Mangal Pandey was born on 19 July 1827 in Nagwa, Ballia, Uttar Pradesh into a Bhumihar Brahmin family. He is widely seen as one of its first freedom fighters in India. The Government of India has issued postage stamps commemorating him as a freedom fighter and his life and works have been adapted to the silver screen.
Contribution in 1857 Revolution
He joined the army of the East India Company in 1849 at the age of 22.
Pandey was part of the 6th Company of the 34th Bengal Native Infantry and is mainly known for his involvement in the attack on several officers of the regiment.
This event marked an early phase known as the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 or the First War of Indian Independence.
It is said that Pandey was a staunch Hindu who practiced his religion.
However, Pandey's career ambitions came into conflict with his religious beliefs. While he was stationed at the garrison at Barrackpore in the mid-1850s, a new Enfield rifle was introduced in India requiring a soldier to cut the end of a cartridge of ghee to load the weapon. A rumor spread that the lube used was either a cow or pig's baby, meant for Hindus or Muslims respectively. Confidence arose among the soldiers that the British intentionally used cartridges.
There are various accounts of the events of March 29, 1857. However, the general agreement is that Pandey attempted to incite his fellow soldiers to rise against his British officers, attacking two of those officers, attempting to shoot himself after being restrained. And was eventually overpowered and arrested. Pandey was soon brought to trial and sentenced to death. Their execution (by hanging) was scheduled for 18 April, but the British authorities feared the outbreak of a large uprising, if they waited until then, the date went until 8 April. Protesting the use of Enfield cartridges later that month. Meerut triggered an uprising in May and a major uprising began.