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Interactive Archive Project

Newspaper Reports on the Mutiny from Around the World

1. The British in India in 1857 – New York , USA

in the north-west provinces of Bengal , the British forces were gradually drifting into the position of small posts planted on insulated rocks amid a sea of revolution. In lower Bengal, there had occurred only partial acts of insubordination at Mirzapore, Dinapore and Patna , beside an unsuccessful attempt made by the roving Brahmins of the neighborhood to recapture the holy city of Benares . In the Punjaub, the spirit of rebellion was forcibly kept down, a mutiny being suppressed at Sealkote, another at Jelum, and the disaffection of Peshawur successfully checked. Emeutes had already been attempted in Gujerat, at Punderpoor in Sattara, at Nagpore and Saugor in the Nagpore territory, at Hyderabad in the Nizam's territory, and, lastly, as far south as Mysore, so that the calm of the Bombay and Madras Presidencies must be understood as by no means perfectly secure.

SOURCE: Karl Marx, ‘The Revolt in India', The New York Daily Tribune, 15 September 1857

2. The British Defend their Position - India

“It may be alleged against us that we have deposed the Kings, and ruined the nobles of India , but why should the world sigh over that result? …. Had princes and rajahs in Hindustan been worth conserving they would have retained their titles and power. The class speedily die out in the natural course of mortality, and it is not for the benefit of society that it should be renewed. … For every anna that we have taken from the noble we have returned a rupee to the trader. We have saved more lives in peace, than we have sacrificed in war. … with the passing away of the present cloud, there will dawn a brighter day both for England and India . We shall strengthen at the same time our hold upon the soil and upon the hearts of the people; tighten the bonds of conquest and of mutual interest. The land must be thrown open to the capital and enterprise of Europe; the ryot lifted by degrees out of his misery, and made to feel that he is a man if not a brother, and every where heaven's gifts of climate and circumstance made the most of. The first centenary of Plassey was ushered in by the revolt of the native army, the second may be celebrated in Bengal by a respected Government and a Christian population.

SOURCE: Friend of India , 25 June 1857 

2. The Mutiny as a Source of Hope for Anti-Imperialists – Ireland

With arms in their hands, and enrolled, as a Militia is supposed to be, for its defence, they may not only repel, but expel, a foreign foe. The Indian insurrection has awakened in this country a wondrously unanimous feeling that retribution has at last overtaken English filibusterism. The natives of a country, with arms in their hands, will not always be dead to the voice of nationality. Mercenaries may continue to do the work of their hirers while the theatre of operations is a foreign country; but there is scarcely a race of men on earth so degraded as to contentedly remain mercenaries on their own soil-hired by a foreign power to keep their own country in subjection. Some time or another they are certain to strike a blow to wipe out the stain that their hearts keep suggesting to them rests upon their names. The Indian revolt is a great lesson; it shows what a body of armed or disciplined men-like the Bengal Native Infanty, or the Militia of any countryl-France, Scotland , England , or Ireland-may do.

SOURCE: The Nation, 1857.

4. The Exile of the Last Mughal Emperor - France

L'Inde septentrionale vient de voir s'accomplir un fait dont le retentissement s'est effacé au milieu des mille rumeurs de nos sociétés européennes, mais qui n'en restera pas moins un événement important de l'histoire contemporaine. Akbar II, le vieux roi de Delhi, a quitté le siège de sa puissance nominale pour s'acheminer vers Calcutta, sous l'escorte de quelques détachements de soldats anglais, et, disons-le, car ce fait caractérise l'événement, sous la garde d'un bataillon de police. Le fort Williams, où se trouve déjà renfermé le radjah d'Oude, va recevoir ce dernier fantôme de la monarchie des Grands Mogols. Sa déchéance avait été prononcée par un conseil de guerre. Cette transportation était l'application de l'arrêt: c'était l'exécution d'un empire. Ainsi s'écroulait le dernier debris de cette imposante monarchie fondée dans le sang des populations indoues par le cimeterre de Tamerlan' elle disparaissait dans l'ombre et le silence, après quelques années d'obscurité et quatre siècles de splendour.

  C'est le 7 octobre dernier qu'a eu lieu le départ du cortège. Il était composé d'un vaste et magnifique palanquin où se trouvaient le roi et ses deux fils: Iewan-Bukht et Chah-Abbas. Deux voitures fermées venaient ensuite; dans la première se trouvait, avec la begum [la reine], Zinut-Mahil, la femme d'Iewan-Bukht, la mère de cette princesse, sa soeur et un enfant; les deux autres femmes du vieux monarque déposé et leurs suivantes occupaient la seconde voiture, que suivaient cinq chariots réservés aux approvisionnements et aux serviteurs. Ce convoi quitta, vers huit heures du matin, les cours du magnifique palais, où les Farouksiar, les Djihan et leurs successeurs avaient reçu, depuis Babour, les hommages de tant de rois tributaires, et s'avança lentement vers la porte de Lahore, où les fusiliers du 2e regiment du Bengale qui l'accompagnait le remirent aux détachements d'artilleurs, de lanciers et au bataillon de soldats de police qui devaient former son escorte. Ce fut entourées de cette force, que les voitures, qui emportaient ce qui restait de cette domination séculaire, quittèrent Delhi, cette Indra prart'han [la demeure d'Indra], qui les voyait s'éloigner avec la même indifference qu'elle avait vu tomber ses souverains indous; c'est sous leur surveillance que ce convoy funèbre d'une des plus puissantes dynasties qui aient régné sur le monde s'avance, à travers ses Etats conquis, vers son dernier palais: une forteresse, une prison.

Source: Fulgence Girard, ‘Transportation de Akbar II et de sa famille de Delhi à Calcutta' Le Monde Illustré, 1857

5. Living with the Mutineers – Guyana

“ have among us many of the sepoys who took part in the murderous outbreak in India and have since been sent here as immigrants. They are men who require close supervision, the probability being that they are instigators or leaders in every outbreak which occurs among the immigrants”

Source: The Royal Gazette, British Guiana , 1 November 1870

 

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