Udmi Ram, the Unsung Hero from Sonepat fought in 1857

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Arrested Udmi was brought to British camp at Rai, tied to a peepal tree for 35 days without water or food till he died a Martyr.

Team Haryana First

The first freedom struggle of India which started on May 10, 1857 may be a history for many. But in this Haryana village, the 163 year old struggle is far from over as the descendants of revolutionary Udmi Ram and many of his companions have been fighting the legal battle over reclaiming their agricultural land.

Udmi Ram was an unsung hero of the first freedom struggle, But in this region he is a legend who became an incomparable example of the cruelty of the Britishers who crushed the rebellion with a heavy hand.

He was tied to a peepal tree and nailed in the palms of both hands and legs and was left to starve to death.

His wife Ratni Devi was also given similar treatment. And 22 of his accomplices, residents of the same village were crushed under the wheels of a stone made road-roller. The stone that stood testimony of the cruelty of Britishers is still placed in a park in Sonipat for public display.

A researcher from Haryana at Rohtak informed that Udmi Ram and his group had killed some Britishers by ambushing their convoy when they were going to a camp in Sonipat from Delhi during the uprising.

The revolutionaries did not harm the British women and kept them at a safe place in the village chaupal.

“After overcoming the rebellion, Britishers started a hunt for Udmi and his accomplices. Sita Ram, a resident of neighbouring Rathdhana village tipped the them about Udmi Ram and his companions”

The British soldiers swooped down the village and looted the residents. They also arrested Udmi and his men after an encounter.

“The Britishers then unleashed cruelty on Udmi and his young wife who were nailed in a tree inside the village. It is said that Udmi Ram died on 35th day with his palms and legs fixed to the tree with nails while 22 other youths of the village were crushed under a stone made heavy roller”, researcher informed adding that other surviving residents of the village also fled after witnessing the massacre by Britishers.

The Britishers rewarded traitor Sita Ram when they auctioned the entire 550 acres land of Libaspur village in his favour for a paltry Rs 200 soon after the mutiny was over.

The Road Roller installed in Sonipat tells the tale of British excesses in 1857.

When the fleeing residents returned after spending nearly a decade as wanderers, they found that they had been stripped of their land. They again started their struggle through legal channels to acquire back their land which was the only source of their living.

A resident of the village P.K Saroha, who had filed a case in the High court to reclaim the ownership on the land of their ancestors said that after freedom, the court maintained that the residents of Libaspur could reclaim their ownership only by paying the prices of land to Sita Ram in installments.

“While some persons managed to get back their land but many others are still struggling who either did not have enough resources to pay the money or were denied the ownership by the influential progeny of Sita Ram”.

The village Story

Libaspur is a Delhi village on the way to Narela off bypass Karnal. The Britishers had established a camp at Sonepat. Each time they passed they saw the handsome youth, a village Jat named Udmi Ram who had formed a group of strong-bodied Delhi Jats to catch hold of the passing English soldier and to finish him off at an isolated spot where there is a Shani mandir today.

One day Udmi Ram spotted out a cart carrying an English family. He asked the man to come out, took him to a lonely spot and finished him.

As for the English woman he asked a village lady to look after her in a neighbouring village where she spent some days among Indian women. But when the scales turned around and the British recaptured Delhi they surrounded Libaspur.

Udmi Ram collected his men and fought with rural weapons such as spears, choppers and axes but was defeated. Arrested he was brought to British camp at Rai, tied to a peepal tree for 35 days without water or food till he died a Martyr.

Britisher Observation

C.T. Metcalfe:

˜The village communities are little Republics, having nearly everything they want within themselves, and almost independent of any foreign relations. They seem to last where nothing else lasts. Dynasty after dynasty tumbles down, revolution succeeds to revolution; Hindu, Pathan, Mughal, Maratha, Sikh, English are masters in turn, but village communities remain the same”.

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