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Topic Closed1857 Indian Mutiny

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Direct Link To This Post Topic: 1857 Indian Mutiny
    Posted: 16-Nov-2011 at 19:14

Here's a topic for our new Indian members. Was the 1857 Mutiny sparked by the troops' anger at being issued cartridges greased with beef-fat, or were there more longstanding causes, like fear the British officers wanted to convert the Indians to Christianity and resentment among the marginalised Mughal-era elite who sought to regain their positions of power?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Nov-2011 at 19:38
I'm surprised and a little disappointed none of our Indian members have commented yet. Perhaps this topic will be of interest to Bulldog or Chookie?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Nov-2011 at 10:12
Of the causes you mention, only the third is really relevent, the other two, well the leaders need simple properganda to enrage the masses.
 
You miss the most important point of the rebellion, India wasn't British, it was under the control of the East India Company, who were disbanded after the mutiny and rightfully.
 
The East India Company was mismanaging India on every level. They were a greedy enterprise gouging every penny from India, treating the locals no more slaves, stealing from them and conning them out of property and spreading inequality everywehere. So pretty much adentical to any global corperation today. From a British point of view too they were inept, creating an unstable colony, run by graft, short sited planning for profit.
 
 
Stupidity got us into this mess, why can't it get us out?

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Nov-2011 at 15:42
Toltec has hit it on the head. The Honourable East India Company was anything but hounourable (or honest).

The Indian Mutiny of 1857, as it's known to the Anglosphere, is badly mis-named. In India it's sometimes known as the First War of National Independence - which is also a misnomer as, at the time, India was a mosaic of warring states. These states were inhabited by, among others, Rajputs, Sikhs, Marathas and Baluchis (note: these are merely examples as the list goes on forever). In fact the British army presence in India was limited to no more than 26,000 men. This small force was, of course far outnumbered by the armies of the Honourable East India Company – not to mention the armies of the various Indian states such as Mysore or Hyderabad..

You'll note I said “armies of the HEIC” there were actually three “presidencies” in the HEIC carve-up of India, all of which had it's own army, these were Bengal, Bombay and Madras. Each of these armies, any one of which could have walked over what Imperial regiments there were, was trained and equipped to British standards. Yet this mutiny, for the most part, involved only a small part of the Bengal army. It was also pretty much confined to the Gangetic plain.

I wouldn't deny for a minute that there were agitators floating around preaching at the troops, nor would I deny that they had ulterior motives. I am however given to wonder why those who preached at Hindu soldiers referred to cattle when ranting about the new cartridges being issued, and those who spoke at Moslems referred to pigs. Now, as cattle were sacred in Hinduism and pigs were unclean in Islam, I have to suspect outside influences – about which I'm not prepared to speculate. But who ever it was they were hitting every target in sight.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Nov-2011 at 15:47
According to your presentation,British Army was 26000+population of divided Indian states:looks familiar to
me as "Divide et impera".Last 2000 years world was ruled by proverb!Fantastic.Big smile
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Nov-2011 at 19:39
Originally posted by Chookie

Toltec has hit it on the head. The Honourable East India Company was anything but hounourable (or honest).

The Indian Mutiny of 1857, as it's known to the Anglosphere, is badly mis-named. In India it's sometimes known as the First War of National Independence - which is also a misnomer as, at the time, India was a mosaic of warring states. These states were inhabited by, among others, Rajputs, Sikhs, Marathas and Baluchis (note: these are merely examples as the list goes on forever). In fact the British army presence in India was limited to no more than 26,000 men. This small force was, of course far outnumbered by the armies of the Honourable East India Company – not to mention the armies of the various Indian states such as Mysore or Hyderabad..

You'll note I said “armies of the HEIC” there were actually three “presidencies” in the HEIC carve-up of India, all of which had it's own army, these were Bengal, Bombay and Madras. Each of these armies, any one of which could have walked over what Imperial regiments there were, was trained and equipped to British standards. Yet this mutiny, for the most part, involved only a small part of the Bengal army. It was also pretty much confined to the Gangetic plain.

I wouldn't deny for a minute that there were agitators floating around preaching at the troops, nor would I deny that they had ulterior motives. I am however given to wonder why those who preached at Hindu soldiers referred to cattle when ranting about the new cartridges being issued, and those who spoke at Moslems referred to pigs. Now, as cattle were sacred in Hinduism and pigs were unclean in Islam, I have to suspect outside influences – about which I'm not prepared to speculate. But who ever it was they were hitting every target in sight.


Perhaps the rebellion had both Hindu and Muslim leaders, each appealing to the fears of the ordinary man while working together to kick out the British? It's a subject i know little about, but i wonder if it was purely down to luck, or whether agitators coordinated their movements and a more ambitious goal in mind?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Nov-2011 at 22:52
medenaywe. the only problem I see with your last post is that India was so divided before the HEIC arrived, so India's division can hardly be laid at the feet of a conscious British stretegy. Indeed, unconsciously the British did everything the could to unify India. Indeed, modern India exists because of (as well as in spite of) them. 

Edited by lirelou - 25-Nov-2011 at 22:52
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Nov-2011 at 18:04
Originally posted by Nick1986

Perhaps the rebellion had both Hindu and Muslim leaders, each appealing to the fears of the ordinary man while working together to kick out the British? It's a subject i know little about, but i wonder if it was purely down to luck, or whether agitators coordinated their movements and a more ambitious goal in mind?

While it's possible that Hindus and Muslims were working together, deciding that this was the cassus belli is not wise. British historians tend to see the "Mutiny" as nothing more than a revolt against the Imperial power, that's utter nonsense. India, in 1857 was a possession of the HEIC.

These historians also tend to forget that there was an on-going struggle between two imperial powers for control of Afghanistan and the North-West Frontier.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Nov-2011 at 19:15
Is there any evidence of Russian involvement in the 1857 Mutiny? India's resources made Britain very wealthy and powerful and must have been very tempting for other colonial powers
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Nov-2011 at 19:52
It's also evident that the most pro-British soldiers, the Gurkhas and Sikh, had been in conflict with the previous Hindu and Muslim rulers. They must have been aware that life would be worse for them if the rebels won
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Feb-2012 at 03:56
At the time of "Mutiny of 1857", Company's army was divided into three divisions, namely: Bombay Army, Madras Army and Bengal Army.
 
and there was no Mutiny or any kind of unrest reported in Bombay Army and Madras Army.
 
In Bengal Army also only poorbia sepoys revolted, there was no unrest in Gorkha, Punjabi or Pushtun units.
 
and these poorbia sepoys were supported by local rulers of Lucknow, Kanpur (Nana Saheb), Jhansi and Delhi, who were not satisfied with the policies of the Company.
 
Actually, this Mutiny was not truely Pan-Indian, but was just centred around North-Western Provinces (roughly modern Province of Uttar Pradesh).
 
and Russia (Russian Empire) was not there in the picture till 1870s, when they expanded their empire in Central Asia (Turkestan) and started diplomatic ties with Emirate of Afghanistan.
 
and after the end of British rule (~1950), in his book "Discovery of India" Jawaharlal Nehru named it as "First War of Indian Independence"


Edited by oxydracae - 26-Feb-2012 at 04:12
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Apr-2012 at 19:51
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Apr-2012 at 21:52
This Russian website has many images from the Osprey Men-at-Arms series:
http://mirageswar.com/2008/03/23/osprey_menatarms_67__the_indian_mutiny.html
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Apr-2012 at 19:44
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Apr-2012 at 20:35

The Indian Mutiny was the first war in which camoflage was used. The British fatigue uniform was made of white cotton, meaning troop formations could be spotted from miles away. In response to Indian ambushes, the Brits dyed their uniforms a dust color (khaki being Hindi for dust). 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Apr-2012 at 19:57
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Apr-2012 at 21:57
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Apr-2012 at 22:21
Nick, The British Rangers in the French and Indian Wars used green, and camouflage. Likewise, the uniform of the Rifle Corps during the Peninsula campaign was Green. They were as valid a green uniform as khaki. I'm not so sure anyone can establish when camouflage was first used. The North American Indians certainly used it, and were unlikely to be the only ones. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Apr-2012 at 20:16
Good point. Perhaps i should have made it clear this was the first time camoflage was used by regular line infantry (usually outfitted in red). The Napoleonic riflemen were an elite unit
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Apr-2012 at 23:01
Originally posted by lirelou

medenaywe. the only problem I see with your last post is that India was so divided before the HEIC arrived, so India's division can hardly be laid at the feet of a conscious British stretegy. Indeed, unconsciously the British did everything the could to unify India. Indeed, modern India exists because of (as well as in spite of) them.  

That is a bit of a stretch considering that India under British rule was still a collection of more or less autonomous princely states. Even in the 1940s when the 'Quit India' movement took off there was no guarantee that the Indian Princely states would accede to a united India. To this end we have the likes of Sardar Vallabhai Patel and Krishna Menon to thank, rather than the British.
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