Suppression of the Pindaris
The origin of Pindaris is lost in obscurity. The first reference about them is during the Mughal invasion of Maharashtra. They did not belong to any particular caste or creed. They used to serve the army without any payment but instead were allowed to plunder. During the time of Baji Rao I, they were irregular horsemen attached to the Maratha army. It is worth mentioning here that they never helped the British. They were mostly active in the areas of Rajputana and the Central Provinces and subsisted on plunder. Their leaders belonged to both the Hindu as well as the Muslim communities. Chief amongst them were Wasil Muhammad, Chitu and Karim Khan. They had thousands of followers.
In 1812, the Pindaris plundered the districts of
Mirzapur and Shahabad and in 1815 they raided the Nizam's dominions. In 1816,
they plundered the Northern Circars. Lord Hastings determined to suppress the
Pindaris. For this he gathered a large army of 1,13,000 men and 300 guns and
attacked the Pindaris from four sides. He himself took command of the force
from the north while Sir Thomas Hislop commanded the force from the south. By
1818, the Pindaris were completely suppressed and all their bands
disintegrated. Karim Khan was given a small estate in the Gorakhpur district of
the United Provinces. Wasil Muhammad took refuge in the Scindia's camp but the
latter handed him over to the British. Wasil committed suicide in captivity and
Chitu escaped to the forest, where a tiger killed him. Thus, by 1824, the
menace of the Pindaris came to an end.
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