Meo Uprising

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Dr. Aijaz Ahmad
Department of History
Y.M.D. College, Nuh
District- Mewat Haryana)

The Gurgaon district, a large part which known as Mewat, formed a part of the Delhi Division of North West Provinces of the Bengal Presidency in 1857. This area witnessed a great and heroic achievement of its Meo population during the revolt of 1857. It was the first time in history when almost all the rural population of Mewat raised their banner of revolt against the British tyranny and tried to root out the foreign yoke from their homeland. They also faced barbaric and heinous cruelties by the so called most civilized community of the world, which has no parallels in the freedom struggle of India. The Meos, a brave and freedom-loving community, were basically agriculturists. Since long they were living in the system of heavy taxation and exploitation by the British Government. They felt themselves enslaved on their own land and when they found opportunity of rebellion they jumped into it with men and money. Even before the rebellion, Meos opposed the British Government tooth and nail. In 1835 an unsuccessful effort of the Meos against the British Government, was a marvelous example. No doubt Nawab Shamsuddin Khan of Ferozpur Jhirka had a hand behind this incident but Karim Khan Meo and Alia Meo helped him in killing his British agent William Frazer. Charged for this whole conspiracy, Nawab Shamsuddin Khan and Karim khan Meo were hanged after Government trial. This incident left a far-reaching influence on the whole of Mewat which burst into rebellion with full force.1 After the beginning of the revolt from Meerut and thereafter Delhi, around 300 revolutionaries (3rd light cavalry troopers), on 13th May, 1857, attacked Gurgaon. At that time the Collector and District Magistrate of Gurgaon was William Ford. Ford, with the assistance of some Pataudi Sawar tried to overpower the revolutionaries near the village Bijwasan, 12 km away from Gurgaon, but he could not succeed because most of the Meos, Ahirs and Jats sided with the revolutionaries. William Ford fled away to Mathura via Bhondsi, Palwal and Hodal, leaving the Gurgaon district in a state of anarchy and at the mercy of the revolutionaries. A booty of Rs. 7840002 came into the hands of revolutionaries along with arms and ammunition. They killed 25 Britishers, burnt all the revenue records of the district administration and records of the Mahajans. They also attacked the jail and freed the prisoners and took the whole administration of the district in their own hand.3 Bahadur Shah Zafar gave a stirring call to the countryrnen to throw off the foreign yoke in 1857 and he himself became the symbol and focal point of hopes of the people of India. The Meo community responded positively and helped the 3rd Light Cavalry Troopers against William Ford. If we believe Shamsuddin Shams, the Meos, under the leadership of Ali Hasan khan Mewati fought a fierce battle with Mr. Ford after the fall of Gurgaon form the British hand. This battle was fought near Ghasera village, situated between Solna and Nuh. The Meos fought so valiantly that the British forces were totally routed and Ford had to flee for safety towards Mathura cantt.4 On 20th May 1857, the Meo Leaders and Choudhries of Punhana, Pinangwa, Hathin, Nagina, Nuh. Ferozpur Jhirka, Rupraka, Kama Dig, Bharatpur, Dhausa and Alwar held a Meo Mahapanchayat and declared Bahadurshah Zafar as their leader in this war of independence.5 By the last weak of May almost all the rural Mewat came under the rule of the Emperor Balhadulshah Zafar. The chaudharies began to conduct the management of their villages and localities in accordance with the instructions of Emperor.6 But the urban Mewat still owed its allegiance to the British through their native officials and wealthy persons. The gatherings of Mewatis attacked such towns. In this campaign of the Meo revolutionaries their leader was Sadruddin Meo, a farmer of Pindhua...
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