Mahua Dabar

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Mahua Dabar was a small town in Basti district of Awadh in modern Uttar Pradesh, India. This town was destroyed and its refugee Bengali weavers were massacred by the British Raj during the Indian Rebellion of 1857.[1]


The British East India Company wanted to create market in South Asia for the imported textile products from the United Kingdom. They faced competition from the indigenous weaving industry in Bengal. In 1834, the British arrested hundreds of local weavers and had their thumbs chopped off in order to destroy the local weaving industry.[2] The amputated weavers could not operate looms and the local textile industry collapsed replaced by imported British textiles.

Some maimed weavers fled from Bengal to Awadh and settled in Mahua Dabar with the help of the Nawab of Awadh. The amputated weavers taught the art of weaving to their children and within 23 years Mahua Darbar became a textile weaving center with more than 5,000 people.

In March–April during the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the inhabitants of Mahua Dabar intercepted a boat carrying six British soldiers. These soldiers were surrounded and killed by the descendents of amputated weavers of Mahua Dabar who had been persecuted by the British. On June 20, 1857 the British 12th Irregular Horse Cavalry surrounded the town, slaughtered all the inhabitants and set the houses on fire. The town was razed to the ground and only farming was allowed. The tilling of the land destroyed all ruins of the destroyed town. Mahua Dabar, a town of 5,000 persons, completely disappeared from history and geography.[3]

In 1994, Mohammad Abdul Latif Ansari, the great-grandson of one of the survivors that managed to escape Mahua Dabar before the British encirclement of the town started researching the location of his ancestral destroyed town. The-then Basti district magistrate, R.N. Tripathi created a committee of historians from the University of Lucknow; and they found an 1831 map after 13 years of research which showed the location of the Mahua Dabar town.[4] All the maps after 1857 showed the area as farmland.[5]

On 3 July 2011, Jagdambika Pal and other members of Lok Sabha, lower house of the Parliament of India, opened Commemorative plaque at Mahua Dabar.[6]

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