Tag Archives: mughal

BOOK REVIEW: ROYALS AND REBELS: The Rise and Fall of the Sikh Empire … Priya Atwal

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    The book has so much to do with Sikh-Mughal connect. As opposed to the popular narrative that brings the aspect of religion into the Sikh-Mughal conflict, the historical relationship between the two had many hues of grey, writes the lady author, who is a British historian and a also researcher in Oxford.

       The Sikh popular memory tends to have a negative image of the Mughals, but historically speaking, Sikh-Mughal relationship was never completely antagonistic, elicits the author, which she explains in a very concealing fashion. What we think of as a lasting memory is actually an evolving thing, and never constant. While, it’s the painful events, such as the execution of Sikh Gurus that tend to dominate the lasting memory. Overall the author has highlighted the evidence that where Sikh-Mughal encounters were not wholly hostile. Albeit briefly, the gurus were at times supported, and at times they themselves extended support to certain Mughal royals. Sikh Gurbani additionally reveals how they assimilated and challenged Mughal ideas of power to forge their own vision of a fair, and virtuous society.

   Women were vital in the story of the Sikh empire. Sikh History underscores the point that Punjabi women have been active in politics for centuries. Citing an example the author writes, Ranjit Singh would never have become Maharaja without the protective support of his mother, Raj Kaur, after the death of his father, Maha Singh, when Ranjit was just ten. Raj Kaur safeguarded the Sukerchakia misl for her son until he came of age. The Sukerchakia Misl was one of 12 Sikh Misls—or say, Sikh Confederacy, in Punjab during the 18th century concentrated in Gujranwala and Hafizabad district in Western Punjab (in modern-Pakistan) and ruled from (1752-1801). The Sukerchakia’s last Misldar or commander of the Misl was Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, Maharaja Ranjit Singh united all the misls and established an independent kingdom in Punjab. Moreover, Ranjit Singh would have certainly struggled to conquer Lahore but for the support of his in-laws, the Kanhaiya and Nakai misls, whose troops accompanied him to lay siege at the Lahore Fort in 1799. It was actually his formidable mother-in-law, Sada Kaur, who negotiated a peace settlement with the Sikh Sardars occupying the fort at the time, ensuring that they departed without causing further bloodshed. Both mother figures were crucial in teaching the young Ranjit Singh how to be a civil and effective leader.

    The book presents a very interesting picture of the Maharaja’s multiple marriages and his wives taking part in the power game, with the last wife, Jind Kaur, becoming the Queen-Regent. The Maharaja had at least 30 wives—according to author’s estimate. The title includes a ‘marriage map’ which plots where these women came from. Ranjit Singh’s queens were Sikh, Hindu and even Muslim. His marriages helped cement Sukerchakia dynastic ties throughout the different classes and ethnic groups of its growing empire within and beyond Punjab. Jind Kaur was his last and the most famous queen, given her a dramatic role, fighting against the East India Company in the 1840s, and attempting to preserve the Sikh Empire’s independence. However, Rani Jindan, though an incredible woman, was no exception in the key political role that she played as Queen Regent. She was following in the footsteps of Raj Kaur and Sada Kaur, as well as Ranjit Singh’s other forgotten wives who were also variously military leaders, ambassadors, educators of princely sons and artistic patrons. It would therefore be entirely false to claim that Punjabi women’s participation in politics is only a recent phenomenon. They have been political for centuries!

    On a tricky question about social media that often circulates rather disturbing illustrations depicting the execution of Sikh gurus that came with strong anti-Muslim rhetoric the author writes until the 19th century, Punjabi authors like Bhangu were trying to show that Emperor Babur had Guru Nanak’s sanctity to rule over India.

    When the Sikhs attempted to put their Gurus’ ideas into practice, seeking power and challenging oppressive regional elites (including Mughal lords and Hindu hill rajahs), they began facing persecution. Yet the Sikhs withstood this, becoming kings themselves by the end of the 18th century. It was then that they too began carefully embracing some of the trappings of Mughal royalty, including commissioning new histories of Punjab. Rattan Singh Bhangu’s, Sri Guru Panth Prakash was produced in this context. He and other 19th century historians effectively re-imagined the story of Sikh-Mughal relations to assert the legitimacy of Ranjit Singh’s generation as the rightful ruler of Punjab.

    The book deals with the counter the anti-monarchists who say that Maharaja Ranjit Singh destroyed the republican nature of Sikhi, by founding a Sikh state, based on hereditary kingship, where the author believes that the path was shown by the Sikh gurus themselves and the various misl sardars who followed them.

    The author found during her doctoral research that there was clearly some unease, even disapproval, amongst a particular group of twentieth-century Sikh historians about the monarchical status of Ranjit Singh. They connected his royal style of government to the eventual downfall of Sikh Raj, claiming that monarchical rule went against the ‘republican ethos’ of the Khalsa and therefore doomed his dynasty to failure. However, more recent research by scholars has powerfully highlighted that a royal style of ruler-ship was readily embraced by Sikh misl sardars well before Ranjit Singh became Maharaja in 1801. The Sikh Gurus themselves, never out rightly, condemned monarchy as a form of government in Gurbani. Instead, it is coming to a new understanding of how, in Sikh philosophy, ideas of kingship have been routinely deployed as metaphors—and in the 1700 and 1800s, were directly adopted—to give expression to Sikh sovereignty.

Posted by Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our Publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 8 prestigious libraries of the US that includes Harvard College Library; Harvard University Library; Library of Congress; University of Washington, Seattle; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Yale University, New Haven; University of Chicago; University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill University Libraries. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in libraries and archives of Canada, Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai and Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida, India)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi; Available for reading in Indian National Bibliography, March 2016, in the literature section, in Central Reference Library, Ministry of Culture, India, Belvedere, Kolkata-700022)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K.)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

MIRAGE

(Published in February 2020. The book is a collection of eight short stories available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

Short stories and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: Reality and Perception, 15.10.19; Sending the Wrong Message, 31.5.20; Eagle versus Scholars June, 15 & 20 2020; Indica, 15.8.20; The Story of King Chitraketu, August 31 2020; Breaking Through the Chakravyuh, September 30 2020. The Questioning Spouse, October 31, 2020; Happy Days, November 15, 2020; The Karma Cycle of Paddy and Wheat, December 15,2020; Power Vs Influence, January 31, 2021;

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

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INTERESTING FACTS: THE GUNPOWDER EMPIRES

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    The Period of the Gunpowder Empires is also known as the Era of the Islamic Gunpowders. It refers to the epoch of the Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal empires from the 16th to the 18th century. The three empires were among the strongest and most stable out of the early modern period, leading to expansion and greater patronage of culture, while their political and legal institutions were consolidated with an increasing degree of centralisation. They underwent a significant increase in income and population and a sustained pace of technological innovation. These empires were spread from the Eastern Europe and North Africa in the west, to between today’s modern Bangladesh and Myanmar in the east.

    They were Islamic, and had, considerable military and economic success. Vast amount of territories were conquered by the Islamic Gunpowder Empires, with the use and development of the newly invented firearms, especially cannon and small arms, in the course of imperial construction. Unlike in Europe, the introduction of gunpowder weapons prompted changes well beyond military organization. The Mughals, based in the Indian subcontinent, are recognised for their lavish architecture, while the Safavids created an efficient and modern state administration for Iran, and sponsored major developments in the fine arts, and the sultan of the Constantinople-based Ottoman caliphate—an Islamic state, also known as the Caesar of Rome, was the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques, and thus head of the Islamic world. Their powers, wealth, architecture, and various contributions significantly influenced the course of Asian history.

    The Period of the Gunpowder Empires refers to the epoch of the Ottoman, in present Modern Turkish, was a state that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. In addition you had the Safavid a Persian dynasty, romanized was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran, from 1501 to 1736. The Safavid dynasty had its origin in the Safavid order of Sufism, which was established, in the city of, Ardabil in the Iranian Azerbaijan region. It was an Iranian dynasty of Kurdish origin, but during their rule they intermarried with Turkoman, Georgian, Circassian (Sunni Muslim people of the north-western Caucasus– between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea in Caucasia—the white skinned Europeans), and Pontic Greek  who are dignitaries that lived on the southern coast of Black Sea. From their base in Ardabil, the Safavids established control over parts of Greater Iran and reasserted the Iranian identity of the region, thus becoming the first native dynasty since the Sasanian Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians to establish a national state officially known as Iran.

    The Ottoman, Safa-vid and Mughal empires from the 16th century to the 18th century were the most muscular empires and amongst the most brawny.

        But how did this term Gunpowder Empire come into play. Well, it’s a Hodgson-McNeill concept. The phrase Gunpowder Empire was coined by Marshall G.S. Hodgson and his colleague William H. McNeill at the University of Chicago. Hodgson used the phrase in the title of Book 5 (“The Second Flowering: The Empires of Gunpowder Times”) of his highly influential three-volume work, The Venture of Islam (1974). Hodgson saw gunpowder weapons as the key to the “military patronage or military centered states of the Later Middle Period” which replaced the unstable, geographically limited, confederations of Turkic clans that prevailed in post-Mongol times. Hodgson defined a “military patronage state” as one having three characteristics:

    First, a legitimization of, independent dynastic law. Second, the conception of the whole state as a single military force. Third, the attempt to explain all economic and high cultural resources as appanages or grants of the chief military families.

    Such states grew “out of Mongol notions of greatness,” but such notions could mature fully and create stable bureaucratic empires only after gunpowder weapons and their specialized technology attained a primary place in military life of the state.

    McNeill argued that whenever such states “were able to monopolize the new artillery, central authorities were able to unite larger territories into new, or consolidate new empires.” So, monopolization was the key. Although Europe pioneered the development of new artillery in the fifteenth century, no state monopolized it. Gun-casting know-how had been concentrated in the Low Countries near the mouths of the Scheldt and Rhine rivers in Europe. France and the Habsburgs, generally the rulers of Germany, Austria and Spain divided those territories among themselves, resulting in an arms standoff. By contrast, such monopolies allowed states to create militarized empires in Western Asia, Russia, and India, and “in a considerably, modified fashion” in China, Korea, and Japan.

    More recently, the Hodgson-McNeill Gunpowder-Empire hypothesis has been termed into disfavour, as it offers neither “adequate nor accurate” explanation, although the term remains in use.

     Reasons other than or in addition to military technology have been offered for the nearly simultaneous rise of three centralized military empires in contiguous areas dominated by decentralized Turkic tribes. One explanation, called “Confessionalization” by historians of fifteenth century Europe, invokes examination of how the relation of church and state “mediated through confessional statements and church ordinances” led to the origins of absolutist polities.

    The first of the three empires to acquire gunpowder weapons was the Ottoman Empire. By the 14th century, the Ottomans had adopted gunpowder artillery. The adoption of the gunpowder weapons by the Ottomans was so rapid that they preceded both their European and Middle Eastern adversaries in establishing centralized and permanent troops specialized in the manufacturing and handling of firearms. But it was their use of artillery that shocked their adversaries and impelled the other two Islamic empires to accelerate their weapons programs. The Ottomans had artillery at least by the reign of Bayezid the Ottoman Sultan, and these were used by them in the sieges of Constantinople in 1399 and 1402. They finally proved their worth as siege engines in the successful siege of Salonica in the Ottoman kingdom in 1430. The Ottomans employed Middle-Eastern as well as European foundries to cast their cannons, and by the siege of Constanti-nople in 1453, they had large enough cannons to batter the walls of any city, to the surprise of the defenders.

    The Ottoman military’s regularized use of firearms proceeded ahead of the pace of their European counterparts. The Janissaries (Ottoman Sultan’s household troops) had been an infantry bodyguard using bows and arrows. During the rule of Sultan Mehmed II they were drilled with firearms and became “perhaps the first standing infantry force equipped with firearms in the world.” The Janissaries are thus considered the first modern standing armies. The combination of artillery and Janissary firepower proved decisive at Battle of Varna, eastern Bulgaria in 1444 against a force of Crusaders, Baskent in 1473 against the Aq Qoyunlu, (a Sunni Turkoman Tribal) and Mohacs in 1526 against Hungary. But the battle which convinced the Safavids and the Mughals of the efficacy of the gunpowder was Chaldiran in 1514. A victory of Ottoman over Sadavid.

  The musket gun later appeared in the Ottoman Empire by 1465. Damascus steel was later used in the production of firearms such as the musket from the 16th century. At the Battle of Mohacs in 1526, the Janissaries equipped with 2000 tüfenks (usually translated as musket) “formed nine consecutive rows and they fired their weapons row by row,” in a “kneeling or standing position without the need for additional support or rest.” The Chinese later adopted the Ottoman kneeling position for firing. In 1598, Chinese writer Zhao Shizhen described Turkish muskets as being superior to European muskets. 

     The Dardanelles Gun or the great Turkish canon was designed and cast in bronze in 1464 by one Munir Ali. The Dardanelles Gun was still present for duty more than 340 years later in 1807, when a Royal Navy force appeared and commenced the Dardanelles Operation. Turkish forces loaded the ancient relics with propellant and Projectiles, then fired them at the British ships. The British squadron suffered 28 casualties from this bombardment.

    It’s a long topic. I’ve just given you a flavour.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 8 prestigious libraries of the US that includes Harvard College Library; Harvard University Library; Library of Congress; University of Washington, Seattle; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Yale University, New Haven; University of Chicago; University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill University Libraries. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in libraries and archives of Canada, Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai and Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida, India)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K.)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

MIRAGE

(Published in February 2020. The book is a collection of eight short stories. It is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

Short stories and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: Reality and Perception 15.10.19; Sending the Wrong Message 31.5.20; Eagle versus Scholars June 15 & 20 2020; Indica 15.8.20; The Story of King Chitraketu August 31 2020; Breaking Through the Chakravyuh September 30 2020.

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

INTERESTING FACTS: THUGEE IN INDIA

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     ‘Thuggee’ refers to the acts of ‘Thugs,’ who were, organised gangs of professional robbers and murderers. The English word thug traces its roots to the Hindi word thug, which means ‘swindler’ or ‘deceiver’. Related words are its verbs thugna ‘to deceive,’ from the Sanskrit स्थग ‘sthaga’  cunningsly or fraudulent.’ The term ‘Thugee’ describes murder and robbery of travellers, which was popular in the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent.

    Thugs are said to have travelled in groups across the Indian subcontinent. There were numerous traditions about their origin. One recorded by D.F. McLeod traced it to some Muslim tribes formed from those who fled Delhi after murdering a physician. Another traced it to some great Muslim families who fled after murdering a favourite slave of Akbar. These, original Muslim thugs’ spread, thuggee, amongst Rajputs, Hindus, Lodhis and Ahirs. According to some other traditions, thugs were Kanjars or they descended from those, who worked in Mughal camps. Others have blamed the rise of thugs on the disbanding of armies in employment of Indian rulers after the British conquest. Thugs are said to have operated as gangs of highway robbers, tricking and later strangling their victims.

    To take advantage of their victims, the thugs would join travellers and first gain their confidence. This would allow them to surprise and strangle the travellers with a handkerchief or a noose later. They would then rob and bury the victims. This led to the thugs being called Phansigar (person killing with a noose). During the 1830s, thugs were targeted for eradication by the then Governor-General of India, Lord William Bentinck, and his chief captain, William Henry Sleeman.

    Thugs resembled travellers in physicality. Initially they wore turbans and carried with them some kind of baggage. Their attire as travellers, would deceive, any peasant and royal alike.

    The methods used in ‘Thuggee’ were meant to reap maximum loot without being caught. They did not accost travellers unless their own numbers were greater than the target. They first flattered the travellers they met, and that gave them a chance to assess, what wealth they were carrying. Many thugs avoided committing thuggee close to their native. So that their crimes were difficult to discover. They often pretended to be either Hindu or Muslim to fool their victims.

    They usually attacked in the evening. A common method used by them was to distract their targets while attempting to strangle them from behind. In order to avoid any suspicion, they avoided carrying more than a few swords for self-defense. Sometimes they even mutilated corpses of their victims to avoid detection. The corpses were then hidden or buried.

    The leader of a gang was called jamadar. Usage of military-style ranks such as jamadar and subedar among thugs, suggests, that the organisation of their gangs had a military construct. They used a secret language known as ‘Ramasee’ to disguise their real intentions from their targets. Although strangulation was one of their most-recognised methods of murder, they also used blades and poison.

    The thugs comprised, both men, who had inherited thuggee as a family vocation, as well as those, who were forced to turn to it out of necessity. The leadership of many of the groups tended to be hereditary with family members sometimes serving together in the same band. Such thugs were known as aseel. Many thugs, insisted, that novices were not taught thuggee, by their own family members but by others who were often more skilled and experienced. They were called a guru. Thugs usually kept their acts a secret. Female thugs also existed and were called baronee in the secret language Ramasee, while an important male thug was called baroo.

    They would often avoid, killing children of victims, and instead they would adopt them. At times they tended to murder women and children to eliminate witnesses or in case they had substantial loot. Some of the thugs avoided murdering victims they considered proscribed according to their beliefs and let other unscrupulous members commit the murder.

    It is on record that during the 14th century 1,000 thugs were captured and hanged in the streets of Delhi. And, 200 years later Sher Shah Suri organised a cavalry of 1,200 men to keep them at bay. Akbar and his successors also launched widespread drives against the thugs, though it was only in the 19th century that Sir W. H. Sleeman succeeded in wiping them out after a relentless operation lasting seven years.

    The earliest known reference to the Thugs as a band or fraternity, rather than ordinary thieves, is found in Zia-ud din Barni’s History of Firoz Shah written around 1356. He narrated an incident of sultan Jalal-ud-din Khalji, having 1,000 arrested thugs, being sent to Lakhnauti or Gaur:

    Surdas, in his allegorical couplet, mentioned robbers called “thugs” who lured a victim, while also, killing and looting his property. The Janamsakhis, the legendary biographies of Guru Nanak, used the term thug to refer to a robber who used to lure pilgrims. Jean de Thevenot, a French traveller in his account referred to a band of robbers who used a “certain Slip with a running noose” to strangle their victims. John Fryer an English doctor and Fellow of the Royal Society, mentions, a similar method of strangling used by robbers from Surat whom he saw being given capital punishment by the Mughals in 1675. He further mentions that three out of them were relatives, which Kim Wagner a Danish-British historian notices, is similar to the thugs, who were thought to have engaged in this as a family profession. A decree issued by Aurangzeb in 1672 refers to a similar method and uses the term “Phansigar”.

    The garrotte (killing by strangulation) is often depicted as a weapon of the thuggee. Other evidences suggest that the Katar (dagger) was their personal status weapon. A thuggee wore this weapon proudly across his chest. Early references to thugs reported they committed their strangulation murders with nooses of rope or catgut, but later they adopted the use of a length of cloth that could be used as a sash or scarf, and thus more easily concealed. This cloth is sometimes described as a rumal (head covering or kerchief), translated as “yellow scarf”; “yellow”, in this case, may refer to a natural cream or khaki colour rather than bright yellow.

    Thugs preference for strangulation might have originated from a quirk of the law under the Mughal Empire that ruled most of India from the 1500s. For a murderer to be sentenced to death, he or she must have shed the blood of their victim. Those who murdered but did not shed blood might face imprisonment, hard labour and paying a penalty—but they would not risk execution.

    A poison called Datura, derived from a plant in the Nightshade family, was sometimes used by thugs to induce drowsiness or stupefaction, making strangulation easier.

    The “River Thugs” preyed upon people including Hindu pilgrims, travelling through the Ganga River, and became, mostly active during the winter like their compatriots from Murena, Bundelkhand and Awadh. Their dialect of Ramasee differed from the one used by their compatriots on land and used boats taken on lease from their builders or from a jamadar called Khuruck Baboo. Sleeman states that they tapped three times to give the signal to murder, which they always committed during the day. To avoid detection of a corpse, they broke its back and threw it in the river to be eaten by crocodiles and only looted money or jewels.

    By the 1870s the ‘thug cult’ was essentially extinct, but the history of thuggee led to the Criminal Tribes Act (CTA) of 1871. Although the CTA was repealed upon Indian independence, tribes considered criminals still exist in India. The Thuggee and Dacoity Department remained in existence until 1904, when it was replaced by the central Criminal Intelligence Department (CID).

    There are many movies that have been made by Bollywood on thuggee,  such as Gunga Din in 1939, Sunghursh in 1968 and Thugs of Hindostan to name a few.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 8 prestigious libraries of the US that includes Harvard College Library; Harvard University Library; Library of Congress; University of Washington, Seattle; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Yale University, New Haven; University of Chicago; University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill University Libraries. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in libraries and archives of Canada, Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai and Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida, India)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K.)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

MIRAGE

(Published in February 2020. The book is a collection of eight short stories. It is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

Short stories and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: Reality and Perception 15.10.19; Sending the Wrong Message 31.5.20; Eagle versus Scholars June 15 & 20 2020; Indica 15.8.20; The Story of King Chitraketu August 31 2020.

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

   

INTERESTING FACTS FIGURES AND QUOTES–EPISODE 26

Copyright@shravancharitymission

  1. Silicon Valley lives in a bubble and its gods are oblivious of the havoc they have caused. Their technology is wonderful but is subverting elections and you are accessories to it. Liberal democracy is broken and you (Silicon Valley) broke it—says Carole Cadwalladr, the Welsh journalist who had exposed Cambridge Analytica and Facebook’s messing with the Brexit referendum.
  2. Shiva alone is usually not represented by a deity, and instead, is depicted by the lingam. Hindu mythology speaks of Krishna and Rama as avatars, they were born and they died. They are said to have worshipped Shiva. Other Gods also take physical birth, but Shiva neither takes birth, nor dies. Shiva incarnates himself in a human body, an occurrence that is celebrated during Shivratri.
  3. The British pound is the world’s oldest currency still in use. It is 1,200 years old. Dating back to Anglo-Saxon times, the pound has gone through many changes before evolving into the currency we recognise today.
  4. Egypt is considered one of the oldest countries of the world and was first settled around 6000 BC. The first dynasty was believed to be founded around 3100 BC. India and China are the other two world’s oldest countries.
  5. Damascus the present day capital of Syria is widely believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city of the world, with evidence of habitation dating back at least 11,000 years. Its location and persistence have made the city a nexus for civilizations that have come and gone.
  6. Let me remind you about the great mystic Kabir Das the legendary poet and saint who celebrated the breaking of his earthern pot. For him it meant emancipation from the daily drill of trudging far for filling water. Where, he further alludes to the joy of renouncing the false sense of self-pride.
  7. Kesaria is a place in Bihar about a 90 minute detour enroute to Patna from Motihari. This was where according to the legend, Buddha performed his ‘bal mundan’ and assumed his kesaria (saffron) robe.
  8. Buddha spent his last night in Kesaria en route from Vaishali to Kushinagar where Buddha believed, he attained Pari-nirvana, forseeing his end. When he asked his Lichhavi disciples to disperse and return to Vaishali. He gave them his alms bowl, to still the chorus of dissent. After his death, they built a mud stupa to house the bowl.
  9. The Ordnance Factory Board that supplies ammunition to the Indian army has 41 factories.
  10. Writer Somerset Maugham, a medico who never practiced, learned to play violin to tide over his loneliness in his old age. Bertrand Russel would regularly listen to Beethoven’s ethereal symphonies to fight his sporadic schizophrenic bouts. Victorian English poet Alfred Tennyson started playing the piano at 70 when he felt that his poetic prowess was waning.
  11. Contrary to the general belief that Mughal emperor Aurangzeb abhorred music, some accounts say that the Mughal court chronicler Khafif Khan mentioned in his court despatches written in Persian that Aurangzeb’s chronic insomnia at the age of 78 was cured by the court musician Ahmad Rasool Khan.
  12. In any merger the biggest challenge is always integration of human resources–Arundhati Bhattacharya, Ex-Chairman, SBI.
  13. The direction in which education sets a man will determine his future life–Plato Athenian philosopher.
  14. The Greek tragedian, Aeschylus was right when he said, ‘the first casualty of war is truth.’
  15. John Dryden, English poet wrote, ‘beware of the fury of the patient man.’
  16. If you have surrounded yourself with assholes, you’re going to be more of an asshole.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

LITERARY CORNER: THE INDIAN MUTINY OF 1857

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

THE INDIAN MUTINY OF 1857

by

George Bruce Malleson.

Pages 278

Publisher: Rupa Publications.

Price Rs 278.

(Caveat: Most foreign writers especially of British origin call it a ‘mutiny’ which means a rebellion against authority. Whereas, Indian writers and more so Indians like calling it a ‘War of Independence)

    The fifth print or impression of this book came out in 2016. Malleson lived from (8 May 1825 to 1 March 1898). He was an English officer born in Wimbledon and educated at Winchester. Thereafter, he obtained a cadetship in the Bengal infantry in 1842, and served through the second Burmese War. He was a prolific writer. He had written extensively on the Sepoy Mutiny. His important works include, ‘History of the Indian Mutiny of 1857-58’ that runs into six volumes, ‘History of the French in India’ and the ‘Decisive Battles of India.’

    He even authored the biographies of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, the French Governor-General Dupleix and the British officer Robert Clive for the Rulers of India series. He died in London on 1st march 1898.

        Mutiny of 1857 remains an event shrouded in mystery and intrigue. Its very significance, whether it can be considered as the first war of Independence, continues to be questioned. The causes of the mutiny are many but all elusive, and so are the consequences of the mutiny. But the moot point is did the mutiny ring the death knell of the British Empire, or was it a mere speck of exaggerated trouble? The book takes you through that.

    It serves to fill a tremendous gap in narrative accounts of the mutiny, and demystifies lay assumptions. It begins with a sizeable background on the genesis of the British Raj in India—a move not deliberate but powerful enough to shape history for decades to come. The author delves in great detail into the causes of the mutiny, unlike preceding writers who mostly concentrated on the consequences. And this the author could do because he was a serving officer and therefore privy to many decisions and happenings. With the aid of personal knowledge and observation he attempts to pin-point the ‘latent power’ that drove the mutiny on.

    He provides a realistic account of all the important operations that took place, praising the heroic and criticizing the undeserving. He is careful not to overlay his work with too much tedious detail, where his writing remains lucid and interesting. 

    The subject book captures successfully, and even uncompromisingly, an event that was perhaps disorganized but large in scale. It deals with each individual and geographical area separately, analysing the causes and effects, both locally and nation-wide. It captures the spirit of the time, its people who fought and died, and the changing attitudes of the British Raj, which was gradually losing control of its Empire.

    In writing this short History of the Indian Mutiny of 1857. The author has aimed at the compilation of a work, which when complete in itself, should narrate the causes as well as the consequences of a movement unforeseen, and even undreamt of. For the mutiny as per the author was sudden and swift in its action, and therefore taxed utmost the energies of the British people. Preceding writers on the same subject, whilst dealing very amply with the consequences, have, with one exception, but dimply shadowed forth the causes. Even the very actors of the Mutiny failed to detect them.

    Sir John Lawrence the then Viceroy of India from 1864 to 1869, himself, writing with full knowledge of events in which he played a very conspicuous part, mistook the instrument for the chief cause. He stopped at the greased cartridge. But the greased cartridge was never issued to the great body of troops, if indeed to any. There must have been a latent motive power to make of an unissued cartridge a grievance so terrible as to rouse into revolting men whose fathers and whose father’s father had contributed in the making of the British Empire in India. The greased cartridge, too, did not concern those landowners and cultivators of Oudh and the North-Western Provinces, who rose almost to a man. What that latent motive power was, the author has described fully, in this volume.

    In the early chapters of the book the author communicates, ‘That his belief about the mutiny is founded on personal knowledge and personal observation. Locally chief of the Commissariat Department at Kanhpur when, in January 1856, Sir James Outram crossed the Ganges to depose or remove from office the King of Oudh, I had witnessed the indignation which the very rumour of his purpose caused among the sipahis of my own guard. I reported their excited state to my superiors, and was laughed at for my pains. But, impressed with the accuracy of my forecast, viz., that the annexation of Oudh would rouse indignation and anger in the sipahi army. Nevertheless, I continued. After my transfer, two months later, to an appointment in the Military Audit Department in Calcutta, to keep a careful record of several occurrences, all apparently of minor importance, which supervened when the effects of the annexation of Oudh had been thoroughly realised by the sipahis. My observations led to the conclusion that they were thoroughly angered, and, a little later, that their minds were being mysteriously worked upon. I kept copious notes of the matters I observed, and discussed them with my brother officers, without, finding that my views were shared by any one of them. Essentially, it was not alone the greased cartridge but a host of other factors that brought about the mutiny of 1857. It would seem, however, that the officer who held the responsible post of Town major. His name Major, Orfeur Cavenagh, had, from his own observation, arrived at conclusions not dissimilar. He has narrated in his admirable work the observations forced upon him by the changed demeanour of the natives of the North-Western Provinces in 1856. But he too, stood, amongst high-placed Europeans, almost alone in his convictions. The fact is that, up to the very outbreak of the mutiny at Mirath, which is present day Meerut, no one, from highest to lowest, believed in the possibility of a general combination. Those, and they could be counted on the fingers of one hand, who endeavoured to hint at an opposite conclusion were ridiculed as alarmists. So ingrained was the belief in the loyalty of the sipahis, and so profound was the ignorance as to the manner in which their minds were affected, that neither the outbreak at Mirath nor the seizure of Delhi entirely removed it.

    The book is divided into twenty eight chapters that begins with the introduction and then talks about the conspirators, to the first mutterings of the storm and the happenings at Barrackpur, Calcutta and the North-West. The revolt at Mirath present day Meerut is significant along with the seizure of Delhi. The effect of the seizure of Delhi across India. The author then goes on to describe the progress of the insurrection in the North-West. There are several other chapters as a spill over of the mutiny that leads to the march to Delhi and the author has listed the reactions and activities that flared up in Kanhpur, Lakhnao, Allahabad, and Calcutta. It also describes in great detail the Britishers taking back famous monuments from the mutineers such as ‘The Residency’ at Lucknow after Havelock’s first attempts to relieve it failed.

    The other places that the book covers are the events in Sagar and Narbada territories, Central India, Rajputana, the Mirath Districts, Rohilkhand and the Punjab province and even Gwalior.

   It then talks of the second attempt to takeover Lakhnao Residency and the Gwalior contingent. It also describes how Sir, Colin Campbell recovers the Duab area of Punjab.

    The book also covers the rebellion in Eastern Bengal, Eastern Bihar, Azamgarh, Allahabad and Eastern Oudh.

    The author has used the old names of the cities and places as they were spelt during those times.

    The book does impact you only if you read it in a continuous stretch. It brings you to a point where you start thinking that sure enough the ‘mutiny of 1857’ the forerunner to the fight for freedom in India that the Indians launched on the British Raj in the twentieth century under Mahatma Gandhi.

    Overall the book is a treat for history lovers. It is meticulously punctuated and that changes the style of writing automatically, and with that the speed of reading, where, you might take some extra hours to finish the book, as compared to some other present day book of similar pages. I would give the book seven out of ten. A must read for history students.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****