Independence activistIn 1822, Titu Mir went on a pilgrimage to Mecca, the Haj enjoined upon all Muslims, and on his return hecommenced organizing the Muslim peasants of his native village against the landlords or Zamindars and the British colonialists. He also affected the 'tahband' a tube shaped garment worn around the waist, in preference to the dhoti, seen as more overtly Hindu.Titu Mir opposed a number of discriminatory measures in force at that time which included taxes on the wearing of beards and on mosques. The rift between Titu Mir and his followers on one side, and the local Zamindars supported by the British rulers on the other side, continued to widen, and armed conflictbroke out at several places. Titu Mir had himself belonged to a "peyada" or martial family and himself had served under a Zamindar as a 'lathial or 'lethel' (paik), a fighter with the quarterstaff or lathi, (which in Bengal is made of bamboo, not wood) and he was actively training his men in hand to hand combat and the use of the lathi. This weapon in skilled hands is deadly against anything except projectile weapons. He thus started military training inside the Mosques and Madrassahs. They started physically attacking the Zamindars and their followers and organized several armed dacoities so as to finance their movement. Since his Army was mostly made up of poor peasants , they had no horses as cavalry. So theyalso started to steal horses from the stables of the Zamindars and from the British Police Stations. This provoked the British Government to send an Army expedition of 7,000 Sepoys so as to bring them under control.The followers of Titu Mir, believed to have grown to 15,000 by that time, readied themselves for prolonged armed conflict, and they built a fort of bamboo at Narikelbaria, near the town of Barasat. This
was surrounded by a high double curtain wall of bamboo stakes filled in with mud cladding and sun-baked.Titu Mir declared independence from the British, and regions comprising the current districts of 24 Parganas, Nadia and Faridpur came under his control. The private armies of the Zamindars and the forcesof the British met with a series of defeats at the hands of his men as a result of his strike-and-retreat guerrilla tactics.Finally, the British forces, armed with cannon and muskets, mounted a concerted attacks on 14 November 1831, on Titu Mir and his followers. Armed with nothing more than the bamboo quarterstaffs and Lathis and a few swords and spears, Titu Mir and his forces could not withstand the might of modernweapons, and were overwhelmed. The bamboo castle was destroyed, and Titu Mir was killed along with several of his followers. The commanding officer of the British forces noted his opponent's bravery in despatches, and also commented on the strength and resilience of bamboo as a material for fortification,since he had had to pound it with artillery for a surprisingly long time before it gave way.