Mangal Pandey (19 July 1827 – 8 April 1857)
An Indian soldier who played a key part in events immediately preceding the outbreak of the Indian rebellion of 1857. Pandey was a sepoy (private) in the 34th Bengal Native Infantry (BNI) regiment of the English East India Company. While contemporary British opinion considered him a traitor and mutineer, Pandey is widely regarded as a freedom fighter in modern India. In 1984, the Indian government issued a postage stamp to commemorate him. His life and actions have also been portrayed in several cinematic productions.
Mangal Pandey was born on 19 July 1827 in the village Nagwa, of Ballia district, Uttar Pradesh in a Bhumihar Brahmin family. He joined the East India Company's forces in 1849 at the age of 18. Pandey was part of the 6th Company of the 34th Bengal Native Infantry and is primarily known for his involvement in an attack on several of the regiment's officers. This incident marked an opening stage in what came to be known as the India's First War of Independence or Indian Mutiny of 1857. In line with the modern Indian perspective of his historical role, it is now claimed that Pandey was a devout Hindu who practiced his religion diligently.
At Barrackpore on the afternoon of 29 March 1857, Lieutenant Baugh, Adjutant of the 34th Bengal Native Infantry (BNI), was informed that several men of his regiment were in an excited state. Further, it was reported to him that one of them, Mangal Pandey, was pacing in front of the regiment's guard room by the parade ground, armed with a loaded musket, calling upon the men to rebel and threatening to shoot the first European he set his eyes on. Baugh immediately buckled on his sword, placed loaded pistols in his holsters, mounted his horse, and galloped to the lines. Pandey took position behind the station gun, which was in front of the quarter-guard of the 34th, took aim at Baugh and fired. He missed Baugh, but the bullet struck his horse in the flank, and horse and rider were brought down. Baugh quickly disentangled himself and, seizing one of his pistols, advanced towards Pandey and fired. He missed. Before Baugh could draw his sword, Pandey attacked him with a talwar (a heavy Indian sword) and closing with the adjutant, slashed him on the shoulder and neck and brought him to the ground. It was then that another sepoy, Shaikh Paltu, intervened and tried to restrain Pandey even as he tried to reload his musket.
a Bengali writer, poet and journalist. He was the composer of India’s national song Vande Mataram, originally a Bengali and Sanskrit stotra personifying India as a mother goddess and inspiring the activists during the Indian Freedom Movement. Bankim Chandra wrote 13 novels and several ‘serious, serio-comic, satirical, scientific and critical treaties’ in Bengali. His works were widely translated into other regional languages of India as well as in English.
Bankim Chandra was born to an orthodox Brahmin family at Kanthalpara, North 24 Parganas. He was educated at Hoogly College and Presidency College, Calcutta. He was one of the first graduates of the University of Calcutta. From 1858, until his retirement in 1891, he served as a deputy magistrate and deputy collector in the Government of British India. Bankim Chandra is widely regarded as a key figure in literary renaissance of Bengal as well as India. Some of his writings, including novels, essays and commentaries, were a breakaway from traditional verse-oriented Indian writings, and provided an inspiration for authors across India. When Bipin Chandra Pal decided to start a patriotic journal in August 1906, he named it Vande Mataram, after Bankim Chandra's song. Lala Lajpat Rai also published a journal of the same name.