Know about the great freedom-fighter: Rao Tularam Ahir (1825-1862)


This great freedom-fighter never surrendered. He fought fiercely, caused terrible damage to the British force. After the First War of Independence, he went to Iran and plotted revenge against the British. Until his last days of life, he continued to fight against the British by every means. Let us now about this great freedom-fighter.

There were innumerable people who fought against the British for the freedom of the country. It is true that not all of them were successful, but their struggle didn't go in vain. Due to their effort, India has wrested independence. On the eve of Independence Day, let us remember one such great fighter, who till his last day, made effort to throw away the British from the sacred land of Mother India.



The Rajas of Rewari

His ancestors were the Rajas of Rewari district presently in Haryana. They helped the Marathas during the second Anglo-Maratha war (1803) against the British. As a result, British rulers punished them by confiscating their kingdom. They were provided a grant of 58 villages in lieu of their kingdom. They were insulted by the British. So, they were preparing to strike at the first available opportunity.

He was born on 9th December,1825 in Rampura village. His father was Rao Puran and his mother was Gyan. They named him Tularam. He learnt Persian, Urdu, Hindi and little bit English. Rao Tularam became the landlord of those villages in November 1839 after the death of his father.

Support to Bahadur Shah Jaffar

In 1857, Indian soldiers of British East India company rebelled against the Company officials who were ruling India. Common people joined them. The old Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Jaffar was reinstated. He was made the guiding symbol of the rebellion. The patriotic landlord of Rewari joined this fight for independence with his followers

Rao Tularam assembled 400-500 soldiers and went to Rewari. He forcibly took possession of all British office buildings. He made Rampura his war headquarter. Rampura was fortified. Arms and ammunition were manufactured and stored in the new fort. He assumed the title of Raja and he made his cousin Gopal Dev as his commander-in-chief. His army swelled to more than 5000 men. He then proceeded with his army to help Bahadur Shah Jaffar in Delhi.

Fall of Delhi and thereafter

Delhi fell on 20th September, 1857. Rao Tularam retreated to his headquarter at Rampura. Soon the British army sent a very strong column with most modern arms (of that period) under Brigadier-General Showers towards Rampura. The British artillery was exceptionally strong consisting of light field battery, eighteen two-pounder guns and two mortars.

Rao Tularam assessed the situation very quickly and left his capital and shifted his base to Narnaul. The British force arrived and occupied Rampura without any opposition.

British force consolidated at Rampura

The British force consolidated at Rampura. Along with infantry and artillery, two squadrons of carabineers under Colonel Gerrard also joined the combined force. The famous Patiala Infantry and Multan Horse (cavalry) were at the forefront of the force.

Battle of Narnaul/Nasibpur

On 16th November, 1857, the British force under the command of Colonel Gerrard started its journey towards Narnaul. At Nasibpur located two miles north-west of Narnaul, the British force halted for a short rest. The Raja's force pounced upon the British force. The first charge of the Raja was so fierce, the British force got scattered. Patiala Infantry and Multan Horse were decimated.
However, the British artillery and carbineers fought back and caused heavy damage to the Raja's force. When the rebel force was about to retreat, an unexpected event took place.

Colonel Gerrard was mortally wounded

At this critical stage, Colonel Gerrard was mortally wounded by a musket ball. The British force got demoralized. Raja immediately re-organized his force and counter-attacked. Understanding the precarious situation, Major Caulfield, the 2IC and Officiating Commanding Officer, ordered the artillery to resume heavy bombardment and directed the remnant cavalry to charge.

Rao's force stood the ground and engaged in a hand-to-hand fight in an impossible situation. But the constant artillery fire ultimately caused a split of the rebel force. One part continued close-quarter battle and other part retreated to Narnaul and then to Rajasthan. British somehow won the terrible fight at Nasibpur.



The Raja continued his fight

Rao Tularam was disheartened but continued his fight. He retreated with his remnant force to Rajasthan, joined hand with Tantya Tope's force and continued fighting the British. However, when the British ultimately won, he declined the offer of surrender and fled to Iran. On the hindsight, the Raja did well because the victorious British committed terrible atrocities in Rewari-Rampura- Nasibpur-Narnaul area and brutally murdered many people.

Final days of Rao Tularam

This great freedom-fighter ultimately reached Iran and plotted revenge attack on the British. However, when he was returning from Iran via Afghanistan, he died in Kabul during the winter of 1862 at an age of thirty-seven.

The people of India haven't yet completely forgotten Rao Tularam. There is an important road in his name in South Delhi. A polytechnic college and a hospital also bear the name of this great freedom fighter.


Article by Partha K.
“Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves.” - George Gordon Byron

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