TANTYA TOPE THE BRAVE HINDU COMMANDER OF 1857 WAS
BETRAYED BY OUR OWN MEN
Dr K Prabhakar Rao
The name of Ramchandra Pandurang Tope alias Tantya Tope immediately inspires the nationalists and all Indians who care for some values and commitment and bravery. He was the commander in chief of Maratha forces under Nana Sahib during 1857 war of independence that is well known as Sepoy mutiny dubbed by Europeans.
He was born in 1814at yeola a village in Maharashtra to Pandurang Rao Tope and Rukmini Bai. His father was a noble in the court of Peshwa Baji Rao II. Tantya Tope was a very close friend of Nana sahib ( Nana Dhondu Pant) the adopted son of the Peshwa. At Bethur.He became staunch enemy of the East India company when Lord Dalhousie the governor General deprived the Nana sahib of his fathers pension in 1981. There was a great political turmoil in Northern India with the policies of East India company. This finally resulted in revolt by Indian troops in Meerut cantonment in 1857and soon spread to other places in northern India such as Kanpur, Lucknow, Kanpur, Delhi and other places . Nana sahib could inspire the troops under East India company in the revolt and won over them. He took the command of troops as commander in Chief and led successful attacks on English troops. He was so successful that even English commanders praised him. Colonel G B Mallesan wrote:-
Tántiá Topí was a marvellous guerilla warrior. In pursuit of him, Brigadier Parke had marched, consecutively, 240 miles in nine days; Brigadier Somerset, 230 in nine days, and, again, seventy miles in forty-eight hours; Colonel Holmes, through a sandy desert, fifty-four miles in little over twenty-four hours; Brigadier Honner, 145 miles in four days. Yet he slipped through them all--through enemies watching every issue of the jungles 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 (1).
However Tanya Tope is accused for the killing of troops of East India Company after granting safe passage after their surrender. This may not be true. In fact the British troops first fired at the boatmen.
Once Kanpur was regained by the company troops, he moved to Gwalior and declared Nan sahib as Peshwa with local support. and joined hands with Rani of Jhansi and waged great battle against the Englishmen. The combined troops of Rani and Tantya Tope was defeated by Sir General Huge Rose. Unfortunately Rani Laxmi bai met martyrdom near Kalpi in a battle. She shines as bright star in the sky.
. Thereafter he commenced his remarkable feats of guerrilla warfare over very large areas such as , Malwa, Bundel-khand, Rajputana and Khandesh, from the ravines of the Vindhyas, Chambal valley to the gorges of the Aravali, in the central India greatly tormenting and harassing and perplexing the British and their allies. From June 1858 to April 1859 by nearly half of the British forces in India under their ablest generals enjoying the fullest support of their military intelligence, he outmaneuvered them several times. He could not be captured in the marathon chase of about 2,800 miles horizontally and vertically through forests, hills, dales and across the swollen rivers. He was betrayed by his most trusted friend Man Singh while Tantiya Tope was fast asleep in a hide out in a forest. The British army captured him on 7th April 1859. He was tried for his part in waging war against East India Company in 1857 and was executed on 18 April 1859.(3).
Tantya Tope faces an accusation of complicity in the massacre at Bibigarh. Things are not very clear on this aspect. 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.
Tantya tope the master Guerilla war General of Sepoy Mutiny ( First War of Indian Independence) faded into golden pages of History. But his contributions to Indian freedom struggle still inspire every one. Sadly India is caught in a typical democratic rule hijacked by family rules. To days youth have no time, no commitment and love for our peers such as Tantya Tope, Rani Jhansi, Veer Savarkar, Subhas Chadra Bose, Nana sahib, Raja Kunwar singh Ram mhamed Singh Azad alias Uddham singh, Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukh Dev , alluri seetha rama Raju, Veera Pandya Katta Bommanna, Velu Tambhi, Chatrapathi Shivaji and Sambhaji raje, Chadra Sekhar Azad and are lost in the computer craze and IT mania, They have no time submerged in cheap TV serials and it’s idiotic self defeating programmes and are wasting their vigor in drinking and dancing at Night clubs and pubs and reading cheap literature on roadside. Teachings of men like Swami Vivekananda, Dayanad Saraswathi, Saint Ramdas are stored in dusty racks. It is time youth wake up from slumber, desist from runninf after white skins ( Phirangins) and take inspiration from such great men and patriots like Tantya Tope for whom life was of no meaning against national honor and freedom.
1. Tantia Tope. Wikipedia
2. Narendra modi, Saluting tantya tope in 150 shaheed diwas http://www.narendramodi.com/file.axd?file=2009%2F10%2FSaluting+Tatya+Tope+on+his+150th+Shaheed+Divas-Eng.pdf, 18 April, 2009
3. Compiled by Mrs Nandita Verma, . Tantya Tope india shero of struggle for freedom, Hindu Jana Jagruthi Samithi http://188.8.131.52/search?q=cache:6_Hcx_GEKcgJ:www.hindujagruti.org/articles/16.html+Who+betrayed+Tantya+Tope&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=in
4, Tantya Tope. wikipedia