On the way from Delhi to Rajasthan and the Thar Desert.
It’s only about 160 KM in South Western direction but it takes you around three and a half hours or so by bus to get to Narnaul.
Narnaul is a small city by Indian standards (population of around 62,000) in the South West of the Indian State of Haryana. It’s close to the Rajasthan border and already part of the Thar desert.
While the city has some regional importance with respect to trade, traffic, and public administration it is mostly known for a battle in the course of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 against the authority of the British East India Company (which at that time represented the interests of the British Empire in India).
The history of the battle of Narnaul is as follows: The leader of the Indian rebels was Pran Sukh Yadav (1802–1888), an extraordinary military commander of his time.
On knowing about a mutiny within a British army regiment Pran Sukh Yadav considered it as an appropriate time to assemble the rebel troops and fight with the British Army in a village close to Narnaul. He was a great military strategist and fought valiantly and was the one who killed the British commanding officer Col Gerrard with his Rifle.
He missed his first shot while aiming at Gerrard from the opposite bank of a rivulet where the battle was going on. He quickly reloaded the rifle and again shot at Gerrard, who was the only person in a red coat uniform as rest of his men were in khaki. This time he got his shot right and thus killed Gerrard.
Although it is reported that the Indian rebels fought bravely at the end of the day they lost against the better equipped British Army. 70 British soldiers (including the commanding officer) and an unknown – but probably much higher – number of rebels lost their lives.
Although the Indians lost the battle, Pran Sukh Yadav survived and along with other leaders went into hiding for the next two or three years but again came back later and settled down at his native village nearby.
Except for a historic landmark, nothing obvious reminds you today about what happened then. Narnaul is a busy and densely populated small town as there are so many in India.
(Hamburg, August 2017)