Meerut’s Importance: Birthplace of India’s First War of Independence

  • The article emphasises Meerut, a city in western Uttar Pradesh, for its historical significance.
  • Alamgirpur, the Harappa civilization’s easternmost settlement, is located in Meerut and has archaeological significance.
  • Meerut, on the other hand, rose to prominence for its involvement in India’s First War of Independence on May 10, 1857, also known as the Indian Mutiny or Revolt.

Meerut: Historical background and name

  • Meerut has ancient roots, probably taking its name from Mayarashtra, the city of Ravana’s father-in-law, Mayasura.
  • The archaeological site at Vidura-ka-tila, northeast of Meerut, is thought to represent the remains of Hastinapur, the ancient metropolis of the Mahabharata’s Kauravas and Pandavas.
  • Meerut was ruled by the Scindias before being relinquished to the British in 1803, paving the path for the British to leave India.

The Rebellion of 1857

  • The introduction of the Enfield rifle and the use of cartridges rumoured to be greased with a mixture of cow and pig fat prompted the Meerut revolt.
  • Sepoys (Indian soldiers) who refused to use the cartridges were disciplined and had their uniforms confiscated.
  • This act sparked a sepoy rebellion and a call for an uprising against British rule.

The Mutiny begins to take shape

  • The sound of musketry and columns of smoke indicated the revolt of the native troops on May 10, 1857, when the European residents of Meerut were attending church.
  • After revolting, the sepoys marched towards Delhi, believing it to be the power centre and capital of Mughal India.

Meerut’s Importance

  • Meerut was an important part of the Indian Mutiny, serving as the launching point for the insurrection that expanded throughout the country.
  • The mutiny at Meerut inspired and affected the uprising’s future developments.
  • The Mutiny was eventually referred to as the First War of Independence by D. Savarkar. 
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