Indian Mutiny

Indian Mutiny

Indian Mutiny, 1857-58, revolt that began with Indian soldiers in the Bengal army of the British East India Company but developed into a widespread uprising against British rule in India. It is also known as the Sepoy Rebellion, sepoys being the native soldiers.

Causes of the Mutiny

In the years just prior to the mutiny many factors combined to create a climate of social and political unrest in India. The political expansion of the East India Company at the expense of native princes and of the Mughal court aroused Hindu and Muslim alike, and the harsh land policies, carried out by Governor-General Dalhousie and his successor, Lord Canning, as well as the rapid introduction of European civilization, threatened traditional India. In 1853, Nana Sahib, leader of the Marathas, was denied his titles and pension by the British, and the aged Bahadur Shah II, last of the Mughal emperors, was informed that the dynasty would end with his death.

The Indian soldiers were dissatisfied with their pay as well as with certain changes in regulations, which they interpreted as part of a plot to force them to adopt Christianity. This belief was strengthened when the British furnished the soldiers with cartridges coated with grease made from the fat of cows (sacred to Hindus) and of pigs (anathema to Muslims). The British replaced the cartridges when the mistake was realized; but suspicion persisted, and in Feb., 1857, began a series of incidents in which sepoys refused to use the cartridges.

Revolt

On May 10 the sepoys revolted at Meerut; they captured Delhi and proclaimed Bahadur Shah II the emperor of all India. The mutiny spread rapidly through N central India, and, by the end of June, Cawnpore (Kanpur) had fallen to the sepoys of Nana Sahib, and Lucknow was besieged. In repressing the rebellion the British were aided by the loyalty of the Punjab (the Sikhs did not wish to see the restoration of Mughal rule) and the passivity of the south. Troops (largely British) under generals Colin Campbell and Henry Havelock accomplished the reconquest. Delhi was recaptured in Sept., 1857, and Lucknow (which had been abandoned in Nov., 1857) was retaken in Mar., 1858. The rebellion was marked by atrocities on both sides, the British taking savage reprisals for the massacres perpetrated by the rebels.

The Beginning of Reform

Despite the army's sometimes savage reconquest, the British government did recognize the urgent need for reform, and in 1858 the East India Company was abolished and rule assumed directly by the British crown. Expropriation of land was discontinued, religious toleration was decreed, and Indians were admitted to subordinate positions in the civil service. However, the rebellion was long remembered with bitterness by the British. Military precautions against further uprisings included increasing the proportion of British to native troops and restricting artillery service to Britons. Although it is too much to say that the mutiny constituted a nationalist uprising, it was at that time that the first stirrings of active Indian nationalism began to be felt.

Bibliography

See Sir John Kaye and G. Malleson, History of the Indian Mutiny (6 vol., 1896); T. P. Holmes, History of the Indian Mutiny (3 vol., 1904-12); A. T. Embree, ed., 1857 in India (1963); S. B. Chaudhuri, Theories of the Indian Mutiny (1965).

or Sepoy Mutiny

(1857–58) Widespread rebellion against British rule in India begun by Indian troops (sepoys) in the service of the English East India Company. The mutiny began when sepoys refused to use new rifle cartridges (which were thought to be lubricated with grease containing a mixture of pigs' and cows' lard and thus religiously impure). They were shackled and imprisoned, but their outraged comrades shot their British officers and marched on Delhi. The ensuing fighting was ferocious on both sides and ended in defeat for the mutineers. Its immediate result was that the East India Company was abolished in favour of direct rule of India by the British government; in addition, the British government began a policy of consultation with Indians. British-imposed social measures that had antagonized Hindu society (e.g., a proposed bill that would remove legal obstacles to the remarriage of Hindu women) were also halted.

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The Victoria Cross (VC) was awarded to 182 members of the British Armed Forces, British Indian Army and civilians under their command, during the Indian Mutiny (also known as the Indian Rebellion of 1857). The VC is a military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of armed forces of some Commonwealth countries and previous British Empire territories. It takes precedence over all other Orders, decorations and medals. It may be awarded to a person of any rank in any service and to civilians under military command. The VC is traditionally presented to the recipient by the British monarch during an investiture at Buckingham Palace, though in a large number of cases this was not possible and it was presented in the field by a prominent civil or military official. The VC was introduced in Great Britain on 29 January 1856 by Queen Victoria to reward acts of valour during the Crimean War.

The Indian Mutiny (also known as India's First War of Independence, Revolt of 1857, or the Sepoy Mutiny) began as a mutiny of sepoys of British East India Company's army on 10 May 1857, in the town of Meerut. It soon erupted into other mutinies and civilian rebellions largely in the upper Gangetic plain and central India, with the major hostilities confined to present-day Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, northern Madhya Pradesh, and the Delhi region. The rebellion posed a considerable threat to Company power in that region, and it was contained only with the fall of Gwalior on 20 June 1858. The rebellion proved to be an important watershed in Indian history; it led to the dissolution of the East India Company in 1858, and forced the British to reorganise the army, the financial system, and the administration in India. India was thereafter governed directly from London—by the British government India Office and a cabinet level Secretary of State for India—in the new British Raj, a system of governance that lasted until 1947.

Indian troops were not originally eligible for the VC, because since 1837 they had been eligible for the Indian Order of Merit—the oldest British gallantry award for general issue. When the VC was created, Indian troops were still controlled by the Honourable East India Company, and did not come under Crown control until 1860. European officers and men serving with the Honourable East India Company were not eligible for the Indian Order of Merit; the VC was extended to cover them in October 1857. The first citations of the VC varied in the details of each action; some specify one date, some date ranges, some the name of the battle and others have both sets of information. There were only two posthumous recipients of the VC for actions during the rebellion; the original Royal Warrant did not contain a specific clause regarding posthumous awards, although official policy was to not award the VC posthumously. Between 1897 and 1901, several notices were issued in the London Gazette regarding soldiers who would have been awarded the VC had they survived. In a partial reversal of policy in 1902, six of the soldiers mentioned were granted the VC, but not "officially" awarded the medal. In 1907, the posthumous policy was completely reversed and medals were sent to the next of kin of the six officers and men; Everard Phillipps and Edward Spence were decorated thus. The Victoria Cross warrant was not officially amended to explicitly allow posthumous awards until 1920. The Indian Mutiny holds the record for the most VCs won in a single day; 24 at the Second Relief of Lucknow on 16 November 1857.

Recipients

Name Unit Date of action Place of action
04343rd Regiment of Foot 1859-01-022 January 1859 Kurereha, India
0044th Bengal Native Infantry 1858-03-011 March 1858 Amethi, India
01313th Bengal Native Infantry 1857-06-3030 June 1857 to
22 November 1857
Lucknow, India
0022nd Dragoon Guards 1858-10-088 October 1858 Sundeela Oudh, India
08484th Regiment of Foot 1857-09-2828 September 1857,
16 November 1857
Bolandshahr, India
Lucknow, India
Bengal Police Battalion 1858-09-2727 September 1858 Suhejnee, Bengal
06060th Rifles 1858-05-066 May 1858 Bareilly, India
0077th Queen's Own Hussars 1858-03-1919 March 1858 Lucknow, India
0022nd Bombay Light Cavalry 1857-08-1212 August 1857,
23 October 1857
Neemuch, India
Jeerum, India
0022nd Dragoon Guards 1857-09-2828 September 1857 Bolandshahr, India
07878th Regiment of Foot 1857-07-2929 July 1857 Oonao, India
08484th Regiment of Foot 1857-07-1212 July 1857 to
25 September 1857
Lucknow, India
09090th Regiment of Foot 1857-09-2626 September 1857 Lucknow, India
Royal Regiment of Artillery 1858-04-033 April 1858 Jhansi, India
0011st European Bengal Fusiliers 1857-11-1616 November 1857 Narnoul, India
04646th Bengal Native Infantry 1858-08-3131 August 1858 Seerporah, India
Commissariat Department 1857-05-1111 May 1857 Delhi, India
0011st European Bengal Fusiliers 1858-03-099 March 1858 Lucknow, India
08686th Regiment of Foot 1858-04-033 April 1858 Jhansi, India
0022nd European Bengal Fusiliers 1857-06-1212 June 1857 Delhi, India
05656th Bengal Native Infantry 1858-04-1515 April 1858 Fort Ruhya, India
07272nd Regiment of Foot 1858-03-3030 March 1858 Kotah, India
01313th Regiment of Foot 1858-04-066 April 1858 Azumgurh, India
0088th King's Royal Irish Hussars 1858-09-088 September 1858 Beejapore, India
Indian Naval BrigadeIndian Naval Brigade 1858-09-2727 September 1858 Peroo, Bengal
01919th Madras Native Infantry 1859-01-1515 January 1859 Chichumbah, India
08686th Regiment of Foot 1858-04-011 April 1858 Jhansi, India
Bengal Horse ArtilleryBengal Horse Artillery 1857-07-077 July 1857 Jhelum, India
04242nd Regiment of Foot 1859-01-1515 January 1859 Maylah Ghat, India
07575th Regiment of Foot 1857-06-088 June 1857 Delhi, India
07878th Regiment of Foot 1857-08-1212 August 1857 Boursekee Chowkee, India
01313th Bengal Native Infantry 1857-06-3030 June 1857 Chinhut, India
01111th Bengal Native Infantry 1857-10-022 October 1857 Chota Behar, India
04242nd Regiment of Foot 1858-04-1515 April 1858 Fort Ruhya, India
01010th Regiment of Foot 1857-08-1212 August 1857,
14 March 1858
Lucknow, India
Bengal Horse ArtilleryBengal Horse Artillery 1857-09-2828 September 1857 Bolandshahr, India
06060th Rifles 1857-09-1010 September 1857 Delhi, India
0099th Queen's Royal Lancers 1857-09-2828 September 1857 Bolandshahr, India
03232nd Regiment of Foot 1857-07-044 July 1857,
27 September 1857
Lucknow, India
0011st Madras European Fusiliers 1857-09-066 September 1857 Lucknow, India
09393rd Regiment of Foot 1857-11-1616 November 1857 Lucknow, India
05353rd Regiment of Foot 1857-10-022 October 1857 Chota Behar, India
04242nd Regiment of Foot 1858-03-099 March 1858 Lucknow, India
05353rd Regiment of Foot 1857-10-1616 November 1857 Lucknow, India
Bengal Horse ArtilleryBengal Horse Artillery 1857-09-2828 September 1857 Bolandshahr, India
06464th Regiment of Foot 1857-11-2828 November 1857 Cawnpore, India
Bengal Veterans Establishment 1857-05-1111 May 1857 Delhi, India
0077th Queen's Own Hussars 1858-12-3131 December 1858 River Raptee, India
0099th Queen's Royal Lancers 1857-10-1010 October 1857 Agra, India
04242nd Regiment of Foot 1858-05-055 May 1858 Bareilly, India
06060th Rifles 1857-06-2323 June 1857 Delhi, India
Loodiana Regiment 1857-06-044 June 1857 Benares, India
0099th Queen's Royal Lancers 1858-03-066 March 1858 Lucknow, India
Bombay Engineers 1859-10-066 October 1859 Kathiawar, India
03232nd Regiment of Foot 1857-08-2121 August 1857 Lucknow, India
0055th Bengal European Cavalry 1857-08-1515 August 1857,
18 August 1857,
27 January 1858,
3 February 1858
Khurkowdah, India
Not known
Shumshabad, India
Meangunge, India
0011st Bengal European Light Cavalry 1857-11-1212 November 1857,
25 February 1858
Alumbagh, India
Jellalabad, India
09090th Regiment of Foot 1857-11-1717 November 1857 Lucknow, India
09393rd Regiment of Foot 1857-11-1616 November 1857 Lucknow, India
0055th Regiment of Foot 1857-09-2424 September 1857 Alumbagh, India
07575th Regiment of Foot 1857-09-1111 September 1857 Delhi, India
09090th Regiment of Foot 1857-11-1616 November 1857 Lucknow, India
02323rd Regiment of Foot 1857-11-1818 November 1857 Lucknow, India
HMS ShannonHMS Shannon 1857-11-1616 November 1857 Lucknow, India
0099th Queen's Royal Lancers 1857-06-1919 June 1857 Delhi, India
Bengal Horse ArtilleryBengal Horse Artillery 1857-11-1414 November 1857 to
22 November 1857
Lucknow, India
Naval BrigadeNaval Brigade 1857-11-1616 November 1857 Lucknow, India
0099th Queen's Royal Lancers 1857-06-088 June 1857
10 October 1857
Delhi, India
Agra, India
01010th Regiment of Foot 1857-07-1616 July 1857 Cawnpore, India
RifleRifle Brigade 1858-03-1111 March 1858 Lucknow, India
05252nd Regiment of Foot 1857-09-1414 September 1857 Delhi, India
06060th Rifles 1857-06-00June to
September 1857
Delhi, India
0088th King's Royal Irish Hussars 1858-06-1717 June 1858 Gwalior, India
09090th Regiment of Foot 1857-11-1616 November 1857 Lucknow, India
Bengal Horse ArtilleryBengal Horse Artillery 1857-07-099 July 1857 Delhi, India
0088th King's Royal Irish Hussars 1858-06-1717 June 1858 Gwalior, India
07878th Regiment of Foot 1857-09-1626 September 1857 Lucknow, India
08484th Regiment of Foot 1857-09-2525 September 1857 Lucknow, India
09090th Regiment of Foot 1857-09-2626 September 1857 Lucknow, India
Bengal Sappers and Miners 1857-09-1414 September 1857 Delhi, India
Bengal Sappers and Miners 1858-02-2323 February 1858 Sultanpore, India
05353rd Regiment of Foot 1857-11-1616 November 1857 Lucknow, India
02626th Bengal Native Infantry 1858-10-1414 October 1858 Baroun, India
07878th Regiment of Foot 1857-09-2525 September 1857 Lucknow, India
Bengal Horse ArtilleryBengal Horse Artillery 1857-11-1414 November 1857 to
22 November 1857
Lucknow, India
08686th Regiment of Foot 1858-04-033 April 1858 Jhansi, India
0099th Queen's Royal Lancers 1857-06-088 June 1857 Delhi, India
Bengal Civil Service 1857-11-099 November 1857 Lucknow, India
Bombay ArtilleryBombay Artillery 1858-03-1717 March 1858 Chundairee, India
0099th Queen's Royal Lancers 1857-09-2828 September 1857 Bolandshahr, India
05353rd Regiment of Foot 1857-11-1616 November 1857 Lucknow, India
02424th Bombay Native Infantry 1857-07-1010 July 1857 Kolapore, India
01010th Regiment of Foot 1857-06-044 June 1857 Benares, India
08484th Regiment of Foot 1857-07-2929 June 1857,
16 August 1857,
25 September 1857
Oonao, India
Bithoor, India
Lucknow, India
Bengal Horse ArtilleryBengal Horse Artillery 1857-11-1414 November 1857 to
22 November 1857
Lucknow, India
03232nd Regiment of Foot 1857-07-077 July 1857,
26 September 1857
Lucknow, India
01414th Light Dragoons 1858-04-011 April 1858 Betwa, India
07272nd Bengal Native Infantry 1858-05-2323 May 1858 Calpee, India
09393rd Regiment of Foot 1857-11-1616 November 1857 Lucknow, India
07878th Regiment of Foot 1857-09-2525 September 1857 Lucknow, India
0011st Madras European Fusiliers 1857-09-2121 September 1857 Mungulwar, India
Bengal Civil Service 1857-07-3030 July 1857 Arrah, India
Royal Regiment of Artillery 1857-09-2525 September 1857 Lucknow, India
Indian Naval BrigadeIndian Naval Brigade 1857-11-2222 November 1857 Dacca, India
09393rd Regiment of Foot 1858-03-1111 March 1858 Lucknow, India
Bengal Civil Service 1857-07-3030 July 1857 Arrah, India
0011st Bengal Fusiliers 1857-06-2323 June 1857 Delhi, India
0011st Bengal Fusiliers 1857-09-1414 September 1857 Delhi, India
0055th Regiment of Foot 1857-10-022 October 1857,
22 December 1857
Lucknow, India
Bengal Artillery 1857-11-1414 November 1857 to
22 November 1857
Lucknow, India
0055th Regiment of Foot 1857-09-2626 September 1857 Lucknow, India
07878th Regiment of Foot 1857-09-2525 September 1857 Lucknow, India
07878th Regiment of Foot 1857-09-2626 September 1857 Lucknow, India
09595th Regiment of Foot 1858-01-066 January 1858 Rowa, India
04242nd Regiment of Foot 1859-01-1515 January 1859 Maylah Ghat, India
Bengal Ordnance Depot 1857-10-2828 October 1857 Agra, India
0022nd Dragoon Guards 1858-10-088 October 1858 Jamo, India
02323rd Regiment of Foot 1857-11-1818 November 1857 Lucknow, India
Military TrainMilitary Train 1858-04-1515 April 1858 Azumgurh, India
09393rd Regiment of Foot 1857-11-1616 November 1857 Lucknow, India
Military TrainMilitary Train 1858-04-1515 April 1858 Azumgurh, India
08484th Regiment of Foot 1857-07-1212 July 1857 to
25 September 1857
Lucknow, India
01313th Regiment of Foot 1858-04-066 April 1858 Azumgurh, India
Rifle BrigadeRifle Brigade 1858-03-1111 March 1858 Lucknow, India
0099th Queen's Royal Lancers 1858-03-1919 March 1858 Lucknow, India
Bengal Artillery 1857-09-2525 September 1857 Lucknow, India
03232nd Regiment of Foot 1857-06-3030 June 1857 Lucknow, India
Bengal Artillery 1857-11-1414 November 1857 to
22 November 1857
Lucknow, India
09393rd Regiment of Foot 1857-11-1616 November 1857 Lucknow, India
08686th Regiment of Foot 1858-04-033 April 1858 Jhansi, India
0088th King's Royal Irish Hussars 1858-06-1717 June 1858 Gwalior, India
01111th Bengal Native Infantry 1857-05-3030 May 1857 to
18 September 1857
Delhi, India
Madras Engineers 1857-11-2121 November 1857 Mundisore, India
0022nd Punjab Cavalry 185-00-001857 to
1858
Agra, India
0099th Queen's Royal Lancers 1857-06-1919 June 1857 Delhi, India
05353rd Regiment of Foot 1857-11-1717 November 1857 Lucknow, India
Bengal Veterans Establishment 1857-05-1111 May 1857 Delhi, India
06161st Regiment of Foot 1857-09-1414 September 1857 Delhi, India
09090th Regiment of Foot 1857-09-2121 September 1857,
25 September 1857
Lucknow, India
Bengal Horse Artillery 1857-09-1616 September 1857 Delhi, India
03434th Regiment of Foot 1859-04-2727 April 1859 Kewane Trans-Gogra, India
Bengal Horse Artillery 1858-01-022 January 1858 Khodagunge, India
0099th Queen's Royal Lancers 1857-09-2828 September 1857 Bolandshahr, India
Naval Brigade 1858-03-1313 March 1858 Lucknow, India
Bengal Army 1858-09-2727 September 1858 Kuthirga, India
07171st Regiment of Foot 1858-06-1616 June 1858 Marar, India
03737th Bengal Native Infantry 1857-06-044 June 1857 Benares, India
0099th Queen's Royal Lancers 1858-03-1919 March 1858 Lucknow, India
0011st Madras European Fusiliers 1857-09-2626 September 1857 Lucknow, India
101101st Regiment of Foot 1857-09-1414 September 1857 Delhi, India
Bengal Sappers and Miners 1857-09-1414 September 1857 Delhi, India
Naval Brigade 1857-11-1616 November 1857 Lucknow, India
Rifle Brigade 1858-06-1313 June 1858 Lucknow, India
06060th Bengal Native Infantry 1857-09-1414 September 1857 Delhi, India
04242nd Regiment of Foot 1858-04-1515 April 1858 Fort Ruhya, India
08484th Regiment of Foot 1857-10-066 October 1857 Lucknow, India
Corps ofCorps of Royal Engineers 1858-04-033 April 1858 Jhansi, India
05252nd Regiment of Foot 1857-09-1414 September 1857 Delhi, India
0011st Madras European Fusiliers 1857-11-1616 November 1857 Lucknow, India
Bengal Sappers and Miners 1857-09-1414 September 1857 Delhi, India
0099th Queen's Royal Lancers 1858-01-1717 January 1858 Shunsabad, India
04242nd Regiment of Foot 1858-04-1515 April 1858 Fort Ruhya, India
09393rd Regiment of Foot 1857-11-1616 November 1857 Lucknow, India
06060th Rifles 1857-08-022 August 1857 to
13 September 1857
Delhi, India
Bengal Sappers and Miners 1857-09-1616 September 1857 Delhi, India
Bengal Artillery 1857-09-2727 September 1857 Lucknow, India
04242nd Regiment of Foot 1858-04-155 April 1858 Fort Ruhya, India
06060th Rifles 1857-07-099 July 1857 Lucknow, India
Bengal Horse Artillery 1857-07-099 July 1857 Delhi, India
0022nd Bengal Native Infantry 1857-07-00July 1857 Indore, India
06060th Rifles 1857-06-1919 June 1857 Delhi, India
06666th Bengal Native Infantry 1858-02-1010 February 1858 Choorpoorah, India
07575th Regiment of Foot 1857-07-1717 July 1857 Delhi, India
06060th Rifles 1857-09-1414 September 1857,
18 September 1857
Delhi, India
02525th Bombay Light Infantry 1858-06-2020 June 1858 Gwalior, India
07878th Regiment of Foot 1857-09-2525 September 1857 Lucknow, India
0088th King's Royal Irish Hussars 1858-06-1717 June 1858 Gwalior, India
0033rd Bombay European Regiment 1857-11-1414 November 1857 Lucknow, India
0011st Punjab Cavalry 1858-04-033 April 1858,
2 May 1858
Jhansi, India
Lohari, India
Rifle Brigade 1858-03-1111 March 1858 Lucknow, India
01717th Lancers 1858-10-1919 October 1858 Sinwaho, India
Naval Brigade 1857-11-1616 November 1857 Lucknow, India

References

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