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Kharal By Rana Taha Ali

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In 1857 a series of uprisings started throughout India which later grew into serious threat to British rule in India. At first there were just riots and civil disobedience spread all over the country but later it turned into a revolt against British crown known as War of Independence. The rebel leaders declared the octogenarian Mughal prince Bahadur Shah Zafar as their leader and installed him in Delhi. The rebellion was fed by resentment among the natives that emerged from the despotic administration of East India Company (EIC) over them and implementation of colonial social reforms and heavy land taxes. These resistance movements included people from different strata of society – rajas, princes, landlords, peasants, religious figures, local sepoys in the East India Company, and ordinary people of India in one way or the other were part of the uprising. The Company, in this situation, was in dire need of human resources to combat with the freedom fighters.

In the pursuit of fresh recruits a British envoy was sent to Sahiwal (formerly known as Montgomery) in Punjab to seek support from the local chiefs. The British envoy met Rai Ahmed Khan Kharal, the leader of the Kharals who were concentrated in Gogera near Okara. Ahmed Khan turned down the request of providing recruits to the British and openly declared that he was loyal to the king in Delhi and not to the British. This refusal to provide support to the British forces earned their wrath and as a result of which skirmishes between British forces and local rebels under the leadership of Ahmed Kharal followed. Rai Ahmed Khan Kharal, a popular and bold chief of the Kharal tribe was born in 1803 in Jhambari a village of Sahiwal, close to Bangla Gogera in district Okara. He had great political acumen and enjoyed cordial relationships with leaders of different tribes. His contributions as a freedom fighter can not be neglected as a lot of local storytellers (Marasis) and the native literature have portrayed him as a great freedom fighter and leader of the guerrilla operations at the local level.

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Thesis Statement: Contributions of Rai Ahmed Khan Kharal cannot be neglected as a lot of local storytellers (Marasis) and native literature have portrayed him as a great freedom fighter during the War of Independence.

Significance and Scope: It has been said that the country that does not remember it’s heroes will also soon be forgotten. Remembering our heroes like Ahmed Khan makes young men brave by setting an example for them. There is a famous saying that a hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. Heroes like Ahmed Khan didn’t give sacrifices and went to wars just for nothing. They stood up for their beliefs, honour and freedom. Without bravery and honor a nation will be overrun by those who wish to exert their will on the oppressed people. We have to keep reminding our next generations of what bravery and heroism looks like so one day if in the unfortunate circumstances they are faced with violence against their country they are reminded of what they must do. We need to promote our local heroes because our heroes help define the limits of our dreams and goals. We largely define our character by the heroes we choose, and our character traits like courage, honor, and justice — largely define us.

Our heroes are embodiment of all the qualities we would like to possess and all the ambitions we would like to satisfy. By studying these heroes our young generation can be motivated and inspired to adapt qualities which these heroes had and help them become more beneficial to the society and be better individuals. A person who chooses Abdul Sattar Edhi, Mangal Pandey or Bacha Khan as a hero is going to have a very different sense of what human accomplishment means rather than someone who chooses Shahrukh Khan, or the Tv anchor Sahir Lodhi. Nowadays if we ask a teenager who his personal hero or role model is, he/she will probably name some athlete, movie star or a musician. Media has confused the difference between the idea of celebrity and hero.

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