Complete Set of 4 nos of commemorative postage stamps on the Leaders of the First War of Independence – Tatya Tope, Nana Sahib, Begum Hazrat Mahal and Mangal Pandey :
Issued on May 10, 1984
Issued for : Indian Posts & Telegraphs Department is privileged to issue four commemorative stamps in the memory of these great Freedom Fighters
Design : The stamps show the portraits of Tatya Tope, Nana Sahib, Begum Hazrat Mahal & Mangal Pandey.
Designed by : C. R. Pakarashi
Type : Stamp, Mint Condition
Watermark : No
Colour : Tatya Tope – Saffron, Green & Bistre-Brown, Nana Sahib – Saffron, Green & Purple, Begum Hazrat Mahal – Saffron, Green & Orange–Red and Mangal Pandey – Saffron, Green & Orange–Brown
Denomination : 50 Paise each
Overall size : 4.06 x 2.70 cms.
Printing Size : 3.71 x 2.30 cms.
Perforation : 13
Stamps Printed : 1.5 Million each in sheets of 40
Printing Process : Photogravure
Printers : India Security Press
- The First War of Independence (1857-58) was the first general widespread uprising against the rule of the British East India Company. The Doctrine of Lapse, issue of cartridges greased with animal fat to Indian soldiers, introduction of British system of education and a number of social reforms had infuriated a very wide section of Indian people, who rose in revolt at a number of places all over India. The East India Company was brought under the direct rule of the British Crown as a result of this uprising.
- Of the very large number of freedom fighters, who led the struggle, four are being commemorated through the present series, which is a part of the larger series on India’s Struggle for Freedom.
Tatya Tope :
- Tatya Tope also known as Ram Chandra Pandurang was born in 1814 at village Gola in Maharashtra. His father, Pandurang Rao Tope was an important noble at the court of the Peshwa Baji Rao–II. He shifted his family with the ill fated Peshwa to Bithur where his son became the most intimate friend of the Peshwa’s adopted son, Nana Dhundu Pant, known as Nana Saheb.
- In 1851, when Lord Dalhousie deprived Nana Saheb 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, established Nana Saheb’s authority and became the Commander-in-Chief of his revolutionary forces.
- After the reoccupation of Kanpur and separation from Nana Saheb, Tatya Tope shifted his headquarters to Kalpi to join hands with Rani Lakshmi Bai and led a revolt in Bundelkhand. He was routed at Betwa, Koonch, and Kalpi, but reached Gwalior and declared Nana Saheb as Peshwa with the support of the Gwalior contingent. Before he could consolidate his position he was defeated by General Rose in a memorable battle in which Rani Lakshmi Bai suffered martyrdom.
- After losing Gwalior to the British, he 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 captured and taken to Sipri where he was tried by a military court and executed at the gallows on April 18, 1859.
Begum Hazrat Mahal :
- Begum Hazrat Mahal, wife of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, was also known as the Begum of Avadh. In addition to being gifted with irresistible physical charm, she had an inborn genius for organisation and command. After her husband had been sent away in exile to Calcutta, she with the cooperation of a zealous hand of supporters like Sarafaddaulah, Maharaj Bal Krishna, Raja Jai Lal and above all Mammon Khan worked incessantly to revive the fortunes of Avadh. She seized control of Lucknow in association with the revolutionary forces and set up her son, Prince Birjis Qadr, as the King of Avadh. Hazrat Mahal worked in association with Nana Saheb but later escaped from Lucknow and joined the Maulavi of Faizabad in the attack on Sahajahanpur. She was driven from pillar to post, but she made her retreat with fortitude. She rejected with the contempt the promises of allowance and status held out to her by the British against whom her hatred was unrelenting. In the end after bearing misfortunate and misery throughout the period of resistance, she found asylum in Nepal where she died in 1879.
Nana Sahib :
- A Maratha, one of the leaders of the First War of Independence, Nana Saheb was born in 1824 to Narayan Bhatt and Ganga Bai. In 1827 his parents went to the court of the last Peshwa Baji Rao, who adopted Nana Saheb, thus making him her-presumptive to the throne.
- Nana Saheb was well educated. He studied Sanskrit and was known for his deep religious nature. On the death of the last Peshwa, Baji Rao–II, in 1851 the Company’s Government stopped the annual pension and the title. Nana Saheb’s appeal to the Court of Directors was not accepted. This made him hostile towards the British rulers. When the First War of Independence broke out, he assumed leadership of the mutineers in Kanpur. After seizing Kanpur, which had a small British garrison, Nana Saheb proclaimed himself as Peshwa and called for the total extermination of the British power in India. Kanpur was recaptured by the British General Havelock and the last serious engagement (16 July, 1857) resulted in total route of Nana’s forces. Nana rode away to an unknown destination in Nepal in 1859 and probably perished in the jungle.
Mangal Pandey :
- Mangal Pandey, a resident of Ballia, in Uttar Pradesh, was a soldier in the army of the British East India Company. At the time of the First War of Independence, the Company introduced new rifles, which used animal fat for greasing the cartridges. Influenced by the example of his compatriots in Behrampur, Mangal Pandey refused to use the greased cartridges and broke into open mutiny on March 29, 1857, at Barrackpore near Calcutta and used his comrades to join him. Surrounding by guards and European Officers, he tried to commit suicide by shooting himself and was seriously wounded. He was court-martialed on April 6 and hanged at Barrackpore on April 8, 1857.