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Changur Singh Thakur

(★ – 1858) – (Uttar Pradesh)

Changur Singh Thakur hailed from Brahmanpur village in Dobhi Taluka, Jaunpur district, Uttar Pradesh. He was a landlord belonging to the Reghuvanshi clan of Rajputs and played a prominent role in the Indian Rebellion of 1857 against British rule. When he heard of the patriotic uprising against British rule in the surrounding districts of Ghazipur, Azamgarh, and Banaras, he and the proud Rajputs of Dobhi organized themselves into a formidable armed force to attack the British and their traitorous Indian collaborators in the region. They cut off British communications along the Banaras-Azamgarh road and advanced towards the former Banaras State.

In their first encounter with British regular troops, the Rajputs suffered heavy losses but withdrew in order. They regrouped themselves and made a bold bid to capture Banaras. Meanwhile, another large force of Indian patriots besieged Azamgarh. The British were unable to send reinforcements to Azamgarh because of the challenge posed by the Dobhi Rajputs.

A clash became inevitable, and the British attacked the Rajputs with the help of the Sikhs and the Hindustani Cavalry at the end of June 1857. The unlucky Rajputs were handicapped because the torrential monsoon rains had soaked their supplies of gunpowder. Nevertheless, the valiant Rajputs bitterly opposed the British advance with swords, spears, and the few serviceable guns and muskets that they had. The unequal battle took place about five miles north of Banaras at a place called Pisnaharia-ka-Inar. The Rajputs were driven back with heavy losses across the Gomti river. The British army crossed the river and sacked every Rajput village in the area.

A few months later, Kunwar Singh of Jagdispur (Dist. Arrah, Bihar), the hero of the Great Revolt, advanced and occupied Azamgarh. The Banaras Army sent against him was defeated outside Azamgarh. The British rushed reinforcements, and there was a furious battle in which the Rajputs of Dobhi helped Kunwar Singh, their distant relative. Kunwar Singh had to withdraw, and the Rajputs became the object of cruel reprisals by the British. The leaders of the Dobhi Rajputs were “invited” to a conference and treacherously arrested by the British troops, who had surrounded the place in Senapur village in May 1858.

Chhangur Singh Thakur was summarily executed by hanging from a mango tree, along with 12 of his kinsmen and 9 other followers. The dead bodies were further shot with muskets and left hanging from the trees. After some days, the bodies were taken down by the villagers and cremated.