Sunday, 7 December 2008
THE INDIAN MUTINY SECOND PART
The structure of the Sepoy army was at times chaos.Because of the class/caste system an officer would kneel before a private.Going across seas was a great problem due to religous observation. The Sepoy was also alarmed at the idea that the British wanted to employ Sikhs in their place.The Sikh infantry was regarded as the best in the world. Then came the idea that on the centenary of the battle of Plessey in 1857 European rule would be destroyed.
A spark therefore was needed to explode the whole.
It came at Dum Dum in Bengal near Calcutta in Jan 1857; the story of the greased cartridge. It spread like wildfire.
At Berhampore and Barrackpore the 19th and 34th native infantry refused to accept cartridges. The official outbreak occured at MEERUT near Dehli .Two Sepoy regiments, one native cavalry. Here they were quartered with the 60th rifles, a dragoon regiment, a troop of artillery, and a light field battery. The strongest British force at any station in Bengal.(Model soldiers are Blues Limited,William Hoeker and Britain's). On April the 23rd Colonel Smyth ordered a parade of skirmishers; only four accepted the cartridges offered.
The men were tried , ten years hard labour.But as they were led away a terrible silence invaded the fortress. Plans were brewing, vendetta was in the air. A month before the mutiny began at Barrackpore Mangal Pandey was executed before his sentence could be carried out and this further incensed the sepoys;Pandey had killed a British officer in Barrackpore during the argument over cartridges; the officer had been on his side as he wanted to replace the cartridges creaed with pig fat. Many Indian websites unfairly and to be honest incorrectly point out that Meerut and people like Pandey(the colour photo above shows him in the supposed uniform of the 34th from an Indian film, the other is an old illustration) were the beginnings of a great liberation war; this is as much a falsity as those so called "facts" which sparked off the 1st civil war in America as regards "The Boston Massacre" and "Paul Revere's ride". They suit the university proffesors and would be liberationists in their reasons behind national pride.Read on in the post above this the first post is below this.(to be continued.Read the first part below)