Books

Corbusier’s Chandigarh Man …

Posted on September 8, 2017. Filed under: Books, Personalities |

Mukul Bansal – “Lakhon mein intikhwab ke kaabil bana diya, Jis dil ko tumne dekh liya, dil bana diya — Anonymous (You’ve changed me into such a noble person I’ve become one in a million. You touch one’s personality in such a way, he starts feeling one with the whole of humanity)

When I started researching the late Aditya Prakash, a former Principal of the Chandigarh College of Architecture, I discerned a common appreciation of his multi-faceted personality among his friends, admirers and students along the lines of the Urdu couplet I’ve quoted above.

Prakash lived in his life the thought behind this couplet that endeared him in a very special way to those who came into contact with him.He was a man of many parts in the true sense of the term and was considered to be a Renaissance man by his friends and admirers.

Prakash was born in Muzaffarnagar, UP and over his decades of stay in Chandigarh, he distinguished himself as an architect, painter, academic and author, and above all, as a friend, philosopher and guide.

He began studying architecture in August 1947 in London. Briefly, he studied art at the Glasgow School of Art, before joining the Chandigarh Capital Project as Junior Architect under Le Corbusier on November 1, 1952.

Remarkably, Prakash could come up with his own observations, which written accounts of those times tell us, were welcomed by Corbusier.
In an interesting conversation between Prakash and one of his students, Rajneesh Wattas, who later became Principal of the Chandigarh College of Architecture, the latter asked him whether he (Prakash) would call Corbusier “dictatorial” or “arrogant”.

Prakash’s reply was, “I would put it this way. He had struggled all his life to have his ideas accepted and this acceptance came to him only after the Second World War. So when the opportunity came, he was anxious to implement his ideas without discussing them; therefore, one has to make allowances for a man of genius.”

Prakash was picked up to be the Principal of the Chandigarh College of Architecture for his deep interest in academics and research. He joined the college on December 13, 1967, and retired on March 31, 1982. His students, were fond of him for his focused involvement in whatever he took up.

In one of his writings in the early 1980s, Prakash outlined his manifesto as an architect: “I like to think that ‘architecture’ is an attitude of life. Undoubtedly one becomes an architect to earn a livelihood. But in the absence of a cultivated way of looking at life, the practice of profession becomes mechanical.”

In 1983, Prakash’s booklet “Reflections on Chandigarh” was published in verse with an “Afterword” by Mulk Raj Anand in which Anand writes, “You accept the main plan of Le Corbusier for what has come to be called the ‘City Beautiful’, based on the order of ‘Working’, ‘Care’, ‘Living’, and ‘Circulation of Man’.

He goes on to say, “You are quite right when you say that what was supposed to be a ‘pedestrian’s paradise,’ has become a motorcar city.”

There is a pencil sketch of Corbusier at the beginning of the booklet which is captioned, “The most Profound ARCHITECT of the Industrial Era.”

Wattas, architect, author and landscape designer was a former student of Prakash. “I’m very lucky. I was associated with Prakash in three different ways – as student, as faculty in the Chandigarh College of Architecture and with him as my mentor and an inspirational role model. His clarity of thought and knowledge left a deep impression on me”.

Prakash worked on the design of the College of Art and the Chandigarh College of Architecture. The mural in the porch of the Chandigarh College of Architecture was made by him.

Virendra Mehndiratta, Hindi short-story writer, who was a very close friend of Prakash for 50 years, likes to use a Punjabi expression to describe their friendship, “Humne is dosti ka sukh manaya” (we lived our friendship to the full).

Prakash was a sincere and genuine person who while living life on his own terms was constantly involved in doing hard work. By his association with Le Corbusier, he had realised early enough in life the concept of saadgi mein sundarta (beauty in simplicity).

He was all praise for the creative endeavours of his friends and treated their work with warmth and offered praise freely. Prakash worked in the Chandigarh Capital Project from 1952 to 1963. During this time, he designed several public buildings in Chandigarh including the District Courts Building, The Tagore Theatre, the Chandigarh College of Architecture, The Central Craft Institute besides Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana.

He died in harness, in the true sense of the word, on August 12, 2008, on a train in Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh. He was on his way to Mumbai to perform, ironically, in a play, “Zindagi Retire Nahi Hoti”.

Paying tribute to Prakash, Mehndiratta said, “He brought together enlightened scholars, writers and artistes of all hues and formed a discussion group, which is now known as the Aditya Prakash discussion group. It’s still active.When a person like Prakash departs, our life force too diminishes. We do not realise how much we lose when such sincere and honest people pass away,”

In the afterword to Aditya Prakash’s booklet “Reflections on Chandigarh”, published in 1983, Mulk Raj Anand writes, “You accept the main plan of Le Corbusier for what has come to be called the ‘City Beautiful’, based on the order of ‘Working’, ‘Care’, ‘Living’ and ‘Circulation of Man’”.

PS What was supposed to be a pedestrian’s paradise has become a nightmare of a motorable city.

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Vijay Mallya – the irrepressible King Fisher …

Posted on September 8, 2017. Filed under: Books, Personalities |

In Kingfizzer: The Rise and Fall of Vijay Mallya, Kingshuk Nag tries to shed light on Mallya’s personality and the role it played in his decline.

Without a doubt, it is Mallya’s personality – larger than life, (he is an unashamed and reckless sybarite) – that makes this story sizzle. For a young man who took charge of the Mallya empire in his 20s after the unexpected death of his father, the image of a playboy can be forgiven.

But Mallya continued to revel in this image as he aged – the yachts got bigger, the parties wilder and so on. Even a Rajya Sabha seat didn’t tame the “king of the good times”.

Former journalist M.J. Akbar, now a Union minister in the Narendra Modi government, wrote this about Mallya in 2005: “The fundamental fact of his personality is that he is a romantic. He has the romance of an adventurer. He is the kind of man who could give finance chiefs ulcers. I have seen Vijay fail but not defeated.”

Apart from being reckless, many thought Mallya was cocky and arrogant. In the end, it was this perception that worked against him. As Nag writes: “His lifestyle was his addiction. Although his airline sank, he continued to live the good life.”

This built up public opinion against the loan defaulter. In his defence, Mallya argues his bad debts are much smaller than many other notables in India Inc – and he’s right.

But instead of lying low as the Kingfisher story exploded, Mallya gave the opposite impression – people thought he was funding his other lifestyle businesses, from Formula One racing to football from the loans meant for Kingfisher. That put pressure on the banks to go after him.

Nag tries to shed light on Mallya’s personality and the role it played in his decline. This is where the book adds value. The only son of a workaholic father, Mallya was no doubt a pampered child. Unlike his father, he became a spendthrift.

But the irony is that he is a deeply religious man, and “also moderately conservative”. Apart from planning his life by astronomy, Mallya is heavily influenced by godman Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

The problem, Nag argues, is that the public looked down on people in the liquor business – his diversifications then were an attempt to “gain respectability” in society. The book argues that Mallya lost all sense of proportion while justifying these actions for the sake of his business.

And what of the future? Legal experts agree that it is going to be tough to get Mallya back into India in a hurry.

At the same time, Mallya is a fugitive in the UK and has lost most of his businesses. Pressure is going to build up on his remaining Indian beer business.

In that sense, it’s going to be a long walk home.

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Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw: The Man and His Times by Brigadier Behram M. Panthaki and Zenobia Panthaki

Posted on April 1, 2017. Filed under: Books, Pakistan |

Review by Hamid Hussein.

This book by the husband and wife team provides a window to the personality of an officer and gentleman Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw.  The authors had a life long association with Sam and his family and this gave them a unique vantage point.  They have done an excellent job of introducing the readers to the human side of Sam.

Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw remains the most popular soldier of India.  He passed out from Indian Military Academy (IMA) at Dehra Dun in 1934 and commissioned in elite 4th Battalion of 12th Frontier Force Regiment (4/12 FFR).  This battalion went through various reorganizations through its one hundred and fifty years history.

It started as 4th Sikh Local Infantry after First Sikh War in 1846.  In 1901, it became 4th Sikh Infantry and in 1903 became 54th Sikhs. In 1922 reorganization, it became 4th Battalion of 12th Frontier Force Regiment.  In 1947, on partition of India, battalion was assigned to Pakistan and in 1957 reorganization became  6th Frontier Force (FF) Regiment of Pakistan army.   Battalion is nick named ‘Charwanjah’ referring to its old number 54.

The Battalion has the unique honor that an Indian and a Pakistan army chief belonged to this battalion. Eighth Chief of Army Staff of Indian army Sam Manekshaw (1969-1973) and fifteenth Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan army General ® Raheel Sharif (2013-2016) of Pakistan army were commissioned incharwanjah.

In Second World War, Sam then a captain was leading Sikh company of 4/12 FFR in Burma.  A small group of Japanese soldiers surprised the troops and sneaked into the perimeter of the battalion at night.  This caused a panic and a number of soldiers bolted.  Sam’s Sikhs firmly stayed in their positions.  Sam had threatened them that he would personally distribute ‘bangles’ if any of them moved from their position.

Later, in an attack on a Japanese position, Sam was severely wounded when seven bullets of a Japanese machine gun hit him in his stomach.  His orderly Sher Singh put Sam on his back and evacuated him to Regimental Aid Post where (RMO) Captain G. M. Diwan tended to him.  Sam was awarded an on the spot MC by none other than the GOC.

Sam had a special affection for the battalion despite it being allotted to Pakistan.  In 1950s, his battalion mate Brigadier (later Lieutenant General) Atiq ur Rahman nick named ‘Turk’ (4/12 FFR) was commanding a brigade in Kohat that was brought to Lahore for internal security duties.  Turk and another PIFFER Brigadier (later Lieutenant General) Bakhtiar Rana (commissioned in 6/13 Frontier Force Rifles and now 1 FF of Pakistan army) went to Ferozpur to visit Sam who was commanding 167th Brigade.

Old PIFFERS had a great time together reminiscing about their days together.  In 1965, Sam was GOC-in-Chief of eastern command and he had another interesting meeting with his paltan mate Major General Fazal Muqeem Khan (4/12 FFR) who was GOC of Dacca based 14th Division. After 1965 war, a meeting was arranged for the two commanders.  Sam landed at Dacca and after a warm and brief welcome told Fazal ‘let’s go home to meet the Begum Sahiba’.  Sam and Fazal left leaving their bewildered staff officers to sort out all the mundane tasks of the meeting.

When Sam was army chief, there was a standing order to all the staff, guards and sentries that whenever an ex-serviceman of 4/12 FFR came to Army headquarters, he should be brought to the chief no matter what the chief was doing.

In 1971 War when he was Indian army chief, he kept an eye on performance of 4/12 FFR (now 6 FF) which was fighting from Pakistan’s side.  His staff would notice a certain pride in his eyes when the briefing officer would give some account of 4/12 FFR.  He commented to his military assistant ‘I should like to see one of my 8th Gorkha battalions fighting the 4/12 Frontier Force.  When Major Shabbir Sharif of 6 FF got the highest gallantry award of Nishan-e-Haider,, Sam wrote to one of his old British Commanding Officer (CO) of 4/12 FFR in England that he was so proud that an officer of ‘his battalion’ got the honor although Sam’s forces were fighting against Pakistan.

Another sign of his association was his love for the local footwear of North West Frontier Province; Peshawari chaplis.   Long after he left the frontier, he preferred Peshawari chaplis when wearing casual dress.  He also named one of his dogs PIFFER.

This Book provides details about Sam’s family and personal life in addition to highlights of his professional career.  A large number of photographs from family albums never published before make it a wonderful pictorial catalogue of evolution of a young cadet through various stages of his life.

While looking at the photographs, one cannot ignore one thing and that is whenever Sam is with other people, everyone is laughing.  Sam had a great sense of humor and in most of these photographs, he is in his usual jovial and naughty mood.

This book is a timely reminder to young officers of Indian and Pakistan armies about a generation of officers of a bygone era. It is a welcome addition to the work done about Indian army officers. This work is different as it provides a window to the human side of Sam. It should be in the library of anyone interested in the Indian army.

Other notable Reviews

Rostum K. Nanavatty, Lieutenant General (Retired)  — For the storyteller this book serves as a reference point. It authenticates conversations and incidents; and destroys myths. Importantly, the book offers the discerning reader fascinating insights into the Field Marshal’s personal and professional conduct.

Fali S. Nariman Former Solicitor and Attorney General —– But for an ADC to write so felicitously and so touchingly about his mentor is, for me, a fascinating revelation.–

 

 

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Circa 637 AD Letters of the Islamic Caliph and the Persian Emperor …

Posted on March 25, 2017. Filed under: Books, Personalities |

Historic Letters (British Museum) from The Islamic Caliph to the Persian Emperor and the latters’ response.

From: Omar ibn Al-Khattab (Islamic Caliph) To: Yazdegerd III Sassanid (Persian Emperor)

Bismillah, al-Rahman, al-Rahim.

I do not foresee a good future for you and your nation, save your acceptance of my terms and your submission to me. There was a time when your country ruled half the world, but now see how your sun has set.

On all fronts your armies have been defeated and your nation is condemned to extinction. I point out to you the path whereby you may escape this fate. Namely, that you begin worshipping the one god, the unique deity, the only god who created all that is. I bring you his message; order your nation to cease the false worship of fire and to join us, that they may join the truth.

Worship Allah the creator of the world. Worship Allah and accept Islam as the path of salvation.

End now your polytheistic ways and become Muslims, so that you may accept Allah-u-Akbar as your saviour. This is the only way of securing your own survival and the peace of your Persians.

You will do this if you know what is good for you and for your Persians. Submission is your only option.

Allah-u-Akbar.

Islamic Caliph, Omar ibn Al-Khattab.

—————–

From: Yazdegerd III Sassanid (Persian Emperor) To: Omar ibn Al-Khattab (Islamic Caliph)

In the name of Ahura Mazda, the creator of life and wisdom.

In your letter you summon us Persians to your god whom you call Allah-u-Akbar; and because of your barbarity and ignorance, without knowing who we are and whom we worship, you demand that we seek out your god and become worshippers of Allah-u-Akbar.

How strange that you occupy the seat of the Arab caliph but are as ignorant as any desert roaming Arab. You admonish me to become monotheistic in faith. Ignorant man, for thousands of years we Persians have, in this land of culture and art, been monotheistic and five times a day have we offered prayers to god’s throne of oneness. While we laid the foundations of philanthropy, righteousness, and kindness in this world, and held high the ensign of good thoughts, good words, and good deeds, you and your ancestors were desert wanderers who ate snakes and lizards, and buried your innocent daughters alive.

You Arabs who have no regard for god’s creatures, who mercilessly put people to the sword, who mistreat your women, who attack caravans and are highway robbers, who commit murder, who kidnap women and spouses; how dare you presume to teach us, who are above these evils, to worship God?

You tell me to cease the worship of fire and to worship god instead. To us Persians the light of fire is reminiscent of the light of god. The radiance and the sunlike warmth of fire exuberates our hearts, and the pleasant warmth of it brings our hearts and spirits closer together, that we may be philanthropic, kind, considerate, and that gentleness and forgiveness may become our way of life, and that thereby the light of god may keep shining in our hearts.

Our god is the great Ahura Mazda. Strange is this, that you too have now decided to give god a name, and you call God by the name of Allah-u-Akbar.

But we are nothing like you. We, in the name of Ahura Mazda, practice compassion, love, goodness, righteousness, forgiveness, and care for the dispossessed and the unfortunate; but you, in the name of your Allah-u-Akbar commit murder, create misery, and subject others to suffering. Tell me truly who is to blame for your misdeeds? Your god who orders genocide, plunder, and destruction, or you who do these things in god’s name; or both?

You, who have spent all your days in brutality and barbarity, have now come out of your desolate deserts, and are resolved to teach by the blade and conquest, the worship of god to a people who have for thousands of years been civilised, and have relied on culture, knowledge, and art as mighty edifices.

What have you, in the name of your Allah-u-Akbar taught these armies of Islam besides destruction, pillage, and murder, that you now presume to summon others to your god?

Today, my people’s fortunes have changed. Their armies, who were once subjects of Ahura Mazda, have now been defeated by the Arab armies of Allah-u-Akbar; and they are being forced, at the point of the sword, to convert to the god by the name of Allah-u-Akbar, and are forced to offer prayers five times a day but now in Arabic, since apparently your Allah-u-Akbar only understands Arabic.

I advise you to return to your lizard infested deserts. Do not let loose upon our cities your cruel and barbarous Arabs who are like rabid animals. Refrain from the murder of my people. Refrain from pillaging my people. Refrain from kidnapping our daughters in the name of your Allah-u-Akbar. Refrain from these crimes and evils.

We Persians are a forgiving people, a kind and well meaning people. Wherever we go, we sow the seeds of goodness, amity, and righteousness; and this is why we have the capacity to overlook the crimes and the misdeeds of your Arabs.

Stay in your desert with your Allah-u-Akbar, and do not approach our cities; for horrid is your belief and brutish is your conduct.

Persian Emperor,

Yazdegerd III Sassanid.

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Those damned Upper Lip English …

Posted on January 9, 2017. Filed under: Books, The English, Uncategorized |

“May I ask you a question, My Lord?”

“Go ahead, Carson ,” said His Lordship

“I am doing the crossword in The Times and found a word the exact meaning of which I am not too certain.”

“What word is that?” asked His Lordship.

“Aplomb,  My Lord”.

“Now that’s a difficult one to explain. I would say it is self-assurance or complete composure.”

“Thank  you, My Lord, but I’m still a little confused about it.”

“Let me give you an example to make it clearer. Do you remember a few months ago when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived to spend a weekend with us?”

“I remember the occasion very well, My Lord. It gave the staff and myself much pleasure to look after them.”

“Also,” continued the Earl of Grantham, “do you remember when Wills plucked a rose for Kate in the rose garden?”

“I was present on that occasion, My Lord, ministering to their needs”.

“While Will was plucking the rose, a thorn embedded itself in his thumb very deeply.”

“I witnessed the incident, My Lord, and saw the Duchess herself remove the thorn and bandage his thumb with her own dainty handkerchief.”

“That evening the hole the rose made in his thumb was very sore. Kate had to cut his venison for him, even though it was extremely tender.”

“Yes,  My Lord, I did see everything that transpired that evening.”

“And do you remember the next morning while you were pouring coffee for Her Ladyship, Kate inquired of Will in a loud voice, ‘Darling does your prick still throb?’

And you, Carson, did not spill one drop of coffee!  That, Carson, is complete composure, or aplomb.

  • The TV Serial  DOWN TOWN ABBEY ……….
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Machiavelli and Cicero on Political Power …

Posted on November 16, 2016. Filed under: Books, Great Writing, Guide Posts, Personalities, Uncategorized |

“The Prince” is an extended analysis of how to acquire and maintain political power. The dedication declares Machiavelli’s intention to discuss in plain language the conduct of great men and the principles of princely government.

The book’s 26 chapters can be divided into four sections: Chapters 1-11 discuss the different types of principalities or states, Chapters 12-14 discuss the different types of armies and the proper conduct of a prince as military leader, Chapters 15-23 discuss the character and behavior of the prince.

Golden Rules

It is better to be stingy than generous ………….. It is better to be cruel than merciful.

It is better to break promises if keeping them would be against one’s interests.

Princes must avoid making themselves hated and despised; the goodwill of the people is a better defense than any fortress. …. Princes should undertake great projects to enhance their reputation.

Princes should choose wise advisers and avoid flatterers.

Fortune controls half of human affairs, but free will controls the rest, leaving the prince free to act. However, few princes can adapt their actions to the times.

And Now Cicero

Quintus Cicero’s letter in 64 BC containing some practical advice to his more idealistic brother Marcus which became the work “How to Win an Election” (Philip Freeman), which includes political principles like:

  1. Have the backing of your family & friends. Surround yourself with the right people.
  2. Call in ALL favors. Build a wide base of support. Every vote counts.
  3. Promise EVERYTHING to EVERYBODY. It’s easier for people to vote for you if you come up with excuses for why you couldn’t keep your promise later than flat out refusing to make a promise in the first place.
  4. Communication skills are KEY. Give people hope..  Flatter voters SHAMELESSLY.
  5. Know your opponent’s weaknesses and exploit them.

How did the election go? Well, Marcus went on to win and there’s a book called “How to Run a Country” (also by Philip Freeman) which contains Marcus’ letters, speeches, and other writings on the subject.

While some things change, the principles stay the same.

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History of WWII in Headlines …

Posted on October 25, 2016. Filed under: Books |

“Japan invaded China from Manchuria!”

“What? USSR and Germany signed a non-aggression pact?!?!”

“Oh no! Germany and the USSR invaded Poland”

“UK and France finally declared war on Germany, now Germany will learn its lesson!”

“Why aren’t the UK and France doing anything?”

“Now Germany and Italy invaded France, this will be a really long conflict!”

“Wow, France surrendered, that was really fast!”

“I guess the UK is going to call it quits soon too”

“Why isn’t the UK calling it quits?”

“Oh my god, Germany invaded USSR and is heading towards Moscow!”

“Japan attacked USA, I wonder if the US is going to declare war on Germany?”

“Germany declared war on the US???”

“Germany is slowing down in the USSR!”

“US invaded North Africa” 

“Japan is slowing down in Asia”

“Germany and Japan are losing ground!”

“Italy surrendered!”

“USSR is really beating back Germany!”

“US and UK invaded France!”

“Germany’s allies are abandoning her”

“Japan is hemorrhaging ships, planes, and territories!”

“Hitler killed himself and the USSR occupies Berlin, VE Day!!”

“Wow that was a big bomb they dropped on Japan, I wonder what that was??”

“Another bomb? VJ day!!”

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EIGHTEEN FIFTY SEVEN – Abridged Work of Hamid Hussein …

Posted on October 14, 2016. Filed under: Books, Pakistan |

EIGHTEEN FIFTY SEVEN

War of Independence, Uprising, Rebellion, Mutiny or Whatever!

This is history to show how character and behavior of men count – that a Baluch had more respect for Robert Sanderman and a Sindhi for John Jacob than for any native ruler or leader.

While we all have our biases, every effort should be made to understand historical events in the context of the time period. We must not re-write history with new lenses i.e religious, national or what ever.  Every nation has a ‘national narrative’ which has a purpose of trying to use it for unity of conglomerate and disparate groups. Always this national narrative is heavy on rhetoric and light on facts. There is a road in Peshawar named after Ajab Khan Afridi, who was not a freedom fighter but a rifle thief who had abducted a girl – a low and vile act by all tribal standards.

The problem is that with the exception of a handful of Ghakkars, not even two dozen Punjabi Muslims or Pathans of present day Pakistan fought against the British in 1857. The other part is whether Pakistanis will celebrate Hindu rebel leaders and whether Indians will celebrate Muslim rebel leaders.

How Hodson through the Syed brothers of the wife of Bahadur Shah Zafar treacherously killed the sons of the Mughal and presented the Emperor with their heads. “Hayata did well” said Nicholson and granted the Wah Gardens to him and his family .

Later his grand son Sikandar Hayat became CM of Punjab and betrayed the Quaid e Azam.  The problem is that India and Pakistan will always disagree.

Pakistanis will not have the courage to teach their children that the last rebel stand against the British was by a former government lawyer, a Hindu named Ram Narayan at a place named Islam Nagar while Indians will not have the courage to teach that a Muslim woman who was the former dancing girl and later Queen Hazrat Mahal was far superior to any man.

Her own debauch husband, Wajid Ali Shah, when told about his exile was weeping,  pleading, baring his head to the appalled and embarrassed Colonel Outram.

In contrast, in November 1857 when a shell hit the palace gate, the garrison panicked and soldiers fled but the indomitable Hazrat Mahal remained staunch and shamed her chiefs by taunting them to cut her head before running away and on one occasion, sent a pair of women’s trousers to a faint-hearted chief with a note stating that better he should put them on and retire to his proper place — a harem.  She spent 50,000 sterling pounds of her own money to build a wall around the city.

She had rare leadership qualities and gained the confidence of both Hindus and Muslims.  She was able to prevent the division between two communities due to the activities of religious zealots like Maulvi Massih-us-Zaman and Babar Ali. In this effort, she was helped by Maulvi Ahmadullah Shah, who not only worked for cooperation between Hindus and Muslims but between Shias and Sunnis of Lucknow.  She was able to rally the soldiers, landed nobility and city population to her cause.  In middle of 1859, when the rebel cause seemed doomed, Hazarat Mahal and her two staunch Hindu allies, Beni Mado and Hanumant Singh refused to surrender to the British.

No one in India is willing to tell their children that the famous Rani of Jhansi (Lakshmi Bai) only trusted five hundred Kabuli Pathans of her army.  They remained loyal to the end and escorted her after her defeat at Jhansi.

General Observations

1857 is an important landmark in the history of Indian sub continent. Several different factors were at play long before the rebellion but the sudden outburst of violence and its rapid spread gave the movement a transient unity of purpose despite the stark differences and diversity of India.

Various individuals and different groups joined the rebellion for different reasons. In 1857, different regions of India not only differed in geography and composition of inhabitants but also in terms of local customs, relationship between different communities and political loyalty.. Eighteenth and nineteenth century was an era of dramatic change in India.  Old guards were crumbling and new reaIities emerging. Gradual decline of old central authority and emergence of a new alien power of East India Company had resulted in resurgence and emergence of religious, caste, ethnic, clan and family feuds in many localities..

General perceptions of anger, hatred, betrayal and cruelty influenced the people who wrote about the rebellion either immediately or long after.  The same event was seen with  different perspective giving it different interpretations.

It will be futile to explain the complex events of 1857 on the basis of one single concept or theory. Benjamin Disraeli stated, ‘The rise and fall of empires is not an affair of greased cartridges’.

A non-judgmental, non-biased approach to the subject will give one a better appreciation of the scenario.  ‘The main duty of a historian is not composition of eulogy or invective but interpretation of complex processes and conflicting ideas in the most objective way’.

Writings on 1857

Most of the early writings about rebellion were by British who were involved in the historical process. The soldier saw it as the epic of his bravery and valor, the missionary saw the rebellion as a conflict between ‘truth and error’ and ‘displeasure of God on the British’ while others saw it as a conspiracy either by Muslims or Hindus or both together. The veterans of these campaigns against the rebels saw themselves as heroes.

The writings by the military participants of the conflict are a good source for those who are interested in the military aspect but have limited value in comprehensive analysis. There was no serious analysis of rebel leadership. After all if the brave and self-righteous British were fighting for a just cause, then the rebels were only a bunch of murderous mobs led by blood thirsty, debauch and corrupt leaders.

Sir George William Forrest wrote the history of the Indian mutiny.  He was the director of records of Government of India.  His father was Lt. (Later Captain) George Forrest who won Victoria Cross defending the magazine in Delhi.  It is quite natural to expect how he would have viewed the events. His father’s exploits and valor were to influence his narrative.

Several officers who participated in the battles wrote their memoirs. Major Norman, Colonel Baird Smith and Colonel Keith Young narrated the events at Delhi. Captain R.P. Anderson and W. Forbes-Mitchell wrote about siege of Lucknow.

The civilian British administrators who wrote their version of the events included Edwards (Badaun), Greathed (Delhi), Robertson (Saharanpur), Taylor (Patna), Gubbins (Lucknow) and Shearer (Cawnpur).  All these narratives are good in documenting the events of the respective areas.

There are no significant authentic original accounts of the rebellion by the natives.  The diaries kept by Mirza Moinuddin Hassan Khan, Munshi Jivanlal and Chunilal give some account of happenings inside Delhi while diary of Nanakchand give some glimpse of events in Cawnpore through native eyes.

It will be naive to expect that these natives looking for reward and not to implicate themselves after the British victory would write anything good about the rebels. Moinuddin was a sub-inspector of police in the suburb of Delhi at the time of rebellion. He fled to Persia and returned after two years.  He came as he was sure that he would not be punished as he had saved the life of Theophilus Metcalfe.  At the request of Metcalfe, he wrote his experiences of the rebellion but gave the manuscript to Metcalfe on the condition that it should be published after his death.

The apologetic work by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan went at length explaining the benefits of English rule and portraying rebels as a murderous mob and stating that there was no participation by the noble class.  The life of Syed Ahmad and his thought process was based on his experience.  As a child he had sat in the lap of Major General David Ochterlony, the British resident in Delhi and played with the gold buttons of his uniform.  Syed had accepted the permanent status of power of British in India and any attempt to subvert it was seen as a challenge to a legitimate authority.  In addition to that, Syed admired Syed Ahmad Saheed, a reformer who died fighting the Sikhs.  His Afghan comrades betrayed him. Syed had held Afghans in contempt.

In Rohilkhand (including Bijnor and Bareilley), the descendants of Afghans were in the forefront of the rebellion.  Syed’s work is a rare example of a thorough account of the events in Bijnor and Moradabad as he was the witness and an active participant in the events.  He was in Bijnor at the time of rebellion.

In early part of twentieth century, India was experiencing the emergence of nationalist ideas. In Bengal a violent campaign against the British was in progress. The English educated Bengali intelligentsia which was freshly infected by the European nationalist ideas at the early part of twentieth century went to other extreme and tried to portray the rebellion as a grand show of national struggle by a hypothetical Indian nation against alien rule. In this backdrop, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar published his work on rebellion in 1909. It was titled ‘History of the War of Independence’.

A recent addition is A.H. Amin’s ‘The Sepoy Rebellion’. It contradicts the  rhetorical statements of many later Muslim writers who tried to portray 1857 as a grand show of Muslim martial spirit.

Background to the Contest

The company’s native army had performed very well for over a century winning large part of India for the company and bringing stability. Company’s army was not a static entity but a self-sustained living cosmos which was itself undergoing a significant change.  The usual ripples accompanied with these changes were also occurring whether someone was noticing it or not at that time.

Overall, there had been a gradual change in the Company’s army.  The native army which conquered India for the John Company was composed of autonomous regiments. The British officers posted in these regiments were for life.  They saw themselves as ‘fathers’ of the native sepoys.  The ‘commanders could reward or punish their sepoys with almost complete impunity’.

By 1840s, there were significant changes. The young officers of the company started to distance themselves from the native sepoys.  One factor was the arrival of increasing numbers of European women. Earlier British officers lived with native concubines and even married native women.

Most British officers were well versed with native languages, knew the cultures of their regiments and mixed with native officers and sepoys.  Now the younger generation of officers, both bachelor and married developed their own little white worlds, increasing the gulf between them and their native sepoys.  ‘The men were badly treated, sworn at, and called “niggers” and “pigs”.

The annexation of new territories needed new administrators and several military officers were posted to civilian jobs.  Officers coveted these civilian jobs as they brought more money, fame, honor and a break from monotonous garrison life.

In early 1850s, Colonel Frederick McKesson was civil commissioner of Peshawar while Lieutenant Harry Lumsden was serving as deputy commissioner and Captain James an assistant commissioner.  Similarly many officers like Nixon in Bhurutpur and McPherson in Gwalior were serving at civilian posts.

 Old and infirm officers were left behind to command the regiments.  The centralization and reform decreased the authority of officers of the regiment as the list of regulations kept proliferating. Any measure of extra money for sepoys going on far away campaigns advocated by military officers were fought furiously by company bosses in Calcutta. 

In July 1856, general enlistment order was proclaimed which stated that sepoy would serve anywhere if ordered.  This meant that a Hindu might have to cross the dreaded ‘Black Waters’ at the cost of losing his caste.

In early 1857, rumors were rife among native sepoys in many cantonments. The sepoys of 2nd Bengal Native Infantry (BNI) told their Colonel that there were unmistakable signs that the company was bent on destroying the religion of the natives.  They pointed to contamination of salt, ghee and sugar of its sepoys with the bones of pigs and cows.  Hindu soldiers interpreted the reddish color of the salt from the dye of the sack as cow’s blood.

.Surely, the setbacks of company’s army in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century would have affected the perception of native participants of these battles.  The overall impact about half a century later on a new generation of native soldiers, mostly illiterate and with no means of information or communications with other parts of the country would have a limited impact.

Even the more recent campaigns against the Sikhs were viewed in the light of overall victory of British arms and sepoys were not in a position to do a critical analysis of the setbacks in individual battles.

More important is the fact that the scenes which they witnessed after the start of rebellion had a more pronounced effect on the sepoys.  Murder of British officers, refuge of civil and military officers in entrenchments and general breakdown of law and order in affected areas would be a more powerful signal to the wavering native troops that the company’s rule was about to end.

Having said that, it is also true that at least there was a dent in the aura of invincibility of British arms with defeat in First Afghan War and setbacks against Sikhs.  More important than the military setbacks in Afghanistan was the psychological trauma of sepoys.   Subedar Hidayat Ali, a third generation of loyal sepoys wrote in 1858 to his British superiors about the troubles of sepoys during Afghanistan campaign. Hindu sepoys were fearful of losing their caste. Their colleagues refused to smoke or dine with them as they were considered out castes.

Although in latter part of the rebellion there was general disaffection in most regiments of Bengal army but in the early part of the rebellion, the regiments which started the mutiny in their stations had a particular historical background and specific immediate causes of unrest.

Tales of Units, Officers and Troops

The 3rd Cavalry which started the rebellion in Meerut had run into problems in September 1855 when stationed at Bolarum near Hyderabad. During Muharram, Colonel Mackenzie had issued a cantonment order  prohibiting noisy procession at midnight.

After realizing that it was Muharram, the order was cancelled. The procession in which several cavalrymen participated proceeded along the route and in front of Colonel Mackenzie’s house there was a heated conversation between the Colonel and some participants of the procession.

Later, there was an attempt on Colonel Mackenzie’s life.  Some cavalrymen later told Colonel Carpenter that they were loyal to the government but their religion had been insulted.  In an inquiry all native commissioned officers of 3rd Cavalry were with two exceptions dismissed.

The 2nd Native Cavalry stationed at Cawnpur had an interesting history.  It was raised in 1787 and had fought bravely in various campaigns.  In 1840, two companies of the regiment fled when confronted by a small body of Afghan horsemen.  The exact cause was never established.  One possibility is the origin of troopers of the regiment which were mainly Afghans of Qandahar origin who had settled in Lucknow and they may not have wanted to confront their ethnic kin though separated by a time span of sixty years.

The outraged commander disbanded the whole regiment and all European officers were transferred to 11th Native Cavalry. In 1850, one of the old officers captured the Sikh standard in Multan.  Impressed by this feat of bravery, the Company restored the old number of 2nd Cavalry.

Nana Sahib’s commander of the guard, Jawala Prasad worked on the disgruntled Risaldar Teeka Singh and won him over and his house in the lines became the center for all disaffected sowars.

The 56th BNI at Banda was involved in operations against Santals in 1855-56.  The operations against Santals were different than earlier campaigns against many local armies.  This was a scorched earth policy in which sepoys  burned villages and hanged Santals. It was more a counter-insurgency operation rather than the romantic headlong charges on enemy forces. This gave the sepoys their first encounter in suppressing civilian population on a large scale.

The wife of Captain William Halliday of 56th BNI had a Bible printed in Urdu and Nagri and distributed it among the sepoys convincing them that the British were there to convert them to Christianity.

10th Native Infantry stationed in Fatehgarh which rebelled had officers like Major William Lindsay who had spent most of his career as a staff officer with little interaction with his sepoys.  It was commanded by a mediocre sixty years old Lt. Colonel George Smith who had served most of his life in 47th BNI and had taken charge of 10th at Fatehgurh. He had seen his last action in the battlefield about thirty-eight years ago.  The sepoys did not know him.  His second-in-command was fifty one year old Captain Robert Munro who had managed to serve in the Indian army for thirty years without ever fighting a battle.

The 10th BNI also had a peculiar experience. This regiment had served in Burma travelling in ship.  Brahmins called the sea, ‘Black Water’ and believed that they will lose their caste by crossing the sea. The regiment had agreed when their officers had promised rewards but which never came.

Locals jeered the regiment as Christian Regiment.  The local scene was spiced by the affair of a pensioned nawab with the wife of an ensign – Reginald Byrne. The ensign when seeing his wife with the nawab, had kicked him out of the door.

The 19th and 34th  Bengal Native Infantry were at Lucknow at the time of annexation of Oudh. It was quite natural that sepoys were affected by the general discontent which was aroused with the annexation.  In February 1857 both these regiments were in Barrakpur.  When 19th  BNI came to know about the new cartridges, they refused to use them. The Colonel confronted them angrily with artillery and cavalry on the parade ground but then accepted their demand to withdraw the artillery and cancel the next morning parade.

On March 29, Mangal Pandey of 34th  BNI (the regiment was thoroughly disaffected due to the zealous Christian preaching by its commandant Colonel Wheeler) shot at two Britishers but when General John Hearsey (an officer of the old school) came himself thundering on the parade ground alone, Mangal turned his musket to himself and wounded himself in the chest.

Two days later, when 19th BNI was being disbanded, the sepoys were weeping in front of Hearsey and begging him for mercy.

Lt. Colonel George Smith who was not popular among the officers and men commanded the 3rd Cavalry which rebelled at Meerut.  When the condemned sepoys were marched off to jail, they threw their boots at Lt. Colonel Smith.

Quite a contrast to how the disbanded sepoys behaved with General Hearsey. Several regimental officers who had spent long years with their sepoys trusted them fully.

Colonel Thomas Pierce of 6th  Light Cavalry stationed at Nasirabad sent his eight-month pregnant wife to sleep in the quarters of native officers families.  His sowars had a bloody skirmish with the rebellious 15th Bengal Native Infantry. Later they switched sides but did not harm their officers. Colonel Wart had vowed that if his regiment mutinies it would walk over his body as he would never leave it.

47th BNI at Mirzapur remained loyal as it was commanded by wise old Colonel David Pott greatly respected by his men. Colonel George Sherer of 73rd BNI stationed at Jalpaiguri was of the view that disarming native regiments was counterproductive.  He never even carried any personal weapon with him while with his troops.

31st BNI at Saugor remained staunchly loyal under their own native officers as they chased and defeated the mutinous of 42nd BNI and captured their colors and arms.

The Ist and 3rd Cavalry and 2nd Infantry were stationed in Aurangabad. These regiments were composed mainly of Muslims.  In late June 1857, when the troops came to know that they might be part of the force of General Woodburn to advance on Delhi, there was disaffection among the Ist Cavalry.  The prompt arrival of Woodburn, the disarming of the few mutineers and the escape of one troop stabilized the situation.

The troops remained loyal to British and 3rd Cavalry under Captain Orr fought well against Holkar’s troops.  Many native officers like Risaldar Major Bhawani Singh of Ist Cavalry, Jemadar Khoda Buksh of 56th BNI remained loyal even when their regiments mutinied.

Sebedar Ram Bukhsh begged to be allowed to join the garrison at the entrenchment of Cawnpur but was not allowed.  He tried to carry the regimental record in a cart to safety but was looted by a band of peasants.

53rd and 56th BNI at Cawnpur were steadfast. They were repeatedly taunted, abused and threatened by the rebel troopers of Ist Cavalry and even then only part of these regiments joined the rebels. In fact several sepoys of 53rd assembled on parade ground with their arms to help British officers to quell the mutiny but by now General Wheeler was not sure of himself and ordered artillery fire on the sepoys thereby assuring their desertion.

Similarly, in Benaras when native regiments were being disarmed, Ludhiana Regiment (consisting of Sikhs) mistakenly thought that they were also being disarmed and rebelled.

After the uprising at Meerut, the situation for the British became very difficult.  In fact, the very instrument of disarming native regiments to prevent rebellion became the immediate cause of mutiny by native soldiers.

Anecdotes of the Contest

The attempts at disarming and dismounting of native regiments caused panic and panic quickly escalated to revolt.  Whenever disarming was attempted, the sepoys thought they had lost the confidence of the British and European troops will mow them down without any qualms.

The British officers and men fought with determination and passion as if they were defending their own homeland.   This is the reason that even today, it is considered a glorious chapter of British military history.  In the latter part of rebel operations, as the atrocities on women and children by the rebels became known, revenge became the force multiplier.

In many battles of the rebellion, ‘interior impulses, largely vindictive, made the British fight with demonic energy and contempt for the odds which were often stacked against them’.

The British won the day due to the presence of dare-devil young officers who led from the front.  In several instances brave officers were able to weld the wavering sepoys together and prevent mutiny.

One such officer was Captain Edmund Vibart of 2nd Native Cavalry.  In May 1857, he was passing through Fatehgurh to Naini Tal.  When the riot in prison started, the sepoy guard just watched.  Captain Vibart was hit on his face by a brick. The enraged, bleeding Vibart ordered the sepoys to charge on the prison.

The sepoys fired, killing several prisoners and chased the remaining back into their cells.  One gallant officer by his action was able to rally wavering sepoys who did not even belong to his regiment.

In Delhi, it was the tenacity of Richard Baird-Smith which prevented the timid General Wilson to retreat from the ridge.  Officers like, Nicholson, Hodson and Collin Cambell saved the day for the British.

It is very difficult to assess and analyze why in one place the sepoy rebelled while in another place they remained staunchly loyal. What factors influenced him in the critical hour of making that decision of dishonor to his oath and colors. One cannot generalize the motives of all sepoys.

The colonel of 47th BNI devised an ingenious plan telling his men to loan their pay to locals at high interest rates. The sepoys wanted no part of any anarchy as they would lose the high returns.

Maharajah Jaiyji Rao Scindia of Gwalior sided with the British and financed his contingent which consisted of sepoys who were recruited on the pattern of Bengal Army. The sepoys mutinied on June 14 but never marched to Delhi.

While A.H. Amin attributes this to clever propaganda by the Maharajah  but the more important factor was the fact that the Maharajah continued to pay their salaries, so they had a more reason to stay at Gwalior.

In the early part of the rebellion, most of the rebel sepoys and their leaders fought bravely and with tenacity.  As the sieges prolonged, the inner conflicts emerged and initial euphoria dissipated and the sepoys began to waver.

In Delhi, due to the laxity of discipline and reluctance of many sepoys to fight, Bakht Khan issued an order that no man who left in the morning to fight could return within the walls until 4 p.m.  He also decreed that no man would qualify for the day’s pay until he had done battle with British. Several sepoys quietly left for their homes.

17th BNI at Azamgarh, plundered the treasury.  When they reached Faizabad, they were relieved of their loot by the rebels from Jaunpur and Benaras.  The out of control rebels were a bigger threat than the British.

The rapid deterioration of discipline among sepoys dismayed many.  In Oudh, Subedar Teeka Singh of 2nd Cavalry became general while Jemadar Durga Singh of 53rd BNI became colonel.  His angry Muslim troopers accused him of amassing private wealth and summarily arrested the newly promoted General Teeka Singh.

Most rebellions in garrisons were local affairs prompted by local causes or excitement generated by the news of successes of rebels in other areas.  Even in any single regiment, there was no unanimous decision of sepoys to mutiny.

Many sepoys did not condone the behavior of rebel comrades but were caught in the eye of the storm.

The ringleaders of the rebellion aware of this clear and present danger executed officers and their families as a first act to make sure that there was no going back.  This act assured that all sepoys who may not be agreeing with the plans of the rebels would now throw their lot as after the murder of the officers it was clear to everyone that there will be no pardon or mercy.

In several places British officers were shot or cut to pieces on parade grounds or in their homes.

In Jhansi, 12th BNI and 14th Irregular Cavalry was stationed.  On June 5, 1857, only one company of 12th led by one native sergeant marched to Star Fort and became rebellious.  The remaining four companies of 12th and 14th Cavalry remained loyal and on parade professed their loyalty and were angry at the conduct of the rebellious company.

It was after the murder of commander of the troops, Captain Dunlop that the remaining sepoys joined the rebels.  Other officers like Ensign Taylor, Lt. Turnbull and Sergeant Major Newton were killed in the early part of the rebellion. The remaining garrison along with women and children was put to the sword on the orders of the Risaldar.

Similarly the detachment of 12th BNI at Naogaon commanded by Major Kirk, volunteered to serve against the rebels. A portion of them rebelled after the news of murder of the whole garrison of Jhansi arrived in Naogaon..

Wheeler’s statement that, ‘it was above all the “Enfield” Rifle which was the real victor of 1857’ ks not wholly correct.  The effectiveness of Enfield played a significant role in some but not all battles of the mutiny like the battle of Trimu Ghat on July 12 and also in the battle of Fatehgurh.

No native troops loyal to British and irregular cavalry were issued Enfield.  Havelock left about three thousand Enfield rifles in Allahabad as his soldiers were not accustomed to these rifles.  In addition, in the early models of Enfield, bullets jammed so tightly the armourers were needed to bore them out. The high numbers on back sights were taken to indicate velocity instead of range.  The result was an elevation that made fire ineffective.

In many fiercely fought battles like the ones for capture of Delhi, and many strongholds of Lucknow (Kaisarbagh, Sikandarbagh and Shah Najaf) were frontal charges. Bayonets and close range fighting played a more significant role in these battles. Small fortifications in the cities, blocked streets and loophole walls and houses were taken from rebels by close fighting.

At the onset of the rebellion at least one garrison showed some organization and discipline but it quickly dissipated.  Mutiny, confusion, looting, murder and further confusion were a sequence which was tragically repeated in almost all areas with few exceptions.

Not even in a single location was there any single unified and organized effort by rebels to plan their actions. In Delhi, the troops, princes, courtiers and commanders-in-chief were all collecting funds from the people independently od one another.

Only in areas, where a strong leader was able to exert influence did an organized effort emerge but that was also transient. There were too many mutually exclusive and some times hostile to one another forces which were at play in the rebel camp to allow for any large scale centralized effort against the more organized British forces.

                Social Aspects were both Cause and Result of the Uprising                                 

Overall, the rebellion did not have a clearly defined course and it differed markedly from region to region.  Various overlapping factors were at play at the same time thus making the task of a well organized analysis difficult.

The India of 1857 was not one single country in the modern sense but a collection of distinct areas inhabited by disparate groups. The rebellion was limited to certain areas and even in those a large segment of the population remained loyal.

The rebellion was essentially by the previously dominant classes in the North-Western Provinces (North Western provinces consisted of eight divisions — Meerut, Delhi, Agra, Rohailkhand, Jhansi, Jabalpur, Allahabad and Benares.

Not to be confused with North West Frontier Province which was separated from Punjab in 1901 including both Hindus and Muslims. There is no doubt that a large number of people of India had grievances against the company government.  In the early part of rebellion, many preferred to wait and watch rather than throw their lot with one side or another.

They expected an aggressive and overwhelming response from the company army.  The fact that ‘the government had been caught off balance with its military resources stretched to breaking point resulted in a slow or no response thus encouraging many to side with the rebels thinking that the company rule is coming to an end.

This explains the second wave of mutinies in Lucknow, Cawnpur and Azamgurh, which occurred almost one month later than the Meerut uprising.

Several legislative measures of the company challenging centuries old traditions caused many apprehensions.  Suttee (burning of widows on the pyres of their husbands) was abolished in 1829.

James Ramsay, the 10th Earl of Dalhousie became Governor-General of India in 1847 and embarked on ambitious administrative reforms which would shake the foundations of centuries old customs of the ancient land.  The thirty five years old workaholic Dalhousie reformed almost every aspect of the Company’s rule in India.  

Several measures taken by the British in annexed areas raised caste and religious feelings.  These measures roused the suspicions of Hindus and Muslims alike.  New legislative measures in 1856, allowing Hindu widows to re-marry raised Hindu suspicions.

Enacting of laws allowing converts to inherit property caused doubts in both Hindu and Muslim minds.  In early nineteenth century there was also increasing missionary activity in India which was seen as an organized attempt of an alien group to let the natives stray away from their religions.

British attempts to discourage early marriages and joint messing of convicts in jails and compulsory shaving were seen as intrusion into the traditional ways and an attempt of proselytizing.  In 1855, Mr. Edmond issued a circular letter from Calcutta stating that in railway trains no caste distinction will be made in the seating arrangements.

Even in the military, sepoys resented the efforts of officers with missionary zeal. These religious activities of Lt. Colonel G.S. Wheeler of 34th  BNI in Barrackpur and Major Mackenzie in Bolarum were directly responsible for the disaffection among the sepoys.  The famous Mangal Pandey who fired at his officers on March 29 was from 34th BNI.

In 1837, Persian was abolished as a language of the court thus making a large number of Muslims unemployed in Bengal.  English magistrates replaced Muslims who were attached to courts as Qazis, Muftis.  In Bengal, even under Muslim rulers, Hindus were employed as revenue officers.  Hindus going ahead in education retained the jobs in newly anglicized revenue system.  In early part of nineteenth century, the law barring appointment of any Indian to a post carrying an annual salary of 500 sterling pounds effectively curtailed any future prospects of a native under new government.

It should be remembered that east India Company was a commercial entity with the primary objective of increasing its revenue.  Social and political fallout from their decisions and long-term negative effects were a low priority on the minds of the agents of the company.

The annexation of Oudh in 1856 was the single act which thoroughly alienated almost all classes of that region, including rulers of native states, landed aristocracy, courtiers, sepoys and peasants.

In north western provinces, British adopted the policy of resuming the Jagirs after the death of the holder and not to the descendants.  Instead, they gave the heirs fixed pension.  From 1847 to 1856, the company in this way acquired Nagpur, Jhansi, Satara and Sambalpur.  In Bengal and northern India, landholders became fearful of their future under British.  Similarly, the revenue free land holders in Bengal and North-Western Provinces came under scrutiny as the company wanted to increase its revenue base.

In North Western Provinces a large number of resumptions of revenue-free lands occurred between 1850 and 1856, causing a surge of anti-government sentiment.  In contrast, in Sindh, Sir Charles Napier made the landlords the aristocrats of the land thus attaching their interest with the British, hence no unrest in Sindh during 1857.  

Talukdar (owners of large groups of villages) were powerful feudal barons and a recognized institution of nineteenth century Central India.  They have been the intermediaries between the rulers and village proprietors for centuries.

The land policies of British in North Western province removed the intermediary Talukdars.  In Rohilkhand (This division consisted of Bareilly, Badaun, Bijnor, Moradabad and Shahjahanpur), many landed elites were Muslims.  The new revenue policy disposed off many of them. This powerful lot of landed aristocracy became hostile to British and British would pay with blood for this near fatal mistake.

The new set of village landowners though removed from the rapaciousness of the talukdars had their own grievances.  The mix of specific complaints about revenue and taxes, cumbersome and lengthy new British judicial system and sharing of general anxieties of the public at large resulted in such an equation that the potential beneficiaries of new British policies ended up rallying around the old guard of the landed elite.

British courts gave legal protection to the money lenders (Mahajans) who were able to acquire landed interests which were confiscated.  This was one of the reasons that everywhere, the rebels burned government revenue records, account books of money lenders and destroyed their property.   In contrast to Delhi, where soldiers were in the forefront of resistance, in Lucknow it was the levies of talukdars rather than regular sepoys who gave the British a tough fight.

In 1852, an act was passed for scrutiny of rent-free tenures.  The tribunal called Inam Commission aggressively went after rent-free tenures.  From 1852-57, in Southern Marhatta country alone about 35 thousand estates were called for and in 21 thousand  cases sentences of confiscation were pronounced.

In Bengal similar measures brought extra income of 5,000,000 sterling pounds per year while in Bombay it was 370,000 sterling pounds per year.  After the annexation of Oudh in 1856, a vigorous settlement policy was pursued which resulted in enormous social upheaval.

In Cawnpur area, boats between Calcutta and Cawnpur transported most of goods.  These boats were owned and operated by Hindus living in the vicinity of Sati Chowra Ghat.  Their fortunes had been declining with the arrival of British as British-owned steamers, railways and Grand Trunk Road were taking away all their business.

The middle of nineteenth century saw the end of the era of military adventurers, most of who were Muslims from northern India.  After the Mahratta and Pindari wars, although good numbers of soldiers were enlisted in the Company army but still a large number became unemployed. In 1854, the number of these angry out of job soldiers was estimated to be 100,000 in Rohailkhand and surrounding areas.

When Wajid Ali Shah was deposed in February 1856, the 200,000 strong royal army was dispersed.  Apart from soldiers, many others who depended on the army such as 12,000 armorers became jobless.

Later government ordered talukdars to dismiss their armed retainers thus resulting in swelling of number of unemployed sodiery who gradually drifted to large cities. These disgruntled ex-soldiers were now scattered all over Oudh.

Adding insult to injury, British dropped any pretense of respect for the previous ruling class. In 1803, Shah Alam was a British pensioner with eleven and a half lakh rupees and ruling powers limited to only the Red Fort area.  This was a fact but for illiterate natives, the King in Delhi still represented a mythical past of glory.  Senior officers of East India Company omitted all normal courtesies to the King.  In 1844, nazar to King was abolished. In fact, in 1851, Bahadur Shah Zafar was receiving 833 rupees per month in lieu of his nazars.

In 1820s, Heber wrote about the possibility of Muslims rising against the British but the reasons he argued were political and not religious.  One of the reasons which he mentioned was ‘the conduct of Lord Hastings to the old emperor of Delhi’.

The jewels of family of raja of Nagpur were sold in an auction in Calcutta.  After annexation of Oudh, the Chief Commissioner used Umbrella Palace as stable for his horses.  Similar measures at local levels in dealings with local elites caused resentment.

The role of Hindus and Muslims and their relationship with each other was also a complex phenomenon and varied from region to region.  Hindus mostly led the civil risings in Oudh, Bihar, Gorakhpur and Central India. Many leaders of the uprising such as Nana Sahib, Tantya Topi and Rani of Jhansi were Hindus.  After the rebellion was suppressed, land from Hindus was confiscated in large scale in Meerut, Jhansi, Etawa, Jabalpur which were the centres of Hindu dissatisfaction.  In Patna and Bijnor, Muslims helped British to regain the control.  In Rohailkhand, Fatehpur and Bulandshahar, the sites of Muslim discontent, confiscations were predominantly Muslim.

Nawabs of Karnal, Muradabad, Dacca and Rampur and Nizam of Hyderabad remained loyal to British.  Some confiscated land was awarded to the loyal subjects, both Hindu and Muslim and remainder auctioned off. The relationships between Hindus and Muslims during the rebellion were complex and depended on the local scene and the conduct of the local rebel leaders.  In Rohailkhand, the rebels were almost exclusively Muslims.

In Bijnor their leader was Nawab of Najibabad, Muhammad Khan and in Bareilly Khan Bahadur Khan).  The rebels raised the green flag and used religious symbols.  When the rebels robbed rich Hindu merchants and bankers, the cleavage lines between two communities widened.

The worsening law and order situation in the area with bands of marauding gangs of Gujars, Maiwatis, Jats, Chauhans and Banjaras creating havoc culminating in a sanguine battle between Hindus and Muslims at Haldaur on September 18.

In Malawa, Firuz Shah headed the rebellion. The religious zeal attracted many Muslim tribes but alienated Hindus. In Cawnpur, the leadership by Nana Sahib roused the suspicion of influential Muslims.  Initially, he arrested Nunne Nawab, an influential Muslim noble of Lucknow who had settled in Cawnpur.  Later, under pressure, Nunne Nawab was not only released but made commander of a section of the force with artillery pieces.  

A crisis situation occurred when two Muslim butchers convicted of killing a cow died from bleeding when their hands were amputated.

The sowars of 2nd Cavalry along with a large Muslim crowd confronted Nana and threatened to displace him. The showdown between Hindus and Muslims was averted by an apology from Nana and hectic efforts by his Muslim counsel, Azeemullah.

Ironically, the last rebel stand against British was by a former government lawyer, a Hindu chief Ramnarayan at a place named Islamnagar.

The British rule in Punjab and Frontier had effectively ended the anarchy in Punjab and north western borders of India.  The populace in general especially Muslims saw British rule as benign and peaceful. That is why, Muslims of these areas sided with British in 1857.

Sikhs, Pathans and Muslims from Punjab rushed to fight side by side with the British.  The famous march of Guides from Mardan to Delhi is now legendary. William Hodson commanded a regiment of irregular horse of 300 Punjabi and Pathan troopers who were known as ‘Plungers’.   

In areas, where the general population sentiment was not hostile to the British, the regiments which rebelled did not succeed in harming the British.  This was the case in Ferozpur, Ambala, Layyah, Mianwali and Peshawar.

Ironically, the revolt of 1857 which is seen as the first organized attempt against colonial hegemony, ‘established the Punjab as the bastion of colonialism and strengthened the base of an authoritarian structure’.  The results were far reaching as ‘political institutions in the Punjab lagged behind their counterparts in the rest of the sub continent.

INDIAN LEADERS

They can be divided into ‘patriot’ and ‘opportunist’.  Each individual local leader had his or her particular reasons for joining the revolt and this was equally applicable to various groups who sided with the rebels.‘

The sepoys fighting for fear of castes, the chiefs for their kingdoms, the landlords for their estates, the mass for fear of conversion and agrarian grievances, and the Muslims for restoration of their old sway – the common enemy were the English and their loyalists.

Several tribal communities  – Gujar, Jats, Palwars, Bhogtas, Maiwatis, joined simply due to the opportunity for plunder in a situation of a general breakdown of law and order.  India of 1857 was not a nation state in the modern sense but a collection of various groups with autonomous local chiefs.

Rebellion provided ambitious men an opportunity to act on their dreams of grandeur.  Many rebel leaders invoked the name of old Mughal king of Delhi, but ‘that was a pseudo legalistic ploy more than loyalty.

It is clear from several writings of both British and Indians that even the rebel sepoys in Delhi actually in contact with the king did not show any respect and talked to him rudely.  They probably knew the worth of the opium addicted state of a dying era.

Petty leaders set themselves up as Rajas and even Kings.  In Banawar, Qalandar Khan set himself as raja while Kadam Singh of Prachitgarh proclaimed himself king.  Umrao Singh declared himself a raja after getting hold of one village of Manakpur while Fatua of Buddhakheri proclaimed himself king of the Gujars.  Rao Bhopal Singh at the head of his Chauhan followers declared a Rajput government but was surprised and executed.  Others like rajas of Kutra and Mainpuri, Apa Sahib, Shahamal and his grandson Lujjram (Jat) of Baraut,  Narpat Singh (Rajput) of Akulpur enjoyed their short lived power and fame for a few months.

Most local chiefs who sided with the rebels were in the vicinity of Delhi.  Abdur Rahman of Jhajjar, Hassan Ali Khan of Dojana, Nahar Singh of Ballabgarh, Tularam of Rewari, Walidad Khan of Malagarh and Ahmad Ali Khan of Farrukhnagar are a few names.

The Rajput chiefs of Jaipur, Bikaner and Alwar were not interested in re-surrecting the decaying Mughal rule.  The political rivals of local chiefs who sided with British decided to take a chance and sided with the rebels.  The Maharajah of Jodhpur, Takht Singh sided with the British offering his troops.  His rival Thakur Kushal Singh worked on Jodhpur Legion which deserted to the mutineers.

Mohammad Hassan took control of Gorakhpur rallying the disgruntled landed elite although he had no mutinous troops.  He was the former governor of Gorakhpur and had lost his position after the annexation of Oudh.   Similarly, the Chief of Nargund, Baba Sahib in Southern Marhatta country, who was denied the right of adoption declared war in May 1858 when the British were re-asserting themselves after initial setbacks.  It was mainly civil uprising as no mutinous troops were involved in the conflict. 

In Rohailkhand, Mahmud Khan of Najibabad waited till all areas including Bareilly, Moradabad, Mandawar had rebelled and almost all British officers were killed or had fled to safety.  Seeing the changed wind, many locals gathered around Mahmud Khan as he seemed to be poised to take control of the area.  When Mahmud arrived in Bijnor on June 7, he had about 200-250 Pathan musketeers with him.

There is no detailed account of the exploits of several local leaders of the rebellion like Mehdi Hassan of Sultanpur, Fazal Azim of Rae Bareli, Banda Hussain an aide. of Mehdi Hassan, Rao Sahib, Maulavi Sarfaraz Ali of Gorakhpur, Maulvi Sikander Shah of Faizabad, Ghaus Mohammad Khan of Sikandra Rao and Kunwar Singh.

Tantya Topi had no military experience, but learned the art of war in the field.  Tantya was six years older than Nana Sahib and was his playmate.  He arranged for the defense of Bithur, the toughest challenge to Havelock’s force.  He repelled Windham’s assault on Cawnpur.  He later made unsuccessful attempt to relieve the siege of Jhansi.  Even after the setbacks, he was one of the few who recognized the opponent’s weakness.  This resulted in a fast moving guerrilla warfare in Nagpur and Gwalior in the summer of 1858.  

Unfortunately, this ‘display of tactical brilliance was too late to influence the outcome of a war which had already been decided by British victories at Delhi and Oudh’. He was betrayed by Raja of Nawar (Raja rebelled against British but when the pendulum swung in their favor, he betrayed Tantya to re-habilitate himself but was hanged.

Nana Sahib was born as Govind Dhondu Pant and was the adopted son of Peshwa Baji Rao.  When Baji Rao died in 1851,  the company according to an earlier ruling of not recognizing the adopted sons of a deceased ruler stopped Baji Rao’s pension.  Nana Sahib was deprived of not only his pension but also hollow titles, his seal and yearly allocation of even blank cartridges for his guards. Next few years saw Nana sending petitions to the Company for resumption of his pension while entertaining British officers at his palace in Bithur without any success.  

The ideas of Azimullah Khan to attempt to recover his throne and predictions of his guru, Dassa Bawa that one day he will be victorious and his own dreams of grandeur may have effected him to take a bold course of siding with the rebels.

Azimullah Khan was another figure who appeared on the scene of the rebellion and had a very interesting background. During the famine of 1837, as a starving boy along with his mother, he was given shelter at the mission at Cawnpur.  He attended the free school and became fluent in English and French. After working with several Englishmen, he was hired as translator by Brigadier John Scott. After the death of Baji Rao, he was in the court of Nana Sahib.  When Nana chose Azimullah to go to England to plead his case, a search started for an experienced guide to accompany him. An educated Rohailkhand noble Muhammad Ali Khan had visited England in the employ of King of Nepal.

Muhammd Ali had no love for the British.  He was a bright young man and passed the Calcutta Civil Service examinations with flying colors.  Being a native, he was hired as a foreman where his arrogant superior insulted and humiliated him.  He resigned the service in 1851 and ended up accompanying King of Nepal on a three month tour of England.

In England, the intelligent Azimullah dressed in western outfit impressed many luminaries of the time.  He met John Stuart Mill and the wife of Prime Minister’s cousin who was Usher to the Queen – Lucie Gordon. He met Dickens, Carlyle, Macaulay, Tennyson and Thackersay and had seen the Queen. He was probably the only Indian of his time who with intelligence and opportunity visited the land of his masters and was able to evaluate British.

The awe of the British which was maintained in India was shaken.  The splendid city of London was actually smothered with industrial smoke.  He was unable to convince the authorities to resume his master’s pension but on his journey back, he stopped in Constantinople and visited the battlefield of Crimea and brought with him a French printing press.  

Although his mission failed but he had come back with a more dangerous idea. He presented  a more ambitious agenda for Nana, telling him ‘why worry about his measly stipend when he might annihilate the English and recover his throne?’

Lakhshami Bai, the Rani of Jhansi’s role is somewhat controversial.  Although she along with several local chiefs had grievances against British, it has not been proven that she had any role in the mutiny of 12th BNI and 13th Irregular cavalry stationed at Jhansi on June 5th.

She had to pay ransom to the rebels before they left Jhansi. In fact on June 12 and 14, she wrote letters to Erskine, the commissioner of Sagar division assuring him that she would hold Jhansi on behalf of the British.  Erskine in a formal letter authorized her to collect the revenue. She led her troops against the Dewan of Orchha, an old rival.

This suggests that in the early part of the rebellion when she was quite vulnerable to both British and rival chieftain’s attacks, she favored siding with the British but later the ambiguous British diplomacy which declined her protestations of loyalty, that she decided to fight the British.

She personally commanded the defense of Jhansi working with the defenders who consisted of mutineers, levies and mercenaries. She not only showed her superior administrative and military skills but also personal bravery in combat.  She fully trusted the five hundred Kabuli Pathans of her army, who escorted her after her defeat at Jhansi.  She earned the respect and praise of even her enemies when she died on the battlefield at Gwalior.

In Bareilly, the garrison rebelled on May 31, 1857.  After the routine of initial confusion, disorder, looting and killing, Khan Bahadar Khan was proclaimed leader.  He was the grandson of a revered Rohilla chief.  Interestingly, the army in and around Bareilly was the largest, about 57 regiments with gunners and sappers.  Despite that there does not seem to be any cooperation among the military and civil leadership of the rebellion and thus there was NO advantage of having such a force.   There were tensions between the civil leader Khan Bahadar and military leader Bakht Khan. Bakht Khan was smart and had taken control of the Bareilly treasury. He calculated his odds and with the treasury and the strength of a brigade under his command, he had a better chance at Delhi.

Once in Delhi, with both  money and men,  the confidant Bakht Khan approached Bahadur Shah Zafar and asked him  to appoint him commander-in-chief – which the king obliged. Unfortunately, in Delhi, he found his nemesis.  The commander of Nimach rebels, Muhammad Ghaus Khan became his bitter rival thus preventing a unified stand of the rebels.

Conclusion

1857 was the watershed in the history of the sub-continent.  It was a confusing catalogue of events to decipher them is an impossibility. On one hand, the rebels were destroying everything attached to the British rule like bungalows, telegraph, official records while on the other the rebel troops fought in their red uniforms under their regimental colours, kept their muster roll update and wore the medals awarded by the British.

In one instance at Cawnpur, Havelock encountered a rebel unit whose band was playing Auld Lang Syne. The immediate effect after the rebellion was the change of the colonial thought process.  Prior to 1857, ‘The British viewed India as a social laboratory for transformation in the former’s image — a social revolution which would change backward India into a modern society. The blend of ‘nationalism and evangelism’ of the British had convinced them that it was God’s will which they were fulfilling.

The great revolt was a  rude awakening for the British.  British officials saw the revolt as a consequence of upsetting of the social status quo of India by British policies.  In the British mind, the native Indian population was divided into two groups.  The groups which ignited the revolt (Brahmins and Muslims of Oudh) were seen as cunning and untrustworthy and were punished. The groups (Sikhs, Muslims of Punjab and Frontier, Princely states) which sided with British were considered loyal and appropriately rewarded.

 It is clear now that if the loyal natives had not helped John Lawrence in Punjab, Edwards and Davidson in Hyderabad, Gubbins in Benaras, Robert Ellis in Nagpur and Osborne in Rewa, the Indian history would be different.

Jack Nicholson

We end as we began with Jack Nicholson who planned and lead the Storming of Delhi.  Famously dismissive of the incompetence of his superiors and lying on his death bed, he said re Colonel (later General Sir) Wilson’s timidity , “Thank God I have yet the strength to shoot him – if necessary”.

One famous story recounted by Charles Allen in Soldier Sahibs is of a night during the Rebellion when Nicholson strode into the British mess tent at Jullunder, coughed to attract the attention and said, “I am sorry, gentlemen, to have kept you waiting for your dinner, but I have been hanging your cooks, who were going to poison you!” 

The  most significant people in his life were his fellow Punjab administrators, Sir Henry Lawrence and Hervert Edwardes. At Bannu, Nicholson would ride one hundred and twenty miles on weekends to spend time with Edwardes and his wife. He died on 23 September 1857 in Delhi, due wounds  in the taking of the city nine days previously. He was 34.

References

1 Chauduri, Sashi B.  Civil Rebellion in Indian Mutinies- 1857-1859 (Calcutta: The World Press Pvt. Ltd, 1957),  p. 17   2 Chauduri, Sashi B. English Historical Writings on The Indian Mutiny 1857-1859 (Calcutta: The World Press Private Ltd., 1979),  p. 133 3 Chauduri, Sashi.  English Historical Writings, p. 2 4Chaudhuri, Sashi. Civil Rebellion,  p. 66 5Malik, Hafeez and Dembo, Morris.  Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s History of the Bijnor Rebellion (East Lansing, Michigan:  Asian Studies Center, 1972), viii 6Ward, Andrew. Our Bones Are Scatterred (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1996),  p. 70 7Watson, Bruce.  The Great Indian Mutiny:  Colin Campbell and the campaign at Lucknow (New York: PRAEGER, 1991), p. 27 8Watson, Bruce. The Great Indian Mutiny,  p. 27-28 9James, Lawrence.  Raj: The Making and Unmaking of British India  (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1997),  p. 235-36 10Amin, Agha H.  The Sepoy Rebellion of 1857-59: Reinterpreted (Lahore: Strategicus and Tacticus, 1998),  p. 107-8 11Gupta, Surendranath. Eighteen Fifty-Seven (Delhi: Publications Division, Ministry of Information, Government of India, Second Imprint 1977), p. 14)   12Amin, Agha.  The Sepoy Rebellion,  p. 26  13Ward, Andrew. Our Bones,  p. 68-69  14Ward, Andrew. Our Bones,  p. 207 15Ward, Andrew. Our Bones,  p. 89 16Amin, Agha. The Sepoy Rebellion,  p. 40  17James, Lawrence. Raj,  p. 242  18Emma Ewart Letters cited in Ward, Andrew. Our Bones Are Scatterred,  p. 138 19Collier, Richard. The Great Indian Mutiny, p. 155 20Haythornthwaite, Philip J. The Colonial Wars Source Book (London: Caxton Editions, 2000), p. 105  21Malleson G.B. Kaye’s and Malleson’s History of the Indian Mutiny of 1857-8 (Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1971 (Reprint), vol. V, p. 8-9 22Amin, Agha.  The Sepoy Rebellion, p. 49 23James, Lawrence.  Raj,  p. 256 24James, Lawrence. Raj,  p. 244 25Amin, Agha H. The Sepoy Rebellion, p. 76 26Collier, Richard.  The Great Indian Mutiny, p. 193-94 27Collier, Richard.  The Great Indian Mutiny,  p. 130 28Malleson.  Kaye and Malleson, vol. IV,  p. 122-23 29Ward, Andrew. Our Bones, p. 273  30Amin, Agha H. The Sepoy Rebellion,  p. 104  31Amin, Agha H.  The Sepoy Rebellion,  p. 104 32Amin, Agha H.  The Sepoy Rebellion,  p. 110 33Collier, Richard.  The Great Indian Mutiny,  p. 168   34Sen, Surendranath.  Eighteen Fifty-Seven, p. 102  35Amin, Agha.  The Sepoy Rebellion,  p. 125-131 36James, Lawrence. Raj,  p. 245 37Malleson. Kaye and Malleson, p. 233-35 38Malleson. Kaye and Malleson,  p. 21-22  39Ward, Andrew. Our Bones Are Scatterred,  p. 103-4 40Heber, Reginald. Narrative of a Journey Through the Upper Provinces of India, Vol. 1, Second edition. (London, 1828),  p.139 41Lawrence, James.  Raj, p. 234 42Heber, Reginald. Narrative of a Journey, p.393   43Hardy, Peter.  The Muslims of British India  (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972), p.6644Chaudhuri, Sashi. Civil Rebellion,

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Jammu and Kashmir – Facts …

Posted on September 30, 2016. Filed under: Books |

Division  % Area  % Population Population  % Muslim  % Hindu  % Sikh  % Buddhist and other
Kashmir 15.73% 54.93% 6,888,475 96.40% 2.45% 0.98% 0.17%
Jammu 25.93% 42.89% 5,378,538 33.45% 62.55% 3.30% 0.70%
Ladakh 58.33% 2.18% 274,289 46.40% 12.11% 0.82% 39.67%
Jammu and Kashmir 100% 100% 12,541,302 68.31% 28.43% 1.87% 0.89%

_*Kashmir  :  15%*_
_*Jammu   :  26%*_

_*Ladakh    :  59%*_
*85,000 sq Km comprising 85% area are not Muslim Majority.*
_Population  – 1.25 Crores_
*Kashmir :  69 Lakhs.*
_(Only 55 Lakhs speak   Kashmiri. Rest 13 lakhs speak Non kashmiri languages.)_
*Jammu : 53 Lakhs.*
_(Dogri, Punjabi, Hindi)_
*Ladakh :  03 Lakhs.* _(Ladakhi language)_
_This does not include 7.5 lakh people settled who do not have citizenship._
There are 22 districts in J&K. Out of which *only 5 Districts where separatists have the say ;
_Srinagar, Anantnag, Baramullah, Kulgam and Pulwama._
*Other 17 districts are Pro India.*
_So separatist’s writ runs in just 15% of the population which are Sunni Muslim dominated._
_Interestingly these 5 districts are far away from Pakistan Border/LOC._
*There are more than fourteen major Religious/ ethinic groups comprising 85% of the population of J&K who are Pro India.*
_These include:_
_Shias ;_
_Dogras: (Rajputs, Brahmins Mahajans);_
_Kashmiri Pandits;_
_Sikhs;_
_Buddhists ( Ladakhis );_
_Gujjars;_
_Bakarwals;_
_Paharis;_
_Baltis;_
_Christians many more._
*Majority of the people in J&K do not speak Kashmiri as their mother tongue. It’s Dogri, Gujjari, Punjabi, Ladhaki , Pahari etc.*
_Only 33 % people in Kashmir speak Kashmiri this group controls narrative from Hurriyat to militants and from NC and PDP._
_This 33% controls *business, bureaucracy agriculture*. This sunni 33% is opposed to India although population of all other muslims in JK is 69 %._
*Shias (12%), Gujjars Muslims (14%), Pahadi Muslims ( 8%), Buddhists , Pandits, Sufis, Christians and Jammu Hindus/ Dogras ( aprox 45%) are totally opposed to separatism and Pakistan.*
_Stone pelting , Hoisting of Pakistani flags Anti India demonstrations are held in just 5 Districts in Kashmir valley._
*Other 17 districts have never participated in such activities.*
*Poonch and Kargil have above 90% Muslim population. There has never been an Anti India or separatist protest in these districts.*
_It is only the_ *Anti National Media and other Anti India forces* _who with their own nefarious designs have_ *created an impression that “WHOLE J&K” is against India.*
_*Whereas the truth is that  just 15% of the Population comprising Sunni Muslims inhabitating 5 Districts of Kashmir province are fanning the separatist activities.*
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A Wonderful Drive in the Lap of NANGA PARBAT

Posted on May 16, 2015. Filed under: Books, Guide Posts, Movies, Searching for Success | Tags: , , , |

Nanga Parbat is a formidable EIGHT THOUsAND plus peak in Pakistan. It was first climbed by Herman Buhl in 1953 when Everest was also climbed. This Parbat had claimed over 50 German lives and so was held in special awe by them.

Buhl had begun the final day climb at 2am and soon found that his companion had given up and he then chose to go solo. He reached the summit late afternoon and took pics of surrounding peaks, which eventually served as proof of his achievement. Poor man, he had to spend the night in the open and was in delirium when a search party which was just giving up, spotted him. He lost his toes due to frost bite. This eventually resulted in his death on the Materhorn, some years later.

Here is an amateur video of a beautiful drive in the lap of this great peak. The photography is out of this world – something special for all out door types.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1180548/exploring-rama-meadows-and-the-isolation-at-naltar

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