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Which sites/places in India can I learn more of your colonial history?

Discussion in 'Travel advice' started by D Lee, Jun 29, 2017.

  1. D Lee

    D Lee New Member

    Which location or town(s) were your freedom fighters and leaders from/where they fought at?
    Are there famous caves where they used to hide/seek refuge from?
    Are there landmarks/statues (places) of such leaders?

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, welcome to the forum!


    When talking about the colonial history of India, much attention is given to the British rulers who conquered many parts of the Indian subcontinent during that time. They have left behind some of the best Victorian era structures that reek of beauty and opulence. But there's a dark side to the colonial rule, the struggles and the need for that independence that each country wanted back then. India was not spared from that and despite the glorious palaces or churches, there are places that highlight the country's fight for freedom as well. The true heroes, the individuals who fought for freedom from the colonial rule back then, are somehow put under the limelight especially with the towering architectural marvels that the colonial rulers left behind. So in this guide, let us give them their fair share of the attention, because really, they are the true stars of the country, they are the individuals who helped in making India a free country, as to what it is today.

    Lesser Known Places to Learn About India's Colonial History

    1. Muzaffarpur (Bihar) - Muzaffarpur is home to various freedom fighters such as Yogendra Shukla, Baikunth Shukla, Jubba Sahni and Ramavriksha Benipuri. A little known revolutionary incident that occurred here though is the Muzaffarpur Killing, which was a planned attack on the then magistrate of the city, Douglas Kingsford. Two freedom fighters in the names of Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki were Bengali natives that planned on the attack along with their group. The magistrate, a tough and cruel leader under the British empire, was known for his harsh punishments and abuse of power. When the magistrate was supposed to be transferred to Muzaffarpur, for his own safety since the locals of Kolkata where he was serving before was becoming more unbridled, a plan was executed to kill him by the revolutionary group where the two freedom fighters come from. On that evening of April 30, 1908, the plan was fulfilled but instead of killing the magistrate, unintentionally, it was the wife and daughter of barrister, Pringle Kennedy, that was killed by bomb thrown on the carriage. Khudiram Bose was later on caught by the authorities while Prafulla Chaki committed suicide in the midst of a possible arrest. Khudiram Bose was sentenced to death by hanging thereafter in the area known today as Khudiram Bose Memorial, with a statue of the freedom fighter. His martyrdom is remembered every year by the locals and just last 2016, his 108th death anniversary was celebrated. You can also visit the Khudiram Bose Pusa Railway Station, formerly known as Vaini Railway Station, where the freedom fighter was arrested after fleeing from the murder scene. Khudiram Bose was one of the youngest martyrs for the Indian Freedom Movement but he doesn't get as much of the attention as other known fighters.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Khudiram Bose Memorial and Khudiram Bose Pusa Railway Station
    • Related Thread - n/a
    2. Sudhagad (Maharashtra) - Referred to as the Father of the Armed Indian Rebellion, Vasudev Balwant Phadke is yet another unpopular freedom fighter in the country. Even at a very young age, Phadke realized the oppressive rule of the British and knew then that freedom is the only way that the country can uplift the economy and themselves. Phadke is also the founder of the Ramosi Peasant Force, whom ransacked the government treasuries to fund his group as well as help the famine-stricken communities around him. All this time, Phadke continued his protests against the British rule, gaining followers, admirers and loyal sympathizers. This has kept Phadke safe all through this years, in the midst of the bounty put upon his head by the British. Every village he went to, people would help him cover up or escape, which is why it took many years before he was captured by the British. He even took refuge in the caves near Sudhagad known as the Thanale Caves and Khadsamble Caves. These are the perfect hideout spots, approachable through a trek in the forests and kept him away from the prying eyes of the British. Alas, due to a betrayal by a supposed follower, Phadke was captured in Kaladgi in the year 1879 and was imprisoned outside of the country, in Aden in Yemen, where he eventually died.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Thanale Caves and Khadsamble Caves
    • Related Thread - n/a
    3. Amritsar (Punjab) - When one thinks of Amritsar, the usual attractions that comes to mind would be the Wagah Border and Harmandir Sahib. Sure, these are heritage sites of India but Amritsar has a darker side worth visiting. The Jallianwala Bagh was once the venue for one of the most tragic massacres in the colonial era of India. Back then, Punjab was in such a tortuous state, with numerous protests and even deaths of British officials and citizens. As such, the presiding British leader of the state back then, Colonel Reginald Edward Harry Dyer, imposed a curfew and ban on meetings of more than four persons per group. Incidentally, the Baisakhi festival, celebrated annually by Sikhs, was to be celebrated as well on that auspicious day of April 13 in 1919. Over 15,000 men, women and children gathered in the Jallianwala Bagh for this festival, which was then informed to the British colonel. Without any warning or even negotiations, Colonel Dyer fired upon the garden along with the individuals inside for around 10 minutes. The garden was designed in such a way that its three corners are surrounded by walls and it only has one narrow opening in the entrance. This has lead to the deaths of thousands of Indians, many killed during the stampede and some by the bullets themselves. This is perhaps one of the most brutal mass killings that the British empire was known for.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Jallianwala Bagh
    Jallianwala 2.jpg
    Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar (Image from Baljinder)

    4. Hussainniwala (Punjab) - Hussainiwala is another city in the state of Punjab, around 107 kilometers away from Amritsar. This city is on the border area between India and Pakistan. But far before the tensions between these two countries started, Hussainiwala was the venue for the cremation of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru, who were the freedom fighters involved in the 1928 Lahore Conspiracy Case. The three planned to kill the British police superintendent, James Scott, the primary officer who ordered for the baton charging of the silent protesters during the Silent Commission inauguration. This incident lead to the death of Lala Lajpat Rai, a Punjabi writer and subsequently, an Indian freedom fighter. As the turn of events go, the three freedom fighters headed by Bhagat Singh, killed a police officer by the name of John Saunders instead due to a mistaken identity case. Still, the three were able to escape and Bhagat Singh later executed a plan to bomb the Central Legislative Assembly in Delhi which he was successful in doing so. However, he was arrested, along with his partner, Batukeshwar Dutt. In 1931, the three freedom fighters were hanged in Lahore Central Jail and was secretly cremated in the banks of the Sutlej River, to the now known Hussainiwala National Martyrs Memorial.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Hussainiwala National Martyrs Memorial
    5. Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh) - Allahabad is one of the fastest developing cities of Uttar Pradesh but it also played a role in the Indian Freedom Movement during the British rule. You would find the Chandra Shekhar Azad Park here, formerly known as the Alfred Park. It’s quite interesting knowing the two names of the park, the former being its new name after the colonial rule, and the latter being its old name during the colonial rule. Chandra Shekhar Azad was born in Madhya Pradesh and later moved to Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh. At a young age, he joined the Non-Cooperation Movement lead by Mohandas Gandhi. Thereafter, he became a member of the revolutionary group known as the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) and at that time, he became involved in various government robberies, including the highly known Kakori Train Robbery. Later on, he formed the Hindustan Republican Socialist Association (HRSA) which aimed for better reforms on the struggle for freedom movement. In 1931, he was supposed to meet alliances in the then known Alfred Park but was betrayed by a member which lead to a gun battle with the British. Eventually, he succumbed due to injuries and proceeded to killing himself with his last gun bullet.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Chandra Shekhar Azad Park
    6. Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh) - Located in the Phool Bagh Complex of Gwalior is a huge statue of Lakshmibai, also known as the Rani of Jhansi. The statue depicts the freedom fighter on top of a horse with a sword on her hand. She was born as Manikarnika and thereafter married to the Maharaja of Jhansi, giving her the name Lakshmibai. She is one of the most noted female freedom fighters of India. Her struggle though was not the usual one as she was once an ally of the British empire. But after her husband died, the supposed heir, their adopted son, Anand Rao, was denied the throne to be king. Still, she stayed by the British side and even defended the fort that was taken from her. But even upon numerous pleads with the government, no one helped her during the Indian mutiny that occurred in the fort. No one knows exactly when her change of heart occurred from being an ally of the British, to being a freedom fighter. But one thing is for sure, she died defending her freedom from the foreign oppressors. You can spot the Samadhi of Rani Lakshmibai in the garden, the exact place where the freedom fighter was cremated.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Samadhi of Rani Lakshmibai
    7. Sabarmati (Gujarat) - One of the most prominent freedom fighters of India is Mahatma Gandhi, a name known all over the country and the world. He is best known for his advocacy of non-violence protests against the British rule. In fact, you would find various monuments and memorials dedicated for him in India. One such place is the Sabarmati Ashram, located in Sabarmati, just on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. This is the place where Mahatma Gandhi planned his freedom movement actions. Originally, the ashram was located in Kochrab in the same district but was moved after near the Sabarmati River, which has a more spacious open area. The Sabarmati Ashram is the very heart of the freedom movement and it was a living, breathing place. From the Hriday Kunj, you can envision how Gandhi lived his life here, from the displayed artifacts and memorabilia taken from the life of the freedom fighter. From the Painting Gallery, where you can see life-sized paintings of the freedom fighter. Or the My Life is My Message Gallery where you can find photographs from the various important events in Gandhi's life. The on-site library has collections of various books written by and about the freedom fighter.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Sabarmati Ashram
    Gandhi Statue in Sabarmati Ashram (Image from Bernard)

    8. Jagdishpur (Bihar) - Home to one of the bravest freedom fighters of India, Veer Kunwar Singh, is Jagdishpur, located in Bhojpur in Bihar. Specifically, the freedom fighter hails from the Jagdishpur Fort, which was one of the venues for the Indian Rebellion of 1857. You can find the fort around 30 kilometers away from Arrah. What makes him different is that despite his age of 80 years old, he fought back against the British rulers for almost a year to defend his region. According to local stories, whilst on his way back to Jagdishpur, he was hurt by the British army and sustained injuries in his arm. It is said that he cut his wounded arm and threw it on the Ganges River as an offering. Though the freedom fighter died in the said battle, his courage and strength has made him a legend in the name of Indian Freedom Movement.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Jagdishpur Fort
    • Related Thread - n/a
    9. Dhenkanal (Odisha) - Have you ever heard or read about Baji Rout, touted as the youngest freedom movement martyr of India? It was in the year 1938 when havoc wreaked in the little town known as Bhuban near Nilakanthapur. This is not a sudden incident though as the harsh tax implements of the then ruler Shankar Pratap Singhdeo was making the lives of the locals worse. As such, the Prajamandal Andolan was established by Baishnav Charan Pattanayak or Veer Baishnav, a revolt group against the British empire. It is not known exactly why the British became suddenly violent to the Bhuban village near Nilakanthapur. Some believe that they were pursuing the group leader, Veer Baishnav, who fled into this village. Some argue that the British soldiers became agitated after a series of protests started by the Prajamandal Andolan group and hence shot fire into civilians. Amidst all this confusion about this story, one thing is for sure, Baji Rout was given the task of standing guard amidst the Nilakanthapur Ghat, ensuring that the British soldiers won't be able to pass through it. The British soldiers, either running after the group leader or fleeing away from the masses who revolted against them, wanted to cross the river with the help of Baji Rout. The brave boy, at a tender age of 12, refused to obey the command and thereafter met his death in the hands of the brutal soldiers.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Nilakanthapur Ghat
    • Related Thread - n/a
    Dhenkanal Railway Station (Image from India Rail Info)

    10. Nongkhlaw (Meghalaya) - Last on this guide is Nongkhlaw, a little known place that was once ruled over by the Khasi ruler, U Tirot Sing Syiem. During his rule, the British has already reinforced their expansion in Northeast India, acquiring both Brahmaputra and Assam. Sandwiched in between these two areas is Nongkhlaw, the place that was ruled over by U Tirot Sing Syiem. The British, in their pursuance of trade and economy development, wanted to link their two territories but doing so means going over the land owned by U Tirot Sing Syiem. So after discussions of the two sides, the plan was approved providing that the British supports the Khasi tribes in reclaiming some lands that were taken from them by Balaram Singh. But alas, the British did not push through with the agreement which angered the Khasi ruler, leading to them attacking the colonial rulers and killing a few of their officers. Thereafter, a four-year guerrilla war ensued between the two sides, and unfortunately, the freedom fighter and his crew was defeated. You can visit the Tirot Sing Cave, also known as Krem Tirot, which was one of the places where U Tirot Sing Syiem and his crew hid during the battle with the British.
    • Must Visit Attractions - Tirot Sing Cave
    • Related Thread - n/a

    So this ends our guide on some of the lesser known places in India where you can learn more about its colonial history. This is not your usual list, comprised of cities like Chennai, Kolkata or even Delhi, which were also part of the colonial era. However, these places emphasize on the one side of the coin, the British, the oppressors during that era. In this guide, you were given the places that emphasize on the other side of the coin, the freedom fighters, the protagonists during that era who defended the Indian subcontinent from the antagonists. Good luck and I hope this helps you!

    iamawriter likes this.

  3. iamawriter

    iamawriter Member

    The Sultan Battery in Mangalore has history too which was built during the British Rule . It was built by Tipu Sultan, (in black stone,) primarily as a watchtower looking out for war ships entering through the Gurpur River. It is now in ruins.

    1200px-Sultan_Battery_2163.JPG Image Source: Wikimedia commons