Unseen Passage: Thackeray

Thackeray reached Kittur along with a small British army force and a few of his officers. He thought that the very presence of the British on the outskirts of Kittur would terrorise the rulers and people of Kittur and that they would lay down their arms. He was quite confident that he would be able to crush the revolt in no time. He ordered that tents to be erected on the eastern side for the fighting forces, and a little away from the western slopes, tents be put up for the family members of the officers who had accompanied them. During the afternoon and evening of 20th October, the British soldiers were busy making arrangments for these camps.

On the 21st morning, Thackeray sent his political assistants to Kittur fort to obtain a written assurance from all the important officers of Kittur rendering them answerable for the security of the treasury of Kittur. They be accordingly, met Sardar Gurusiddappa and other officers of Kittur and asked them to comply with the orders of Thackeray. They did not know that the people were in a defiant mood. The commanders of Kittur dismissed the agent’s orders as no documents could be signed without sanction from Rani Chennamma.

Thackeray was enraged and sent for the commander of the Horse Artillery, which was about 100 strong, ordered him to rush his artillery into the fort and capture the commanders of the Desai’s army. When the Horse Artillery stormed into the fort, Sardar Gurusiddappa, who had kept his men on full alert, promptly commanded his men to repel and chase them away. The Kittur forces made a bold front and overpowered the British soldiers.

Meanwhile, the Desai’s guards had shut the gates of the fort and the British Horse Artillery men, being completely overrun and routed, had to get out through the escape window. Rani’s soldiers chased them out of the fort, killing a few of them until they retreated to their camps on the outskirts.

A few of the Britishers had found refuge in some private residences, while some were hiding in their tents. The Kittur soldiers captured about forty persons and brought them to the palace. These included twelve children and a few women from the British officers’ camp. When they were brought in the presence of the Rani, she ordered the soldiers to be imprisoned. For the women and children she had only gentleness, and admonished her soldiers for taking them into custody. At her orders, these women and children were taken inside the palace and given food and shelter. Rani came down from her throne, patted the children lovingly and assured them that no harm would come to them.

She, then, sent word through a messenger to Thackeray that the British women and children were safe and could be taken back any time. Seeing this noble gesture of the Rani, he was moved. He wanted to meet this gracious lady and talk to her. He even thought of trying to persuade her to enter into an agreement with the British to stop all hostilities in lieu of an inam (prize) of eleven villages. His offer was dismissed with a gesture of contempt. She had no wish to meet Thackeray. That night she called Sardar Gurusiddappa and other leading Sardars and after discussing all the issues, they came to the conclusion that there was no point of meeting Thackeray who had come with an army to threaten Kittur into submission to British sovereignty.

Q. On the basis of your understanding of the above passage complete the statements given below with the help of options that follow:

  1. Thackeray was a/an:
    (i) British tourist (ii) army officer (iii) adviser to Rani of Kittur (iv) treasury officer
  2. British women and children came to Kittur to:
    (i) visit Kittur (ii) enjoy life in tents (iii) stay in the palace (iv) give company to the army officers

Answer

  1. army officer
  2. give company to officers

Q. Answer the following questions briefly:

  1. Why did Thackeray come to Kittur?
  2. Why did the Kittur officials refuse to give the desired assurance to Thackeray?
  3. What happened to the Horse Artillery?
  4. How, do we know that the Rani was a noble queen?
  5. How in your opinion, would the British 3. women have felt after meeting the Rani?
  6. Why did the Rani refuse to meet Thackeray?
  7. Find words from the passage which mean the same as the following:
    1. entered forcibly (para 3)
    2. aggressive/refusing to obey (para 2)

Answer

  1. Thackeray came to Kittur as he believed that the presence of the Britishers on the outskirts of Kittur would terrorise the rulers and people of Kittur due to which they would lay down their arms. He was quite confident that he would be able to crush the revolt in no time.
  2. The Kittur officials refused to give the desired assurance because they were in a defiant mood. Moreover, no documents could be signed without sanction from Rani Chennamma.
  3. When the Horse Artillery stormed into the fort, Sardar Gurusidappa, who kept his men on full alert, promptly commanded his men to repel and chase them away. The Kittur forces made a bold front and overpowered the British soldiers.
  4. The Kittur soldiers captured about forty people and brought them to the palace. These included twelve children and a few women from the British officers’ camp. The Rani ordered the soldiers to imprison all the man, whereas for the women and children, she was gentle and admonished her soldiers for taking them into custody. At her order, the women and children were taken inside the palace and given food and shelter. The Rani came down from her throne, patted the children lovingly and assured them that no harm would come to them. So, this is how we come to know that the Rani was a noble queen.
  5. The British women must have felt guilty as their husbands attacked the queen who was so humble and generous to them.
  6. Rani refused to meet Thackeray because there wasn’t any point in meeting a person who had come with an army to threaten Kittur and its people for submission to the British sovereignty.
  7. Words are:
    1. stormed
    2. defiant

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