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Satnami Rebellion

Topics Covered:

  1. The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.


Satnami Rebellion


What to study?

For Prelims and mains: Who are Satnamis? Why they revolted against Mughal Empire? Outcomes and significance.


Who are Satnamis?

  1. Originally, they were a militant sect of Hindu Worshippers.
  2. Founded by a saint named “Birbhan” in 1657 in Narnaul in Haryana.
  3. The major religious activity of this sect is to chant and meditate the true names (Sat-Nam) of God, specially Rama and Krishna.
  4. This sect is thought to be an offshoot of Ravidasi sect and comprised of lower strata of the Hindu society, particularly, leather workers, sweepers, carpenters, Goldsmiths etc.
  5. The followers of this sect kept their heads shaven (thus called Mundiyas) and abstained from liquor and meat.
  6. The religious granth of the Satnamis is called Pothi.


The revolt of 1862:

  1. In 1962, they rebelled against the mighty Mughal Empire.
  2. The revolt triggered when a Mughal soldier killed a Satnami. The Satnamis killed the soldier in revenge and in turn Mughal soldiers were sent.
  3. Satnamis attacked Narnaul, the main township in the area and destroyed the Mughal garrison. They even set up their own administration.
  4. Next, they marched towards Shahjahanabad (old Delhi), armed with the latest European-designed muskets that their leader had taught them to make.
  5. The rebellion was crushed when Aurangzeb himself took personal command and sent 10,000 troops with artillery to crush the Satnamis.


Other reasons for the revolt:

The killing of the youth may have been the immediate trigger, the reasons for the revolt were to do with the growth of the Satnami sect. The entrenched caste structure of the era forced marginalised groups to join the fold and they protested against the high taxation policies. Their rise was seen as a threat by the supporters of the Mughal administration, the upper castes.



Though the Satnami rebellion was crushed, its memory endures to this day. That a group of marginalised people fought the systemic oppression in society, established a new community and defended it.


Sources: the Hindu.