Sunday, 17 February 2013

Monuments related to 1857 in Narnaul

16th November 1857, one of the last important battles (in North) between the armies of East India Company and the armies of local people was fought in the fields of village Nasibpur, near Narnaul. A combined army of 1st European Bengal Fusiliers, Hurrianah Field Force, Guides and Carabineers fought against the collective army of Jodhpur Legion, Jhajjar State, Rewari and Local people.

Native army was being led by leaders like Rao Gopal Dev, Rao Tula Ram, Abdus Sannand Khan and others while the Company’s army was fighting under the command of Col. John Grant Gerrard of 1st Fusiliers. The contemporary records shows that it was a close battle and could have turned in any direction but in the end, it was the experienced, company army that stood victorious.

Importance of the battle can be gauged from the fact that even a Victoria Cross was awarded in this battle to Lt. Francis David Millet Brown (1st European Fusiliers) for his act of bravery of saving a wounded soldier under a very heavy fire. If only there had been a similar system of rewarding the bravery of native people, no doubt the list would have been longer. In the field reports of Company officers, they had mentioned that on several occasions they had to fight with all their might to gain even a small advantage on the battlefield. They admired the raw courage of the opposing army on several occasions.

People from both the sides had lost their lives. More than 70 soldiers of company army including their commanding officer, Col. J.G.Gerrard too had died on the battlefield, while the native army had also suffered a huge loss and had lost several of their leaders which included Rao Kishan Singh, Rao Ram Lal and many others whose names perhaps we would never be able to find out.

What we do know is that they were fighting side by side and were not worried about their religion, their castes and other things.

More than 155 years have passed since this battle but still local people remember it. There is a memorial close to the battlefield, dedicated to people who had lost their lives on that day. Grave of Col. John Grant Gerrard is also situated very close to this memorial.

Monument erected in Jan.1962 near the battlefield

Closeup of the Memorial
( It reads 
"Nasibpur Memorial
This memorial is erected in the memory of people who had sacrificed their lives in 1857
January 1962")

Grave of Col. J.G.Gerrard

There is another monument related to this battle which still survives, not in good condition though.
In the city of Narnaul (3-4 Km from the battlefield of Nasibpur), there is a 17th century complex, locally known as ‘Old Court’ and which was originally a sarai (kind of rest house of those days). This complex was initially used by the native army as their Headquarter but after the battle it was captured by the company soldiers. Although the complex is almost gone now (demolished under the pretext of modernisation) but its huge entry gate still survives. (Read more about this monument at following page of the blog )

I was not able to locate the exact battlefield but from the contemporary records it appears that it was fought in a ground situated between the two small hills. From the location of graves and the monument, one can be sure about the probable site of the battle. I have taken snaps from both these hills one of which is situated behind the Housing board Colony and the other one is at Village Dhani Kirarod (taken from the monument mentioned previously on the blog at ).
View of the battlefield from Housing Board Hills
(Looking at Dhani Kirarod Hills)

View of the battlefield from Dhani Kirarod
(Looking at Housing Board Hills)

I have taken help from following books for details.

1) Hariyana me 1857 ki kranti (“Revolution of 1857 in Haryana”) by Dr. K.C.Yadav.
2)Itihaas ke Jharonkhe se Narnaul (“Narnaul From the Window of History”) by Mr. R.L.Saini and Mr.    Rakesh Mehta.
3)Narnaul ka Itihaas: Aarrambh se 1987 tak (“History of Narnaul: From beginning till 1987”) by Dr.Suresh Kumar Yadav.
4)1857 ki Jan Kranti me Hariyana ka Yogdan (“Role of Haryana in the people’s revolution of 1857”) by Mr. Ram Singh Jhakhar.
and several other websites.

 About Village Nasibpur:- Nasibpur is situated at a distance of 3 km from Narnaul on the Mohindregarh-Narnaul State highway no. 17)
 About the monument :- Both the 1857 memorial and graves of company officers are situated in the vicinity of Jethu Baba Temple, Nasibpur
Co ordinates of the monument :-Co ordinates of the grave of Col. J.G.Gerrard are 28°4'59.42" N 76°6'15.77" E.

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