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Titumir: Martyred patriot of anti-British movement

Published on : 19 November 2018, 08:13 AM
Titumir: Martyred patriot of anti-British movement

Evening of 13th November 1831. The English forces encircled the village of Narkelberia. A man named Titumir built a bamboo fort (Bansher Kella) and operating anti-government activities against the British government. That man and his force decided to attack the English forces at night. On his instructions, the commander, Masum Kha, conducted simultaneous attacks. Many of the English forces were forced to retreat due to the attacks by arrows, bows, bricks, pieces of bricks and wood apples. The next day, the Colonel, who was in charge of the English forces, called for an arrest warrant and ordered the fighter to surrender with his force.But when they refused to surrender, the colonel ordered his force to attack the fort. The force started shooting the fort even they used several cannons in that fight. Even after being aware of the inevitable defeat, that man continued such uneven fight that day. After the storming of the fort by British soldiers, the fort collapsed at one stage. That fierce warrior who refused to acknowledge British allegiance got severely injured on 19 November and died of his wounds. 

Today, is November 19, 187th death anniversary of Syed Mir Nisar Ali Titumir, who died that day fighting against subservience. Remembering Titumir, this day is observed in Bangladesh and at various places of India. Titumir was born on 27 January 1782, in Chandpur village, in North 24 Parganas district (currently in West Bengal, India).

Titumir started his education under the guidance of his father. By the time he was 18 years of age, he had become a Hafiz of the Qur`an and a scholar of the hadith and Muslim traditions. He was also accomplished with the Bengali, Arabic, and Persian languages. Along with his studies, he achieved competence in boxing, archery, and swords fighting.

Titumir performed his Hajj in 1822. At that time, he got a revolutionary change in his mentality. He met religious personality Hazrat Shah Maulana Muhammad Hussein in Mecca. He introduced Titumir with influential religious reformer Syed Ahmad Barelvi who also was one of the pioneers of anti-British movement in the subcontinent.

Inspired by Wahhabism, Titumir went back to his village in 1827 and started calling for the formation of Shirk and Bidat-free society. He also gave attention to protect the cultural distinction of the Muslim society and managed to accumulate three to four hundred disciples in a very short time and started leading peasant uprising against the zamindars and British colonial rule. For these reasons, the clashes between Titumir and the local zamindars and British rulers were intensified. He won a few battles with local zamindars. According to his instruction, tenants stop paying dues.

Then he announced his first revolt against the government in Barasat. He declared an independent state with some part of 24 Parganas, Nadia and Faridpur. In that fight known as the Barasat revolt, thousands of oppressed tenants regardless of religion participated.

On 17 October 1831, he came to Narkelberia from Sarfarazpur. On October 23, he completed making his famous bamboo fort with bamboo and mud. People of all classes irrespective of castes and religions helped to build that bamboo fort. The followers of Titumir were believed to have grown to 15,000 by that time.

On November 13th, the East India Company sent Lieutenant Colonel Stewart consisting of 100 cavalry, 300 native infantry and artillery with two cannons. Stewart attacked Bamboo fort with large army and artillery force. Titumir had only four or five thousand soldiers and had not enough ammunition or gun. Yet a fierce battle was carried out that day. But they could not stand long in front of the armed British Army with swords and light arms. The fort got destroyed by the cannon balls. Titumir with many freedom loving warriors accepted martyrdom.The English captured more than 350 soldiers.  After a long-drawn trial, Golam Rasul, Titumir`s nephew and second in command was hanged and some 350 others were sentenced to transportation for life.

On his death anniversary we remember this great warrior with respect.


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