The revolt against the British caught fire in 1857, and spread in the western regions of Bihar too. Many zamindars and local leaders were supporting the government, others actively back the rebelling forces.
Kunwar Singh, a zamindar in Jagdishpur, whose estate was being taken away by the Revenue Board, came to the forefront and took leadership in Bihar.
The rebels of Danapur, Chota Nagpur, Manbhum, Singhbhum, and Palamu look up to Kunwar Singh and offer to help him in the struggle.
After Join by the mutinying sepoys of the seventh, the eighth, and the 40th regiments of Bengal Native Infantry, which march from Danapur, Kunwar Singh and his men besieged the British at Arrah, Bihar.
But Major General Vincent Eyer, who was on his way to Allahabad, heard about the siege and turn to Arrah, disregarding direct orders against doing so.
His forces defeat Kunwar Singh and his companions at Bibiganj on 3rd August.
It is said that after receiving reinforcements, General Eyre pursue Kunwar Singh to Jagdishpur, but the zamindar had fled by the time the former’s forces arrive.
Kunwar Singh then proceed to destroy the palace of Jagdishpur and the houses of Singh’s brothers.
Kunwar Singh continue his attacks against the British even at the age of 80, his valour was second to none.
Defeat at General Eyre’s hand had not deterred Kunwar Singh, he took the fight out of Bihar and resist the British with cooperation from rebel groups in other parts of India, including Rewa, Gwalior, Lucknow, and Kanpur.
Veer Kunwar Singh might be one of the lesser-known figures who fought in the Mutiny of 1857, but he contribute greatly and inspire many to take up arms in rebellion against the British.
Kunwar Singh is known endearingly in Bihar as Babu Veer Kunwar Singh.
To commemorate his contribution to the freedom struggle, India issue a stamp in his honour in 1966.
Veer Kunwar Singh University was also establishe in 1992 with its headquarters at Arrah, Bihar.
History of Battles by Kunwar Singh
In September 1857, Kunwar Singh made a fail attempt to enter Rewa, Madhya Pradesh, after which he went to Banda in Uttar Pradesh.
From there, Kunwar Singh carried on to Kalpi with his compatriot Nishan Singh.
Join by Gwalior troops, Kunwar Singh fought in the Seige of Cawnpore (Kanpur), in which Nana Saheb Peshwa II’s troops and allies lost to the British.
Kunwar Singh did not yield and march towards Lucknow.
In March 1858, Kunwar Singh join his comrades near Atraulia, Azamgarh.
The British troops, under Lt General George Bryan Milman and Colonel tried to displace Kunwar Singh, but to no avail.
Kunwar Singh attack the weakest positions of the British, thereby sustaining the rebellion and keeping Azamgarh under his control.
Lord Mark Kerr and Sir Edward Lingard were then sent to relieve Azamgarh from Kunwar Singh’s control.
Upon hearing this news, Kunwar Singh evacuate with a portion of his troops towards Ghazipur.
In an attempt to cross the Ganga to reoccupy Jagdishpur, Kunwar Singh fought British troops under Brigadier Douglas in April 1858.
To prevent infection cause by bullet wounds on his arm spreading to the rest of his body, the brave Kunwar Singh chop it off and cross to the other side of the Ganga at Shivapur Ghat.
As Kunwar Singh reach Jagdishpur, a British arm force, led by Captain Le Grand, was already on its way.
Le Grand’s forces suffer a severe repulse, but, worn out by fatigue and continuous fighting, Kunwar Singh was not destined to live long.
Kunwar Singh pass away on 26th April 1858, victorious in his last battle.