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THE INDIAN MUTINY


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Post #81 Firebat

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Posted 21 January 2016 - 07:59 PM

Wonderful thread.......Great history lesson 


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Post #82 Guest_Harrytheheid_*

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 12:00 AM

The Effects of the Mutiny on the Raj (Part 1)

 

While the Mutiny failed to eliminate the westernizing influence of British rule, British victory did not give carte blanche to those who would continue the process of transforming Indian society on the British model. Within two years of the conflict rule was indeed reasserted across the sub-continent, yet relations between the belligerents could not be re-established on entirely the same basis of trust. The anger and animosity to which the fighting and, above all, the atrocities had given rise gradually eased, but the conflict understandably exacerbated the social and cultural differences which had always existed between the two societies, and the contempt in which some Britons held Indians intensified.

 

The practice by which British communities were living in increasing physical isolation from Indians grew more widespread, and contact, except as business required it, grew less frequent. The horrific nature of the fighting heightened the British sense of cultural and racial superiority, though it did not always manifest itself in obvious displays of contempt, particularly where Indians of high social rank were concerned. Still, British officials expected and received a reasonable degree of deference from the indigenous population, and instances of arrogance were not uncommon amongst colonists and administrators who saw themselves as the purveyors of justice, law, true faith, enlightened thought, and superior science and technology.

 

After the Mutiny instances of racial abuse increased, albeit gradually, and the more benevolent attitudes best associated with the 18th century largely gave way to civility at best and disdain at worst. In the wake of the Mutiny the rapid influx of British settlers – encouraged to remain in India by the British government as a possible means of rendering future rebellion less likely – lent strength to such attitudes, for this new generation had no prior connection with the sub-continent, and thus it possessed no natural affinity for the place and its people. Indeed, India increasingly became attractive not to those possessing a reforming spirit or a desire to administer the colony for its own benefit, but rather to businessmen keen to exploit the large profits to be derived from tea and coffee plantations and cheap uncultivated land in the hills which new legislation made available them.

 

It was natural enough that this new wave of Britons, knowing nothing of Indian culture and tradition and heavily influenced by the stories of the atrocities during the Mutiny should arrive with strong prejudices against the Indian population. The notion that British rule symbolized a sort of stewardship over a people who might eventually rule themselves was utter nonsense to most such newcomers, who preferred the interpretation that, as God had granted Britain guardianship over a vast, sprawling empire on the basis of her racial and cultural superiority, settlers ought to be free to exploit the population as they saw fit.

 

Prior to the Mutiny the notion of racial superiority had of course always existed, yet previous generations of administrators had regarded themselves as fulfilling a higher mission, whether it was to convert Indians to Christianity or to introduce what they regarded as the benefits of their civilization. These notions were largely absent from the minds of those who ventured to India in the second half of the 19th century. As religion had played a major role in the origins of the Mutiny, it was natural that in the wake of the conflict the British should reassess the role evangelism ought thereafter to play in India. It was clear to nearly everyone that attempts to Christianize the sub-continent – never part of official policy and largely the work of missionary societies – had ended disastrously.

 

Clearly, those who before the Mutiny had worked and prayed for conversion on a large scale had utterly failed to predict the backlash, and for many Christians their ardour received a severe check in light of the bitter lessons learned.

 

Neither Hinduism nor Islam had stood aside in favour of Christianity, and those religious practices which Britons regarded as distasteful, even shocking, superstition and ignorance – at least in the religious realm – would for the most part be permitted to carry on unmolested. If India was ever to be Christianized and to join the ranks of what mid-Victorians regarded as the civilized nations of the world, it was clearly not going to happen in the short term. With their illusions dispelled, most Britons grew to accept, if perhaps grudgingly, Hinduism and Islam as fixtures of Indian life, with the work of the preceding generation of missionaries acknowledged to have secured only a few converts.

 

The overriding lesson of the Mutiny was indeed a stark one: any serious attempt, real or perceived, to spread the Christian faith in India constituted an almost certainly futile, if not downright provocative, enterprise. Naturally, a few diehards remained. Indeed, the most passionate evangelicals amongst these turned the lesson of the Mutiny on its head: for them the revolt was divine punishment for the British having led dissolute lives in India and for having failed to proselytize more fervently. Missionary work should be redoubled – not reigned in. No less than David Livingstone himself, who had sought to bring Christianity to "darkest" Africa, delivered a rousing message on the subject to the Senate House at Cambridge University:-

 

I consider we made a great mistake when we carried commerce into India, in being ashamed of our Christianity. Those two pioneers of civilization - Christianity and commerce – should ever be inseparable; and Englishmen should be warned by the fruits of neglecting that principle as exemplified in the management of Indian affairs.

 

At about the same time, a missionary in Benares went almost so far as to welcome the bloodshed that had recently engulfed the sub-continent when he expressed his conviction that;

 

Instead of giving way to despondency, well does it become us to brace ourselves anew for our Master’s work, in the full assurance that our labor will not be in vain. Satan will again be defeated. He doubtless intended, by this rebellion, to drive the Gospel from India; but he has only prepared the way, as often before in the history of the Church, for its wider diffusion.

 

In the event, such notions, intended by their advocates to take on practical forms – with Bible classes to be taught all government schools and prisons, and the possibility of non-observance of Hindu and Islamic holidays – found no support from British government authorities in Calcutta, where the overwhelming body of opinion believed that a policy of strict religious neutrality was needed more than ever.

The realization that Christianity could not be expected to make a substantial appearance in India went hand in hand with an acceptance that British rule might not succeed in introducing other aspects of Western civilisation; that is to say, with no fundamental change to morals, and a failure to eradicate superstitions and customs regarded as backward, such as polygamy, child marriage and perhaps even the caste system itself.

 

Whereas before Indians might be rendered Britons in terms of attitude, opinions, morals and education, even progressive-minded Britons – while never doubting the moral imperative of their aims – began to question whether attempting fundamentally to transform Indian society was in fact a realistic prospect.

 

TO BE CONTINUED



Post #83 Guest_Harrytheheid_*

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 12:06 AM

Wonderful thread.......Great history lesson 

 

I believe a dispassionate study of the 19th century Great Mutiny can provide valid messages (and warnings) which it would behove our present day governments to learn and implement in our own century.

A theme I might return to later in this thread.



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Posted 22 January 2016 - 10:36 AM

 

I believe a dispassionate study of the 19th century Great Mutiny can provide valid messages (and warnings) which it would behove our present day governments to learn and implement in our own century.

A theme I might return to later in this thread.

 

One would hope but good luck with that mate.  You know what they say about history, the most successful politicians got the worst grades.



Post #85 Guest_Harrytheheid_*

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Posted 25 January 2016 - 08:44 PM

The Effects of the Mutiny on the Raj (Part 2)

 

While the British may in their eyes have possessed a special mandate to raise the moral consciousness of the Indian people through education and good example, after the Mutiny many administrators and colonists came to view Indians as irredeemably lost, at least in the short term, merely to be ruled rather than improved. Thus, perhaps the greatest consequences of the Mutiny were two-fold:-

A general halt in the hitherto vigorous efforts of missionaries to convert Indians on a large scale; and a slowing of the process by which administrators of the Raj sought to "civilize" the country with Britain as its model.

 

Only a small minority of people supported the idea of preparing Indians for self-government through education, much less employing them in large numbers in the administration of their own country. Indians were admitted to junior positions in the civil service, but this process was highly regulated, and a deliberate policy of exclusion from the higher ranks of administration could be justified on the grounds that only a handful of Indians were fit for the task. Having said this, in light of the catastrophe of recent years, Lord Canning appreciated that to exclude Indians altogether from higher decisions of government would be a grave mistake, and admitted onto the Legislative Council, which advised the government in Calcutta, a small number of Indian representatives.

This posed no threat to British rule, for supreme control of executive affairs would remain with the government, and in any event the Governor-General could assume emergency powers for six months if circumstances required it. Canning therefore nominated three prominent aristocratic Indians to the Council, on the basis that they had provided useful assistance to his government during the Mutiny. In short, despite the presence of a rising class of Indians educated in the British manner, no such men were invited to the higher echelons of imperial administration with the exception already identified.

 

Other reforms included the Indian Councils Act of 1861, which established local legislative bodies, to include at least one Indian representative each, in Madras, Bombay and Bengal. Thus, British authorities exercised a modicum of foresight in opening up the civil service to a limited number of Indians themselves.

 

The Mutiny also revealed the need to reform the system of law courts in India, as well as of the law itself. The judicial system, which had remained largely unchanged since 1773, contained two separate strands.

The first was managed by East India Company officials who administered Hindu, Muslim, and English law. The second consisted of three Supreme Courts operated separately – one each at Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras, where Crown officials, including many judges sent out from Britain, administered English law to both Indians and British subjects living within the three presidencies.

As the two systems were incompatible and blurred the boundaries of authority between them, the India High Courts Act of 1861 amalgamated the two, creating three High Courts, with a fourth established at Allahabad in 1866 with similar institutions – all exercising jurisdiction over civil and criminal courts within the territories of their respective presidencies – created in the Punjab, Sind and central India.

 

Though the great majority of High Court judges were crown-appointed, they were to be drawn from several categories in equal numbers:- members of the Indian Civil Service (all of whom were British); barristers sent out from Britain; and lawyers who had practiced in India. The broad definition of this last category was deliberate, for it enabled Indians themselves to play a small role in the legal system. Accordingly, shortly after the Mutiny, Canning appointed an Indian judge to the Calcutta High Court, partly as a means of demonstrating that his government was sincere in its desire to expand Indians’ participation in their own affairs – albeit on an extremely limited scale.

 

British officials also undertook the reform of Indian law itself. Muslim criminal law, which had undergone alteration over time, nevertheless remained in force, with its procedure hamstrung by an antiquated system of civil and criminal courts subject to complex regulations. To tackle these problems, a law commission established in London in 1853 and seeking to build on proposals for fundamental reform drawn up twenty-five years earlier, compiled the historic Codes of Civil and of Criminal Procedure in the years immediately preceding the Mutiny. These were adopted between 1859 and 1861 and replaced the existing body of Muslim law, providing a standard legal framework that applied across the entire sub-continent.

 

Thus, in the short-term, the British in India gleaned a few clear lessons from the Mutiny:- the sub-continent could no longer be regarded as fruitful ground for religious conversion, nor could a positive reception to British ideas on morality, opinion, culture and politics be taken for granted. Yet while it was widely understood that concessions ought to, and would be, made to Indians, there was no sense that self-rule – in which direction "white" colonies like Canada and Australia were already moving – was anything but a very distant prospect indeed. 

 

FINISHED, but if this thread has been of interest, then I would certainly recommend:-

Richard Attenborough's tremendous biopic movie "Gandhi"

 

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 http://www.amazon.co...keywords=gandhi 

     Product Description

Sir Ben Kingsley stars as Mohandas Gandhi in Lord Richard Attenborough's riveting biography of the man who rose from simple lawyer to worldwide symbol of peace and understanding. A critical masterpiece, GANDHI is an intriguing story about activism, politics, religious tolerance and freedom. But at the center of it all is an extraordinary man who fought for a nonviolent, peaceful existence, and set an entire nation free. Winner of 8 Academy Awards® including Best Picture, Best Director (Richard Attenborough) and Best Actor (Sir Ben Kingsley), GANDHI's highly acclaimed cast also includes Candice Bergen, Edward Fox, Sir John Gielgud, Roshan Seth and Martin Sheen.

     From Amazon.co.uk

Gandhi is a great subject, but is Gandhi a great film? Undoubtedly it is, not least because it is one of the last old-school epics ever made, a glorious visual treat featuring tens of thousands of extras (real people, not digital effects) and sumptuous Panavision cinematography. But a true epic is about more than just widescreen photography, it concerns itself with noble subjects too, and the life story of Mahatma Gandhi is one of the noblest of all. Both the man and the film have profound things to say about the meaning of freedom and racial harmony, as well as how to achieve them. Ben Kingsley, in his first major screen role, bears the heavy responsibility of the central performance and carries it off magnificently; without his magnetic and utterly convincing portrayal the film would founder in the very first scene. Sir Richard Attenborough surrounds his main character with a cast of distinguished thespians (Trevor Howard, John Mills, John Gielgud and Martin Sheen, to name but four), none of whom do anything but provide the most sympathetic support. John Briley's literate screenplay achieves the almost impossible task of distilling the bewildering complexities of Anglo-Indian politics. Attenborough's treatment is openly reverential, but, given the saint-like character of his subject, it's hard to see how it could have been anything else. He doesn't flinch from the implication that the Mahatma was naïve to expect a unified India, for example, but instead lets Gandhi's actions speak for themselves. The outstanding achievement of this labour of love is that it tells the story of an avowed pacifist who never raised a hand in anger, of a man who never held high office, of a man who shied away from publicity, and turns it into three hours of utterly mesmerising cinema.



Post #86 Guest_Jazzeum_*

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Posted 25 January 2016 - 10:12 PM

Bravo, Harry, a wonderful job!

Post #87 Guest_Harrytheheid_*

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Posted 25 January 2016 - 10:20 PM

Bravo, Harry, a wonderful job!

 

Thanks Brad and I'm glad you liked it.

Think I'll dig the DVD out and re-watch Gandhi tonight



Post #88 Mark IV

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Posted 26 January 2016 - 01:10 AM

Harry,

 

Just the most informative thread I have read.

 

Thanks for rekindling my interest in Victoria's little wars.

 

Regards

Mark



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Posted 26 January 2016 - 03:29 AM

Harry,

 

Just the most informative thread I have read.

 

Thanks for rekindling my interest in Victoria's little wars.

 

Regards

Mark

 

I might choose another little war, but which one? I'll have a think about it but 1st Afghan War or one of the Sikh Wars pushes the right buttons.



Post #90 Mark IV

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Posted 26 January 2016 - 03:49 AM

If I could be so bold the Sikh Wars

 

Mark



Post #91 Guest_Harrytheheid_*

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Posted 26 January 2016 - 05:13 AM

If I could be so bold the Sikh Wars

 

Mark

 

Perhaps just a bit too close to the Mutiny time-wise.





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