Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Siege of Lucknow 2007

Once again, 150 years after the previous unpleasantness, a gallant band of Brits again defend themselves against violent racists.

A group of British veterans are barricaded inside an Indian hotel this evening after they were attacked by a violent group of Indian nationalists during a trip to pay homage to British soldiers killed during the 1857 Indian Mutiny. Indian authorities have told Britons in India to stay away from the historic site due to protests.

Dozens of retired British soldiers and civilians were holed up in a hotel behind a police cordon today in Lucknow. They had had planned to visit the site of a siege that was a key event of what is known in India as the First War of Independence and in Britain as the Sepoy Mutiny. During the siege, hundreds of British soldiers and their families defended the Residency of Lucknow against thousands of Indian soldiers - or sepoys - rebelling against the colonial occupiers. Hundreds died in the fighting.

Small but vocal protests have been led by local members of India's Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) party. Some protesters pelted the visitors' bus with rubbish and a bottle filled with dirty water when they arrived in the city on yesterday. "A thick security net around them saved the situation from taking any ugly turn," said district magistrate Chandra Bhanu. "Though we have no objection to their visit as ordinary tourists, we cannot take any chances and expose them to any kind of risk under the prevailing volatile circumstances" he said.


May they show the same courage and unity as their forebears, and may their country succour them as it did then.






The 1857 mutiny was commemorated a month or two back in India with much ceremony as a "shining example of national unity". As the BBC put it :

"It is known in India as the first war of India's independence, while in the UK it is usually called a mutiny. So we'll call it an uprising."


Now you can't really blame the Indian government for playing the national unity card for all it's worth. After all, theirs is what the BBCs Jim Muir would call an ethnic and confessional patchwork, with all the potential for lack of unity that implies. Not only that, but before the Raj there was no nation of India, although the Mughal Empire had at one stage encompassed almost the whole subcontinent. You get your national myths where you find them and as you need them - and India, always struggling to keep a vastly diverse nation intact (and succeeding remarkably well) - needs a national narrative more than most.

In Britain however we can take a more clear eyed view of the Mutiny, which was an uprising not solely against the forces of the British Empire, the soldiers and administrators, but a vast racist pogrom against all Europeans, the 'Feringhees' or 'gora log', without distinction of age, sex or employment, although Indian Christians were also killed. While for obvious reasons it was necessary to strike down British military resistance where found, the wholesale slaughter of unarmed men, women and children took place wherever the mutineers had gained control, although there are many instances of Indians saving lives at the risk of their own. The testimonies of massacre from Meerut, Delhi, Lucknow, Cawnpore are many and vivid.

"Gough came in. He is a pensioner. He was in the 19th Regiment and directly after landing in England after the Crimea War volunteered to go to India at the time of the Indian Mutiny. He landed in Calcutta and his regiment marched through Cawnpore 48 hours after the Massacre. He said the scene was horrible, so horrible, shocking and disgusting that it could not be explained or described. Women's breasts had been chopped and sliced off and were still lying about with their other parts. Women had been cut to pieces and mutilated in a vile and shocking manner. The most devilish and beastly ingenuity had been at work in mutilating the persons and violating and dishonouring the parts of the poor creatures. A child's head had been cut off and was lying on the ground with the lips placed by a devilish jest as if sucking the breast of a woman which had also been chopped off. Numbers of the poor women had jumped down the great well with their children to avoid the horrors which were being perpetrated on the bodies of women all over the place.

The soldiers were furious, almost ungovernable, as they marched through Cawnpore and saw those shameful sights."

Francis Kilvert's Diary, Wednesday, 22nd January 1873


"Captain Orr, before allowing the sepoys to accompany them, as well as himself and his family, first made them swear on the head of a Brahmin jemadar, or native officer, the most sacred oath a Hindoo can take, that they would not touch a hair of their heads. They had scarcely set out a short distance, however, when the sepoys obliged the ladies and children to leave their carriages and to walk. The gentlemen, fourteen in number, were murdered one by one, near Mithowly, and the whole of the ladies and children, certain of their coming fate, assembling together in one body, were shot down while kneeling and singing a hymn."
- A personal narrative of the siege of Lucknow By L E Ruutz Rees (1858)

"They knew that stabbing was inefficient, that hacking at their victim's necks would be the quickest way of accomplishing their mission. If the ladies protected their necks with their arms, then their arms would simply be severed as well; the effect was the same, they would bleed to death. Slashing right and left at all who were standing, chopping downward at the fallen with their heavy blades, the five proceeded methodically, spreading a pool of blood ... The few defiant boys were cut down quickly, as was every child who tried to make a run for it through the phalanx of swordsmen. Mothers kept pulling their children close to them and pushing them back into the corners of the building, and in the sweltering heat and the crush of bodies, children suffocated to death under their dying mothers' skirts."
Andrew Ward - Our Bones Are Scattered - Cawnpore Massacres and the Indian Mutiny of 1857.

Mrs Captain McDonald, Mrs Captain Chambers, Mrs Dawson and two children, Mrs Courtenay and two children, Mr. V. Tregear, Pensioners McKinley and Blanco, Corporals Mortimer (Rifles), Edwards and Fitzpatrick and wives, Mr Newland (Photographer), Overseers Segeants Law and two children, McPhee, Binglee, Grant, Brooks and wives, Gunners Donohoe, Connolly, Benson and Cairns (Horse Artillery), Riding Master Langdale's child
- some of the dead from the first day at Meerut - Robert Dunlop - Service and Adventure with the Meerut Volunteer Horse (1858)

You can also see why this kind of stuff gets passed by in India. No nation likes to be reminded of its bad deeds, England excepted, but in India stuff about massacring innocents strikes a bit too close to home. The slaughter of defenceless people isn't exactly something that stopped in 1857. While 1947 set a standard that (God willing) is unlikely to be surpassed in the immediate future, the events of 1984 and 2002 remind us that it hasn't gone away. And those are only the ones we hear about. I was surprised when googling 'Meerut Massacre' to find that it's the '87 rather than the '57 massacre at the top. That's 1987.

Of course Delhi could never have been recaptured and the Mutiny suppressed without the soldiers from the Punjab and elsewhere who remained loyal. The force which retook Delhi contained Punjabis of all faiths, Baluchis, Gurkhas, Pashtuns - something else that the Indian Government and nationalist historians would rather forget. And while the rebel defenders of Delhi were killed to a man, the reactions of the British forces, memories of the dead innocents fresh in their minds, to their orders stand in stark contrast to the shameful barbarities of the rebels.

"By the light of a lantern the orders for the assault were then read to the men. They were to the following purport: any man who might be wounded was to be left where he fell; no one was to step from the ranks to help him, as there were no men to spare ... no prisoners were to be made, as we had no one to guard them, and care was to be taken that no women or children were injured. To this the men answered at once, by 'No fear, Sir'. The officers now pledged their honours on their swords to abide by these orders and the men then promised to follow their example."

30 comments:

Dave said...

Yes it was brutal but it was a perfectly natural part of evolution and similar has been happening throughout history.

The unnatural and suicidal thing to do (from a darwinian point of view) is to intentionally invite foreigners into your living space to mate with your drunken women and alter your tribes gene pool perminantly.

So which is worse, those who brutally attack and massacre, or those who abandon self defence of their own kind and allow it to happen?


I wonder why you have listed this in "before the fall" are you suggesting we are in for a dose of this in a future Britain?

Lord Higham- Murray said...

Well done on the Top 100 ranking - it's only natural.

Anonymous said...

Winston Churchill said that Indians are "the beastliest people on earth"


"Robert Clive:
Speech in Commons on India, 1772

: . . Indostan was always an absolute despotic government. The inhabitants, especially of Bengal, in inferior stations, are servile, mean, submissive, and humble. In superior stations, they are luxurious, effeminate, tyrannical, treacherous, venal, cruel"

Some stupid cow has written in the Guardian today claiming that there is a Hindu/Muslim intellectual tradition of furthering women's rights, though as might be expected the "evidence" produced is about as convincing as the interminable Black History Months that are so regulary inflicted.

Doesn't appear to have to put an end to bride burning though.

Gabriel Oak

Gabriel Oak said...

Dave said...
Yes it was brutal but it was a perfectly natural part of evolution and similar has been happening throughout history.

The unnatural and suicidal thing to do (from a darwinian point of view) is to intentionally invite foreigners into your living space to mate with your drunken women and alter your tribes gene pool perminantly.

So which is worse, those who brutally attack and massacre, or those who abandon self defence of their own kind and allow it to happen?


I wonder why you have listed this in "before the fall" are you suggesting we are in for a dose of this in a future Britain?

Pretty obvious Dave, even the world of opera seems to be catching on if "The Sacrifice" by James McMillan is anything to go by.

"Imagine a Britain of the not-too-distant future, after some nameless disaster. It could have been a war, or an environmental catastrophe, it could be that some vital resource like oil has grown perilously short, and fighting over it has got out of hand.

Power belongs not to political parties but to two clans, which have battled for supremacy for years among the ruins." Telegraph

On present "progress" Beirut, Bosnia and Baghdad is where we are headed for.

As you say it is "unnatural and suicidal" and the idiots deserve all I hope that they will get

British National Party member said...

Bloody hell, i never knew that.

I wonder if that was before we shot them near the well (I cant remember the details but saw it in an old film and think it was portrayed as true). Maybe that was done by the same regiment that saw the massacre - id have shot as quick as i could too if it was at all recently.

So, hindu's seem to be the massacring sort, but what about sikh's? Unless its propoganda ive fallen victim too, i think they are quite good when it comes to not massacring civilians, indeed i think they tended to rescue women from bands of kidnappers and so on.

Anonymous said...

Laban

Is this a record for early release?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7012989.stm

Jailed at the very end of May for 15 months, released in September. That is 3.5 months at most, less than a quarter of the sentence.

So the rule now is that you are automatically released when half of the sentence is served, and you can be released early when half of half of the sentence is served.

Confidence in the justice system?

Gabriel Oak said...

"British National Party member said...
Bloody hell, i never knew that.

I wonder if that was before we shot them near the well (I cant remember the details but saw it in an old film and think it was portrayed as true). Maybe that was done by the same regiment that saw the massacre - id have shot as quick as i could too if it was at all recently.

So, hindu's seem to be the massacring sort, but what about sikh's? Unless its propoganda ive fallen victim too, i think they are quite good when it comes to not massacring civilians, indeed i think they tended to rescue women from bands of kidnappers and so on."

Sikhs and Gurkhas were indispensible allies as it happens . But our troops were absolutely enraged by what they had seen.

At one moment at Lucknow Sir Colin Campbell, leading a relieving force, he had risen from the ranks in "Sharpe" style, gave the command:

"Colonel Ewart, bring on the tartan. Let my own lads at them"

One of his men recalled(from Hibbert's Great Mutiny) "Before the command could be repeated or the buglers had time to sound the advance, the whole 7 companies(of the 93rd), leaped over the wall with such a yell of pent up rage as I never heard before or since. It was not a cheer but a concentrated yell of rage and ferocity"

The butchers of women and children were then bayonetted without mercy

The troops yelled

"REMEMBER CAWNPORE!"

Anonymous said...

Incredible - no mention of the massacres in that BBC 'report'. As for this:

"As a nation inspired by Mahatma Gandhi's message of non-violence, India has consciously abjured violence as an instrument of social and political change," Mr Singh said.

When, that is laughable.

Only an ignorant, self-loathing liberal multicultural organisation could have written such a travesty of truth as that article.

Anonymous said...

Should have been "Well, that is laughable"

The Green Arrow said...

Excellent post. I wrote something about Cawnporte and The Well of Bibighar here:-
http://isupporttheresistance.blogspot.com/2007/06/call-up-and-cawnpore.html

Here is a snip:

"Stepping out from under the dark shadow of the mulsuri tree, the burra memsahib (the leading White woman) opened her mouth to speak. Sarvur Khan felled her with one stroke.

"Fearful shrieks rose from the courtyard . . . Closing the doors behind them, the five men fanned out and worked their way forward, slashing at the straggling wounded crawling along the floor.

"From behind a pillar Mrs. Jacobi suddenly lunged forward and knocked one of them down with one blow . . . his comrades came to his rescue. First they hung her daughter Lucy on a hook by her chin and then silenced her mother by cutting her throat."

Monsters then. Monsters now.

Bruce said...

Yes, and British art grant money has helped foster the new anti-British hysteria in India:

'The Rising: The Ballad of Mangal Pandey'
Daily Mail, August 27, 2005

"A Lottery-funded film on the Indian Mutiny shows the rebels as heroes - and (surprise, surprise) the British as sadists. In fact, the mutineers were ruthless butchers who massacred women, children and even their own countrymen with savage zeal..."

http://www.jonathanforeman.com/movies/mangal.html

(may be a popup when opening page).

When I was staying near Calcutta 20 plus years ago, the old folks remembered the Raj as a golden age, free of the corruption which flooded in after it. The younger generation have been raised on myths of British 'savagery' and Indian 'bravery' largely through Bollywood blockbusters and hopelessly compromised schoolteaching. I sensed a massive change on my recent visit in 2002. What a stupid world we live in.

Bruce said...

Note also Dalrymple's recent work suggesting that the Mutiny was a war of religion, a Jihad.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/5312092.stm

And what does the fact that it took a British scholar to study India's own (untouched) archives and find this while generations of Indian-born scholars have been been tunneling through the colonial archives in London suggest about the sincerity of many such scholars in seeking their own history (rather than a multiculti myth of victimhood?).

I attempted some graduate study of Indian history myself once - gave up in disgust at the difficulty of finding FACTS amongst mountains of Indian sophistry.

Gabriel Oak said...

"Bruce said...
Yes, and British art grant money has helped foster the new anti-British hysteria in India:"

It's liberals here who deserve bayonetting.

Laban said...

Green Arrow.

"Monsters then. Monsters now."

No. You can't pin responsibility on a whole nation like that. If you read the literature you'll find that

a) many Indians saved British lives

b) many Hindu, Muslim, Gurkha sepoys helped put down the mutiny. Some of the most loyal soldiers were frontiersmen from the Afghan border country - pretty much the same people who are probably sheltering bin Laden now. They had personal loyalty to their (Brit) leaders.

that kind of comment does no cause any good.


Dave - civilisation consists of not acting from a Darwinian point of view. If people are mating withn our drunken women, that's their choice - and in the scale of badness it's not up there with killing women and kids, which is IMHO much worse. If Brit culture can only be saved by massacre, then it isn't Brit culture any more.

James G. said...

My knowledge of the Indian Mutiny comes from one of the well-researched Flashman novels.

I seem to recall that the Mutiny arose not out of any bid for independence but because the mutineers were becoming convinced that their rations were being laced with beef (if they were Hindus) and pork (if they were Muslims). And then local political operators (rajahs and the like) in the different regions took advantage thereof.

Not quite a jihad, but religiously inspired and not really a bid for independence; they were all employees of the Company rather than her majesty.

Dave said...

I was not suggesting Brit culture should be saved by massacres, but rather by defending ourselves better, a lot better, from instability that may lead to massacres! You listed this post in "before the fall" suggesting we are heading for bad times.


"civilisation consists of not acting from a Darwinian point of view."
Really? well howcome you keep writing posts with labels "demographics", "were not having kids".

You know darwinism is correct and that if we don't stand strong we'll fade away, or worse.

JohnM said...

I attempted some graduate study of Indian history myself once - gave up in disgust at the difficulty of finding FACTS amongst mountains of Indian sophistry.

You might ask yourself, why this might be.

It is known that Muslim rulers killed between 40m-100m people over the centuries following their initial invasion. Clearly India doesn't want to focus too much attention on this because of the likely effect on both internal and external relations in the Indian subcontinent. Google Negationism in India for some details of the unknown part of Indian history.

I might add a warning that I don't necessarily agree with all the allegations. I find it hard to accept that the Taj Mahal was built by Hindus for example. However is is indisputable that many temples were destroyed or converted by the Muslims.

Bruce said...

I'm afraid you've fallen for some of the sophistry I'm referring to, John, some of the cruder examples anyway.

"It is known that Muslim rulers killed between 40m-100m people over the centuries following their initial invasion."

Bollocks. Very little is known with any certainty about pre-Mughal India, all claims are highly questionable. Whether it was in fact 'Hindu' or mostly Buddhist even. We know there are ruined temples, but we also know that rival Hindu/Buddhist rulers would destroy each other's temples regularly, tit for tat. If the Mughals had converted Hindus by force we would expect to see the greatest concentration of Muslims around the Mughal court in Delhi. Instead it is the opposite, with the greatest concentrations of Indian Muslims in the far west and eastern Bengal (of all the unlikeliest places). The only reasonable explanation is that conversion was mostly voluntary and in areas where Brahmanism had not penetrated - the wild extremities. The supposed Hindu champion Shivaji would massacre 1000's of Bengali Hindus just to deprive their Muslim ruler of taxation - so much for Hindi unity.

There certainly was no unified 'Hindu' identity previously, and its not clear that one exists even now outside a few elite castes. Put a UP Hindu and a Tamil together and see.

Did you not hear that Australia is in sanskrit 'Astralaya' the land where the ancient Hindu scientists tested their 'Brahmastra' nuclear weapons? Well of course that explains everything. And they had airplanes called 'Vimana' too.

And the ruins of Mohenjo-daro and Harrappa are of an ancient Indian culture, yes? With the most advanced ancient bathrooms and toilets indoors, in India.

You would have to have lived in India a year or two to realise just how ridiculous it is to claim that a city with advanced plumbing has direct cultural continuity with modern India, where most still prefer squatting in the open air...

JohnM said...

B: "It is known that Muslim rulers killed between 40m-100m people over the centuries following their initial invasion."

Bollocks. Very little is known with any certainty about pre-Mughal India, all claims are highly questionable.


Well I'm no expert.

Will Durant a fairly distinguished historian wrote:

The Mohammedan conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. The Islamic historians and scholars have recorded with great glee and pride the slaughters of Hindus, forced conversions, abduction of Hindu women and children to slave markets and the destruction of temples carried out by the warriors of Islam during 800 AD to 1700 AD. Millions of Hindus were converted to Islam by sword during this period.

I don't think he can be accused of Indian sophistry. And as he says, we are talking about Muslim historians, not claims by the victims.

From the same link

On several occasions, the Bahmani sultans in central India (1347-1528) killed around 80,000-100,000 Hindus in a short period of time, which they set as a minimum goal, during their anti-Hindu campaigns

This is undisputed. The correspondence between ruler and executioners still exists.

Growth of Muslim Population in Medieval India - A distinguished Indian archaeologist estimates the deaths.

B: we also know that rival Hindu/Buddhist rulers would destroy each other's temples regularly, tit for tat.

No dispute about that, and Muslim fought Muslim too but that doesn't disprove the central point.

B: If the Mughals had converted Hindus by force we would expect to see the greatest concentration of Muslims around the Mughal court in Delhi. Instead it is the opposite

I don't agree. The standard method of war in those days (and the Muslims adhered to it) was that if a city surrendered then it's inhabitants would be spared, if they resisted they would die. That would create different outcomes in different provinces.

A more logical thesis is that Islam would be stronger on the parts of India that were invaded first, because (a) they had longer to convert (b) Hindus/Buddhists under pressure would tend to migrate to unconquered areas (at least while they were available). The ratio of Muslims to Hindus/Buddhists is highest in the north, where today we have Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Third, your thesis suggests that India was ruled by a unitary government continuously for the while period. That was not the case. Even under the unitary system, local rulers had a certain level of autonomy, and will have exercised power differently.

Fourth, given that the Mogul court was the centre of power then opposition or resistance is not bound to be co-located. A province remote from the centre is likely to have considered its chances of successful revolt higher. I seem to recall some difficulties the British had retaining Afghanistan.

Fifth, no one claims that all conversions were forced at the point of a sword. Dhimmitude and the Jizya would have some impact and I do not dispute that some were voluntary. Nevertheless, it is indisputable that Islam is full of stories of forced conversion. Even the fall of Mecca was followed by massed conversions on the dwellers both willing and unwilling according to the Koran. I wonder how much more choice the willing exercised?

B: ...no unified 'Hindu' identity

Agreed - no unified Christian identity either. I don't get the point.

B:...Vimana etc

So what?

If Eric von Daniken was telling me that millions of Hindus were killed AND he was the only one so claiming, then I would be dismissive too. But these are historical records which western scholars have validated too, not just some BJP nutcase.

B:...And the ruins of Mohenjo-daro and Harrappa are of an ancient Indian culture

Again so what?

The Indus civilizations were in the Indian subcontinent. It's not a stretch to claim them as Indian. The Romans built sewers in London. A thousand years later London had open sewers. What does that prove about continuity? Is the simplest explanation that the poor didn't have sewers then or now?

We claim to be the heirs of Greek civilisation. Beside the Windsors, I don't recall much Greek ancestry in Britain. Do you think the claim has any other basis?

I really don't get the point of this digression into other Hindu claims. Each has to be judged on it's merits. Are you arguing that if some Hindu's make fantastical claims then all Hindu claims are false?

I can play that game - Marxists who still think the Soviet Union was a workers paradise agree with your analysis Bruce - what does that prove?

Bruce said...

Mughal accounts, like most royal histories where there are no competing views, are suspect, certainly exaggerated, and perhaps fabricated. They need to be contextualised.

I repeat, 'Hindus' smashed each other's temples and killed 100s of thousands of 'their own people'. Emperor Ashok himself admitted as much, but the killing did not stop after him. It continues even to the present, as Laban's article notes.

'Playing games' is certainly what Indian sophists like to do.

"Are you arguing that if some Hindus make fantastical claims then all Hindu claims are false?"

Yes. Most broad based Hindu claims are certainly false, John, and after my 35 years of studying them and living in India I would advise you to not waste your time on this nonsense.

I didn't say I was new to the field. I can read Sanskrit, I know the Rgveda, Upanishads and Puranas very well. I know all the claims by Indians and Hindus about their 'ancient civilisation' and I can answer them point for point with known facts which turn their claims upside down.

But after 35 years I am saying, why bother? People will believe whatever they want, as this post shows.

Bruce said...

Look, John I apologise for rudeness. I am rather bitter after investing a great deal of my life in this type of topic.

I'd be happy to discuss your points politely and fairly. There is a lot more I can say on these issues. I promise to be civil.

You can write to me here:

vishvatma2000 at yahoo dot com dot au

I'd be happy to hear from you.

Bruce said...

From the link on KS Lal:

"Yet the unknown variables are so great and the quality of the data yielded by our sources so poor that almost any detailed general estimates of population based upon them must appear wilful, if not fantastic."

There is one recent scholarly book which makes everything previously written on the spread of Islam in India pretty well obsolete. It is "The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204–1760" by
Richard M. Eaton (1993).

Amazingly it is available to be read in full on the web here:

http://content.cdlib.org/xtf/view?docId=ft067n99v9&brand=ucpress

If you are interested in the history of Islam in India, you simply must read this book.

Anand Mehrotra said...

Good to Know that Old time Britsh Savage Looters killer and tryannical regime are talking about humanity. 1857 is more than a century old. Not that well documented and not even have truthful accounts as Victory has many fathers, so does Victorian account of 1857 attrocities by british. We have full accounts of 1900s and beyond how British killed many in Jallianwala bagh, how British so called civilized and well planned management of India let millions dies in bengal. Thankfully these accounts have many non british but european and american authors. And that is a tight slap on British myth of well administring India. The figures are the best judge. And it is well known to world now that 25% of total world's production and export was controlled before (un)civilized British regime came to India.

Anand said...

Why did British came to India when it was not their country! No christian pilgrimage! No inhabtiated land !
Only reason I see is wealthy country like India was the right place on earth to loot for horde of British pirates and adventurists. And then there are group of modern day adventurists who want to wish wash the wrong doings of British with nonsense logic.

Laban said...

Anand - "Why did British came to India when it was not their country ?"

To make money, Anand. In their case by trading. Just as hundreds of thousands of Indian nationals (including some of my colleagues) come to Britain today.

Anonymous said...

what the hell were the British doing in India. Why don't you try and describe the exploits of Havelock and Neil who hanged whole villages. A guy who loses a loved one does not know morals nor pity nor any humane feelings. Don't throw the corruption thing in our face too. The British have institutionalised corruption even in UN. What the hell are five veto powers doing who gave them the right to become veto powers. isn't that corruption. Colonialism is the worst form of corruption. How many have you guys killed? Any figures. They would far surpass Hitler or Stalin's score. Even now you guys are not finished. Poking your finger in every one else's pie.
Vengeance is mine ... God will do justice with you guys.

Anonymous said...

History is only a set of opinions supported by some facts ( which are incredibly difficult to be sure of ) and normally written by people who were n`t there at the time . While we should not ignore the past , we should try not to live in it , the world today developed from ALL that came before and must at some point draw a line under century old fueds and move on .
With all the problems we face today , the biggest waste of time is the continual pissing contest over whose religion is best . Why do n`t we just let the gods decide amongst themselves while we get on with the earthier stuff like massive over-population , what do you say ? Worth a shot eh ?

Laban said...

"What the hell are five veto powers doing who gave them the right to become veto powers."

I think it was called "winning the Second World War" (for which due thanks to those Indian and Pakistani soldiers who fought so bravely on our side).

Cawnpore Guy said...

The mutiny of 1857 is complicated. India was doing okay until the HEIC got gready in the 1840's under Dalhousie and confiscated lands north of the Ganga. 300,000 odd Sepoy's working for said HEIC found themselves more or less disinherited and getting paid about 7 rupees per month were not happy. The rot had started to set in and against all good advice, the old British guard failed to notice the winds of change. Plassey was nearly 100 years old on 25th June 1857 and along with chipatties being handed round and shell cases smeared supposedly with suwar or moo grease, well the rest is history, starting of course with the massacre at Meerat north of Delhi. Ive been to Lucknow and Cawnpore twice in 18 months from New Zealand and will no doubt go again some day. Its pretty cool and lade back travelling. And the history is still there and very much alive, you can feel it. But to have an opinion, more than just a knowledge of books is important, you need to go there and especially Lucknow, Cawnpore (Kanpur) and Allahabad.

The HEIC did some good things for India though, including the railway and yes, they were there to make money, why else? And during the famine of 1838, they were the Redcross of the day. But Sahib Gandi I think was probably the worst thing to ever happen to India and 1947 was a turning point for sure. The Brits left and Pakistan were a direct consequence of Independence. If Britain had stayed as a welcome guest, with limited power transfer to Indians, just think of the progress that Country might have made. But travel there now, especially in the backblocks, visit a few old English cemeteries and you get the feeling that the consequences of the mutiny are still being felt. But for me, the massacre's at Cawnpore are personal and the 2 sepultural wells contain the remains of my Gr8, Gr8 grandparents and their 7 children, along with over 1,000 British men, women and children who were in the wrong place at the wrong time and died hard over the 6 weeks including the slaughter at Sati Chaura Ghart June 27th 1857.

Cawnpore Guy said...

@ Anonymous. Just a few points worthy of mention. 1,000's of Sepoys and mutineers were hanged and in some cases blown from guns, an old Maharata tradition.
But it was Renaud of the advance party heading from Allahabad to Cawnpore along with the steamer 'Brahmaputra' who engaged in most of the hangings and burning of villages. Havelock was not so inclined. However, it was General Neil (killed outside gates of the Residency - Lucknow) who really took executions of mutineers and traitorous Zemindars to another level. With the discovery of the 'well of the Bibighar' and having failed to save the 210 women and children from the sword, there was no stopping the rampage. Discovering they were a day too late and that 210 women and children had been hacked to death, dismembered and dumped down that well, it all proved too much and the common soldiers in the 120F heat wanted revenge. Cawnpore was onfire and the poor civilians were the ones who suffered much. But on the flip-side, the instigators of the localised rebellion including the Nana Sahib, Tantya Tope, Azmullah Kahn, Teeka Sigh, Bala Rao, Bubba Buht and Gwala Pershad, were also blood thirsty tyrants of the worst order and ruled Cawnpore with no less compassion than Sadam Hussein. They ritually cut off noses and ears of Brit sympathisers, and severed hands dipping the stumps in boiling Gee to stem the blood loss. I have old photo's of same. They went on to murdered in cold blood, refugees from Fatteghur who were only boxwalahs and missionaries. They were not heroes by any stretch of any imagination and as cowards of the worst order, abandoned Cawnpore with their looted treasure and fled initially to Bithor and later regrouped with the Gwalior Contingent of Sindiah fame. Most of these opportunists died from a necklace made of hemp and deservedly so. But for sure, India has many remarkable hero's and some who are legend in the isles of British history. However, make no mistake, the afformentioned Kali bred thugs, were despicable opportunists, who gave rise to the British atrocities that grew out of the uprising of 1857. Just so you know...Namaste))