The history and stories of upper-caste leaders and warriors often dominate the narrative of revolts. During the revolution, many unsung heroes and heroines fought bravely against colonial oppressors, especially from marginalized and oppressed castes. One such remarkable figure was Uda Devi Pasi, a Dalit woman who took up arms and became a sniper in the Battle of Sikandar Bagh in Lucknow.
She was a member of the women's battalion of Wajid Ali Shah, the deposed Nawab of Awadh, and a loyal supporter of Begum Hazrat Mahal, who led the rebellion in the region. Uda Devi Pasi displayed extraordinary courage and skill in the face of the enemy, killing dozens of British soldiers from her vantage point on a tree. She sacrificed her life for the cause of freedom and dignity, inspiring many others to join the struggle. This article aims to shed light on the life and legacy of Uda Devi Pasi and to celebrate her as a fearless Dalit woman leader.
Uda Devi Pasi, besides being a sniper and a martyr, also contributed to the freedom struggle. She was a loyal supporter of Begum Hazrat Mahal, the deposed Nawab of Awadh, who led the rebellion in the region. She helped her form a women's battalion under her command and fought alongside her husband, Makka Pasi, and other female rebels. She was an inspiration for many other Dalit women who participated in the revolt, challenging the caste hierarchy and discrimination that oppressed them. She showed that Dalit women could be fearless warriors and heroes.
Makka Pasi was Uda Devi Pasi's husband and a fellow freedom fighter. He was a Dalit soldier in the army of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. He fought bravely against the British in the Battle of Chinhat on June 10, 1857, where he killed many British soldiers before sacrificing his life. The death of his wife, Uda Devi Pasi, who was also a sniper and a martyr, spurred him to take up a more active role in the mutiny. He was one of the unsung heroes of India's freedom struggle, challenging colonial oppression and caste discrimination.
The Battle of Chinhat was a fierce fight between the British forces and the Indian rebels in the 1857 uprising. It occurred on June 30, 1857, near Ismailganj in Awadh (now Uttar Pradesh). The British were led by Sir Henry Lawrence, the Chief Commissioner of Awadh, who had about 700 soldiers and some artillery. The rebels were led by Barkat Ahmad, a former officer of the East India Company's army, who had some 7,000 troops and many more irregulars. The battle lasted about two hours, resulting in a decisive victory for the rebels. The British suffered heavy casualties and lost their guns and ammunition. Sir Henry Lawrence was wounded and died two days later. The insurgents captured Ismailganj and advanced towards Lucknow, where they laid siege to the British Residency.
Uda Devi Pasi was a symbol of resistance and defiance against British colonial rule, which exploited and oppressed the Indian people for decades. She challenged the gender norms and stereotypes that confined women to domestic roles, asserting their agency and autonomy.
-Priyanshu Kushwaha , Nitesh Kartiken
(Priyanshu Kushwaha is a journalism student at Jamia Millia Islamia. Nitesh Kartiken is a student at NIT Durgapur and a social activist with an interest in writing on social issues.)
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