Veera Pasi stands among the unsung heroes of the 1857 revolt, displaying unwavering courage in his valiant fight against British colonial rule in India. Born on 11 November 1835 in Lodhawari village, Raebareli district, Uttar Pradesh, he originally bore the name Shivdeen Pasi. However, his courage and loyalty earned him the moniker "Veera," signifying bravery. Hailing from the Pasi community, renowned for martial skills and loyalty to their masters, the very term "Pasi" means "one who holds a sword."
Orphaned at a young age, Veera Pasi sought refuge with his sister Batsiya in Bhira Govindpur village. Developing into a robust and agile young man, he enlisted in the army of Rana Beni Madhav Singh, the ruler of Shankarpur state and the grandson of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Sikh empire's founder. Rana Beni Madhav Singh, a courageous and patriotic king, vehemently resisted British expansion in India.
Upon successfully enduring a rigorous test of strength, Veera Pasi became the personal bodyguard of Rana Beni Madhav Singh. This involved consuming a seer (approximately 950 grams) of ghee and withstanding two punches to the chest from the king. Unfazed and resilient, Veera Pasi earned the king's admiration, becoming a loyal and trusted confidant who participated in numerous battles and campaigns.
In 1857, when the revolt against the British erupted across India, Rana Beni Madhav Singh, along with his father Raja Ram Narayan Singh, joined the rebellion. Fighting against British forces in Naini, Raja Ram Narayan Singh lost his life, and Rana Beni Madhav Singh was captured and imprisoned. Witnessing the anguish of his master and mother, Veera Pasi resolved to liberate Rana Beni Madhav Singh from British captivity.
Devising a clever plan, Veera Pasi exploited a flaw in the jail's routine. Knowing that guards rang a bell to mark the hour, he infiltrated the prison and manipulated the bell, causing it to ring 12 times at 11 o'clock. This confusion led to chaos, allowing Veera Pasi to free Rana Beni Madhav Singh from his cell. In the process, he confronted and defeated some guards, ensuring a successful escape.
Returning to Shankarpur, Veera Pasi and Rana Beni Madhav Singh continued their resistance against the British, aligning with rebel leaders like Nana Sahib, Rani Lakshmibai, Tatya Tope, and Maulvi Ahmadullah. Despite numerous challenges, they persevered in their struggle for freedom. Veera Pasi, a stalwart and devoted warrior, stood by his master until his last breath, sacrificing his life for the motherland.
Veera Pasi's remarkable courage, skill, and devotion in the fight against the British exemplify the spirit of the 1857 revolt. As a shining example of the Pasi community's rich history of courage and sacrifice, he rightfully deserves remembrance and honor for his significant contribution to the Indian freedom movement.
-Dr. Sandeep Yadav, a political analyst and social activist, imparts knowledge at the University of Delhi.