1857: Bhogta Rising in Palamau

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The mutiny of 1857 though touched Palamau quite late but proved a very serious trouble for the East India Company. Nilambar and Pitambar were the leaders of the Bhogta, a clan of Kherwars of Palamau. Palamau has been the abode of the Cheros and Kharwars and they organized themselves into a very large force.
On 21st October, 1857 they attacked Chainpur, but they were opposed by its proprietor Thakur Raghubar Dayal who was loyal to the Britishers. Next they marched to Shahpur where they took possession of 4 guns and captured police thana. Later, with 500 men they proceeded to Leslieganj from where the police and the artillery establishment fled away. Shahbad rebels were also marching into Palamau.
Soon a considerable force under Lt. Graham was sent to Palamau, but the insurgents were not disconcerted. On 26th November 1857 Joodhar Singh with about 900 followers reached Untari to the North-West of Palamau district. By the end of November the whole country (Palamau) appeared to be in arms and Lt. Graham with his small party was shut up and besieged in the house of Raghubar Dayal Singh. On 29th November, 1857 a large body of Bhogtas attacked Bengal Coal Company at Rajahra. On 2nd December they attacked the Thanas of Manka and Chattarpur.
Major Collar arrived with reinforcement from Saranam to the relief of Major Grahamand Debi Bux Rai, one of the principal leaders in that area was captured. Raja of Deo and Sarbarkar of Surguja hastened additional reinforcement and with that Graham defeated Premanand Illakadar of Kurda and one of the most influential leaders of Kharwars.
Graham reached Leslieganj on 26th December 1857. Nilambur and Pitambar were still enlisting support even from Mirzapur side. They carried on Guerilla warfare for some months in January 1858.
On 16th January 1858, Dalton himself was obliged to march with a force and the loyalist Zamindars. Palamau Fort was in the occupation of insurgents and on the appearance of British force they presented a bold resistance but were dislodged. In the baggage left thereby them the English Officer discovered letters addressed to Nilambar, Pitambarand Nakat Manjhi and other leaders of movement and correspondence from Amar Singh promising immediate assistance from Babu Kuwarn Singh.
There is no denying the fact that leaders in different parts of Jharkhand had intercommunication and in Palamau the rising had assumed a gigantic proportion supported by the local people in great number.


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