Historic Events in KanpurKanpur may be an industrial city today but the same has a rich history and has contributed immensely in the Indian Freedom Struggle. Be it the strategic planning done by Tatya Tope and Rani Laxmi Bai in Bithoor Fort before the 1857 rebellion or the siege of Kanpur, the city has numerous such events to share which make it special from any historian’s perspective.
Early History of Kanpur
Kanpur was little known till 1765 when Shauja-ud-Daulah who was the Nawab of Awadh got defeated in a battle with the British forces at Jajmau. This led to the transfer of Kanpur to the British in 1801. Soon the city developed into a major industrial hub as traders from all over the place made way to Kanpur.
Siege of Kanpur
This is one of the most important historic events of Kanpur which played a key role in shaping the Indian Freedom Struggle which followed. In the Siege of Kanpur, an event which is also popularly known as Bibighar Massacre occurred in which over 120 British men and women who were held captive by the rebel soldiers were executed.
Eventually the British forces recaptured the city and captured the rebel soldiers. Many of these were hanged till death and the event set the seeds for liberation of India from British rule which eventually became a reality in 1947.
Second Battle of Cawnpore
The second battle of Cawnpore (Kanpur) followed as a natural consequence of the events which took place during the Siege of Kanpur. This battle is termed as the decisive battle which led to the British regaining its control over the city and its surroundings.
The town of Cawnpore as it was known during those days had fallen to the freedom fighters led by Nana Sahib. Later Major General Henry Havelock recaptured the town on 17th July, 1857. The freedom fighters under the leadership of Nana Sahib devised a plan to recapture the town. Their core support came from Gwalior Contingent who had rebelled against their British leaders.
Tatya Tope had a strong force of 6,000, who surrounded the town of Cawnpore on 19th November, 1857. Since majority of British forces were busy quelling rebellion in Lucknow, they could not do much to protect Cawnpore.
By the time Campbell, the British commander came along with his cavalry and horse artillery to protect the city; the same had been captured by the forces of Tatya Tope. Campbell who had made his initial bid to recapture Cawnpore on 26th November had to wait for another 10 days before he could think of attacking the freedom fighters.
By December 5, 1857, Campbell had adequate reinforcements by his side. Around 5,600 soldiers had joined the British Forces. To resist a force of such magnitude was not possible for the freedom fighters and eventually they had to give up.
Tatya Tope along with other key freedom fighters fled the city and the brief moment of freedom came to an early end. The fortunes of the freedom fighters were too captured from the Bithoor Fort, a day later.
However, the freedom fighters had initiated a ray of light which ultimately led to initiation of a mass freedom movement. Cawnpore or Kanpur as we know it today had played its key role in freedom struggle and had etched its name firmly in the annals of history and is still remembered as the city which played a key role in Indian Freedom movement.