Freedom Movement in Madhya Pradesh

Freedom Movement in Madhya Pradesh

  • In the history of Indian freedom movement region of Madhya Pradesh played a significant role.
  • The first stirrings against the British supremacy were seen in the Central Provinces when the East India Company secured its foothold in the kingdom of Nagpur.
  • Appa Sahib Bhonsle ascended the throne of Nagpur in February, 1817. He was compelled to sign a treaty with the Company under the terms of the Subsidiary Alliance.
  • Appa Sahib could not swallow the hard pill of subordination to a foreign power and raised a revolt against the British domination.
  • Although he could not succeed in his efforts and had to leave Nagpur, he kindled a fire of freedom in the region, which continued to wage war against the British.
  • The districts of Sagar and Damoh was given to the Peshwa of Poona by the Bundela Raja Chhatrasal.
  • After the deposition of the Peshwa by Lord Hastings, these districts were ceded to the British in 1818. But it was not till March, 1818 that this region could be occupied by the British.
  • The districts of Mandla, Betul, Seoni and the Narmada Valley were taken possession of by the Company after the defeat of Appa Sahib in the battle of Sitabaldi.


Revolt in Sagar Narmada territory

  • In 1820 this entire land, designated as the Sagar Narmada territory, was placed under an Agent to the Governor-General.
  • In 1842 there was an upsurge in the Sagar-Narmada territory against the British tyranny.
  • Jawahar Singh Bundela of Chandrapur and Madhukar Shah of Narhat were the leaders of the revolt.
  • They were joined by the Gond Raja Dilhan Shah of Madanpur, Raja Hirde Shah of Hirapur and several other chiefs, including those of Narsinghpur.
  • The British forces tried utmost to curb the Bundela upsurge. It took them more than a year to capture Hirde Shah and Madhukar Shah.
  • The latter was publicly executed and his body was burnt behind the Sagar Jail. Madhukar Shah became a popular hero and was glorified in the folk-lore of Central India. The spirit of Independence gained a momentum in the years to come.

Nagpur, Satara, Jhanshi Annex by British

  • In December, 1853 Raghuji III, the Raja of Nagpur died and his State was annexed to the British dominion.
  • This was followed by the annexation of Satara, Jhansi and several other States. These acts aroused public disgust and hatred against the British government.
  • In the year 1854 the area of Bundelkhand and Baghelkhand were added to the province of Malwa. They now became a part of extensive Central India Agency, and were put in the charge of an Agent to the Governor-General.
  • Raja Gangadhar Rao of Jhansi had died on 21st November, 1853 and had left behind him a young prince duly adopted by him.
  • The Raja’s queen, illustrious Rani Lakshmi Bai, was the Regent of the Prince.
  • Lord Dalhousie did not recognise the ruling rights of the Prince and his Regent and annexed the State of Jhansi, putting in under his Agent. Rani Lakshmi Bai was compelled to raise a revolt against the British. She was helped in her endeavour by Nana Sahib and Tatya Tope. The Sindhia house of Gwalior and the Holkar house of Indore declined to give help to the cause of the revolt.


During 1857 Revolt

  • The great event of Independence of 1857 was the first agitation of an all-India Character. It affected an extensive region from Meerut to Kolhapur and involved both Hindus and Muslims of the country.
  • Only a month after the start of the Revolt in the Meerut-Delhi area, the Sagar-Narmada territory and Nagpur were swept by its waves.
  • The growing spirit of Independence in the Sagar-Narmada territory could not be curbed easily.
  • Soon after the spread of the Revolt in Jhansi early in June, 1857, it spread like a wild fire in the Sagar-Damoh region. Almost the entire area north of the Narmada was in arms against the British. The Rajas of Banpur and Shahgarh took leading part and got the Europeans of their areas imprisoned, but later on permitted them to go to Sagar.
  • By August, 1857 practically the entire area to the north of Narmada, except Jabalpur and Mandla, was in the possession of the freedom forces. Soon after, these forces found in the Gond Raja Shankar Shah their leader in Jabalpur.
  • This Raja belonged to the family of the brave Rani Durgavati of Garha Mandla, who had fought for the Independence of her kingdom against the Mughal army of Akbar.
  • The Rani of Ramgarh, a small state in the Mandla district, took heroic part in the freedom movement.
  • Clad in the full military dress and armed with a sword, she herself used to lead her army on the battlefield. Like Rani Durgavati she met with a heroic end on the battlefield, fighting for Independence till her last breath.
  • The counter-offensive launched by Hugh Rose in the SagarNarmada territory began to turn the tide in favour of the British. But the freedom fighters continued their struggle undeterred.
  • Tatya Tope, the great general of Nana Sahib, came to their help. The chivalrous deeds of Tatya Tope in Bundelkhand have immortalized him.
  • After the death of Rani of Jhansi in June, 1858gjatya continued his guerrilla warfare against the British for several months.
  • At long last, he unfortunately fell victim to a betrayal and is said to have been hanged at Sipri on the 18th April, 1859.
  • Towards the end of 1857, the district of Raipur was in ferment. But due to lack of proper organisation the rising in the Mahakoshal area was short-lived.
  • Similarly, the Revolt did not penetrate to the south of the river Narmada
  • The region of Malwa did not lag behind in the Revolt.
  • There was a sincere effort in several parts of Malwa to get freedom from the British yoke.
  • The revolt was successful in the beginning at Mhow, Dhar, Amjhera, Mehidpur, Indore, Gwalior, Mandsaur and several other places.
  • The rebels established their own rule at Mandsaur, Dhar, Amjhera and Gwalior.
  • Due to various causes, the success was transitory and the rebellion was quelled by the British with the help of some native states and others.
  • The uprising was calmed down with a heavy hand by the British, taking recourse to ruthless measures of revenge and persecution.
  • The cruel methods adopted by the alien rulers to suppress the popular uprising were in sharp contrast to the human treatment of the British captives at the hands of the Indian insurgents.

During National Movement

Major Freedom Fighter of MP

  1. Chandra Shekhar AzadFreedom Movement in Madhya Pradesh
  2. Ravishankar Shukla
  3. Tatya Tope
  4. Rani Lakshmi Bai
  5. Rani Avanti Bai
  6. Tantya Bheel (Tantya Mama)
  7. Jhalkari Bai
  • Despite evidence presented by the official History of the Freedom Movement in Madhya Pradesh/ the Gandhian movement in 1919 hardly got of the ground in the Central Provinces and Berar and that Gandhi failed to mobilize the support of the regional elites in the Hindi and Marathi districts.
  • The leadership of both the regions was engaged in developing their political careers in the Congress by counter- balancing their respective zones of influence.
  • The entire political process in the province encouraged the provincial leadership divided along the lines of community, caste, sub-caste, class, region and profession, seek the support of their “fellow clients” for eventual domination in the province.
  • By 1939, the Congress, led by Gandhi, was the most successful of all parties in manipulating these connections, its politicians doing so at the levels of the tehsil, the town, the district or the region and the province itself.
  • Congress provided these contacts to the middle-class politician to develop a following in the rural areas and labour sectors.
  • The political process in the province of Central Provinces and Berar was a contest for leadership in the Congress party, leading to the growth of factions from 1919 to 1939 ultimately leading to the domination of the Hindi group in the Congress.

At time of Independence

  • After achieving freedom, in the year 1948, 25 states of Madhya Bharat region including Gwalior signed an agreement at Delhi.
  • As a result Pandit Jawahar Lai Nehru inaugurated the state Madhya Bharat on 28 May 1948.
  • The Indore state of Holkar Kingdom became merged in Madhya Bharat after inaugural of state of Madhya Bharat.
  • In the way, 35 smaller states of Rewa – Baghelkhand and Bundelkhand were merged to constitute state of Vindhya Pradesh in year 1948 itself.
  • Bhopal state was organised by Afgan Chieftain Dost Mohammed Khan, Nawabi rule continued till May 1949.
  • On June 1, 1949 this state was made commissioner ruled province of India.
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