Who were the Sannyasis and Fakirs during Peasant and Tribal Movements: The Revolt of 1857?

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Sannyasis and Fakirs were very much a part of the Indian society.

a. Sannyasis:

Sannyasis of the eighteenth century were descent from the ten branches of Adwaita School established thousand years before by Shankaracharya. They were also known as Dasnamis. The Sannyasis were wanderers who moved out from place to place seeking alms. Alongside’ religious curriculam the Sannyasis also developed skill in the use of arms.

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For they believed training in arms was necessary for defense of the religion. The Sannyasis rebelled when the British government imposed certain restrictions on the movements and some activities of the Sannyasis.

b. Fakirs:

The Fakirs, also known as the Madari Fakirs, were descendents of Shah-i-Madar who introduced a major Sufi order in India in the fourteenth century.

There was much similarity between the Sannyasis and the Fakirs. The Fakirs, like the Sannyasis cultivated combat techniques regularly.

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Manju Shah was the leader of the Fakirs, while Bhawani Pathak led the Sannyasis. The Fakirs also burst out in rebellion in protest against the oppressive prohibitary orders issued against them by the British administration.

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