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Born as Syed Mir Nisar Ali on 27 January 1782, in Chandpur village, in North 24 Parganas district, West Bengal, His father was Syed Mir Hassan Ali and mother was Abida Ruqayya Khatun. He fought against the Zamindars and the British colonial authorities in Bengal, British India during the 19th century. His education began in his village school, after which he moved to a local Madrassa. By the time he was 18 years of age, he had become a Hafiz of the Qur'an and a scholar of the Hadith and Muslim traditions. He was also accomplished with the Bengali, Arabic, and Persian languages. He was a disciple of Syed Ahmad Barelvi whose teachings of struggle against non Muslim oppression influenced his thoughts.

In 1822 he went on a pilgrimage to Mecca. On his return from Hajj he started to organise the peasants of his native village against the zamindars and the British authority. He opposed a number of discriminatory measures, including taxes on mosques and the growing of beards.

He filed a complaint to the East India Company against the oppression of the Zamindars, but got no result. Then he raised his own army with his followers and prepared them for an armed conflict with nothing more than bamboo sticks and indigenous weapons. He declared independence from the British rule, and regions comprising his native district Nadia and Faridpur came under his control. He built a fortress made of bamboo and defeated the colonial forces in a series of battles.

On November 14, 1831 the British army, reinforced with artillery, launched a concentrated attack. He was killed and his bamboo fortress was destroyed

After a lengthy trial, Golam Rasul, his nephew and second in command was hanged. On 19 November 1992, Bangladesh  issued a commemorative stamp honouring him on the 161st anniversary of his death
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This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 August 2015 on page no. 22

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