Kunwar Singh was a leader in the Indian Rebellion of 1857. He belonged to the Parmar Rajputs of Jagdispur, which is now part of the Bhojpur district in the Indian state of Bihar. He led a small group of armed men in an attack on the British East India Company’s forces at the age of 80. He was in charge of organising the battle against the British in Bihar. Veer Kunwar Singh is his real name.
Singh led the Bihar-based Indian Rebellion of 1857. He was about 80 years old and in poor health when he was asked to take up weapons. Both his brother, Babu Amar Singh, and his commander-in-chief, Hare Krishna Singh, assisted him. Some believe Kunwar Singh’s true secret to his first military victory was the latter. He was a fearsome foe who tortured British soldiers for nearly a year. He had mastered guerilla warfare techniques. His tactics occasionally perplexed the British.
On July 25, Singh took command of the rebel troops at Danapur. Two days later, he took Arrah, the district’s administrative centre. Major Vincent Eyre liberated the town, dismantled Jagdishpur, and routed Singh’s army on August 3. While the revolt was going on, his troops had to cross the Ganges. Brigadier Douglas’ soldiers opened fire on their boat.
He drew his blade, severing his left hand just below the elbow, and presented it to Ganges.
Singh left his hometown in December 1857 and travelled to Lucknow, where he met with other rebel leaders. In March 1858, he took control of Azamgarh and successfully resisted the first British attempts to capture the territory. But he had to leave the area soon. While Douglas pursued him, he fled to his home in Ara, Bihar. On April 23, Singh defeated the troops of Captain le Grand near Jagdispur (le gard in Hindi). On April 26, 1858, he died in his hometown. The former chief’s responsibilities were now transferred to his brother Amar Singh II, who had previously led a parallel administration in the Shahabad area. Amar Singh II joined the rebel leaders in the Nepal Terai in October 1859.
The British East India Company’s troops were completely annihilated in his final battle, which took place on April 23, 1858, near Jagdispur. Despite his injuries, he fought the British Army on April 22 and 23, and was victorious with the help of his army. When he brought down the Union Jack from Jagdishpur Fort and raised his flag, the battle was over. He returned to his palace on April 23, 1858, and died on April 26, 1858.
On April 23, 1966, the Republic of India issued a commemorative stamp honouring his participation in the Indian independence struggle. The Bihar government established the Veer Kunwar Singh University in Arrah in 1992.
The Arrah-Chhapra Bridge, also known as the Veer Kunwar Singh Setu, was built to connect north and south Bihar in 2017. In 2018, the Bihar government relocated a Kunwar Singh monument to Hardinge Park to commemorate the 160th anniversary of his death. In addition, the park was renamed “Veer Kunwar Singh Azadi Park.”
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