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From Swadeshi to Swaraj
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The Monk Who Shook The Nation
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Europeans Take To The Street!
The British Raj in Black and White
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Return to Swadeshi
Barbarous Britannia
‘Rani Ka Hookum’
Perishing in Peace
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English Education
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Roll of Honour
The Empire Strikes Back
British Authority Collapses
Sepoys on the Move
Tribal Uprisings
The Empire Builders
For God and Country

Barbarous Britannia

In the 1840's a Sikh preacher named Bhagat Jawahar Mal launched a drive against meat-eating and consumption of liquor. He came to be known as Sian Saheb and his followers were called Kukas.
Three decades later the Kukas had grown into a large community and leadership had passed into the hands of Ram Singh who considered himself an incarnation of the tenth Sikh Teacher, Guru Gobind Singh. The Punjab, meanwhile had been taken over by the British.
The British kept a wary eye on the Kukas as they had received information that the Kukas were planning a rebellion.
Ram Singh, their leader, had declared that when their numbers grew he would come out openly against the British and drive them out of the country. Also there were rumours that one of the Kuka leaders had gone abroad to procure arms.
One of the things the Kukas disapproved of was cow slaughter. The slaughter of the animals had been banned in the Punjab but was resumed when the British took control. The Kukas who had been campaigning against cow slaughter were enraged when a slaughter house came up near one of the gates of the Golden Temple. They went on the rampage.
Four butchers were beaten to death in Amritsar. Three were killed and thirteen others injured in Ludhiana.
The authorities swung into action. Several Kukas were rounded up and swift and severe punishment was meted out to them, resulting in nine hangings and two deportations.
These punishments made the Kukas even more angry. On 13th January 1872 a mob of some hundred or so Kukas armed with lathis and axes came out into the streets. Ram Singh did not approve of this behaviour of his followers and said so, but they were in no mood to listen to him. They marched from the town of Bhaini to Kotla and attacked the nawab's palace there. They were driven away and they made their way to Rurr in Patiala. By this time their number had dwindled to 68 and their anger had subsided. All 68 quietly surrendered to the authorities at Patiala on 15th January 1872.

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