, eighty four Kilometeters in little over twenty-four hours; Brigadier Honner, two hundred thirty two Kilometers in four days. Yet he slipped through them all--through enemies watching every issue of the in which he lay concealed, only to fall at last through the treachery of a trusted friend. His capture, and the surrender of Mán Singh, finished the war in Central India. Thenceforth , his name only survived\ as an Indian leader in the Indian Mutiny of 1857 and one of its finest generals. He was a personal adherent of Nana Sahib of Kanpur. He was feared among British forces. Tatya had led the assault on General Havelock's army and defeated it near Ganges. He had battled the armies of Campbell, Major Rock, Homes, Roberts and kept playing hide and seek with British forces even when the Company forces had re-captured most of the areas in other parts of the country. He progressed with the Gwalior contingent after the British reoccupation of Kanpur and forced General Windham to retreat from Kanpur. Later on, he came to the rescue of Rani Laxmi Bai. However he was only defeated by General Napier's British Indian troops, after betrayal by his trusted friend Man Singh. He was executed by the British Government at Shivpuri on April 18,1859. Tatya Tope was hanged to death in Shivpuri in Madhya Pradesh when he was just fortyfive. Along with Nana Sahib, Azimullah Khan, Ahmadullah Shah, Kunwar Singh, General Bakht Khan, Azizan, Begun Hazrat Mahal and other heroes, he is among the tallest figures of grand Indian struggle to the Company rule.Let us join to pay our respectful homage and floral tribute to Tatya Tope & his accomplish for his praiseworthy deeds and pay our humble obeisances to the lotus feet of all those martyrs who laid their livees for well-being of our motherland!