Short Notes on the Revolt of Dhundia in Bednur (1799-1800)

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The conquest of Mysore after the collapse of Seringapatam in 1799 did not settle the problem of pacifying the country. The English were confronted by many over-ambitious chief, military strategists and native leaders of different communities. As Wilks remarked, the like the great revolts of Pyche Raja of Malabar the revolt of Dhundia of Bednur shook the very basis of the English Company in that part of British India.

Dhundia Wagh, a Maratha adventurer, had incurred the displeasure of Tipu Sultan for his military penetrations into his boundary. The moment he was captured, Tipu converted him to Islam and entrusted him with a military assignment. But he failed to impress Tipu that he was put in jail in 1799. The fall of Tipu brought his release, upon which he organised force at Bednur, consisting of the anti-British factions.

Very soon he became a formidable force to be reckoned with and he began to extract heavy and forced contribu­tions. He carved out a small territory for himself. Having sensed the danger of Dhundia the British forces captured some of the forts he had forcibly taken. According to Thornton he was defeated at Shikarpur on the 17th August 1799, by the British forces but he escaped to Maratha country leaving his possessions.

For sometime Dhundia remained harmless, but all the while he was making his acquaintance with the affected chiefs of the Company's territories he instigated the disappointed princes to fight the English and he himself took the leadership. A political and military confederacy was soon established and he made several attacks on the Mysore boundary. The gravity of the situation made the English to send their famous General, Col, and Wellesley to meet all eventualities. This master strategist surrounded the forces of Dhundia from all sides.

Though Dhundia fought bravely the well-organised army of Wellesly caught him in a trap. The enormous number of British force seemed unconquerable Dhundi. However he escaped to the territories of the Nizam where he again fell a victim to the trap of the English. He lost everything and on the 10th September 1800 Wellesley made his well-concerted attack on the rebel.

The whole of the forces of Dhundia lay scattered and many of them were killed. Dhundia himself was killed in the fighting. Though Dhundia failed he proved himself a venerated leader of the masses enjoying considerable backing and popularity and he resisted the introduction of British rule with all his might in his own small way. The magnitude of his resistance could be well- understood from the great anxiety with which the British formulated their policy against him. It was left to Col. Wellesley to grapple with the situation.


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