Today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to Mangal Pandey, firing the first shot of the 1857 war of Independence.

Modi tweeted, sharing a picture of Mangal Pandey and paying tributes to the freedom fighter, “The great Mangal Pandey is synonymous with courage and determination. He ignited the spark of patriotism at a very critical period of our history and inspired countless people. Remembering him on his birth anniversary. Had paid tributes to his statue in Meerut earlier this year,” 

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu also tweeted, “My tributes to the valiant freedom fighter, Mangal Pandey on his birth anniversary. He spearheaded the 1857 sepoy mutiny against unjust British rule and inspired many to join the freedom struggle. He will always be remembered for his invaluable role in India’s freedom movement.”

Home minister Amit Shah also paid tribute to Mangal Pandey, tweeting, “Mangal Pandey instilled the spirit of fighting against the British among people of India. His supreme sacrifice shook India and laid the foundation of the freedom struggle. I pay my tribute to the freedom fighter. Mangal Pandey, a sepoy in the British East India Company rebelled against the British in 1857. He is credited for firing the first shot of what is known as the first war of Independence. He was executed in the same year.”

On this day, let us reminisce about the great hero Mangal Pandey, who was born in Akbarpur on 19 July 1827 to a landowning family. In the year 1849, he joined the British East India Company as a sepoy in the 6th Company of the 34th Bengal Native Infantry. The sepoy  saw a lot of dissatisfaction prevailing against British rule. The landlords were burdened by the heavy load of taxation, the traders and artisans were also seeing their businesses being destroyed by the British East India Company’s policies.

Amidst this situation, the introduction of a new Enfield rifle flare up protests. Here the soldiers had to bite off the ends of greased cartridges to load the weapon. Rumours were spread that the greased cartridges contain cow or pig lard. The sepoys consider the new rifle as an assault on their religious beliefs and hence the ‘Sepoy Mutiny’ took place. 

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