“ANY MAN WHO TELLS YOU THAT AN ACT OF ARMED RESISTANCE-EVEN IF OFFERED BY TEN MEN ONLY-EVEN IF OFFERED BY MEN ARMED WITH STONES-ANY MEN WHO TELL YOU THAT SUCH AN ACT OF RESISTANCE IS PREMATURE,IMPRUDENT,OR DANGEROUS,ANY AND EVERY SUCH MAN SHOULD BE AT ONCE SPURNED AND SPAT AT,FOR REMARK YOU THIS AND RECOLLECT THAT SOMEWHERE AND SOME HOW AND BY SOMEBODY A BEGINNING MUST BE MADE AND THAT THE FIRST ACT OF RESISTANCE IS ALWAYS AND MUST BE EVER PREMATURE , IMPRUDENT AND DANGEROSUS”
The “Benares Rebellion” could not leave a significant mark in its history due to lack of vision and inability to take decisions in the King of Banares.
In order to shed light on this incident and its importance, I have made the basis of the letters of the British officers of that time, their statements, buildings and ruins connected with this incident in and around Benares. Indian intellectuals (especially Sampurna Nand)You were a great educationist and was also the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and the Governor of Rajasthan. (Your great-grandfather Sadanand ji was the divan of King Chet Singh.)
Warren Hasting himself wrote that —
“If Chet Singh had not run away at this time and would have attacked the garden of Madhodas, I would surely have been killed and thus rebellion would have spread all around”.
SELECTIONS FROM THE STATE PAPERS OF THE GOVERNORS-GENERAL OF INDIA : WARREN HASTINGS (George Forest Page 160)
WHO WAS WARREN HASTINGS
WARREN HASTINGS WAS THE FIRST GOVERNOR OF THE PRESSIDENCY OF FORT WILLIAM, THE HEAD OF THE SUPREME COUNCIL OF BENGAL, THE FIRST DE FACTO GOVERNOR GENERAL OF INDIA .WARREN HASTINGS CREDITED ALONG WITH ROBERT CLIVE FOR LAYING THE FOUNDATION OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE IN INDIA.
Warren Hastings’s Varanasi Arrival
On July 7, 1781, Warren Hastings left Kolkata for Banaras (Varanasi) with his men. On the way, Warren Hasting also stopped at Bhagalpur and Buxar.
On August 15, 1781, Warren Hastings arrived in Varanasi. Warren Hasting came to Varanasi to investigate complaints against Maharaja Banaras Chet Singh.
Warren Hasting reached Varanasi and stayed in a garden named Madhodas. This garden of Madhodas is presently known as Radhaswami Bagh or Swami Bagh in Varanasi.
On the banks of the Ganges, Shivala Bhavan, now known as Chet Singh Ghat, the Maharaja of Benares was arrested and detained here by order of Warren Hastings. The disobedience of Maharaj by the soldiers of Warren Hastings provoked the soldiers of Maharaj’s army and then the people also joined the soldiers of Maharaj.
Lieut Arch.Scott 1s Battalion sepoys,
LieutT Jer Symes2nd Battalion sepoys
Lieut J Stalker Resd. Body Guard
WHO WERE KILLED WITH 200 SEPOYS AUGUST (17TH 1781)
NEAR THIS SPOT, DOING THEIR DUTY.
(SEPOY:-INDIAN FOOT -SOLDIER, esp. IN THE SERVICE OF THE EAST INDIA COMPANY .)
Padaav Ramnagar encounter:
1-Here 30 foreign soldiers, 150 native soldiers were killed, and 100 men were wounded in the struggle between British and Maharaja Varanasi soldiers.
Only two soldiers of Maharaja Varanasi died.
2-An officer named Captain Mayfair marched into the city of Varanasi, a troop of his army, where he was surrounded, the public beaten Mayfair and his soldiers badly in the streets of Varanasi. Mayfair was killed along with 36 white soldiers, 108 native soldiers were also killed, 42 soldiers were injured.
I AM NOT AFRAID OF AN ARMY OF LIONS LED BY A SHEEP,I AM AFRAID OF AN ARMY OF SHEEP LED BY A LION.
The public was very excited by this incident and was ready to avenge the insult of the king. At this time the people needed a skilled leadership, but unfortunately the king could not lead such enthusiastic people either.
At such a time, instead of leading the public, it was very sad for the king to run away like cowards and only worry about himself and family. This shameful attitude of Maharaja soon led to the loss of trust of the people and the army from his Majesty.
Warren Hastings was very frightened to see himself surrounded in Varanasi and decided to leave Varanasi at the earliest. Decided to go to Chunar, located just a few kilometers away from Varanasi, because this fort was in the possession of the East India Company.
Warren Hasting, along with some confidant men, made the journey to Chunar in the night somehow.
The problem of lack of leadership in India continued even further. The only reason for the failure of the first freedom struggle of 1857 was the lack of skilled leadership.
Swami Vivekananda has mentioned this
A LEADER LEADS BY EXAMPLE:
AN English friend of mine, named General Strong, was in India during the sepoy mutiny. He used to tell many stories about it. One day, in the course of conversation, I asked him how it was that the sepoys who had enough of guns, ammunition’s, and provisions at their disposal ,and were also trained veterans, came to suffer such a defeat.
He replied that the leaders among them ,instead of advancing forward , only kept shouting from a safe position in the rear , fight on brave lads, and so forth but unless the commanding officer goes ahead and faces death , the rank and file will never fight with heart. It is the same in every branch. a captain must sacrifice his head they say. If you can laydown your life, for a cause ,then only you can be a leader . But we all want to be leaders without making the necessary sacrifice. and the result is zero-no body listen to us!.
(THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SWAMI VIVEKANANDA,7:325-26 )
These major events of Indian history provide two very important lessons.
1. When the leadership becomes ill-informed, then the public should lead themselves.
2 . The immediate decision of renunciation is necessary to maintain independence. In the future, we will take care of these things only then we can maintain independence.