Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Rao Tula Ram Ahir - (1825 - 1862)


Many of us, who are familiar with India’s capital, must have used the nation’s main international airport, Indira Gandhi International, at some point or the other. En route from the airport to the centre of the capital is a long and famous road, Rao Tula Ram Marg (‘Marg’ being the Hindi for street). Situated on this road is one of New Delhi’s finer higher education institutions, Rao Tula Ram University. All this begs the question, ‘who is this Rao Tula Ram?’


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Rao Tula Ram was one of the great leaders of the Indian Uprising of 1857 against the colonial British forces. His story is one of rebellion and guerrilla warfare against the stronger and better-equipped imperialist forces of the British Army.

He was born on 9 December 1825 in the well known Rao family in village Rampura in the district of Rewari (a two-hour drive south-west of New Delhi), in what is now Haryana. His father was Puran and his mother's name was Gyan. He was educated according to the then prevalent customs and he knew Persian, Urdu, Hindi and a small amount of English. In November 1839, Rao Tula Ram ascended the throne on the death of his father.

In 1857, on hearing the news of rebellion at Meerut and other places, the people of the Rewari rose up in revolt. In the Rewari area, lead was given by Rao Tula Ram. His cousin Gopal Dev also stood by him. The forefathers of the Raos had helped the Marathas in 1803 in their fight against the British and as a result when the latter came out successful in the struggle, the British confiscated their land and gave instead an ‘istamarari’, or grant, of about 58 villages. This was a great blow to the Raos which shattered their position and made them unhappy with British Raj.

On l7 May 1857, Rao Tula Ram went to the ‘tehsil’, or headquarters, at Rewari with four to five hundred followers and took all the government buildings in their possession. For their headquarters, they chose Rampura, a small fortified village, one mile south-west of Rewari. Tula Ram, the elder Rao became Raja and Gopal Dev his commander-in-chief. After assuming charge, Rao Tula Ram organized the revenue department and collected revenue and taxes. He took donations and loans from the people of Rewari. He raised a force (about five thousand men) and set up a large workshop in the fort of Rampura where a substantial number of guns, gun-carriages and and ammunition were manufactured. Law and order was enforced; his State was defended from outside attacks.

At this time, Delhi was under attack from the British forces, so Rao Tula Ram helped the emperor Bahadur Shah in their fight against the British. But this help could not protect Delhi which fell to the British on September 20, 1857. Soon after Brigadier-General Showers led out a column (from Delhi) of 1,500 men with a light field battery, 18 two-pounder guns and two small mortars, "to attack and destroy Rao Tula Ram and his follower and to raze his fort (at Rewari)." The situation was serious and the Rao foresaw that a fight with the British forces in the mud fort of Rampura, in the changed circumstances after the fall of Delhi, would result in the complete destruction of his army without any serious loss to the British. So he left his fort before Showers' arrival.

The fort of Rewari was taken without any opposition on October 6th. Immediately after the occupation of the fort of Rewari, Brigadier-General Showers sent a messenger to Tula Ram telling him that if he submitted along with guns and arms, he would be treated on merits. But Tula Ram turned down the inducement. The British authorities at Delhi were alarmed by these developments. They sent a strong column comprising about 1,500 strong under Colonel Gerrard, an officer of conspicuous merit on November 10, 1857. The column reached Rewari three days later. They occupied the abandoned fort of Rampura. Here they were joined by two squadrons of the Carabineers.

After a few days rest at Rewari (Rampura), on November 16, Gerrard marched to Narnaul. As the track was sandy, the column reached Nasibpur, a small village, two miles northwest of Narnaul and halted for a short rest. The rebel force, having abandoned their strong fort in the center of the town pounced on them. Rao Tula Ram's first charge was irresistible and the British forces scattered before them. The Patiala Infantry and the Multani Horse on the British side were completely disheartened. But at this juncture, the Guides and the Carabineers came to their rescue and saved the situation. The English fire, especially of the artillery was too much for the rebels. But soon the situation took an unexpected turn when Col. Gerrand was mortally wounded by a musket ball.

With this, the British too, were demoralized. Taking full advantage of the circumstances, Rao Tula Ram swooped down upon them. The British could not stand the charge and the Multani Horse fled away in bewilderment. They recaptured their guns and inflicted heavy losses on the enemy. The right and the left wings of the British forces were thrown into confusion.

Appreciating the gravity of the situation Major Caulfield, the officiating British Commandant, ordered his artillery to start heavy bombardment and his cavalry and infantrymen to charge straight on with full force in to their front ranks. Rao Tula Ram’s forces fought back furiously and stood their grounds. The British artillery fire, nevertheless, broke their backbone and split their forces into two parts - one engaged in the close quarter battle and the other fleeing to go out of the range of the British guns. Rao Tula Ram was defeated that day but luckily managed to flee to safety. His escape frustrated the British.

The battle of Narnaul was undoubtedly one of the most decisive battles of the Uprising of 1857. The English felt jubilant over their success in this confrontation, for it marked the ‘beginning of the end’ of the crucial period of the struggle in the Haryana region and northern Rajasthan. After the battle, Rao Tula Ram moved into Rajasthan; then joined Tantya Tope's forces for one year. On 1 November 1858, the British issued the promises of unconditional pardon and amnesty to all offences against the British to all except those who directly or indirectly took part in the murder of British subjects. With the blood of many British soldiers and subjects on his hands, he left India for Iran in 1862.

This proved a wise decision - once the uprising of 1857 was over, the wrath of the British was unleashed. People in the Rewari and Narnaul areas were hung or shot dead and their villages burnt. In Iran, he plotted revenge against the British. From Iran he travelled to Afghanistan, where tragically, in the winter of 1862, he died of dysentery in Kabul at the young age of 38.

16 comments:

raaam said...

MUJHE GARVA HAI KI MAINE RAO TULA RAM JI KE HI VANSWH ME JANAM LIYA AUR IS BAAT KI BEHAD KHUSHI HAI KI MERA NAAM BHI TULARAM HI HAI RAO TULA RAM JI JAISE RASTRA KE RAKSHAK KO MERA HRUDAY VANDAN...



RAMKUMAR AMRUTLAL BHUREWAL (AHIR)9923183888
JALNA. MAHARASHTRA

suneel said...

"Rao Tula Ram amar rahe". i feel vry haapy whn i read the whole story of tula ram. he is the HERO of HARYANA.I M proud to be an ahir(rao's)








RAO SUNIL(GURGAON)

Anonymous said...

rao,S
are always rock

Anonymous said...

rao's are somvanshi kshatriya and royal,fighter kom(cast) i have proud on my vansh.
rao naresh koyalpur jhajjar
09812137162

Pawan said...

I am really proud of Rao Tula Ram. Ahirs are always with India

-Pawan Dandele

naren said...

I feel very great when read out whole about Honorable Rao Tularam.And I am proud to be an Ahir Rao's.Honorable Rao Tularam makes us honorable forever.Rao's always rocks in all directions.

hindu blog said...

It's sensational post and also image. I liked it.
http://www.hindublog.co.in/

brahmender rao said...

all are just duplicacy...the peoples are unknown to tha truth...this all duplicacy is due to political power and unawareness of people

anil engineer said...

Rao tula Ram was the great hero of 1857, some people are unknown about the role of Rao tula ram because complete history of rao is not avilable, we can see the English writers book for his contribution.

RK Choudhary said...

Rao tula ram was the main hero of 1857, complete history of this Hero is avilable in the britsh writers book --The Mutiny of 1857 by GB Malleson, twelve years as shoulders life in India--by Hodson and a lot of letters belong to 1857 secured in Indian Goverment Record and Gajjatier Gurgaon.

akSharma said...

A.K.Sharma from Indor
Rao Tularam was the real hero of 1857, he related to Lord Krishna's family, he belongs to YaduVansh and was the 17th ruler of Riwari( Ahirwal)He died in Kabul on 23/9/1863, at the age of 39.

Rao Jitender said...

Rao SHAHABo ka to andaz hi nirala h... they r bend only in front of god .... from Rao Jitender vill.-chhajiyawas Mohinder garh (HARYANA)

MAHESH KUMAR said...

RAO TULA RAM JI NE BHARAT KO AZAD KARENA KE LIYA KAM KIYA AUR UNKE VANSAJ RAO INDERJIT SINGH JI AZADI KO KAYAM RAKHENA AUR HAMERA BAHVISAYE KI LIYA KAM KAR RAHE HAI

MAHESH KUMAR said...

RAO TULA RAM JI NE BHARAT KO AZAD KARENA KE LIYA KAM KIYA AUR UNKE VANSAJ RAO INDERJIT SINGH JI AZADI KO KAYAM RAKHENA AUR HAMERA BAHVISAYE KI LIYA KAM KAR RAHE HAI

Anonymous said...

Rao 's are great. We belongs 2 krishan bhagwan
Rao tula ram amaar rhe

Rao Deepak Yadav said...

Yadav's are great. We Rao's are born 2 rule
Rao tula ram amar rhe