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Battles of India: Critical Analysis

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Postby Murugan » 13 Apr 2006 14:31

impression of an unknown unsucceessful invader in the times of Darius/Herodotes

These Indians whom I have described have intercourse openly like cattle; they are all black-skinned, like the Ethiopians. [2] Their semen too, which they ejaculate into the women, is not white like other men's, but black like their skin, and resembles in this respect that of the Ethiopians. These Indians dwell far away from the Persians southwards, and were not subjects of King Darius.


Grapes are sour

:rotfl:

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Postby Murugan » 13 Apr 2006 14:45

Last edited by Murugan on 17 Apr 2006 13:49, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Murugan » 13 Apr 2006 14:56

Travels in the Mogul Empire -- the Conclusion (1671)

some good references on some small but decisive battles and interesting incidents.

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Postby D_Prem » 14 Apr 2006 05:58



Murugan, this link doesnt lead to the page on Dara Shikho's death..... instead it goes to the Herodotus link.

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Postby Kaushal » 14 Apr 2006 21:06

This is an interesting thread
(interesting to me at any rate)

I have plans to compile a page on Great Battles and great warriors of India at my new web site

indicethos.org.

the main theme of thes site is to develop an accurate picture of the civilizational ethos and to develop an accurate historical context and chronology until the medieval era.The site is merely a month old .

This is a fairly massive endeavor and needs more participation from interested volunteers (to provide complete essays or research help.Feel free too contact me at webmaster at indicethos.org or indicstudies.us or check out the current content at the site. comments,critique,corrections , opinions welcome

It is my thesis that ancient India (up to 1200 CE )was neither warlike nor pacifist,neither expansionist (outside the area of the Greater Indic civlization in the sense of Alexander) nor a pushover when it came to the bottomline of preservation of its civilizational ethos.

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Postby John Snow » 14 Apr 2006 21:17

Kaushal garu come here more often, like it or not there is void here.
Your absence is much felt

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Postby Kaushal » 14 Apr 2006 22:26

Intentions are not always followed up. (because of Time and arthrtis in my fingers).i will make the attempt however .BR has always a special place in my memory. i will never forget the halcyon days and months after 1998

thank you for the kind words.(was your previous avatar spinster)

Kaushal
indicethos.org

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Postby amritk » 15 Apr 2006 06:26

Singha wrote:Purely as a theoritical exercise could a regiment of 18 x 105mm modern light artillery have swung the tide in the major battles seen in northern india invasions ?

I read a novel wherein a WW2 japanese steam powered carrier is encased in artic ice , hundreds of years later when other advanced forms of propulsion no longer seem to work ...alien invasion or such...this carrier is finally melted out of the glacier and put to work - gotta recall the name of that novel...


The seventh carrier books??

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Postby asprinzl » 16 Apr 2006 08:10

Military lessons in Indian history:

1) Facing Alexander's soldiers, Porus sends his troops on break on sundown thus giving the Macedonians the advantage.

2) Pritviraj battled and prevailed over Mahmud of Gazni several times and at one time even captured him. After each failure, Gazni is surprised that the Indians did not pursue him. After capture, Gazni is set free thus giving him a chance to regroup, replenish and come back for another try. Finally, he emerges victor and vanquishes Pritviraj.

3) Nehru, while the military held the upper hand in Kashmir agrees to a ceasefire thus forever dooming India's chance of having a contiguos land border with Central Asia that would be such a God send in light of India's imense hunger for fosil fuel to power her expanding economy.

4) Nehru neglects the military's needs and India pays with her soldiers' lives and territories to China.

5) India captures almost a hundred thousand Pakistani prisoners in 1971, yet none was ever tried for war crimes which under internaitonal law many of them deserved to be tried. Instead of making a hard bargain, they are freed without condition-according the Benazir Butto even her father was surprised because before Simla summit, he had confessed to her that Indira held all the cards and Pakistan's future depended on her.

6) Pakistani troops violated the LOC and occupied Indian territory. India mounts a limited but brutal military campaign without opening other front. When total victory is at sight, India agrees to let the enemy withdraw thus letting the enemy walk away without more casualty.

7) The enemy audaciously attempts to attack the Parliament house. Instead of conducting a quick punitive strike, India mounts a prolonged conventional buildup to rattle down the enemy. All the resources expended in this buildup was actually a waste of scarse resource and in some instance revealed some of India's mobilization secrets. In the end it came to nothing.

I am only able to come up with these above seven but the lessons that Indians seemed to have learned from the above: NOTHING!!!!!

That is why while the enemy is so quickly planning for the delivery of up to seventy F-16s, Indians are still busy issuing RFI, CFI, KFI, MFI, GFI, WFI, TFI, FFI, IFI SFI and what not.

Someone rightfully said in someother thread.....while Rome slept......barbarians were converging at the gates.
AS

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Postby Raj Malhotra » 16 Apr 2006 10:02

If you look at this thread, we are still repeating the same mistakes:-


1. Failure of intelligence (1962, 1965 & Kargill).


2. Relying on imports and failure of indigenous defence production.


3. Failure to act ruthlessely against the enemy who is repeatedly attacking you (Pakistan).


For two thousand years things have hardly changed!

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Postby mohanty » 16 Apr 2006 12:22

asprinzl wrote:
5) India captures almost a hundred thousand Pakistani prisoners in 1971, yet none was ever tried for war crimes which under internaitonal law many of them deserved to be tried. Instead of making a hard bargain, they are freed without condition-according the Benazir Butto even her father was surprised because before Simla summit, he had confessed to her that Indira held all the cards and Pakistan's future depended on her.

6) Pakistani troops violated the LOC and occupied Indian territory. India mounts a limited but brutal military campaign without opening other front. When total victory is at sight, India agrees to let the enemy withdraw thus letting the enemy walk away without more casualty.

7) The enemy audaciously attempts to attack the Parliament house. Instead of conducting a quick punitive strike, India mounts a prolonged conventional buildup to rattle down the enemy. All the resources expended in this buildup was actually a waste of scarse resource and in some instance revealed some of India's mobilization secrets. In the end it came to nothing.

I am only able to come up with these above seven but the lessons that Indians seemed to have learned from the above: NOTHING!!!!!

That is why while the enemy is so quickly planning for the delivery of up to seventy F-16s, Indians are still busy issuing RFI, CFI, KFI, MFI, GFI, WFI, TFI, FFI, IFI SFI and what not.

AS


While there is no doubt about the disasters Nehru's self-styled intellectual superiority has caused, I think in 1971, Indira was under great pressure from everywhere. Trying prisoners for war-crime is a political game(like Nobel peace prize) that only rich and powerful play. Overall, the risks she took and the strategy she followed is probably a good one under the circumstances.

And about the punitive strikes, India does not have the psyche for a ruthless policy for enemy. Gandhian policy is all around. As Rahul said, nothing has changed in 2000 years. I may add that nothing will change in next 2000 also. The kind of mindset and strategy needed for israel style strikes and alien to our white-kurta wearing netas. That is not surprising because the population at large also has a more forgiving-forgetting and peace loving attitude.

Pakis may buy 70 F16, but even if India buys 300 F18s, the kind backbone needed for pro-active policies is not there in Indians. So no amount of foreign weapons will help. Even countries have characters, some are alpha-males like US and some are not. Nothing can change that. As they say, India will become a call-center super power. So relax, atleast with whatever IAF has it will be able to defend(with good losses) in case of paki-attack. .

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Postby Kakkaji » 16 Apr 2006 19:51

mohanty wrote:And about the punitive strikes, India does not have the psyche for a ruthless policy for enemy. Gandhian policy is all around. As Rahul said, nothing has changed in 2000 years. I may add that nothing will change in next 2000 also. The kind of mindset and strategy needed for israel style strikes and alien to our white-kurta wearing netas. That is not surprising because the population at large also has a more forgiving-forgetting and peace loving attitude.


It took a holocaust for the Jews to develop an aggressive military mindset. In India's case, we've endured military defeats, slavery, and mini-holocausts, and yet not developed a military mindset. What will it take? :?:

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Postby mohanty » 16 Apr 2006 22:44

RajeevT wrote:
It took a holocaust for the Jews to develop an aggressive military mindset. In India's case, we've endured military defeats, slavery, and mini-holocausts, and yet not developed a military mindset. What will it take? :?:


I am not sure. Although it would be a bit far fetched to compare with Dodo, but its a bit like that. Some people just don't get it.

Besides, India's proper history against oppression seems to start with arrival of British according to our commie(secular) text books. So new generation never learns the kind of threat and slaughter it faced before that. And about mini-holocaust, Hindu holocaust was bigger than that of Jews. So for many Indians, there is no threat. There was never any. Only Brits are evil. People say, India was born in 1947. What was there before that? Before the Brits came, there was not even a proper sense of Indianness. Look at China, it claims territories as its own because some Qing, Ming or whatever dynasty ruled it 100s of years back. Since we don't even acknowledge the problem, so no solution possible. As somebody has said, the worst enemy of hinduism is hinduism itself. It is inward looking. And so we are also inward looking.

It is a complicated matter. How do you generate a aggression? I think one is by threat perception(like Israel) which is negative. Another is true confidence and faith (like US or islam during its expansion period) which is positive. Since we ignored the first one for centuries, the result had destroyed the second one and brought us slavery. I am getting confused now. One has to clearly think about it.

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Postby D_Prem » 17 Apr 2006 06:54

mohanty wrote:
RajeevT wrote:
It took a holocaust for the Jews to develop an aggressive military mindset. In India's case, we've endured military defeats, slavery, and mini-holocausts, and yet not developed a military mindset. What will it take? :?:


I am not sure. Although it would be a bit far fetched to compare with Dodo, but its a bit like that. Some people just don't get it.


Absolutely right .......... we just dont get it..... and we probably wont either. I hate to admit it but I think India will only ever be a call center superpower; primarily because she just doesnt have 'it' to be a real superpower.

BUT there is a slight chance that things could turn out different. For that to happen Hindus (and Indians in general) need a real facewash.....an eyeopener which will bring about a renaissance in our fundamentals.

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Postby Murugan » 17 Apr 2006 13:52

D_Prem:
have corrected Death of Dara... links
thanx

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Postby Tapasvi » 17 Apr 2006 14:15

unbounded generosity, kindness and love for humanity!!!

these are teh reasons given for all military fiascos and mistakes. apart from china war, where careless overconfidence of leaders cost us.

but in general, lack of aggresion and sparing vemonous snakes like muhammad gauri and then those 90k paki a**es in 71. it all shows lack of killer instinct. in a way used to be reflected in our cricket team.

but i believe times are changing now, but still long way to go. still lot needs to change. to me, how the bangladesh insurgency is being handled shows we havent learnt lessons at all.

we behave much like lethargic elephant

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Postby Murugan » 17 Apr 2006 14:17

1) Facing Alexander's soldiers, Porus sends his troops on break on sundown thus giving the Macedonians the advantage.


this historical facts should be read with pinch of salt. your histroy is written by foreigners (old colonial masters) where alexander the gay is great but 'chengiz khan' is not, chandra gupta is not, Samudra Gupta is not. Then there are many Like Shivaji Maharaj, Raghoba Rane and many more. But they want you to learn only about Prithviraj' losing, Porus's losing. Selective History. We need to come out from this vicious circle.

2) Pritviraj battled and prevailed over Mahmud of Gazni several times and at one time even captured him. After each failure, Gazni is surprised that the Indians did not pursue him. After capture, Gazni is set free thus giving him a chance to regroup, replenish and come back for another try. Finally, he emerges victor and vanquishes Pritviraj.


Time and again you are told about this story, to wash your brain that you are forgiving kinda people and keep on forgiving.

You are never told/taught much about the Might of Chandraguptas or Samudraguptas. You are not even told about sikh rulers of kashmir and tibet. Even not much about Shivaji Maharah and Peshwas, about Bhimdev Solanki and Raja BHOJ.

so we always crib about what we MISSED and not what we ACHIEVED and thus negative auto-suggestion of a loser.

EAGLES are told that they are not eagles but something else.

Why can't we ACCENTUATE the positives of Indian History. Try to re-write the 'original' history.

3) Nehru, while the military held the upper hand in Kashmir agrees to a ceasefire thus forever dooming India's chance of having a contiguos land border with Central Asia that would be such a God send in light of India's imense hunger for fosil fuel to power her expanding economy.

4) Nehru neglects the military's needs and India pays with her soldiers' lives and territories to China.


India was again in the hands of Indians and had no experience of running a country democratically for last 1400 years. A novice was at the helm. this was/can be a mistake or something else.

5) India captures almost a hundred thousand Pakistani prisoners in 1971, yet none was ever tried for war crimes which under internaitonal law many of them deserved to be tried. Instead of making a hard bargain, they are freed without condition-according the Benazir Butto even her father was surprised because before Simla summit, he had confessed to her that Indira held all the cards and Pakistan's future depended on her.

6) Pakistani troops violated the LOC and occupied Indian territory. India mounts a limited but brutal military campaign without opening other front. When total victory is at sight, India agrees to let the enemy withdraw thus letting the enemy walk away without more casualty.


bargaining for live solders? forgot Kargil? They are even not ready to honour the deads. with whom you are dealing dude?

7) The enemy audaciously attempts to attack the Parliament house. Instead of conducting a quick punitive strike, India mounts a prolonged conventional buildup to rattle down the enemy. All the resources expended in this buildup was actually a waste of scarse resource and in some instance revealed some of India's mobilization secrets. In the end it came to nothing.


the enemy worn out without fighting. YOU are WINNIG and Enemey has LOST. You have 1 Billion to feed. You have ambition to become something and not Jihadis. You want to grow persistently. What is wrong if you WIN without losing...

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Postby svinayak » 18 Apr 2006 07:46


Recalling Jallianwala Bagh trauma
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 2
Baisakhi brings with it the nostalgia of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre for Mr Bharpur Singh(90), who as a four- year- old child, was a witness to the mayhem in 1919.

Travelling down memory lane, Mr Bharpur Singh told The Tribune yesterday that he along with his grandfather and an uncle had gone to Jallianwala Bagh where many people had gathered to celebrate the Baisakhi festival and to pay obeisance at the Darbar Sahib.

He said the Congress had announced to hold a political meeting and the authorities were opposed to it and with this in view General Dyer, with a posse of men blocked the main entry to the ground , which was surrounded on all sides by houses. On the southern side there were small mud huts.

He said when General Dyer asked his men to open fire , being a child he was unaware of what was happening. He said he had only a hazy idea that there was gun fire and shrieks and cries of people who started running helter-skelter. He said his grandfather took him in his arms and ran towards the mud huts. His uncle broke his arm while jumping on the other side from the roof on one of the huts. They were lucky to reach their ancestral house nearby.

Further recounting the incident he said his uncle in the absence of any medical aid could only get his arm bandaged by a quack. Though the fracture got healed but he could not straighten his arm from his elbow throughout his life.

He said whenever he visits Amritsar he bows his head in front of the statue of martyr Udham Singh who must have been moved by the tyranny perpetrated by Gen. Dyer and took the revenge 21 years later in 1940.


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Postby bala » 18 Apr 2006 11:09

Kaushal wrote: i will never forget the halcyon days and months after 1998


Kaushal welcome back. I do remember those days and your marathon contribution to Indus civilization thread. I learnt a lot. also the heady days post POKRAN-II for India.

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The Great Indian Mutiny/War of Independence/Rebellion

Postby Jehammond » 18 Apr 2006 15:13

Folks,

To Indian educated elite and its historians the 1857 conflict in northern India is like after my countries Civil War in the mid 1860s or the later Vietnam War. There was so much emotion that any historian or general trying to objectively write about the history of those conflicts was shouted down. Only recently have the American people been able to view the American Civil War objectively and many still not can do that with the Vietnam War (ie many today believe the US was stabbed in the back by the left wing US news media even though almost every US general involved states that is not true).

But the conflict and country that the American public has never reconciled itself with is the American Revolution and the French. When ever in my country they are going through spasams of French bashing many American historians and elected officials try and point out that it was French troops, naval ships and more important seige engineers that caused the decisive defeat of Cornwallis at Yorktown. But even today most Americans think the French were at Yorktown only to watch. And that is the way I see most Indians view of the 1857 conflict. It just hurts to much to really look at the facts and reality of that conflict. And I think it will most likely be another century before it can be done by historians in India.,

I have read many books on Indian Mutiny. From the British version that reads like a US Western with the brave and good Cowboys and the evil and cowardly Native warriors. To the New Indian History which has so many facts wrong it is unbelievable (eg the Enfield is reported as a breechloader rifle). To the Indian generals (forget his name) "The Devil's Wind." But by far (ie if anyone is interested in the facts and reality) the best objective description of "Why?" and "What?" of that conflict is in Lawrence James "RAJ - The Making and Unmaking of British India". And for those that are getting upset and crying "Colonialists Pig!" the author goes to great pains to state (ie and with the proof in letters and orders of that day) that some in the British government were under pressure from Christian missionaries through politicians in the UK to allow them to convert the Sepoy regiments (ie including making it clear promotion would come to those that convert to Christian faith) and that the British European troops and the Sikhs were killing and torturing innocent Indian villagers to find out where they had hidden what wealth they had. But the author also gives the otherside. So if anyone is interested in something other than what in America we called "The Gone With the Wind" version of history I would try and obtain a copy of that book.

Finally, of the 1857 conflict there are three unanswered questions that no one has every been able to answer: 1> Why did they mutineers/rebels, etc leave the telegraph wires uncut? 2> Why didn't the tribes on the NWF take advantage and uprising against the British -- ie that would have been a death blow? 3> And last: What ever happened to Nana Sahib -- ie in the Devils Wind you last see him at night at a campfire some place, but never is said where?

Jack E. Hammond

NOTE> I have a feeling that I will get a few objective and polite replies and a lot of the other kind.

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Postby Anand K » 18 Apr 2006 16:09

Telegraph wires:

The sepoys did cut telegraph wires if they happened to run through the hot spots of the rebellion.... in Awadh, Delhi and parts of Central India. Anecdotes like this probably saved the day for the British. Moreover, majority of the lines were in the frontier areas like NWFP and commercially important areas like Bengal and Bombay, which saw little action. IIRC, the first lines were between Ft. William and Diamond Harbor....

NWFP tribes

The Afghan King has a good degree of control over those wild tribes..... even during their lean phase that was the British Raj in India.
The policy of Masterly Inactivity and the treaty with Dost Mohammed in 1855 clinched the western frontier...... atleast till Disraeli-Lytton combine of 1876. DM had a golden chance to mess things up for the Brits, but he chose to abide by the deal..... It was prolly because of the major losses suffered during the 1842-1844 phase, the 1849 war and the conquest of Balkh in 1850. The Brits also aided him in taking Herat from the Persians in early 1857 and had a strong force in kandahar IIRC. Note that 1857 revolt took place during the reign of the Liberals in UK, a party that viewed Afghanistan as a buffer state. Things changed when Disraeli came to power.

Nana Sahib

Nobody knows..... last seen crossing into Nepal with a small band in 1859. Died of disease.... or other factors in the Terai jungles? Quietly disposed off by the Nepal King? Chose to remain incognito for the rest of his life (The Brits were raring to hang, draw and quarter him for his alleged role in the Kanpur massacre)?

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Postby Murugan » 18 Apr 2006 16:28

We have objection to the use of word MUTINY.

people who are out there to write about indian history does not have enough appreciation of the situation most of the time.

It was india's first war of Independence.

MUTINYING happens against a constituted authority
- while these thugs got power by using all foul means - back channel jugglery, playing with indian sentiments, dividing people of india with only one objective:TO LOOT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, like the invaders like ghaznavis, ghauris and abdalis.

this so called authority was different from -invaders- of the past. other invaders viz., greeks, huns, scythians, pahalavas, kushanas and even mughals who came to invade or win/rule india - but - ultimately became part of india and now they are there everywhere as indians, don't know even i am descendent of one of the invaders, but heart bleeds for the nation,e winning their bread and butter with pride in this nation. while european colonialist came here with only one purpose - to trade. the natives of that time of india probably considered them somewhat similar to earstwhile traders or invaders and hoped that they will also became one with the nation and will have a similar identity. but the natives were wrong. gradually these natives were being treated like slaves, then these colonialists started purchasing the local chiefs and lords and ultimately grabbed power. started their judicial system and clerk producing educational system rendering artisans and other skilled workers jobless, built railway (where indians were not allowed to travel or allowed to travel only in third class) to stash away raw material from India and bringing the final product back to india and selling them at higher rate in the same country and shamelessly calling this country as crown jewel of their empire. fired at our hapless people in jalianwalabagh, hanged our people, ill treated them, even constructed a jail in our homeland to punish our own people...

now people who were up in arms against them being called mutineers... is it justified?

Are they mutineers or FREEDOM FIGHTERS?

what these colonialists had done other than decimating the red indians in US, Maoris in New Zealand, Aborigines of Australia and large part of african population. can these natives' struggle for their survival in their own homeland and for just rights can be called MUTINY?

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Mutineers or Freedom Fighters

Postby Jehammond » 19 Apr 2006 15:46

Are they mutineers or FREEDOM FIGHTERS?

what these colonialists had done other than decimating the red indians in US, Maoris in New Zealand, Aborigines of Australia and large part of african population. can these natives' struggle for their survival in their own homeland and for just rights can be called MUTINY?


Dear Members,

Ok for the sake of arguement. There is one big difference between the Red Indians, the Maoris, the Aborigines and the Africans: ie they were not members of the British forces and had taken alligence to obey orders, etc. And that is a big difference. Almost all reputable historians (ie and even most in India) have stated they did not mutiny to liberate India (well at least the northern part) from British rule. It was more like the great Royal Navy mutiny of the last 1700s -- ie they had been mistreated or precieved to be mistreated that they had had enough. Remember what sparked the mutiny was what they saw as a gross injustice to their comrades who refused to bite the cartridges and were being shipped off to the penal islands in a humiliating manner. And then when they did mutiny it was suddenly "Oh sh*t!" what now. And then they thought of the old Mugal king in Delhi. And there were British officers warning about this over and over before it happened. And none of the reports (ie or even the mutineers) by those British officers mentioned it was a war of freedom to throw off British rule no more than the French mutiny of 1916 was against the French government. Almost all, Indian and British, stated it was a belief that their religion was being attacked and that their British officers no longer respected or cared for them. That the contract between them and their officers was being broken by the British. It is no different than I suspect than the earlier mutinies when the British tried to force some regiments to ship out to Burma or that one idiot British commander totally ignored his mens religious concerns. Which was more important in the 1800s in India: Religion or Nationalism? Just curious: Which is it today -- ie religion or nationalism.

For example. Say today's Indian Army had Moslem regiments in Kashmir. And they were paid less than the Hindi and Ghurkas and then heard rumors that they were being issued new rations that had ground pork bones in it and they suddenly rose up in arms and killed their officers and then suddenly asked for Pakistani help and rushed to the Pakistani side of the border. Which would they be: Mutineers or Freedom Fighters? If they are not mutineers then what does the term mutiny mean?

Jack E. Hammond

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Postby Murugan » 19 Apr 2006 16:40

please dont rub much salt to our wound.

the soldiers of british indian army were not volunteers but slaves.

the red indian, maori, australian aborigines' example was to show the attitude of colonialists to the natives and nothing to do with your EDITED BY ADMIN mutiny theory.

it was a first war of independence and that is also the stand of government of India. there have been postage stamp issued by the government in 1989 depciting explicitly that incidents of 1857 was first war of independence.

ADMIN WARNING: Keep the discussion C-I-V-I-L

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Postby JCage » 19 Apr 2006 16:46

Jehammond,

There are quite a few sources noting that the event was much more organized than you note. Messages were passed around from much before, the entire pork/beef grease bit message...how do you think it spread so rapidly?
The only problem was that the leaders of the failed attempt had planned for a much later date and were caught off guard by the sudden blow up and revolt. They then had to manage with what they had, and without adequate logistics and care, the war went against them.

Cheers.

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Postby Murugan » 19 Apr 2006 16:46

For example. Say today's Indian Army had Moslem regiments in Kashmir. And they were paid less than the Hindi and Ghurkas and then heard rumors that they were being issued new rations that had ground pork bones in it and they suddenly rose up in arms and killed their officers and then suddenly asked for Pakistani help and rushed to the Pakistani side of the border.


do you still have colonial hangover?

don't give us exmples of moslem regiments revolting against their own people. we have supreme commander of the armed forces - the president of india - who practice islam.

our armed forces have volunteers and everybody is treated equally in india unlike your colonial examples of White beaches and beaches for blacks, barracks for white and separate barracks for blacks.

this is too much.

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Postby Murugan » 19 Apr 2006 16:52

Mutineers or Freedom Fighters? If they are not mutineers then what does the term mutiny mean?


freedom fighters don't have to cross borders.

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Postby Kakkaji » 19 Apr 2006 19:10

Jehammond:

I think 1857 is a wrong topic for a westerner to discuss with Indians, because western perception of events of that time is radically different from what the Indians think. Just like you mentioned about the American Revolutionary War, there are too many opposing views and sensitivities involved. In fact, the Govt. of India recently had to cancel the big celebrations it had planned for 250 years of 1857 because some very influential people in the current political set-up would have been embarrassed by the fact that their ancestors sided with the British during 1857. It was a conflict in which large numbers of Indians fought on both sides. It will take perhaps another 100 years before this one can be discussed dispassionately by us.

JMT

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Postby svinayak » 19 Apr 2006 22:10

http://tinyurl.com/plgkg

This is a good discussion running into many pages on the war of independence.

The Revolutionary Upheaval of 1857
Although dismissed by some as merely a sepoy's mutiny or revolt, or as a protest against the violation of religious rights by the British, the great uprising of 1857 is slowly gaining recognition as India's first war of independance. And in it's broad sweep it was the greatest armed challenge to colonial rule during the entire course of the nineteenth century. Attracting people from all walks of life - both Hindus and Muslims, it triggered demands for radical social and economic reforms, calling for a new society that would be more democratic and more representative of popular demands.
Early Precedents

Neither was it a bolt out of the blue. Although not very well known, the period between 1763 and 1856 was not a period during which Indians accepted alien rule passively.

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Postby asharma » 19 Apr 2006 23:10

I read Lawrence James "RAJ- The Making and Unmaking of British India" quite some time back, and time permitting, will try to make a more detailed submission sometime next month when I am back home... but if the events as depicted by James is accurate, then the whole Raj happened by accident....... the Britsh were all pure and innocent and merely trying to protect their commercial interests at that moment with nary a thought to long-term political power :D

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Postby Babui » 19 Apr 2006 23:37

Nothing wrong with Jack Hammond's opinions. They should be debated and not 'put down' in a crass manner. I suspect that the uprising started with a mutiny and evolved into a war of independence (however weak it was). If it was a war of independence - then independence from whom and for what purpose? We were, in 1857, a nation of kingdoms with the British controlling only some parts. Suppose, the 'war of independence' was successful - would India be the India that we know today or would it be collection of kingdoms?
[This thread is on critical battles and analysis and we will get sidetracked if we engage in a debate over the larger issue of mutiny or independence. Lets keep it focused on individual battles]

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Postby Kakkaji » 19 Apr 2006 23:52

If the battles, or places of action, in 1857 are to be discussed, there are several that come to mind:

1. Lucknow
2. Delhi
3. Jhansi
4. Meerut
5. Kanpur

The trouble with analyzing these is that most accounts of 'military' action that I have read were written by the British. The Indian accounts of the events of 1857 that I have seen contain more of nationalistic rhetoric and less of details of military action.

So, if we have to analyze these battles, we have to rely on British accounts. Given that so many on the British side have written and analyzed the events of 1857, can we pick out some of the more 'objective' ones and discuss them calmly without flaming and name-calling?

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Postby Lalmohan » 20 Apr 2006 00:44

there was a book called "Night runners of Bengal" by a British author who painted a fictitious account of a 1857 battle - it was quite even handed from what I recall - it may provide some input into the style of battle

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Postby Jehammond » 20 Apr 2006 02:27

RajeevT wrote:Jehammond:

I think 1857 is a wrong topic for a westerner to discuss with Indians, because western perception of events of that time is radically different from what the Indians think. Just like you mentioned about the American Revolutionary War, there are too many opposing views and sensitivities involved. In fact, the Govt. of India recently had to cancel the big celebrations it had planned for 250 years of 1857 because some very influential people in the current political set-up would have been embarrassed by the fact that their ancestors sided with the British during 1857. It was a conflict in which large numbers of Indians fought on both sides. It will take perhaps another 100 years before this one can be discussed dispassionately by us.

JMT


Dear Member,

You are 100% correct. It is way to much like the discussion of the effects of slavery, etc in almost 100 years after our Civil War. To many raw emotions. I was wrong to bring the subject. In the US we can discuss these issues claimly. But almost 250 years have passed in our War of Independence and 150 in the horrible Civil War. For India it has been only 60 years.

But one last comment that George MacDonald Fraser uncovered during the battles in the 1857 conflict in a letter home. A British officer heard another British officer after a battle comment to another British officer "Didn't our men fight grandly!" The officer listening suddenly realize that it was an officer of on of the former Native Regiments commenting on the ones they had engaged in battle!

Finally, I have read the DEVILS WIND and others by Indian authors. But most have stated it just covers the culture and econmics. I look forward to finding the book mentioned Night of the Bengal.

Jack E. Hammond

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Postby Jehammond » 20 Apr 2006 02:36

JCage wrote:Jehammond,

There are quite a few sources noting that the event was much more organized than you note. Messages were passed around from much before, the entire pork/beef grease bit message...how do you think it spread so rapidly?
The only problem was that the leaders of the failed attempt had planned for a much later date and were caught off guard by the sudden blow up and revolt. They then had to manage with what they had, and without adequate logistics and care, the war went against them.

Cheers.


Dear JCage,

I was going to make the last comment ending it. But you have always been a perfect gentleman in your discussion and debating even when you disagree (btw compared to most military forums in the US this one is extremely polite and civil).

There is one historical point that no one has mentioned that points to it being a rebellion to throw the British out: ie many of the regiments that rose up had men who were back home on extended leave and most could have avoided the conflict but instead most of them rushed from their villages to their regiments to fight the British. This one important item over looks a lot.

Jack E. Hammond

NOTE> Absolute last message in this thread unless it is a discussion of weapons, battles, tactics, etc.

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Postby Murugan » 20 Apr 2006 10:09

JEH:

You have taken liberty by giving fictitious example of moslems rebeling in india.

Now for a thought, i will give you a semi-fictitious example:

mutiny= white christians convert to islam and start planting bombs to blow up their own white people in their own motherland

freedom fight=people rise to throw the rulers/oppressors who are generally outsiders (alien to these people), reasons ill-treatment, fundamental rights are not given, oppression

In this case, there is nothing like indian moslems - it is muslim indians and they are very part of this country, they are not oppressed or ill treated rather they are flourishing in every sphere of life in india - unlike white-nonwhite situation somewhere else. we can't take the suggested example.

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Postby JCage » 20 Apr 2006 10:32

Murugan,

Please, lets move on. You made your point- so lets not get stuck here.


JeH,

Thanks- there is also the point that comes up, about the revolt being from different units/ groups etc and not being centralized- from the Indian POV, it still counts because it was the first organized attempt to fight and defeat British rule using multiple alliances. In other words, it was not merely x fighting with y jumping in and z defeated first, most accounts dwell on that, but several Indian sources reiterate how much preparation went into making the revolt happen- it wasnt totally spontaneous, but then as they say, events take on a life of their own.


Babui,

Yes definitely, it would be a loose alliance once the British were defeated. Then there would be the other kingdoms that supported the British - Scindia, the Sikhs etc. So in the end, there would be more jockeying for power and we would have had a messy settle up. Incidentally, when reading up on Gandhi, this was cited as one of the reasons he was against a violent conflict (his belief in non violence apart), since it was but predictable that the British would attempt to use one community against other, to prevent the 1857 conflict. Of course, we also had the martial races bit prop up during that era- all those communities/ units which supported the revolt were either supplanted or replaced with additional raisings from elsewhere- from those who remained "loyal" to the Empire.
IMHO, Gandhis non violent movement is underappreciated for the relatively inexpensive way he won independence from India, instead of a brutal civil war/ insurrection in which we would still be debating heroes vs war criminals depending upon which side of the divide a family fell etc. Of course, the flip side is that the world permanently tagged us as non violent peacenik types and our own moralizing didnt help any!

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Postby Kaushal » 28 Apr 2006 21:38

I refer to 1857 as the Great Rebellion, because it was a rebellion against established authority, whether consitutional or not. Remember to this day Brtain does not have a written constitution, so the question of a constitutional authority for India did not arise

The argument that the soldiers took an oath , overlooks major facts. There were many players involved who did not take an oath to serve the British like the Rani of Jhansi .

There is much hubris in the notion that the Brits had any authority to administer an oath of loyalty in the first place,other than the right of conquest. But such a right, conferred solely by conquest is subject to the law of the sword, what the sword giveth,the sword can take away. Mutiny presupposes that the subject is under the jurisdiction of British Law . Indians were never given the protection of being under British Law ,,till then or even later. The law that the Indians were subject to was simply the rules and edicts of the East India company. There were no universal laws in force under British rule until the advent of Thomas Babington Macaulay and the Indian Penal Code(one of the most significant documents in human history I might add) in the1840's
Furthermore , i never hear British historians and the British public in general refer to George Washington and his army as mutineers,even though GW took the oath to serve the British and in fact did serve the British as did many of his top officers.

My interest is in the aftermath of the 1857 rebellion,which was brutal in the short term (the forms of punishment would shock any civilized nation,certainly one which came to India and stayed under the pretext that they were civlizing the natives) and repressive and devious in the long term . see my essay on The South Asia Filefor a comprehensive account of British real politik at play in the Indian subcontinent.

If i come across as being overly adulatory of the British skills in the area of real politikand Geopolitics , i suppose i must plead guilty.




Last edited by Kaushal on 28 Apr 2006 23:39, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby John Snow » 28 Apr 2006 21:50

Also please note the number Of Indians who fought for HM Govt, in both World Wars and many other campaigns, which exceeds by far the Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, Polish etc, yet till very recent times there was hardly any significant memorial or exhibits in any war museums.

If only The British Army had Indian sepoys serving the British during the American revolutionary war, history would have been different, thank GOD it didn’t happen that way.

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Postby JCage » 28 Apr 2006 22:02

It is not so well known that the Indian Armed Forces were the largest all volunteer force to fight in WW2. Nearly 20 million volunteers fought with the Indian Army, the Royal Indian Air Force and the Royal Indian Navy.


BR WW2 section.


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