Sunday, December 30, 2012
Titumir(Syed Mir Nisar Ali) was a rebel against the Zamindars and British colonial system in 19th century Bengal, a part of British India. He rebelled against them and put up an armed resistance. Along with his followers, he built a Bamboo fort (Bansher-Kella in Bengali) which passed into Bengali folk legend. After the storming of the fort by British soldiers, Titumir died of his wounds onn 1822, Titu Mir went on a pilgrimage to Mecca, the Haj enjoined upon all Muslims, and on his return he commenced organizing the Muslim peasants of his native village against the landlords or Zamindars and the British colonialists. He also affected the tahband a tube shaped garment worn around the waist, in preference to the dhoti, seen as more overtly Hindu.
Titu Mir opposed a number of discriminatory measures in force at that time which included taxes on the wearing of beards and on mosques. The rift between Titu Mir and his followers on one side, and the local Zamindars supported by the British rulers on the other side, continued to widen, and armed conflict broke out at several places. Titu Mir had himself belonged to a "peyada" or martial family and himself had served under a Zamindar as a 'lathial or 'lethel' (paik), a fighter with the quarterstaff or lathi, (which in Bengal is made of bamboo, not wood) and he was actively training his men in hand to hand combat and the use of the lathi. This weapon in skilled hands is deadly against anything except projectile weapons. He thus started military training inside the Mosques and Madrassahs. They started physically attacking the Zamindars and their followers and organized several armed dacoities so as to finance their movement. Since his Army was mostly made up of poor peasants, they had no horses as cavalry. So they also started to steal horses from the stables of the Zamindars and from the British Police Stations. This provoked the British Government to send an army expedition of 7,000 sepoys so as to bring them under control.
The followers of Titu Mir, believed to have grown to 15,000 by that time, readied themselves for prolonged armed conflict, and they built a fort of bamboo at Narikelbaria, near the town of Barasat. This was surrounded by a high double curtain wall of bamboo stakes filled in with mud cladding and sun-baked.
Titu Mir declared independence from the British, and regions comprising the current districts of 24 Parganas, Nadia and Faridpur came under his control. The private armies of the Zamindars and the forces of the British met with a series of defeats at the hands of his men as a result of his strike-and-retreat guerrilla tactics.Finally, the British forces, armed with cannon and muskets, mounted a concerted attacks on 14 November 1831, on Titu Mir and his followers. Armed with nothing more than the bamboo quarterstaff and Lathis and a few swords and spears, Titu Mir and his forces could not withstand the might of modern weapons, and were overwhelmed. The bamboo castle was destroyed, and Titu Mir was killed along with several of his followers. The commanding officer of the British forces noted his opponent's bravery in dispatches, and also commented on the strength and resilience of bamboo as a material for fortification, since he had had to pound it with artillery for a surprisingly long time before it gave way November 19, 1831.
Titu Mir was born as Syed Mir Nisar Ali on 27 January 1782 (14 Magh 1182 in Bengali calendar), in Chandpur village, in North 24 Parganas district (currently in West Bengal, India). His father was Syed Mir Hassan Ali and mother was Abida Ruqayya Khatun.
Titu Mir’s education began in his village school, after which he moved to a local Madrassa. By the time he was 18 years of age, he had become a Hafiz of the Qur'an and a scholar of the Hadith and the Muslim traditions. He was also accomplished with Bengali, Arabic, and Persian languages. During this time he came under the influence of several Wahhabi seers, who preached a mixture of militant Islam and anti-colonial thought and saw both religious and political reform as in Bengal of that time.
he Kols (aka Ho/Larka) inhabited a large portion of the Chota Nagpur region. They rebelled to resist British entry into their dominion. Soon they joined the Munda rebellion.
It was only in the middle of 19th century that the Kols and the Mundas were finally defeated. In 1820 the Raja of Singhbum acknowledged the supremacy of the British. The restless Kol tribes, however, resented the agreement and broke into a rebellion in 1831-1832. They were joined by the Munda tribe. The immediate cause of the Kol uprising was the oppression of the local tribes by the non-adivasi thikadars (contractors) or farmers of rented lands. The Kols, the Mundas, the Santhals and the Oraons joined and burnt the houses of many diku (outsider) landlords and killed many of them. The British suppressed the rebellion with great effort. A register of all tribal land was completed in 1862. It was in favour of the landlords than the adivasis. The Adivasi kols of Chotonagpur area was divided into many subcastes. They lived independently there. (1) In 1820 the king of Porhat accepted the British governance and settled to give a huge tax to the British Government. After that he demanded the surrounding area as his realm. The British Government accepted his demand. The problem arose when he went collect the revenue from the Ho. They killed the retainers or servants of the king. After that the Kols dressed with bow and arrow, the jabbing etc. came to a fight with the English. They fought till the death and hindered the English a lot; but at last the wood-word Kol had to surrender in 1821. (2) In 1831 the Kols rebelled again. In that part of Chotonagpur area the 'Ijara' was given to Hindu, Muslim, Shikh Mahajans. They exceeded the limit of oppression. In protection of the oppression Buddhu Bhagat, Joya Bhagat, Jhindrai Manaki and Sui Munda amassed the Kols. In 1831 Munda and Oraon cultivators broked their first rebel in Ranchi district. The rebel immediately spread to Singbhum, Manbhum, Hajaribag and Palamu districts. All the men like Jamindar, Jotdar (one kind of Jamindar), Businessman, Mohajon (who lends money to the farmers for interest), English Servant except Adivasi came under the aegis of this rebel. The rebel was taken into control after the continuous effort of two years and killing a thousands of innocent children, woman and man.