Bawani Imli

One of the most bloody chapters in India’s freedom struggle was written on 28th April 1858 when the British hanged 52 revolutionaries on the tamarind tree, but such a significant incident of history is wrapped in the darkness of anonymity to date.
 
Bawani Imli, located in the Fatehpur district of Uttar Pradesh, is a famous tamarind tree and a martyr memorial in India. Gautam Kshatriya, Jodha Singh Ataiya and his 51 companions were hanging on the same tamarind tree on April 28, 1858. This memorial is located three kilometres west of Bindki Tehsil headquarters near Khajua town in Bindki subdivision of Fatehpur district, Uttar Pradesh.
 
This memorial symbolises the sacrifices made by freedom fighters. The British army hanged fifty-two freedom fighters on a tamarind tree on 28 April 1858. This tamarind tree still exists, and people believe that this tree stopped growing after that genocide.
 
On May 10, 1857, when the conch of independence was done in Barrackpur Cantonment, the revolutionaries in Fatehpur also took a step in this direction led by Jodha Singh Ataiya. Fatehpur’s Deputy Collector, Hikmat Ullah Khan, was also his assistant. These heroes first took the Fatehpur court and treasury into their possession. The fire of independence in the mind of Jodha Singh Ataiya was lit for a long time, and Tatya Tope was instrumental in letting up that fire. To free the motherland, these two together collided with the British on the banks of the Pandu River. The English army left the field after a face-to-face battle! These heroes hoisted their flag in Kanpur.
 
 
The flame of Jodha Singh’s mind did not calm even this much. He burnt to death an English inspector and soldier in Mahmudpur village on October 27, 1857, when they were staying in a house. On December 7, 1857, he attacked Gangapar Ranipur Police Chaki and killed a backpack of British. Jodha Singh also organised the revolutionaries of Awadh and Bundelkhand and captured Fatehpur.
 
Revolutionaries made Khajuha their centre, given the facility of transportation. Colonel Powel went to Kanpur from Prayag on the information of a traitorous chief attacked the Revolution Army gathered at this place. Colonel Powell wanted to break this stronghold of his, but Jodha Singh’s plan was unfailing. He resorted to the guerrilla war system, killing Colonel Powell. Now the British sent a new consignment of the army under the leadership of Colonel Neil. The revolutionaries suffered heavy losses from the colonel, but the morale of Jodha Singh did not decrease. He planned new military organisations, weapons collection and fund gathering. For this, he started the migration in disguise, but it was the misfortune of the country that, along with the heroes, traitors are thriving here. When Jodha Singh Atayya returned to Khajuha after discussing with Argal Naresh, the traitors informed the British about this meeting. The army of the British surrounded him near the village Ghorha. After a short struggle, Jodha Singh was held captive with his 51 revolutionary colleagues.
 
 
On April 28, 1858, he was hanged along with 51 companions on the tamarind tree on Mughal Road. But the brutality of the British did not stop here. The British declared that whoever removed the dead body from the tree would also be hanged from that tree. After this, the dead bodies were hanging from the trees for many days, and the vultures were eating the dead bodies. Finally, Maharaja Bhavani Singh, along with his colleagues, took the dead bodies down from the tree, and the funeral was performed. That tamarind tree (Bawani Tamarind) located between Bindki and Khajuha is today remembered as a Martyr Memorial.
 
 
@ Yeshwant Marathe
yeshwant.marathe@gmail.com
 
 
Thanks, Prashant Naik, for his inputs 
 

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