Good morning to everyone in this room. I would like to thank the principal, the teachers, and my dear friends for allowing me to speak to you today about Mangal Pandey. Although some accounts claim he was from Lalitpur, Pandey was born in the region of northern India that is now the state of Uttar Pradesh.
According to some reports, he enlisted in the British East India Company’s army in 1849 after being recruited by a regiment that marched past him. He was a landowner from a Brahman family that had strong Hindu values.
The conflict between Pandey’s religious beliefs and his professional ambitions, however, was significant. When he was sent to the Barrackpore garrison in the middle of the 1850s, a new Enfield rifle that allowed a soldier to load the weapon by biting off the ends of greased cartridges was brought to India.
There was a rumor that the lubricant was either pig or cow fat, which was unpopular with Muslims and Hindus, respectively. The sepoys eventually came to think that the British intentionally added fat to the cartridges.
Mangal Pandey was executed by hanging on March 29, 1857, for wooing and persuading his fellow sepoys to rebel against British rule. To avoid a major uprising, his execution was postponed from April 18 to April 8 instead. Later that month, a protest at Meerut over the use of Enfield cartridges signaled the start of a larger uprising in May.
India honors Pandey as a freedom fighter who fought the British Empire. The Indian government released a commemorative postage stamp with his likeness in 1984. A theatrical play and a movie on his life were also released in 2005. Thank you.