Peer Ali Khan: The Unheard Story of an Indian Freedom Fighter
Peer Ali Khan was one of the unsung heroes of the Indian freedom movement. He opposed the British rules in the initial periods of the movement. He was part of the 1857 conflict. He was given capital punishment for showing his rebellious acts against the British Raj. Peer Ali inspired millions to follow his path through his courageous act. He was a brave freedom fighter. But he just faded away from people’s minds. Maximum people don’t know his name. Even there is no information available about him in the history books. However, he fought for his motherland and was hanged.
Peer Ali Khan was born in Muhammadpur in the Azamgarh District of Uttar Pradesh. In his childhood, at the age of seven, he fled away from home. Later, he reached Patna and met with Zamindar Nawab Mir Abdullah under a banyan tree. The Zamindar sheltered him and raised him with his son Lutf Ali Khan. He gave him a chance to educate. Peer Ali learned Urdu, Arabic and Persian. But from childhood, he was passionate about fighting against the British and throwing them out of India. Zamindar Mir Abdullah was in a good relationship with the British. But he had evil feelings for the British, and slowly, he forwarded his feelings to Peer Ali.
When he finished his education, he opened a bookshop in Patna with the help of Zamindar. He used to sell handwritten books and literature. His bookshop was popular for its handwritten books. He felt unpleasant about the British rules and couldn’t tolerate their torture. He was attracted to the freedom movement. Soon his bookshop became a meeting point for Freedom fighters and the center of planning against the British. The bookshop was the medium to keep contact with other fighters and Indian soldiers who were in the British army. He came closer to the Indian soldiers in Danapur Cantonment. He made friends in the soldiers’ group and gathered support against the British rules. He arranged regular campaigns against the British rulers with his followers, companions and co-workers. They were spreading the hatred among the local people too. He got involved in the Great Indian Revolt of 1857. These incidents took place in Patna before Gaya, Shahabad and Danapur. These developments happened before the Sepoy Revolution of Meerut. He continued to encourage many young people and led many freedom fighters before his arrest. In those days, he was planning for a revolution with the help of Danapur Indian soldiers. But in the meantime, two secret letters from the Danapur Cantonment were gone into the hands of British police. One letter was in Peer Ali’s name, and another was in the name of Waris Ali.
After that letter incident, his friend and the officer of the British police Waris Ali were arrested. Then Peer Ali decided to attack the British rulers immediately. He was confident and determined about the consequences of the attack. But he was trying hard to accumulate all his resources for a successful attack. He elevated a blue and white colored flag and collected his companions. He distributed fifty guns among his group members. He collected these guns with the help of his co-worker Maulvi Mehdi. On 20 June 1857, when the British rulers learned the facts about those guns, they arrested the Maulvi and hanged him without hearing. Peer Ali became furious with what happened with the Maulvi.
On 3 July, he again raised the flag of revolution. He and his group of two hundred supporters planned to attack the state administrative headquarter, Gulzar Bagh. The flag was in the hand of Ghulam Abbas. Nandu Khar got the charge to watch on the insiders. Peer Ali took charge of the leader, and he was shouting slogans against the British. When they were moving towards headquarters, Dr. Lloyal was moving with his Indian group of soldiers. Dr. Lloyal ordered his men to open fire. On that firing, Dr. Lloyal was killed. This news was spread like fire. The Commissioner of Patna, W Taylor, ordered his soldiers to open fire on the crowd. Many supporters died on the spot. Many were critically wounded. British army organized a terror movement in Patna. Every house of the Muslims was searched, and many people were arrested without evidence. Many of them were hanged brutally on trees without hearing. Many innocents lost their lives on that day.
Later, the bookshop of Peer Ali was raided by British soldiers. They searched the entire shop and seized many documents. On 4 July, he was arrested with his 33 followers. Most of them were hanged the next day without any hearing. But Peer Ali was saved for some other purpose. He was brutally tortured and cross-examined for three days for the information of his companions, Lutf Ali and other followers. He was brave and tolerated all tortures but did not disclose any information. Even W Taylor offered that if he disclosed information about his followers, he would forgive him. But Peer Ali never kneels. Peer Ali said,” There are some occasions on which it is good to give up life and that if I sacrificed, thousands of others, every day, will fill their place “. On 7 July of the same year, he was hanged by the cruel British ruler with the murder charges of Dr. Llyoal. Later British rulers ordered him to kill all his followers and co-workers. But his mission was not finished. He successfully passed his mission to the millions of followers who fought for their motherland.
Peer Ali Khan was not the one; many freedom fighters gave their lives for the freedom movement and were brutally tortured. They left their home, regular life, families, and friends’ love for the country. Their sacrifices are truly inspiring. There are many unsung heroes whom we don’t know, and they should be remembered.
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