Telegraph Memorial is probably one of the oldest Indian Sepoy Mutiny memorial site situated on the northern side of the British Magazine area in Old Delhi and it is accessible by local taxis and auto rickshaws. This site reminds all about the fervour of the struggling freedom fighters who were unmoved filled with immense loyalty towards their country and hence determined to fight against the British Army. This site is one of those few places that can take you closest to reality which takes you back to the 1857 revolt. You can literally feel the vibe and the unshaken fervour that reflects the ambience of the Uprising in 1857.
It all started on 10th May 1857 in Meerut, when the Indians rebelled against the Mutiny of the British Sepoy Army of the East India Company. It then spread to other parts of the country including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. It was finally contained on 20th June 1858 after the defeat of Gwalior. After this, the British East India Company was dissolved and the British Army regained their grounds in Northern India which had witnessed the worst of this revolt. It also compelled the British to restructure their administration, financial system and Army in a better way which resulted in India being directly ruled by the England Crown and hence formed a New British Raj. The rebellion, however, managed to leave quiet an impact on the Indians who revolted continuously without giving up easily and known by all as the ‘First Fight for Independence’, ‘Sepoy Mutiny’, ‘The Great Rebellion’, ‘Indian Mutiny’, ‘The 1857 Revolt’ and ‘The 1857 Uprising’. In 2007, The Indian Government celebrated the 150th Anniversary of this great revolt to pay homage to those who sacrificed their lives and were martyred for the Country.
The name ‘Telegraph Memorial’ was derived from the fact that it was from this very place that the last telegraph was sent by the British Soldiers named Brendish and Pilkington to the Indian Army of Punjab in Ambala serving the British Army whilst under the British rule informing about the Delhi and Meerut attacks. Beginning of the year in 1857, the British learnt about the revolt against them by the Indian freedom fighters also known as the Sepoy Mutiny or the first war of Independence for a free India and hence had to inform the Government in Punjab about the current situation so that they can get ready for the battle and plan a counter attack and hence, the telegraph was sent that read ‘We are off’.
This Telegraph Memorial site symbolises the very essence of the strong will and determination of the Indian people to refuse being ruled by ‘outsiders’, the term used often by them. It only showcases the struggle of these very brave and undeterred Indian Freedom Fighters who continuously tried, rebelled and fought up till they eventually succeeded in ending the British rule in 1947.
The Telegraph Memorial site was established in 1902 in order to commemorate and honour the loyalty and dedication of the staff of this Telegraph Office who were quick-witted and sent the last telegraph message before the revolt took a toll on the British Army. Though this movement for an Independent India failed, it did not affect the Indians to keep trying. After the British overpowered the Indian Freedom Fighters, Robert Montgomery proudly commented that the electric telegraph had saved India and hence the British Raj rules.