In News: Recently a book called ‘Fear of Lions’ was released which is based on the satnami revolt. 

About the revolt:

  • The Satnami rebellion was a rare anti-caste movement in South Asian history that took place in 1672.
  • The revolt triggered when a Mughal soldier killed a Satnami and later on was killed by satnamis.
  • 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.
  • Mughals sent their army however Satnamis maintained a strong position and attacked Narnaul, the main township in the area and destroyed the Mughal garrison. 
  • They even set up their own administration.
  • Next, they marched towards Shahjahanabad (old Delhi), armed with the latest European-designed muskets that their leader had taught them to make.
  • However when Aurangzeb himself took personal command and sent 10,000 troops with artillery to crush the Satnamis, the revolt got over.


About Satnamis:

  • Originally, they were a militant sect of Hindu Worshippers. 
  • They were founded by Saint Birbhan at Narnaul, Haryana in 1657.
  • The major religious activity of this sect is to chant and meditate the true names (Sat-Nam) of God, specially Rama and Krishna.
  • Pothi is the religious granth of Satnamis.
  • This sect is thought to be an offshoot of Ravidasi sect and comprises lower strata of the Hindu society, particularly, leather workers, sweepers, carpenters, Goldsmiths etc.  
  • The followers of this sect abstained from liquor and meat and used to have shaved heads , thus called Mundiyas.