VELLORE:War veterans and district officials led by collector Nanthagopal laid a wreath at the historic Sepoy Revolt pillar here on Friday to pay homage to those who lost their lives during the First War of Independence.
Over 350 Indian soldiers sacrificed their lives on this day in 1806 against the British imperialism.
However, the State government’s promise to establish a war memorial to glorify these martyrs in the Fort City remains a long-pending promise.
On July 10, 1998, DMK government had installed a small pillar at the Makkan junction in front of the historic fort here. Then chief minister Karunanidhi, while participating in the government function held at Vellore in 2006 to mark the bicentenary celebration of the event, had promised to establish a full-fledged memorial (manimantapam).
Patriotic Indians cannot forget the famous Vellore Sepoy Revolt that had preceded the First War of Independence. It was on this day that valiant rebels killed over 15 officers including Col Fancourt, commander of the Fort and Garrison) and 100 soldiers out of an estimated 370 of the British Imperial forces stationed at the Vellore Fort.
What makes this event special is the way the soldiers (numbering around 1,500), the 1,300 plus prisoners (including Tipu Sultan’s heirs) who were confined in the Vellore Fort and the general public of the little Vellore town had planned strategy through an unsuspecting communication channel for launching the rebel against the British.
Historians recount that a group of fakirs, sadhus and other wanderers in the town used to convey the message from the fort to the people of the town through songs, discourses, prayers and even puppet shows to rebel against the British.
But the revolt on July 10, which claimed the lives of 350 Indian and 400 British soldiers, did not last long as British troops stormed the fort and took control.
While some details of the Vellore revolt have been included in school textbooks as promised by the State, the other promise of establishing a memorial here remains a non-starter so far.
Social activist R Chandrasekaran, president of Udavum Ullangal, said that the district administration should take steps to identify a suitable location to construct the memorial in the city to fulfil the State promise.
The proposed memorial should house pictures, artifacts and other materials connected with the Vellore rebellion, he said.
A continuous audio-visual show should also be screened for the benefit of the tourists whose flow has increased in Vellore now, he added.
Chandrasekaran said that the Tipu and Hyder Mahals inside the fort and the tunnel inside the Jalakanteswar temple that linked the Margabandeeswarar temple in Virnjipuram some 10 kilometres from here must be revived and opened up to visitors who want to revisit history and learn about the struggle.
A sound and light show of the revolt could also be displayed for the visitors inside the fort to promote historical tourism, Chandrasekaran added.