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Giuseppe Mazzini
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/20/20

Giuseppe Mazzini, Triumvir of the Roman Republic
In office: 5 February 1849 – 3 July 1849
Serving with:Aurelio Saffi, Carlo Armellini
Preceded by: Aurelio Saliceti
Succeeded by: Aurelio Saliceti
Personal details
Born: 22 June 1805, Genoa, Gênes, French Empire
Died: 10 March 1872 (aged 66), Pisa, Italy
Political party: Young Italy (1831–48); Action Party (1848–67)
Alma mater: University of Genoa
Profession: Lawyer Journalist Writer Philosophy career
Era: 19th-century
School: Romanticism; Providentialism
Main interests: History, theology, politics
Notable ideas: Pan-Europeanism, irridentism, popular democracy, class collaboration
Influences: Plato Ugo Foscolo[1] Marquis de Condorcet[1] Jean de Sismondi[1] Lord Byron[1] François-René de Chateaubriand Joseph de Maistre Saint-Simon[1] De Lamennais Jean-Jacques Rousseau Carlo Cattaneo
Influenced: Italian republicans Giuseppe Garibaldi Giovanni Gentile Frederic Harrison[2] George Holyoake[3] Benito Mussolini Pietro Nenni Carlo Rosselli Woodrow Wilson Sun Yat-sen

Giuseppe Mazzini (UK: /mætˈsiːni/,[4] US: /mɑːtˈ-, mɑːdˈziːni/,[5][6] Italian: [dʒuˈzɛppe matˈtsiːni]; 22 June 1805 – 10 March 1872) was an Italian politician, journalist, activist for the unification of Italy, and spearhead of the Italian revolutionary movement. His efforts helped bring about the independent and unified Italy[7] in place of the several separate states, many dominated by foreign powers, that existed until the 19th century. He also helped define the modern European movement for popular democracy in a republican state.[8]

Mazzini's thoughts had a very considerable influence on the Italian and European republican movements, in the Constitution of Italy, about Europeanism, and, more nuanced, on many politicians of a later period: among them, men like U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, but also post-colonial leaders such as Gandhi, Savarkar, Golda Meir, David Ben-Gurion, Kwame Nkrumah, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sun Yat-sen.[9]


Mazzini's house in Genoa, now seat of the Museum of Risorgimento and of the Mazzinian Institute.

Early years

Mazzini was born in Genoa, then part of the Ligurian Republic, under the rule of the French Empire. His father, Giacomo Mazzini, originally from Chiavari, was a university professor who had adhered to Jacobin ideology;...

A Jacobin was a member of the Jacobin Club, a revolutionary political movement that was the most famous political club during the French Revolution (1789–99). The club was so called because of the Dominican convent in Paris in the Rue Saint-Jacques (Latin: Jacobus) where they originally met.

The Society of the Friends of the Constitution (French: Société des amis de la Constitution), after 1792 renamed Society of the Jacobins, Friends of Freedom and Equality commonly known as the Jacobin Club (Club des Jacobins) or simply the Jacobins became the most influential political club during the French Revolution of 1789. The period of their political ascendancy includes the Reign of Terror, during which time well over ten thousand people were put on trial and executed in France, many for political crimes.

Initially founded in 1789 by anti-royalist deputies from Brittany, the club grew into a nationwide republican movement, with a membership estimated at a half million or more.The Jacobin Club was heterogeneous and included both prominent parliamentary factions of the early 1790s, the Mountain and the Girondins.

The Mountain was a political group during the French Revolution. Its members, called the Montagnards, sat on the highest benches in the National Assembly.

They were the most radical group and opposed the Girondins
. The term, first used during a session of the Legislative Assembly, came into general use in 1793. By the summer of 1793, that pair of opposed minority groups divided the National Convention. That year, led by Maximilien Robespierre, the Montagnards unleashed the Reign of Terror.

The Mountain was composed mainly of members of the middle class, but represented the constituencies of Paris. As such, the Mountain was sensitive to the motivations of the city and responded strongly to demands from the working class sans-culottes. The Montagnards had little understanding of the daily life and needs of the people in the cities and towns beyond Paris. Although they attempted some rural land reform, most of it was never enacted and they generally focused on the needs of the urban poor over that of rural France. The Mountain operated on the belief that what was best for Paris would be best for all of France.

The Girondins were a moderate political faction created during the Legislative Assembly period. They were the political opponents of the more radical representatives within the Mountain. The Girondins had wanted to avoid the execution of Louis XVI and supported a constitution which would have allowed a popular vote to overturn legislation. The Mountain accused the Girondins of plotting against Paris because this caveat within the proposed constitution would have allowed rural areas of France to vote against legislation that benefits Paris, the main constituency of the Mountain. However, the real discord in the Convention occurred not between the Mountain and the Gironde, but between the aggressive antics of the minority of the Mountain and the rest of the Convention.

The Mountain was not unified as a party and relied on leaders like Maximilien Robespierre, Georges Danton and Jacques Hébert, who themselves came to represent different factions.
Hébert, a journalist, gained a following as a radical patriot Montagnard (members who identified with him became known as the Hébertists) while Danton led a more moderate faction of the Mountain (followers came to be known as Dantonists). Regardless of the divisions, the nightly sessions of the Jacobin club, which met in the rue Saint-Honoré, can be considered to be a type of caucus for the Mountain. In June 1793, the Mountain successfully ousted most of the moderate Gironde members of the Convention with the assistance of radical sans-culottes.

[[[[The sans-culottes [literally "without breeches") were the common people of the lower classes in late 18th century France, a great many of whom became radical and militant partisans of the French Revolution in response to their poor quality of life under the Ancien Régime. The word sans-culotte, which is opposed to that of the aristocrat, seems to have been used for the first time on 28 February 1791 by officer Gauthier in a derogatory sense, speaking about a "sans-culottes army". The word came in vogue during the demonstration of 20 June 1792.

The name sans-culottes refers to their clothing, and through that to their lower-class status: culottes were the fashionable silk knee-breeches of the 18th-century nobility and bourgeoisie, and the working class sans-culottes wore pantaloons, or trousers, instead. The sans-culottes, most of them urban labourers, served as the driving popular force behind the revolution. They were judged by the other revolutionaries as "radicals" because they advocated a direct democracy, that is to say, without intermediaries such as members of parliament. Though ill-clad people and ill-equipped, with little or no support from the upper class, they made up the bulk of the Revolutionary army and were responsible for many executions during the early years of the French Revolutionary Wars.

-- Sans-culottes, by Wikipedia]]]]

Following their coup, the Mountain, led by Hérault de Séchelles, quickly began construction on a new constitution which was completed eight days later. The Committee of Public Safety reported the constitution to the Convention on 10 June and a final draft was adopted on 24 June. The process occurred quickly because as Robespierre, a prominent member of the Mountain, announced on 10 June the "good citizens demanded a constitution" and the "Constitution will be the reply of patriotic deputies, for it is the work of the Mountain". However, this constitution was never actually enacted. The Constitution of 1793 was abandoned when Robespierre later granted himself and the Committee of Public Safety dictatorial powers in order to "defend the Revolution".

-- The Mountain, by Wikipedia

The Girondins, or Girondists, were members of a loosely knit political faction during the French Revolution.

From 1791 to 1793, the Girondins were active in the Legislative Assembly and the National Convention. Together with the Montagnards, they initially were part of the Jacobin movement. They campaigned for the end of the monarchy, but then resisted the spiraling momentum of the Revolution, which caused a conflict with the more radical Montagnards. They dominated the movement until their fall in the insurrection of 31 May – 2 June 1793, which resulted in the domination of the Montagnards and the purge and mass execution of the Girondins. This event is considered to mark the beginning of the Reign of Terror.

The Girondins were a group of loosely affiliated individuals rather than an organized political party and the name was at first informally applied because the most prominent exponents of their point of view were deputies to the Legislative Assembly from the département of Gironde in southwest France. Girondin leader Jacques Pierre Brissot proposed an ambitious military plan to spread the Revolution internationally, therefore the Girondins were the war party in 1792–1793.
Other prominent Girondins included Jean Marie Roland and his wife Madame Roland. They also had an ally in the English-born American activist Thomas Paine.

Brissot and Madame Roland were executed and Jean Roland (who had gone into hiding) committed suicide when he learned about the execution. Paine was imprisoned, but he narrowly escaped execution.
The famous painting The Death of Marat depicts the killing of the fiery radical journalist and denouncer of the Girondins Jean-Paul Marat by the Girondin sympathizer Charlotte Corday, who was executed. Although the Revolution abolished the three estates voting (the Aristocracy, the Church, and the Commons), factions made impossible any republican countrywide representation.

-- Girondins, by Wikipedia

In 1792–1793 the Girondins were more prominent in leading France, the period when France declared war on Austria and on Prussia, overthrew the monarchy and set up the Republic. In May 1793 the leaders of the Mountain faction led by Maximilien Robespierre succeeded in sidelining the Girondin faction and controlled the government until July 1794. Their time in government featured high levels of political violence, and for this reason the period of the Jacobin/Mountain government is identified as the Reign of Terror. In October 1793, 21 prominent Girondins were guillotined. The Mountain-dominated government executed 17,000 opponents nationwide, purportedly to suppress the Vendée insurrection and the Federalist revolts and to prevent any other insurrections. In July 1794 the National Convention pushed the administration of Robespierre and his allies out of power and had Robespierre and 21 associates executed. In November 1794 the Jacobin Club closed.

Today, the terms "Jacobin" and "Jacobinism" are used in a variety of senses. In Britain, where the term "Jacobin" has been linked primarily to the Mountain, it is sometimes used as a pejorative for radical left-wing revolutionary politics, especially when it exhibits dogmatism and violent repression. In France, "Jacobin" now generally indicates a supporter of a centralized republican state and of strong central government powers and/or supporters of extensive government intervention to transform society. It is also used in other related senses, indicating proponents of a state education system which strongly promotes and inculcates civic values and proponents of a strong nation-state capable of resisting any undesirable foreign interference.

-- Jacobin, by Wikipedia

Today, the terms Jacobin and Jacobinism are used in a variety of senses. In France, Jacobin now generally indicates a supporter of a centralized republican state and strong central government powers and/or supporters of extensive government intervention to transform society. Jacobin is sometimes used in Britain as a pejorative for radical, left-wing revolutionary politics.

-- Jacobin (politics), by Wikipedia

his mother, Maria Drago, was renowned for her beauty and religious (Jansenist) fervour.

Jansenism was a theological movement, primarily in France, that emphasized original sin, human depravity, the necessity of divine grace and predestination. The movement originated from the posthumously published work of the Dutch theologian Cornelius Jansen, who died in 1638. It was first popularized by Jansen's friend Abbot Jean du Vergier de Hauranne, of Saint-Cyran-en-Brenne Abbey, and, after du Vergier's death in 1643, was led by Antoine Arnauld. Through the 17th and into the 18th centuries, Jansenism was a distinct movement away from the Catholic Church. The theological centre of the movement was the convent of Port-Royal-des-Champs Abbey, which was a haven for writers including du Vergier, Arnauld, Pierre Nicole, Blaise Pascal and Jean Racine.

Jansenism was opposed by many in the Catholic hierarchy, especially the Jesuits. Although the Jansenists identified themselves only as rigorous followers of Augustine of Hippo's teachings, Jesuits coined the term Jansenism to identify them as having Calvinist affinities. The apostolic constitution, Cum occasione promulgated by Pope Innocent X in 1653, condemned five cardinal doctrines of Jansenism as heresy—especially the relationship between human free will and efficacious grace, wherein the teachings of Augustine, as presented by the Jansenists, contradicted the teachings of the Jesuit School. Jansenist leaders endeavored to accommodate the pope's pronouncements while retaining their uniqueness, and enjoyed a measure of peace in the late 17th century under Pope Clement IX. However, further controversy led to the apostolic constitution Unigenitus Dei Filius, promulgated by Pope Clement XI in 1713.

-- Jansenism, by Wikipedia

From a very early age, Mazzini showed good learning qualities (as well as a precocious interest in politics and literature). He was admitted to university at 14, graduating in law in 1826, and initially practiced as a "poor man's lawyer". Mazzini also hoped to become a historical novelist or a dramatist, and in the same year wrote his first essay, Dell'amor patrio di Dante ("On Dante's Patriotic Love"), published in 1827.

Whoever contemplates the good of the state contemplates the end of Right....If, therefore, the Romans had in view the good of the state, the assertion is true that they had in view the end of Right.

That in subduing the world the Roman people had in view the aforesaid good, their deeds declare. We behold them as a nation holy, pious, and full of glory, putting aside all avarice, which is ever adverse to the general welfare, cherishing universal peace and liberty, and disregarding private profit to guard the public weal of humanity. Rightly was it written, then, that "The Roman Empire takes its rise in the fountain of pity."

Concerning corporate assemblies, in which individuals seem in a measure bound to the state, the solitary authority of Cicero in the second book of Moral Duties is sufficient. "So long," he says, "as the dominion of the Republic was upheld by benefits, not by injuries, war was waged in behalf either of allies or dominion, for a conclusion either beneficent or necessary, the Senate was a harbor of refuge for kings, peoples, and nations. Our magistrates and generals strove for praise in defending with equity and fidelity the provinces and the allies; so this government might rather have been called a defense than a dominion of the whole world."

Of individual persons I shall speak briefly. Can we say they were not intent on the common weal who in sweat, in poverty, in exile, in deprivation of children, in loss of limbs, and even in the sacrifice of their lives, strove to augment the public good?

Did not the renowned Cincinnatus leave to us a sacred example, when he freely chose the time to lay aside that dignity which, as Livy says, took him from the plough to make him dictator? After his victory, after his triumph, he gave back to the consuls the imperial sceptre, and voluntarily returned to toil at the plough handle behind his oxen. Cicero, disputing with Epicurus in his volume of the Chief Good, remembered and lauded this excellent action, saying, "And thus our ancestors took great Cincinnatus from the plough that he might become dictator."

And did not Brutus first teach that the love of sons and of all others should be subordinated to the love of national liberty? When he was consul, Livy says, he delivered up to death his own sons for conspiring with the enemy. In the sixth book our Poet revives the glory of this hero: "In behalf of beauteous liberty shall the father doom to death his own sons instigating new wars."

That people, then, which was victorious over all the contestants for Empire gained its victory by the decree of God.
For as it is of deeper concern to God to adjust a universal contention than a particular one, and as even in particular contentions the decree of God is sought by the contestants, according to the familiar proverb, "To him whom God grants aught, let Peter give his blessing," therefore undoubtedly among the contestants for the Empire of the world, victory ensued from a decree of God. That among the rivals for world-Empire the Roman people came off victor will be clear if we consider the contestants and the prize or goal toward which they strove. This prize or goal was sovereign power over all mortals, or what we mean by Empire. This was attained by none save by the Roman people, not only the first but the sole contestant to reach the goal contended for.

The kingdom is apportioned by the sword, and the fortune of the mighty nation that is master over sea, over land, and over all the globe, suffers not two in command. Wars engaged in for the crown of Empire should be waged without bitterness.

If to contradict the truth thus manifested, the usual objection be raised concerning the inequality of men's strength, it may be refuted by the instance of David's victory over Goliath. And if the Gentiles seek another instance, they may refute it by the victory of Hercules over Antaeus.

Now let presumptuous jurists behold how far they stand beneath that watch-tower of reason whence the human mind looks out upon these principles, and let them be silent, content to give counsel and judgment according to the import of the law.

Thus far the argument has progressed through reason based chiefly on rational principles, but from now on it shall be re-demonstrated through the principles of Christian faith.

Now Christ willed to be born of a Virgin Mother under an edict of Roman authority, according to the testimony of Luke, his scribe, in order that the Son of Man, made man, might be numbered as a man in that unique census. This fulfilled the edict. It were perhaps more reverent to believe that the Divine Will caused the edict to go forth through Caesar, in order that God might number Himself among the society of mortals who had so many ages awaited His coming. So Christ in His action established as just the edict of Augustus, exerciser of Roman authority. Since to decree justly presupposes jurisdictional power, whoever confirms the justice of an edict confirms also the jurisdictional power whence it issued.

By the sin of Adam we are all sinners, according to the Apostle: "As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.'" If satisfaction had not been given for this sin through the death of Christ, we, owing to our depraved nature, should still be children of wrath.

For greater clearness, let it be understood that punishment is not simply penalty visited upon the doer of wrong, but penalty visited upon the doer of wrong by one having penal jurisdiction. Wherefore unless punishment is inflicted by a lawful judge, it is no punishment; rather must it be called a wrong. If therefore Christ did not suffer under a lawful judge, his penalty was not punishment. Lawful judge meant in that case one having jurisdiction over the entire human race, since all humanity was punished in the flesh of Christ, who, as the Prophet says, "hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows." And Tiberius Caesar, whose vicar was Pilate, would not have possessed jurisdiction over the entire human race had not the Roman Empire existed by Right. Wherefore let those who pretend they are sons of the Church cease to defame the Roman Empire, to which Christ the Bridegroom gave His sanction both at the beginning and at the close of His warfare.

It must be understood that man alone of all beings holds the middle place between corruptibility and incorruptibility, and is therefore rightly compared by philosophers to the horizon which lies between the two hemispheres. Man may be considered with regard to either of his essential parts, body or soul. If considered in regard to the body alone, he is perishable; if in regard to the soul alone, he is imperishable.

If man holds a middle place between the perishable and imperishable, then, inasmuch as every mean shares the nature of the extremes, man must share both natures. And inasmuch as every nature is ordained for a certain ultimate end, it follows that there exists for man a twofold end, in order that as he alone of all beings partakes of the perishable and the imperishable, so he alone of all beings should be ordained for two ultimate ends.

Ineffable Providence has thus designed two ends to be contemplated of man: first, the happiness of this life, which consists in the activity of his natural powers, and is prefigured by the terrestrial Paradise; and then the blessedness of life everlasting, which consists in the enjoyment of the countenance of God, to which man's natural powers may not attain unless aided by divine light, and which may be symbolized by the celestial Paradise.

To these states of blessedness, just as to diverse conclusions, man must come by diverse means. To the former we come by the teachings of philosophy, obeying them by acting in conformity with the moral and intellectual virtues; to the latter through spiritual teachings which transcend human reason, and which we obey by acting in conformity with the theological virtues, Faith, Hope, and Charity. Now the former end and means are made known to us by human reason, which the philosophers have wholly explained to us; and the latter by the Holy Spirit, which has revealed to us supernatural but essential truth through the Prophets and Sacred Writers, through Jesus Christ, the coeternal Son of God, and through His disciples. Nevertheless, human passion would cast all these behind, were not men, like horses astray in their brutishness, held to the road by bit and rein.

Wherefore a twofold directive agent was necessary to man, in accordance with the twofold end; the Supreme Pontiff to lead the human race to life eternal by means of revelation, and the Emperor to guide it to temporal felicity by means of philosophic instruction. And since none or few -- and these with exceeding difficulty -- could attain this port, were not the waves of seductive desire calmed, and mankind made free to rest in the tranquillity of peace, therefore this is the goal which he whom we call the guardian of the earth and Roman Prince should most urgently seek; then would it be possible for life on this mortal threshing-floor to pass in freedom and peace.

-- De Monarchia of Dante Alighieri

In 1828–29 he collaborated with a Genoese newspaper, L'Indicatore Genovese, which was however soon closed by the Piedmontese authorities. He then became one of the leading authors of L'Indicatore Livornese, published at Livorno by F. D. Guerrazzi, until this paper was closed down by the authorities, too.

In 1827 Mazzini travelled to Tuscany, where he became a member of the Carbonari, a secret association with political purposes.

The Carbonari (Italian for "charcoal makers") was an informal network of secret revolutionary societies active in Italy from about 1800 to 1831. The Italian Carbonari may have further influenced other revolutionary groups in France, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Brazil and Uruguay. Although their goals often had a patriotic and liberal basis, they lacked a clear immediate political agenda. They were a focus for those unhappy with the repressive political situation in Italy following 1815, especially in the south of the Italian Peninsula. Members of the Carbonari, and those influenced by them, took part in important events in the process of Italian unification (called the Risorgimento), especially the failed Revolution of 1820, and in the further development of Italian nationalism. The chief purpose was to defeat tyranny and to establish constitutional government. In the north of Italy other groups, such as the Adelfia and the Filadelfia, were associate organizations.

The Carbonari were a secret society divided into small covert cells scattered across Italy. Although agendas varied, evidence suggests that despite regional variations, most of them agreed upon the creation of a liberal, unified Italy. The Carbonari were anti-clerical in both their philosophy and programme. The Papal constitution Ecclesiam a Jesu Christo and the encyclical Qui pluribus were directed against them. The controversial document Alta Vendita, which called for a liberal or modernist takeover of the Catholic Church, was attributed to the Sicilian Carbonari....

VII. Felice's letter, written by Ancona on 11 June 1829 after the publication of the Encyclical of Pius VIII on 24 May 1829. The High Sale in reading it was believed to be betrayed.

We are not used to hearing the Pope express himself with this resolution. This language is not in the style of the apostolic palaces: if it was used in this solemn circumstance, it must be said that Pius VIII obtained some proof of our conspiracy. It is up to those in Rome to watch over everyone's safety more than ever; but in the presence of such an explicit declaration of war, I would like it to be deemed appropriate to lay down arms for a moment.

The multitude has always had a great propensity for counter truths. Ingannatela; she loves to be deceived; but, mind you, no precipitation, and above all no recourse to arms. Our friend of Osimo who has tested the ground says that we must go bravely to make our Easter and thus to sleep the vigilance of the authority.

"Assuming that the Court of Rome has not entered into any suspicion of our trade, do you believe that the attitude of these frenzied carbonari cannot, at any moment, put it on our trail? We are playing with fire and we must not end up burning ourselves. If, by dint of assassinations and liberal strikes, the Carbonari throw a new enterprise on the arms of Italy, do we not fear being compromised? To give our project the full extent it must have, we have to work slowly, quietly, gradually gain ground and never lose a hand. The lightning flashed from the top of the Vatican Loggia may presage a hurricane. Are we in case we can avoid it? And will this storm not delay the harvest of our harvest? The carbonari are stirred with a thousand sterile vows; every day they are prophesying a universal turmoil. This will be our undoing; for then the parties will be more severely separated, and it will be necessary to opt for one or the other. From this choice a crisis will inevitably arise, and from this crisis an update or an unexpected disaster".


X. Letter from Nubius to Beppo, dated April 7, 1836.

Mazzini is a demigod for the foolish, before whom he tries to be proclaimed the pontiff of the fraternity, of which he will be the Italian god. In the sphere in which he acts, this poor Joseph is ridiculous; for him to be a complete ferocious beast, he will always miss his claws.

"He is the bourgeois gentleman of the secret societies that my dear Molière did not have the ability to glimpse. Let him take him to the taverns of Lake Geneva, or hide his importance and his real emptiness in the brothels of London. Let him perish or write, at ease with the old insurrection leftovers, or with his general Ramorino of the young Italy, the young Allemagne, the young Francie, the young Polonia, the young Swiss, etc. If this can serve as food for his insatiable pride, we do not object; but make him understand, even if using the terms that will seem more convenient to you, that the association of which he speaks no longer exists, even that it never existed; that you do not know it, and that although you must declare to it that if it existed, it would certainly have taken the least appropriate way to enter it. Granted the case of its existence, this Sale is evidently above all the others; it is the S. Giovanni in Laterano, caput et mater omnium ecclesiarum [Google translate: St. John Lateran, the head and the mother of all churches]. The elect are called to him, who alone are recognized as worthy of being introduced to him. Up to this day, Mazzini would have been excluded: does he not think that by putting himself in the middle, by force or by cunning, in a secret that does not belong to him, does he perhaps expose himself to dangers that he has already incurred more than once?

"Accostinate this last thought in your way; but send it to the high priest of the dagger, and I, who know his consummate prudence, make a pledge that this thought will produce its effect on the infringing".


XI. Letter of Vindice, written by Castellamare, to Nubius, on August 9, 1838. He carries out the theory of high sale.

What does it matter to the world about an unknown corpse, lying on the public road, by the revenge of the secret societies? What does it matter to the people that the blood of a worker, an artist, a gentleman, or even a prince was shed by virtue of a sentence from Mazzini, or any of his assassins who is seriously enjoying Sainte-Vehme? The world does not even have time to look after the victim's last moans: he passes and forgets. We, dear Nubio, we alone are the ones who can suspend his march. Catholicism, even less than the Monarchy, does not fear the tip of a style; but these two bases of social order can fall under the weight of corruption. So let us never tire of corrupting. Tertullian rightly said that the blood of martyrs was the seed of Christians. Now it is decided in our councils that we no longer want Christians: therefore we do not make martyrs; but we popularize vice in multitudes. Let them breathe it with the five senses, drink it, saturate it; and this land, where Aretino sowed, is always willing to receive obscene and lecherous teachings. Make vicious hearts, and you will no longer have Catholics. Remove the priest from work, from the altar, and from virtue: rightly try to occupy his thoughts and his time elsewhere. Make him idle, gluttonous, and patriotic, he will become ambitious, intriguing and perverse. In this way, you will have fulfilled your task much better than if you had broken the point of your dagger in the bones of some poor poor man. I do not want, as for me, and I believe that you too, O Nubio, do not want to become a vulgar conspirator, and thus spend your life in the old way of conspiracies.

"We have undertaken corruption on a large scale, the corruption of the people by means of the clergy, and of the clergy by our means, the corruption that must lead us to the burial of the Church. One of our friends, days ago, was laughing philosophically at our plans and saying: "To break down Catholicism, we must first suppress the woman." This phrase is true in one sense, but since we cannot suppress the woman, let's bribe her together with the Church. Corruptio optimi pessima [Google translate: The corruption of the best is the worst]. The purpose is very nice to tempt men like us; let's depart to run after some miserable satisfaction of personal revenge. The best dagger to assassinate the Church and hit her in the heart, is corruption. So work to the end!"


XII. Idea sottomessa all'Alta Vendita da tre suoi membri il 23 febbraio 1839.

To renounce our plans against the Roman See, since the slightest indiscretion can reveal everything. An assassination that will not go unnoticed like many others will put our meetings on track. It is therefore necessary to take effective measures, and to promptly stop certain acts that compromise us.

"What the Christian Society allows itself for its defense, and what Carbonarism, through some of its leaders, regards as lawful and political, must not frighten us more than Society and Carbonarism. The death penalty is applied by the courts. The Sainte-Vehme of young Switzerland and young Italy the same right arrogates; why wouldn't we do the same? Its four or five members who recruit their dagger mercenaries and point them to the victim to be hit in the shadows, are supposed to be superior to all laws. They challenge them now in Switzerland, now in England, now in America. The hospitality accorded by these states is a guarantee of impunity for international killers. They can thus, and with all their comfort, agitate Europe, threaten princes and individuals, and make us lose the fruit of our long vigils. Justice that really has an eye patch sees nothing, guesses nothing, and above all it could do nothing, because between the dagger and the victim's this is his business. Ours will be much less complicated, since we must hope that we will not have vain scruples.

"Now, therefore, certain dissidents who today are not very dangerous, but who may become later, even for their proud incapacity and for their disordered infatuation, put the High Sale in danger at any moment. They begin their experiments with the assassination of princes, or dark individuals. Soon, by the force of things, they will reach us; and, after compromising us with a thousand useless crimes, they will mysteriously make us disappear as obstacles. It is simply a matter of preventing them, and turning the dagger against them that they point against us.

"Would it be very difficult for High Sale to put into practice a project that one of its members presented to the Prince of Metternich [1st State Chancellor of the Austrian Empire]? Here is the plan in all its simplicity: "You cannot" -- he said confidentially to the Chancellor -- "hit the heads of secret societies, who, in neutral or protective territory, challenge your justice and despise your laws. The decrees of your criminal courts are powerless before the coast of England; they spring up on the hospitable rocks of Switzerland, then, month after month, you find yourself weaker and weaker, more and more disarmed in the face of daring provocations. The justice of your courts is condemned to sterility. You could not find yourself in the arsenal of your state needs, in the Salus populi suprema lexa [The health of the populace is the supreme law] remedy for the evils that all honest hearts deplore? Occult associations judge and enforce their decrees with the right that they arrogate themselves. Constituted governments, having a double interest in defending themselves, since in defending themselves they safeguard the whole Company, would they not have the same right that Sales usurp? Would it therefore be impossible to combine any means which, bringing disorder within the social enemy, reassured the good, and promptly ended up frightening the wicked? These means are also indicated by the latter. They strike second or third hand; hit like them. Have discreet agents, or better yet, erratic carbonari who want to redeem their old sins by attacking the secret police, that they are tacitly helped to take precautions to escape the first investigations who ignore the plot of which the instruments [they] will be. That the government does not rage either to starboard or left, that it does not miss a beat; but that you aim right, and after making two or three men disappear, you will restore order in society. Those who do the job of killing will be surprised at first, then they will be afraid to find terrible executioners no less than they. Ignoring whence the blow starts, they will inevitably attribute it to their rivals. They will be afraid of their accomplices, and will soon put the sword back in their sheath, since fear is soon communicated in the darkness. Death occurs. Who ignore the plot of which the instruments will be? Close your eyes, and since the righteousness of men cannot affect our modern Old Men of the Mountain in their caves, let the justice of God penetrate you in the form of a friend, a servant, or an accomplice who will have a perfect passport in Rule".

"This plan which the incurable carelessness of the Court and State Chancellor rejected for reasons which the Empires may repent of later, procured for our brother and friend the full confidence of the government; but the means of health that the heads crowned disdain for themselves will therefore be forbidden to use them for our preservation? If in one way or another the High Sale was discovered, it would not be possible to make us responsible for attacks by other salespeople? We do not go forward with the insurrection or with the assassination: but since we could not divulge our anti-Catholic projects, it would follow that the High Sale would be accused of all these ignominious pitfalls. The expedient that remains for us to escape such a disgraceful fact, one has to discreetly arm some good will brave enough to punish, but limited enough not to understand too much.

"The dissidents voluntarily put themselves out of the law of nations, they put themselves out of the law of secret societies; why wouldn't we apply the code they invented to them? The governments, brutalized in their lethargy, back away from the axiom: Patere legem quam fecisti [Google translate: That you obey the law]; wouldn't it be appropriate to take it? We have a combination that is as simple as it is infallible to get rid of the fake brothers and sisters who allow themselves to harm us by decreeing the murder. This combination, well used, inevitably brings upset and distrust in insubordinate sales. By judging in turn and chastening those who judge and punish others so summarily, we separate the good wheat from the tares, and restore the social balance with a method of which some wretched provide us with the recipe. The combination is applicable; we can strike without arousing suspicion, thus paralyze and dissolve the opposite Sales where the murder is taught: and we will be authorized, if necessary.


XIII. Letter from Gaetano to Nubius dated January 23, 1844.

After contributing, as far as he was concerned, to the perversion of the people, the reflections came, and he gives advice which is an early renunciation, or an end to opposition.

There are insatiable passions that I did not imagine, unknown appetites, wild hatreds that ferment around and below us. Passions, appetites and hatreds, all this can one day devour us, and if there were time to remedy this gangrene, it would be a real benefit for us. It was very easy to pervert, will it be equally easy to always turn the mouths of perverts? Here is the serious question for me. Often I have tried to deal with you; you have avoided the explanation. Nowadays it is no longer possible to update it, since time is pressing, and in Switzerland, as in Austria, in Prussia, as in Italy, our sectarians who will tomorrow be our masters (and what masters, or Nubius!) waiting for a signal to break the old model. Switzerland intends to give this signal; but those Swiss radicals full of the ideas of their Mazzini, their Communists, their alliance of saints and the Proletariat-Thief are not capable of leading the secret societies to the assault of Europe. France must stamp its footprint on this universal orgy: be convinced that Paris will not fail in its mission. Given and received the impulse, where will this poor Europe go? I am worried, since I get old, I have lost my illusions, and I would not, poor and naked of everything, assist like a theater figure to the triumph of a principle that I would have hatched and that would repudiate me, confiscating my possessions or taking my head.

To update this moment? Do you believe that your measurements were taken well enough to dominate the motion that we have impressed? In Vienna, when the bell of the revolutionary flock rings, we will be swallowed up by the crowd, and the precarious leader who will come out is perhaps at this hour in the bathroom, or in some place of bad business. In our Italy, where a double game is played, you must be troubled by the same fears. Have we not stirred the same mud? This slime mounts to the surface, and I fear I will die suffocated by it.

"Whatever the future reserved for the ideas that the secret societies propagated, we will be defeated and find masters. This was not our dream of 1825, nor our hopes of 1831! Our strength is ephemeral, and passes on to others. God knows where this progress towards the brutalization will stop. I would not retreat from my works if we could always direct them, explain them, or apply them. But don't you feel the fear that I feel in Vienna yourself? You don't confess like me that if there is still time to stop in the temple before making it above the ruins? This stop is still possible, and you alone, or Nubio, can decide it. And while doing this with skill, you could not play the part of Penelope and break the plot that would occur in the warp night?]

"The world has launched itself on the slope of Democracy; and, for my own part, for some time, democracy has always meant demagoguery. Our twenty years of conspiracies run the risk of being wiped out in front of some braggart who will flatter the people and pull to the legs of the nobility after strafing the clergy. I am a gentleman, and I sincerely confess that it would cost me to walk with the plebs, and wait for his daily bread, and the light that shines from his approval. With a revolution like what is being prepared for us we can lose everything, and I want to keep it. You too, dear friend, must be of my opinion, because you own and will no longer love me to hear the word of confiscation and proscription of the Egloghe repeat in your ears,the fatal cry of the stripper:

Haec mea sunt; veteres, migrated settlers [Google translate: This is mine; The ancient migrated settlers.]

"I own, I want to possess, and the Revolution can strip us of everything fraternally. Other ideas still worry me, and I am sure that they worry many of our friends at the same time. I still do not feel remorse; but I am agitated by fears, and in your place, in the situation in which I see the spirits in Europe, I would not want to assume on my head a responsibility that can lead Giuseppe Mazzini to the Capitol. Mazzini to the Capitol! Nubius to the Tarpea cliff or to oblivion! Here is the dream that pursues me if if your vows were fulfilled. Does this dream smile to you, O Nubio?"
The Tarpeian Rock (/tɑːrˈpiːən/; Latin: Rupes Tarpeia or Saxum Tarpeium; Italian: Rupe Tarpea) is a steep cliff of the southern summit of the Capitoline Hill, overlooking the Roman Forum in Ancient Rome. It was used during the Roman Republic as an execution site. Murderers, traitors, perjurors, and larcenous slaves, if convicted by the quaestores parricidii, were flung from the cliff to their deaths. The cliff was about 25 meters (80 ft) high.

-- Tarpeian Rock, by Wikipedia

-- Documents Regarding Alta Vendita [The Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita], from L'Eglise romaine et la Révolution, by Crétineau-Joly

Although a plethora of theories have been advanced as to the origins of the Carbonari, the organization most likely emerged as an offshoot of Freemasonry, as part of the spread of liberal ideas from the French Revolution. They first became influential in the Kingdom of Naples (under the control of Joachim Murat) and in the Papal States, the most resistant opposition to the Risorgimento.

-- Carbonari, by Wikipedia

On 31 October of that year he was arrested at Genoa and interned at Savona. In early 1831, he was released from prison, but confined to a small hamlet. He chose exile instead, moving to Geneva in Switzerland.

Failed insurrections

Giuseppe Mazzini.

In 1831 Mazzini went to Marseille, where he became a popular figure among the Italian exiles. He was a frequent visitor to the apartment of Giuditta Bellerio Sidoli, a beautiful Modenese widow who became his lover.[10]


Giuditta Bellerio Sidoli (1804 - 28 March 1871) was an Italian patriot and revolutionary protagonist in multiple efforts for Italian unification. She was also the lover of Giuseppe Mazzini for a period and operated a salon in Turin for Italian expatriates.

Giuditta Bellerio was born in 1804 in Milan, the daughter of a magistrate of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy. She married Giovanni Sidoli, a member of the Carbonari, at the age of sixteen. Following a revolution in 1820-1821, Giovanni Sidoli was forced to flee to Switzerland, and was later joined by Giuditta after she gave birth to a daughter. Giovanni died in 1828 of a lung ailment. Afterwards, she left for Giovanni's hometown Reggio Emilia to live with her in-laws and four children. During another wave of revolutionary activity in 1830-1831 she joined Ciro Menotti in revolutionary plots against the Duchy of Modena. She fled to Switzerland again as the Austrians put down the revolution.

In 1832, Giuditta settled with her brother in Marseille, running her apartment as a haven for Italian revolutionary exiles. There she met Giuseppe Mazzini and became his lover. Mazzini once told her "Smile at me always! It is the only smile that comes to me from life." Giuditta Sidoli would run the finances for Mazzini's new Young Italy society. Giuditta gave birth to a son named Joseph Aristide while in Marseilles, almost certainly fathered by Mazzini. Sidoli would continue to follow Mazzini and nurse him in his bad health as he moved to Geneva.

Sidoli attempted to return to Italy under an assumed name in 1833 in order to see her children, whom she had left behind when she left for Marseilles, but was prevented from entering. She did little else until 1852 when she operated a salon for Italian revolutionaries. By this time her love affair with Mazzini was effectively over, and they rarely saw each other again.

Giuditta Sidoli died of pneumonia on 28 March 1871. She refused last rites saying, she did, "not believe in the God of the Catholic Church—only in the God of exiles and the downtrodden."

-- Giuditta Bellerio Sidoli, by Wikipedia

In August 1832 Giuditta Sidoli gave birth to a boy, almost certainly Mazzini's son, whom she named Joseph Démosthène Adolpe Aristide after members of the family of Démosthène Ollivier, with whom Mazzini was staying. The Olliviers took care of the child in June 1833 when Giuditta and Mazzini left for Switzerland. The child died in February 1835.

Mazzini organized a new political society called Young Italy. Young Italy was a secret society formed to promote Italian unification: "One, free, independent, republican nation."[12]

Young Italy (Italian: La Giovine Italia) was a political movement for Italian youth (under age 40) founded in 1831 by Giuseppe Mazzini. After a few months of leaving Italy, in June 1831, Mazzini wrote a letter to King Charles Albert of Sardinia, in which he asked him to unite Italy and lead the nation. A month later, convinced that his demands did not reach the king, he founded the movement in Marseille. It would then spread out to other nations across Europe. The movement's goal was to create a united Italian republic through promoting a general insurrection in the Italian reactionary states and in the lands occupied by the Austrian Empire. Mazzini's belief was that a popular uprising would create a unified Italy. The slogan that defined the movement's aim was "Union, Strength, and Liberty". The phrase could be found in the tricolor Italian flag, which represented the country's unity.

-- Young Italy (historical), by Wikipedia

Mazzini believed that a popular uprising would create a unified Italy, and would touch off a European-wide revolutionary movement.[10] The group's motto was God and the People,[13] and its basic principle was the unification of the several states and kingdoms of the peninsula into a single republic as the only true foundation of Italian liberty. The new nation had to be: "One, Independent, Free Republic".

Mazzini's political activism met some success in Tuscany, Abruzzi, Sicily, Piedmont, and his native Liguria, especially among several military officers. Young Italy counted about 60,000 adherents in 1833, with branches in Genoa and other cities. In that year Mazzini first attempted insurrection, which would spread from Chambéry (then part of the Kingdom of Sardinia), Alessandria, Turin, and Genoa. However, the Savoy government discovered the plot before it could begin and many revolutionaries (including Vincenzo Gioberti) were arrested. The repression was ruthless: 12 participants were executed, while Mazzini's best friend and director of the Genoese section of the Giovine Italia, Jacopo Ruffini, killed himself. Mazzini was tried in absentia and sentenced to death.

Despite this setback (whose victims later created numerous doubts and psychological strife in Mazzini), he organized another uprising for the following year. A group of Italian exiles were to enter Piedmont from Switzerland and spread the revolution there, while Giuseppe Garibaldi, who had recently joined Young Italy, was to do the same from Genoa.

Giuseppe Maria Garibaldi (4 July 1807 – 2 June 1882) was an Italian general, patriot, and republican. He contributed to the Italian unification and the creation of the Kingdom of Italy. He is considered to be one of Italy's "fathers of the fatherland", along with Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour, Victor Emmanuel II of Italy and Giuseppe Mazzini. Garibaldi is also known as the "Hero of the Two Worlds" because of his military enterprises in South America and Europe.

Garibaldi was a follower of the Italian nationalist Mazzini, and embraced the republican nationalism of the Young Italy movement. He became a supporter of Italian unification under a democratic Republican government. After participating in an uprising in Piedmont, he was sentenced to death, but escaped by sailing to South America; he spent 14 years in exile, taking part in several wars and learning the art of guerrilla warfare. In 1835, in Brazil, he took up the cause of the Riograndense Republic in its attempt to proclaim another republic within Santa Catarina, joining the rebels known as the Farrapos. Garibaldi also became involved in the Uruguayan Civil War, raising an Italian force known as Redshirts, and is still celebrated as an important contributor to Uruguayan independence.

In 1848, Garibaldi returned to Italy and commanded and fought in military campaigns that eventually led to Italian unification. The provisional government of Milan made him a general, and in 1849, the Minister of War promoted him to General of the Roman Republic. When the war of independence broke out in April 1859, he led his Hunters of the Alps in the capture of Varese and Como and reached the frontier of South Tyrol; the war ended with the acquisition of Lombardy. The following year, he led the Expedition of the Thousand on behalf of and with the consent of Victor Emmanuel II. The expedition was a success and concluded with the annexation of Sicily, Southern Italy, Marche and Umbria to the Kingdom of Sardinia, before the creation of a unified Kingdom of Italy on 17 March 1861. His last military campaign took place during the Franco-Prussian War, as commander of the Army of the Vosges.

Garibaldi became an international figurehead for national independence and republican ideals. He was showered with admiration and praises by many intellectuals and political figures, such as Abraham Lincoln, William Brown, Francesco de Sanctis, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, George Sand, Charles Dickens, Friedrich Engels, and Che Guevara. Historian A. J. P. Taylor called him "the only wholly admirable figure in modern history". In the popular telling of his story, he is associated with the red shirts that his volunteers, the Garibaldini, wore in lieu of a uniform.

-- Giuseppe Garibaldi, by Wikipedia

However, the Piedmontese troops easily crushed the new attempt.

In the spring of 1834, while at Bern, Mazzini and a dozen refugees from Italy, Poland, and Germany founded a new association with the grandiose name of Young Europe. Its basic, and equally grandiose idea, was that, as the French Revolution of 1789 had enlarged the concept of individual liberty, another revolution would now be needed for national liberty; and his vision went further because he hoped that in the no doubt distant future free nations might combine to form a loosely federal Europe with some kind of federal assembly to regulate their common interests. [...] His intention was nothing less than to overturn the European settlement agreed in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna, which had reestablished an oppressive hegemony of a few great powers and blocked the emergence of smaller nations. [...] Mazzini hoped, but without much confidence, that his vision of a league or society of independent nations would be realized in his own lifetime. In practice Young Europe lacked the money and popular support for more than a short-term existence. Nevertheless he always remained faithful to the ideal of a united continent for which the creation of individual nations would be an indispensable preliminary.[14]

On 28 May 1834 Mazzini was arrested at Solothurn, and exiled from Switzerland. He moved to Paris, where he was again imprisoned on 5 July. He was released only after promising he would move to England. Mazzini, together with a few Italian friends, moved in January 1837 to live in London in very poor economic conditions.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Part 2 of 2

Exile in London

Photograph of Mazzini by Domenico Lama

On 30 April 1840 Mazzini reformed the Giovine Italia in London, and on 10 November of the same year he began issuing the Apostolato popolare ("Apostleship of the People").

A succession of failed attempts at promoting further uprisings in Sicily, Abruzzi, Tuscany, and Lombardy-Venetia discouraged Mazzini for a long period, which dragged on until 1840. He was also abandoned by Sidoli, who had returned to Italy to rejoin her children. The help of his mother pushed Mazzini to create several organizations aimed at the unification or liberation of other nations, in the wake of Giovine Italia:[15] "Young Germany", "Young Poland", and "Young Switzerland", which were under the aegis of "Young Europe" (Giovine Europa). He also created an Italian school for poor people active from 10 November 1841 at 5 Greville Street, London.[16] From London he also wrote an endless series of letters to his agents in Europe and South America, and made friends with Thomas Carlyle and his wife Jane.

Thomas Carlyle...with British intelligence pedigree....

Carlyle, like James Mill, John Stuart Mill, John Ruskin, and other celebrated British literary figures of the Victorian age, was part of the ideological and cultural control apparatus of the empire....

John Stuart Mill was the son of James Mill, who also claimed to be an economist. James Mill (1773-1836), a direct disciple of the satanic Jeremy Bentham, served for 18 years as the Examiner of Correspondence for the East India Company. This is another way of saying that he was one of the top bosses of British intelligence at that time. The elder Mill's job was to develop an intelligence picture based on the reports he received, and to promote policies to maximize profits and power, often with horrendous consequences for the people of India. The East India Company was much concerned with the manipulation of religious institutions, and systematically promoted the most backward and self-destructive tendencies in Hinduism and Islam, creating distortions which continue down to the present day. Others working for the British East India Company included the monetarist economist David Ricardo and the ideologue of genocide Thomas Malthus.

After working for the British East India Company for 34 years, John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) took over the post of Examiner of Correspondence. The younger Mill directed a vast program of British cultural warfare, with special attention for the United States, which was seen along with Russia as a threat to the British Empire. He sponsored the career of the Scottish feudalist, neo-pagan, and proto-fascist Thomas Carlyle, who in turn became the main guru for Ralph Waldo Emerson of Harvard, the luminary of the Transcendentalist school. Emerson was famous for his concept of "self-reliance," which later morphed into the "rugged individualism" of Herbert Hoover, and the "you're on your own" doctrine of the current Republican Party.

The reactionary essayist Thomas Carlyle represented a younger generation of the British intelligence establishment following in the footsteps of Jeremy Bentham and Thomas Malthus. Carlyle was so reactionary that he opposed the very timid British Reform Bill of 1867. Reacting to Lincoln's victory in the US Civil War, which had captured the imagination of British workers, it finally allowed urban industrial workers the right to vote. Like Dickens, Carlyle was a great hater of the United States...

Carlyle was heavily involved in many important British strategic operations of the mid-19th century. One of the principal British political assets of this era was the Italian revolutionary nationalist firebrand Giuseppe Mazzini, who generally used Great Britain as his base of operations. Mazzini's assignment was to destabilize the Austrian, Russian, and Ottoman empires, while making sure that no powerful independent states could ever emerge from their wreckage. Carlyle worked so closely with the Italian provocateur and wrecker that his wife, Jane Welsh Carlyle, became a mistress of Mazzini. Another of Carlyle's important projects was the American transcendentalist movement, and especially its leading light, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Carlyle must count as one of the largest single influences on the Bostonian Emerson. Carlyle presented himself as an expert in German philosophy, which was considered chic by the British upper classes, who of course could read no German. Carlyle thus became the authoritative interpreter of German thought and literature (especially Goethe) in the British Isles. Carlyle is thus a leading example of epistemological warfare and subversive political operations in the Victorian era....

Carlyle was deeply hostile to the United States and to the system of representative government in general. As a reactionary romanticist, he wanted institutions to evolve "organically," meaning that positive change would be either impossible or excruciatingly slow....

Carlyle harped on the notion that democratic institutions were necessarily slow and inefficient, and not adept at getting things done. He would have applauded Mussolini crushing unions and stripping Italians of their political rights, while famously making the trains run on time. He would have endorsed Mayor Giuliani of New York when he decided to conceal the problems of homelessness and poverty by ordering the police to drive panhandlers off the streets. Carlyle hated the notion of a democratic republic because it was not sufficiently aristocratic, although he had to camouflage his aristocratic prejudices behind a meritocratic facade. He also tried to show that democratic elections generally failed to select the most capable leaders for purposes of governing.

-- Just Too Weird: Bishop Romney and the Mormon Takeover of America: Polygamy, Theocracy, and Subversion, by Webster Griffin Tarpley, Ph.D.

The "Young Europe" movement also inspired a group of young Turkish army cadets and students who, later in history, named themselves the "Young Turks".

Young Turks was a political reform movement in the early 20th century that favored the replacement of the Ottoman Empire's absolute monarchy with a constitutional government. They led a rebellion against the absolute rule of Sultan Abdul Hamid II in the 1908 Young Turk Revolution. With this revolution, the Young Turks helped to establish the Second Constitutional Era in 1908, ushering in an era of multi-party democracy for the first time in the country's history.

Despite working with Young Ottomans to promulgate a constitution, Abdul Hamid II had dissolved the parliament by 1878 and returned to an absolutist regime, marked by extensive use of secret police to silence dissent, and by massacres committed against minorities. Constitutionalist opponents of his regime, most prominently Prince Sabahaddin and Ahmet Rıza, among other intellectuals, came to be known as Young Turks. Despite the name, Young Turks included many Arabs, Albanians, Jews, and initially, Armenians and Greeks. To organize the opposition, progressive medical students Ibrahim Temo, Abdullah Cevdet and others formed a secret organization named the Committee of Ottoman Union (later Committee of Union and Progress - CUP), which grew in size and included exiles, civil servants, and army officers. Finally, in 1908, pro-CUP officers marched the army to Istanbul, forcing Abdul Hamid to restore the constitution, and later deposing him.

Young Turks were a heterodox group of liberal intellectuals and revolutionaries, united by their opposition to the absolutist regime of Abdul Hamid and desire to reinstate the constitution. After the sultan's overthrow, Young Turks began to splinter and two main factions formed: more liberal and pro-decentralization Young Turks (including CUP's original founders) formed the Freedom and Accord Party (also known as the Liberal Union or Liberal Entente), and the Turkish nationalist, pro-centralization and radical wing among the Young Turks remained in the Party of Union and Progress. The groups' power struggle continued until 1913, when CUP seized power from Freedom and Accord with a coup. The new CUP leadership (Three Pashas) then exercised absolute control over the Ottoman Empire, overseeing the empire's entry into World War I on the side of the Central Powers during the war. Following the war, the struggle between the two groups of Young Turks revived, with the Freedom and Accord Party regaining control of the Ottoman government and Three Pashas fleeing into exile. Freedom and Accord rule was short lived, however, and the empire soon collapsed.

The term "Young Turk" is now used to signify "a progressive, revolutionary, or rebellious member of an organization, political party, etc, especially one agitating for radical reform" and various groups in different countries have been named Young Turks because of their rebellious or revolutionary nature.

-- Young Turks, by Wikipedia

In 1843 he organized another riot in Bologna, which attracted the attention of two young officers of the Austrian Navy, Attilio and Emilio Bandiera. With Mazzini's support, they landed near Cosenza (Kingdom of Naples), but were arrested and executed. Mazzini accused the British government of having passed information about the expeditions to the Neapolitans, and question was raised in the British Parliament. When it was admitted[17] that his private letters had indeed been opened, and its contents revealed by the Foreign Office[18] to the Austrian[19] and Neapolitan governments, Mazzini gained popularity and support among the British liberals, who were outraged by such a blatant intrusion of the government into his private correspondence.[16]

In 1847 he moved again to London, where he wrote a long "open letter" to Pope Pius IX, whose apparently liberal reforms had gained him a momentary status as possible paladin of the unification of Italy. The Pope, however, did not reply. He also founded the People's International League. By 8 March 1848 Mazzini was in Paris, where he launched a new political association, the Associazione Nazionale Italiana.

The 1848–49 revolts

Citizens shot for reading Mazzini Journals

On 7 April 1848 Mazzini reached Milan, whose population had rebelled against the Austrian garrison and established a provisional government. The First Italian War of Independence, started by the Piedmontese king Charles Albert to exploit the favourable circumstances in Milan, turned into a total failure. Mazzini, who had never been popular in the city because he wanted Lombardy to become a republic instead of joining Piedmont, abandoned Milan. He joined Garibaldi's irregular force at Bergamo, moving to Switzerland with him.

On 9 February 1849 a republic was declared in Rome, with Pius IX already having been forced to flee to Gaeta the preceding November. On the same day the Republic was declared, Mazzini reached the city. He was appointed, together with Carlo Armellini and Aurelio Saffi, as a member of the "triumvirate" of the new republic on 29 March, becoming soon the true leader of the government and showing good administrative capabilities in social reforms. However, when the French troops called by the Pope made clear that the resistance of the Republican troops, led by Garibaldi, was in vain, on 12 July 1849, Mazzini set out for Marseille, from where he moved again to Switzerland.

Late activities

Last page of a letter from Mazzini to Carl Schurz when both were in London in 1851.

Giuseppe Mazzini late in his career.

Mazzini spent all of 1850 hiding from the Swiss police. In July he founded the association Amici di Italia (Friends of Italy) in London, to attract consensus towards the Italian liberation cause. Two failed riots in Mantua (1852) and Milan (1853) were a crippling blow for the Mazzinian organization, whose prestige never recovered. He later opposed the alliance signed by Savoy with Austria for the Crimean War. Also in vain was the expedition of Felice Orsini in Carrara of 1853–54.

In 1856 he returned to Genoa to organize a series of uprisings: the only serious attempt was that of Carlo Pisacane in Calabria, which again met a dismaying end.

Carlo Pisacane, Duke of San Giovanni (22 August 1818 – 2 July 1857) was an Italian patriot and one of the first Italian socialist thinkers. He argued that violence was necessary not only to draw attention to, or generate publicity for, a cause, but also to inform, educate, and ultimately rally the masses behind the revolution. These ideas are called propaganda of the deed and have exerted compelling influence on rebels and terrorist alike ever since.

-- Carlo Pisacane, by Wikipedia

Mazzini managed to escape the police, but was condemned to death by default. From this moment on, Mazzini was more of a spectator than a protagonist of the Italian Risorgimento, whose reins were now strongly in the hands of the Savoyard monarch Victor Emmanuel II and his skilled prime minister, Camillo Benso, Conte di Cavour. The latter defined him as "Chief of the assassins".

Victor Emmanuel II (Italian: Vittorio Emanuele II; full name: Vittorio Emanuele Maria Alberto Eugenio Ferdinando Tommaso di Savoia; 14 March 1820 – 9 January 1878) was King of Sardinia from 1849 until 17 March 1861, when he assumed the title of King of Italy and became the first king of a united Italy since the 6th century, a title he held until his death in 1878. Borrowing from the old Latin title Pater Patriae of the Roman emperors, the Italians gave him the epithet of Father of the Fatherland (Italian: Padre della Patria).

Born in Turin as the eldest son of Charles Albert, Prince of Carignano, and Maria Theresa of Austria, he fought in the First Italian War of Independence (1848-49) before being made King of Piedmont-Sardinia following his father's abdication. He appointed Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour, as his Prime Minister, and he consolidated his position by suppressing the republican left. In 1855, he sent an expeditionary corps to side with French and British forces during the Crimean War; the deployment of Italian troops to the Crimea, and the gallantry shown by them in the Battle of the Chernaya (16 August 1855) and in the siege of Sevastopol led the Kingdom of Sardinia to be among the participants at the peace conference at the end of the war, where it could address the issue of the Italian unification to other European powers. This allowed Victor Emmanuel to ally himself with Napoleon III, Emperor of France. France had supported Sardinia in the Second Italian War of Independence, resulting in liberating Lombardy from Austrian rule.

Victor Emmanuel supported the Expedition of the Thousand (1860–1861) led by Giuseppe Garibaldi, which resulted in the rapid fall of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in southern Italy. However, Victor Emmanuel halted Garibaldi when he appeared ready to attack Rome, still under the Papal States, as it was under French protection. In 1860, Tuscany, Modena, Parma and Romagna decided to side with Sardinia-Piedmont, and Victor Emmanuel then marched victoriously in the Marche and Umbria after the victorious battle of Castelfidardo over the Papal forces. He subsequently met Garibaldi at Teano, receiving from him the control of southern Italy and becoming the first King of Italy on 17 March 1861.

In 1866, the Third Italian War of Independence allowed Italy to annex Veneto. In 1870, Victor Emmanuel also took advantage of the Prussian victory over France in the Franco-Prussian War to taking over the Papal States after the French withdrew. He entered Rome on 20 September 1870 and set up the new capital there on 2 July 1871. He died in Rome in 1878, and was buried in the Pantheon.

-- Victor Emmanuel II of Italy, by Wikipedia

In 1858 he founded another journal in London, Pensiero e azione ("Thought and Action"). Also there, on 21 February 1859, together with 151 republicans he signed a manifesto against the alliance between Piedmont and the Emperor of France which resulted in the Second War of Italian Independence and the conquest of Lombardy. On 2 May 1860 he tried to reach Garibaldi, who was going to launch his famous Expedition of the Thousand[20] in southern Italy. In the same year he released Doveri dell'uomo ("Duties of Man"), a synthesis of his moral, political and social thoughts. In mid-September he was in Naples, then under Garibaldi's dictatorship, but was invited by the local vice-dictator Giorgio Pallavicino to move away.

The new Kingdom of Italy was created in 1861 under the Savoy monarchy. In 1862, Mazzini joined Garibaldi in his failed attempt to free Rome. In 1866, Italy joined the Austro-Prussian War and gained Venetia. At this time Mazzini frequently spoke out against how the unification of his country was being achieved, and in 1867 he refused a seat in the Italian Chamber of Deputies. In 1870, he tried to start a rebellion in Sicily, and was arrested and imprisoned in Gaeta. He was freed in October, in the amnesty declared after the Kingdom finally took Rome, and returned to London in mid-December.

Mausoleum of Mazzini in the Staglieno cemetery of Genoa

Giuseppe Mazzini died of pleurisy at the house known now as Domus Mazziniana in Pisa in 1872, at the age of 66. His body was embalmed by Paolo Gorini. His funeral was held in Genoa, with 100,000 people taking part in it.


Mazzini, an Italian nationalist, was a fervent advocate of republicanism and envisioned a united, free and independent Italy. Unlike his contemporary Garibaldi, who was also a republican, Mazzini refused to swear an oath of allegiance to the House of Savoy until after the capture of Rome.

Mazzini was vigorously opposed to Marxism and Communism, and in 1871 he condemned the socialist revolt in France that led to the creation of the short-lived Paris Commune.[21] This later caused Karl Marx to refer to Mazzini as a "reactionary" and an "old ass".[22][23] Mazzini rejected the Marxist doctrines of class struggle and materialism, and stressed the need for class collaboration[21][24]

The Paris Commune was a radical socialist and revolutionary government that ruled Paris from 18 March to 28 May 1871. The Franco-Prussian War had led to the capture of Emperor Napoleon III in September 1870, the collapse of the Second French Empire, and the beginning of the Third Republic. Because Paris was under siege for four months, the Third Republic moved its capital to Tours. A hotbed of working-class radicalism, Paris was primarily defended during this time by the often politicised and radical troops of the National Guard rather than regular Army troops. Paris surrendered to the Prussians on 28 January 1871, and in February Adolphe Thiers, the new chief executive of the French national government, signed an armistice with Prussia that disarmed the Army but not the National Guard.

On 18 March, soldiers of the Commune's National Guard killed two French army generals, and the Commune refused to accept the authority of the French government. The Commune governed Paris for two months, until it was suppressed by the regular French Army during "La semaine sanglante" ("The Bloody Week") beginning on 21 May 1871.

Debates over the policies and outcome of the Commune had significant influence on the ideas of Karl Marx, who described it as an example of the "dictatorship of the proletariat".

-- Paris Commune, by Wikipedia

Mazzini also rejected the classical liberal principles of the Enlightenment based on the doctrine of individualism, which he criticized as "presupposing either metaphysical materialism or political atheism."[25]

Influenced by his Jansenist upbringing, Mazzini's thought is characterized by a strong religious fervor and deep sense of spirituality. Mazzini described himself as a Christian and emphasized the necessity of faith and a relationship with God, while vehemently denouncing rationalism and atheism. His motto was Dio e Popolo ("God and People"). He regarded patriotism as a duty, and love for the Fatherland as a divine mission, saying that the Fatherland was "the home wherein God has placed us, among brothers and sisters linked to us by the family ties of a common religion, history, and language."[26]

In his 1835 publication Fede e avvenire ("Faith and the Future"), he wrote: "We must rise again as a religious party. The religious element is universal and immortal ... The initiators of a new world, we are bound to lay the foundations of a moral unity, a Humanitarian Catholicism."[27]
However, Mazzini's relationship with the Catholic Church and the Papacy was not always a kind one. While he initially supported Pope Pius IX upon his election, writing an open letter to him in 1847, he later published a scathing attack against the pope in his Sull'Enciclica di Papa Pio IX ("On the Encyclical of Pope Pius IX") in 1849.

Although some of his religious views were at odds with the Catholic Church and the Papacy, and his writings often were tinged with anti-clericalism, at the same time Mazzini criticized Protestantism, stating that it is "divided and subdivided into a thousand sects, all founded on the rights of individual conscience, all eager to make war on one another, and perpetuating that anarchy of beliefs which is the sole true cause of the social and political disturbances that torment the peoples of Europe."[28]

Mazzini formulated a concept known as thought and action, in which thought and action must be joined together, and every thought must be followed by action, therefore rejecting intellectualism and the notion of divorcing theory from practice.[29] He likewise rejected the concept of the "rights of man" which had developed during the Age of Enlightenment, arguing instead that individual rights were a duty to be won through hard work, sacrifice and virtue, rather than "rights" which were intrinsically owed to man.
He outlined his thought in his Doveri dell'uomo ("Duties of Man"), published in 1860.

Women's rights

In Doveri dell'uomo ("Duties of Man", 1860) Mazzini called for recognition of women's rights. After his many encounters with political philosophers in England, France and across Europe, he had decided that the principle of equality between men and women was fundamental to building a truly democratic Italian nation. He called for the end of women's social and judicial subordination to men. His vigorous position heightened attention to gender among European thinkers who were already considering democracy and nationalism. Mazzini helped intellectuals see women's rights not merely a peripheral topic but as a fundamental goal necessary for the regeneration of old nations and the rebirth of new ones.[30] Mazzini admired Jessie White Mario who was described by Giuseppe Garibaldi as the "Bravest Woman of Modern Time". Jessie joined Garibaldi's Redshirts (Italy) for the 1859, 1860 campaign. As a correspondent for the Daily News she witnessed almost every fight that had brought on the unification of Italy.[31]

Jessie White Mario (9 May 1832 in Hampshire, England – 5 March 1906 in Florence, Italy) was an English (and naturalized Italian) writer and philanthropist. She is sometimes referred to as "Hurricane Jessie" in the Italian press.

She was a nurse to General Giuseppe Garibaldi's soldiers in four wars
; she researched living conditions in subterranean Naples and working conditions in Sicily's sulphur mines. She wrote copiously (in English and Italian) as both a journalist and a biographer.

Her most famous biography was about Giuseppe Garibaldi....

She became a propagandist for the Italian cause working with Giuseppe Mazzini, then in exile in London, who noted approvingly that "she is very absolute in her opinions". She wrote newspaper articles explaining the issues in Italy, gave lectures and raised funds for the Italian cause in northern England and Scotland.

When, in 1857, Mazzini went to Genoa, Jessie followed him. Her arrival was announced in the Italia del Popolo newspaper, which had been publishing accounts of her speaking tours. She was treated as a celebrity, toured the area and successfully deflected attention away from Mazzini, who was working on a clandestine expedition to break patriots out of a Bourbon prison near Naples. The operation failed badly, Mazzini escaped the police round-up and returned to London. Jessie was captured and sent to prison in Genoa for four months, where she met the man who would become her husband, Alberto Mario. [Alberto Mario (Lendinara, 4 June 1825 – 2 June 1883) was an Italian politician, journalist and supporter of Garibaldi.] They married in December 1857 at her family's home in England.

Jessie continued her speaking tours in England and Scotland, to much acclaim. In the Fall of 1858 Jessie and Alberto went to New York City to continue lecturing and fund-raising; she to English speaking audiences and he to Italian speakers.

Spring 1860 found them in Lugano, Switzerland, from where they rushed to Genoa to be part of the second wave of volunteers going to Sicily to join Garibaldi in his lightning-fast conquest of the Bourbon-controlled southern half of Italy. Alberto was on Garibaldi's staff and Jessie was nurse to the wounded, doing whatever was needed. This included tightly holding a boy while his arm was amputated without anaesthesia. Skills learned and refined during this war were used again in 1866 in the war against the Austrians west of Venice; in 1867 at Monterotondo and Mentana, north of Rome; and in the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian War when Garibaldi led an army against the Germans in eastern France.

-- Jessie White Mario, by Wikipedia

Mazzini and Marx

Karl Marx, in an interview by R. Landor from 1871, said that Mazzini's ideas represented "nothing better than the old idea of a middle-class republic." Marx believed, especially after the Revolutions of 1848, that Mazzini's point of view had become reactionary, and the proletariat had nothing to do with it.[22] In another interview, Marx described Mazzini as "that everlasting old ass".[23]

Mazzini, in turn, described Marx as "a destructive spirit whose heart was filled with hatred rather than love of mankind" and declared that "Despite the communist egalitarianism which [Marx] preaches he is the absolute ruler of his party, admittedly he does everything himself but he is also the only one to give orders and he tolerates no opposition."[32]


Blue plaque, 183 North Gower Street, London

Mazzini's socio-political thought has been referred to as Mazzinianism, and his worldview as the Mazzinian Conception, terms which were later utilized by Benito Mussolini and Fascists such as Giovanni Gentile to describe their political ideology and spiritual conception of life.[25][29][33][34]

Metternich described Mazzini as "the most influential revolutionary in Europe."[35]

Carl Schurz, in Volume I of his 'Reminiscences' (New York: McClure's Publ. Co., 1907, see Chapters XIII and XIV), gives a biographical sketch of Mazzini and recalls two meetings he had had with him when they were both in London in 1851.

While the book 10,000 Famous Freemasons by William R. Denslow lists Mazzini as a Mason, and even a Past Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Italy, articles on the Grand Orient of Italy's own website question whether he was ever a regular Mason and do not list him as a Past Grand Master.[36]

Bust of Mazzini by Giovanni Turini in Central Park, New York City

Often viewed in the Italy of the time as a god-like figure, Mazzini was nonetheless denounced by many of his compatriots as a traitor. Contemporary historians tended to believe that he ceased to contribute anything productive or useful after 1849, but modern ones take a more favorable opinion of him. The antifascist Mazzini Society, founded in the United States in 1939 by Italian political refugees, took his name; they, like him, served Italy from exile.

In London, Mazzini resided at 155 North Gower Street, near Euston Square, which is now marked with a commemorative blue plaque.[37] (155 is next door to 157 North Gower Street, which doubles as 221b Baker Street in the BBC adaptation of Sherlock.). A plaque on Laystall Street in Clerkenwell, London's Little Italy during the 1850s, also pays tribute Giuseppe Mazzini.[38]

A bust of Mazzini is in New York's Central Park between 67th and 68th streets just west of the West Drive.

The 1973–1974 academic year at the College of Europe was named in his honor.

See also

• Roman Republic (19th century)
• History of Italy
• Italian nationalism
• Italian unification
• Revolutions of 1848 in the Italian states
• Jessie White Mario
• Mazzini's influence on Savarkar- ... r-savarkar


• Warfare against the Man (1825)
• On Nationality (1852)
• The Duties of Man and Other Essays (1860). J.M. Dent & Sons, London, 1907 ISBN 1596052198
• A Cosmopolitanism of Nations: Giuseppe Mazzini's Writings on Democracy, Nation Building, and International Relations Recchia, Stefano, and Urbinati, Nadia, editors. Princeton University Press, 2009.


• "Is it Revolt or a Revolution?" in Tait's Edinburgh Magazine, June 1840, pp. 385–390


1. Romani, Roberto (2018). Sensibilities of the Risorgimento: Reason and Passions in Political Thought. BRILL. pp. 147–157.
2. Finn, Margot C. (2003). After Chartism: Class and Nation in English Radical Politics 1848-1874. Cambridge University Press. p. 200.
3. Finn, Margot C. (2003). After Chartism: Class and Nation in English Radical Politics 1848-1874. Cambridge University Press. pp. 170–176.
4. "Mazzini, Giuseppe". Lexico UK Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
5. "Mazzini". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
6. "Mazzini". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
7. The Italian Unification
8. (2013) Delphi Complete Works of Algernon Charles Swinburne
9. Giuseppe Mazzini's International Political Thought
10. Hunt, Lynn; Martin, Thomas R.; and Rosenwein, Barbara H. Peoples and Cultures, Volume C ("Since 1740"): The Making of the West. Boston: Bedford/Saint Martin's, 2008.
11. Sarti, Roland (1 January 1997). Mazzini: A Life for the Religion of Politics. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-275-95080-4. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
12. "The Oath of Young Italy". Retrieved 30 November 2017.
13. Though an adherent of the group, Mazzini was not Christian.
14. Mack Smith, Denis (1994). Mazzini. Yale University Press. pp. 11–12.
15. Which was also reformed in 1840 in Paris, thank to the help of Giuseppe Lamberti.
16. Verdecchia, Enrico. Londra dei cospiratori. L'esilio londinese dei padri del Risorgimento, Marco Tropea Editore, 2010
17. By the Home Secretary, Sir James Graham, 2nd Baronet.
18. Directly in the person of the Foreign Secretary, George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen.
19. In the person of Baron Philipp von Neumann.
20. Which, apparently, was to follow a plan previously devised by Mazzini himself.
21. Stefano Recchia, Nadia Urbinati (2009) A Cosmopolitanism of Nations; Princeton University Press.; p. 6
22. Interview with Karl Marx, head of L'Internationale by R. Landor, New York World, 18 July 1871, reprinted Woodhull & Claflin's Weekly, 12 August 1871 – World History Archives: The retrospective history of the world's working class
23. Pearce R, Stiles A: The Unification of Italy, Third Edition, Hodder Murray, 2006.
24. Joan Campbell (1992, 1998) European Labor Unions; Greenwood Press; p. 253
25. M. E. Moss (2004) Mussolini's Fascist Philosopher: Giovanni Gentile Reconsidered; New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.; p. 59-60
26. E. A. V., Joseph Mazzini (1875) A Memoir by E. A. V. With Two Essays by Mazzini; Henry S. King & Co.; p. 2
27. G. Mazzini, Fede e avvenire, Cambridge University Press, 1921 p.51
28. Mazzini, Joseph. The Duties of Man. London; Chapman & Hall, 193, Piccadilly. Pp. 52.
29. Paul Schumaker (2010) The Political Theory Reader; Wiley-Blackwell; p. 58
30. Federica Falchi, "Democrazia e questione femminile nel pensiero di Giuseppe Mazzini" ['Democracy and the rights of women in the thinking of Giuseppe Mazzini'] Modern Italy (2012) 17#1 pp 15–30.
31. Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette, 13 Apr 1906, Fri, Page 13 ... es_jessie/
32. as quoted in Fritz J. Raddatz (1975, 1978) Marx: A Political Biography; Boston: Little, Brown; p. 66
33. Maurizio Viroli (2012) As If God Existed: Religion and Liberty in the History of Italy; p. 177-178
34. Origins and Doctrine of FascismGiovanni Gentile (1932) Origins and Doctrine of Fascism; p. 5-6
35. David Gress (1998) From Plato to NATO: The Idea of the West and Its Opponents; Free Press
36. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
37. "Giuseppe Mazzini – London Remembers". Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
38. "In search of London's Little Italy – Londonist". Retrieved 12 October 2018.

Further reading

• Bayly, C. A., and Eugenio F. Biagini, eds. "Giuseppe Mazzini and the Globalisation of Democratic Nationalism 1830–1920 (2009)
• Claeys, Gregory. "Mazzini, Kossuth, and British Radicalism, 1848–1854," Journal of British Studies, vol. 28, o. 3 (July 1989), pp. 225–261. In JSTOR.
• Dal Lago, Enrico. ""We Cherished the Same Hostility to Every Form of Tyranny": Transatlantic Parallels and Contacts between William Lloyd Garrison and Giuseppe Mazzini, 1846–1872." American Nineteenth Century History 13.3 (2012): 293–319.
o Dal Lago, Enrico. William Lloyd Garrison and Giuseppe Mazzini: Abolition, Democracy, and Radical Reform. (Louisiana State University Press, 2013).
• Falchi, Federica. "Democracy and the rights of women in the thinking of Giuseppe Mazzini." Modern Italy 17#1 (2012): 15–30.
• Finelli, Michele. "Mazzini in Italian historical memory." Journal of Modern Italian Studies (2008) 13#4 pp 486–491.
• Mack Smith, Denis (1996). Mazzini. Yale University Press., a standard scholarly biography.
• Ridolfi, Maurizio. "Visions of republicanism in the writings of Giuseppe Mazzini," Journal of Modern Italian Studies (2008) 13#4 pp 468–479.
• Sarti, Roland. "Giuseppe Mazzini and his opponents" in John A. Davis, ed. Italy in the Nineteenth Century: 1796–1900 (2000) pp 74–107 online
• Sarti, Roland. Mazzini: A Life for the Religion of Politics (1997) 249pp
• Urbinati, Nadia. "Mazzini and the making of the republican ideology." Journal of Modern Italian Studies 17.2 (2012): 183–204.
• Wight, Martin; Wight, Gabriele, and Porter, Brian (Eds.) Four Seminal Thinkers in International Theory: Machiavelli, Grotius, Kant, and Mazzini Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005

Primary sources

• Mazzini, Giuseppe. A cosmopolitanism of nations: Giuseppe Mazzini's writings on democracy, nation building, and international relations (Princeton University Press, 2009).

Other languages

• Chabod, Federico (1967). L'idea di nazione. Bari: Laterza.
• Omodeo, Adolfo (1955). L'età del Risorgimento italiano. Naples: ESI.
• Omodeo, Adolfo (1934). "Introduzione a G. Mazzini". Scritti scelti. Milan: Mondadori.
• Giuseppe Leone e Roberto Zambonini, "Mozart e Mazzini – Paesaggi poetico-musicali tra flauti magici e voci "segrete", Malgrate, Palazzo Agudio, 25 agosto 2007, ore 21.

Partial text of this article

• This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Gilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "Mazzini, Giuseppe". New International Encyclopedia. XIII (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead. pp. 225–226.

External links

• "JOSEPH MAZZINI (Obituary Notice, Tuesday, March 12, 1872)". Eminent Persons: Biographies reprinted from The Times. I (1870-1875). London: Macmillan and Co. 1892. pp. 83–91. Retrieved 26 February 2019 – via HathiTrust Digital Library.
• Media related to Giuseppe Mazzini at Wikimedia Commons
• Quotations related to Giuseppe Mazzini at Wikiquote
• Works by Giuseppe Mazzini at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Giuseppe Mazzini at Internet Archive
• Biography at (in Italian)
• "Mazzini, Giuseppe" . Encyclopedia Americana. 1920.
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Permanent Settlement
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/21/20

The Permanent Settlement, also known as the Permanent Settlement of Bengal, was an agreement between the East India Company and Bengali landlords to fix revenues to be raised from land that had far-reaching consequences for both agricultural methods and productivity in the entire British Empire and the political realities of the Indian countryside. It was concluded in 1793 by the Company administration headed by Charles, Earl Cornwallis.[1] It formed one part of a larger body of legislation, known as the Cornwallis Code. The Cornwallis Code of 1793 divided the East India Company's service personnel into three branches: revenue, judicial, and commercial. Revenues were collected by zamindars, native Indians who were treated as landowners. This division created an Indian landed class that supported British authority.[1]

The Permanent Settlement was introduced first in Bengal and Bihar and later in the south district of Madras and Varanasi. The system eventually spread all over northern India by a series of regulations dated 1 May 1793. These regulations remained in place until the Charter Act of 1833.[1] The other two systems prevalent in India were the Ryotwari System and the Mahalwari System.

The Ryotwari system was a land revenue system in British India, introduced by Thomas Munro in 1820 based on system administered by Captain Alexander Read in the Baramahal district. It allowed the government to deal directly with the cultivator ('ryot') for revenue collection, and gave the peasant freedom to give up or acquire new land for cultivation. The peasant was assessed for only the lands he was cultivating.

This system was in operation for nearly 5 years and had many features of revenue system of the Mughals. It was instituted in some parts of British India, one of the three main systems used to collect revenues from the cultivators of agricultural land. These taxes included undifferentiated land revenue and rents, collected simultaneously. Where the land revenue was imposed directly on the ryots (the individual cultivators who actually worked the land) the system of assessment was known as ryotwari. Where the land revenue was imposed indirectly—through agreements made with Zamindars -- the system of assessment was known as zamindari. In Bombay, Madras, Assam and Burma the Zamindar usually did not have a position as a middleman between the government and the farmer.

An official report by John Stuart Mill, who was working for the British East India Company in 1857, explained the Ryotwari land tenure system as follows:
Under the Ryotwari System every registered holder of land is recognised as its proprietor, and pays direct to Government. He is at liberty to sublet his property, or to transfer it by gift, sale, or mortgage. He cannot be ejected by Government so long as he pays the fixed assessment, and has the option annually of increasing or diminishing his holding, or of entirely abandoning it. In unfavourable seasons remissions of assessment are granted for entire or partial loss of produce. The assessment is fixed in money, and does not vary from year to year, in those cases where water is drawn from a Government source of irrigation to convert dry land into wet, or into two-crop land, when an extra rent is paid to Government for the water so appropriated; nor is any addition made to the assessment for improvements effected at the Ryot's own expense. The Ryot under this system is virtually a Proprietor on a simple and perfect title, and has all the benefits of a perpetual lease without its responsibilities, in as much as he can at any time throw up his lands, but cannot be ejected so long as he pays his dues; he receives assistance in difficult seasons, and is irresponsible for the payment of his neighbours... The Annual Settlements under Ryotwari are often misunderstood, and it is necessary to explain that they are rendered necessary by the right accorded to the Ryot of diminishing or extending his cultivation from year to year. Their object is to determine how much of the assessment due on his holding the Ryot shall pay, and not to reassess the land. In these cases where no change occurs in the Ryots holding a fresh Patta or lease is not issued, and such parties are in no way affected by the Annual Settlement, which they are not required to attend.

-- Ryotwari, by Wikipedia

The Mahalwari system was introduced by Holt Mackenzie in 1822. The other two systems were the Permanent Settlement of Bengal in 1793 and the Ryotwari system in 1820. It covered the States of Punjab,Awadh and Agra, parts of Orissa and Madhya Pradesh. During the 1800s, the British tried to establish their control over the administrative machinery of India. The System of Land Revenue acted as a chief source of income of the British. Land was one of the most important source of income for the British. Thus, they used land to control the entire Revenue system, strengthening their economic condition in India.

The word "Mahalwari" is derived from the Hindi word Mahal, which means house, district, neighbourhood or quarter. This system consisted of landlords or lambardars claiming to represent entire villages or even groups of villages. Along with the village communities, the landlords were jointly responsible for the payment of the revenues. But, there was individual responsibility. The land included under this system consisted of all land of the villages, even the forestland, pastures etc.

This system was prevalent in the parts of Uttar Pradesh, the North Western province, parts of Central India and Punjab.

-- Mahalwari, by Wikipedia

Many argue that the settlement and its outcome had several shortcomings when compared with its initial goals of increasing tax revenue, creating a Western-European style land market in Bengal, and encouraging investment in land and agriculture, thereby creating the conditions for long-term economic growth for both the company and region's inhabitants. Firstly, the policy of fixing the rate of expected tax revenue for the foreseeable future meant that the income of the Company from taxation actually decreased in the long-term because revenues remained fixed while expenses increased over time. Meanwhile, the condition of the Bengali peasantry became increasingly pitiable, with famines becoming a regular occurrence as landlords (who risked immediate loss of their land if they failed to deliver the expected amount from taxation) sought to guarantee revenue by coercing the local agriculturalists to cultivate cash crops such as cotton, indigo, and jute, while long-term private investment by the zamindars in agricultural infrastructure failed to materialise.


Earlier zamindars in Bengal, Bihar and Odisha had been functionaries who held the right to collect revenue on behalf of the Mughal emperor and his representative, the diwan, in Bengal. The diwan supervised the zamindars to ensure they were neither lax nor overly stringent. When the East India Company was awarded the diwani or overlordship of Bengal by the empire following the Battle of Buxar in 1764, it found itself short of trained administrators, especially those familiar with local custom and law. As a result, landholders were unsupervised or reported to corrupt and indolent officials.The result was that revenues were extracted without regard for future income or local welfare.

Following the devastating famine of 1770, which was partially caused by this shortsightedness, Company officials in Calcutta better understood the importance of oversight of revenue officials. Warren Hastings, then governor-general, introduced a system of five-yearly inspections and temporary tax farmers. They did not want to take direct control of local administration in villages for several reasons, including that Company did not want to annoy those people who had traditionally enjoyed power and prestige in rural Bengal.

The Company failed to consider the question of incentivisation. Many appointed tax farmers absconded with as much revenue as they could during the time period between inspections. The British Parliament took note of the disastrous consequences of the system, and in 1784, British Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger directed the Calcutta administration to alter it immediately. In 1786 Charles Cornwallis was sent out to India to reform the company's practices.

In 1786, the East India Company Court of Directors first proposed a permanent settlement for Bengal, changing the policy then being followed by Calcutta, which was attempting to increase taxation of zamindars. Between 1786 and 1790, the new Governor-General Lord Cornwallis and Sir John Shore (later Governor-General) entered a heated debate over whether or not to introduce a permanent settlement with the zamindars. Shore argued that the native zamindars would not trust the permanent settlement to be permanent and that it would take time before they realised it was genuine.

The main aim of the Permanent Settlement was to resolve the problem of agrarian crisis and distress that had resulted in lower agricultural output. The British officials thought that investment in agriculture, trade, and the resources of the revenue of the State could be increased by agriculture. For this, permanently fixing the revenue and securing the rights of property was done -- a system came to be known as the 'Permanent Settlement'. The British thought that once the revenue demands of the State were permanently set, there would be a regular flow of tax income. Furthermore, landholders would invest in their agricultural land as the producer can keep surpluses in excess of the fixed tax. The British officials thought that such a process would lead to the emergence of yeomen class of farmers and rich landowners who would invest their capital to generate further surpluses. This new emergent class would be loyal to the British, who were still gaining a foothold in the Indian subcontinent. While the policy was well-intentioned, it failed to identify individuals who were willing to contract to pay fixed revenue perpetually and to invest in the improvement of agriculture. After much discussion and disagreement between the officials, the Permanent Settlement was made with the existing Rajas and Taluqdars of Bengal who were now classified as Zamindars. They had to pay fixed revenue in perpetuity. Thus, zamindars were not the landowners but rather revenue collector agents of the State. Cornwallis believed that they would immediately accept it and so begin investing in improving their land. In 1790, the Court of Directors issued a ten-year (decennial) settlement to the zamindars, which was made permanent in 1793.

By the Permanent Settlement Act of 1793, their power of keeping the armed forces were taken back. They remained just the tax collectors of the land. There were considerably weakened as they were now banned from holding any court, as it was brought under the supervision of collector appointed by the company. British officials believed that investing in the land would improve the economy.

The system failed in the long run due to operational difficulty as well as because the Permanent Settlement did not take account of the seasonal and precarious nature of Bengali agriculture. The Company also did not understand the structural issues as well as the society.


The question of incentivisation now being understood to be central, the security of tenure of landlords was guaranteed. In short, the former landholders and revenue intermediaries were granted proprietorial rights (effective ownership) to the land they held. Smallholders were no longer permitted to sell their land, but they could not be expropriated by their new landlords.

Incentivisation of zamindars was intended to encourage improvements of the land, such as drainage, irrigation and the construction of roads and bridges; such infrastructure had been insufficient through much of Bengal. With a fixed land tax, zamindars could securely invest in increasing their income without any fear of having the increase taxed away by the Company. Cornwallis made the motivation quite clear by declaring that "when the demand of government is fixed, an opportunity is afforded to the landholder of increasing his profits, by the improvement of his lands". The British had in mind "improving landlords" in their own country, such as [Thomas William] Coke of Norfolk.

The Court of Directors also hoped to guarantee the company's income, which was constantly plagued by defaulting zamindars who fell into arrears, making it impossible for them to budget their spending accurately.

The immediate consequence of the Permanent Settlement was both very sudden and dramatic, one that nobody had apparently foreseen. By ensuring that zamindars' lands were held in perpetuity and with a fixed tax burden, they became desirable commodities. In addition, the government tax demand was inflexible, and the British East India Company's collectors refused to make allowances for times of drought, flood or other natural disaster. The tax demand was higher than that in England at the time. As a result, many zamindars immediately fell into arrears.

The Company's policy of auction of any zamindari lands deemed to be in arrears created a market for land that previously did not exist. Many of the new purchasers of this land were Indian officials within the East India Company's government. The bureaucrats were ideally placed to purchase lands which they knew to be underassessed and therefore profitable. In addition, their position as officials gave them opportunity to acquire the wealth necessary to purchase land. They could also manipulate the system to bring to sale land that they specifically wanted.

Historian Bernard S. Cohn and others have argued that the Permanent Settlement led to a commercialisation of land that previously did not exist in Bengal and, as a consequence, it led to a change in the social background of the ruling class from "lineages and local chiefs" to "under civil servants and their descendants, and to merchants and bankers". The new landlords were different in their outlook; "often they were absentee landlords who managed their land through managers and who had little attachment to their land".[3]


The Company hoped that the Zamindar class would not only be a revenue-generating instrument but also serve as intermediaries for the more political aspects of their rule, preserving local custom and protecting rural life from the possibly rapacious influences of its own representatives. However, it worked both ways, as zamindars became a naturally conservative interest group. Once British policy in the mid-19th century changed to one of reform and intervention in custom, the zamindars were vocal in their opposition. The Permanent Settlement had the features that state demand was fixed at 89% of the rent and 11% was to be retained by the zamindar. The state demand could not be increased but payment should be made on the due date, before sunset, so it was also known as the 'Sunset Law'. Failure to pay led to the sale of land to the highest bidder.

While the worst of the tax-farming excesses were countered by the introduction of the Settlement, the use of land was not part of the agreement. There was a tendency of Company officials and Indian landlords to force their tenants into plantation-style farming of cash crops like indigo and cotton rather than rice and wheat. That was a cause of many of the worst famines of the nineteenth century.

Once the salient features of the Permanent Settlement were reproduced all over India, and indeed elsewhere in the Empire, including Kenya, the political structure was altered forever. The landlord class held much greater power than they had under the Mughals, who subjected them to oversight by a trained bureaucracy with the power to attenuate their tenure. The power of the landlord caste/class over smallholders was not diluted in India until the first efforts towards land reform in the 1950s, still incomplete everywhere except West Bengal.

In Pakistan, where land reform was never carried out, elections in rural areas still suffer from a tendency towards oligarchy, reflecting the concentration of influence in the hands of zamindar families. This is because once Pakistan became separated from India, and the two began to fight over Kashmir, the goal of the government was revenue extraction to fund the military. As a result, the central leadership skewed the relationship between the elected and non-elected institutions of the state.[4]


1. "Cornwallis Code". Encyclopedia Britannica. 4 February 2009. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
3. Cohn, Bernard S. (August 1960). "The Initial British Impact on India: A case study of the Benares region". The Journal of Asian Studies. Association for Asian Studies. 19 (4): 418–431. doi:10.2307/2943581. JSTOR 2943581.
4. Bose, Sugata; Jalal, Ayesha (2004). Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy (2nd ed.). Routledge. p. 176–177. ISBN 0-415-30786-4. Factors worked to undermine the role of parties and politicians and enhance that of the civil bureaucracy and the military ... it was the outbreak of war with India over the north Indian princely state of Kashmir within months of Pakistan's emergence which created the conditions for the dominance of the bureaucracy and the army ... setting their sights on [Kashmir], the central leadership inadvertently assisted in skewing the relationship between the elected and non-elected institutions of the state. In dire financial straits, the Pakistan central government had to dig more deeply into provincial resources to pay for a defence ... With revenue extraction as the primary objective, those at the centre devoted most of their energies to administrative consolidation and expansion rather than building a party-based political system.

Further reading

• Agrawal, Pramod Kumar (1993). Land Reforms in India: Constitutional and Legal Approach. New Delhi: M.D. Publications Pvt. Ltd. ISBN 8185880093
• Guha, Ranajit (1996). A rule of property for Bengal: an essay on the idea of permanent settlement. Durham: Duke U Press. ISBN 0-8223-1771-0.
• Spear, T.G.Percival (1990). The History of India. 2. Penguin. ISBN 0-14-013836-6.
• Washbrook, D. A. (1981). "Law, State and Agrarian Society in Colonial India". Modern Asian Studies. 15 (3): 649–721. doi:10.1017/s0026749x00008714. JSTOR 312295.
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Indian Rebellion of 1857
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/22/20

Indian Rebellion of 1857
A 1912 map showing the centres of the rebellion
Date:10 May 1857 – 1 November 1858 (1 year and 6 months)
Location: India
Result: British victory; Suppression of revolt; Formal end of the Mughal Empire; End of Company rule in India; Transfer of rule to the British Crown
Territorial changes: British Raj created out of former East India Company territory (some land returned to native rulers, other land confiscated by the British crown)
Belligerents: Sepoy Mutineers; Mughal Empire; Oudh; Jagdishpur; Gwalior factions; Forces of Rani Lakshmibai, the deposed ruler of Jhansi; Forces of Nana Sahib Peshwa; Forces of Rao Tula Ram, Raja of Rewari; Nawab of Banda; Various Rajas, Nawabs, Zamindars, Thakurs, Taluqdars, Sardars, and chieftains; East India Company; United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; Kingdom of Nepal; 5 Princely States: Kapurthala; Nabha; Patiala; Rampur; Jodhpur
Commanders and leaders: Bahadur Shah Zafar; Nahar Singh; Bakht Khan †; Nana Sahib; Kunwar Singh; Tatya Tope (Executed); Rao Tula Ram; Ali Bahadur II Nawab of Banda; Umrao Singh Bhati; Rani Lakshmibai †; Begum Hazrat Mahal; Birjis Qadr; Thakur Vishwanath Shahdeo (Executed); Pandey Ganpat Rai (Executed); Tikait Umrao Singh (Executed); Sheikh Bhikhari (Executed); Lord Canning; George Anson (d. May 1857); Patrick Grant; Colin Campbell (from August 1857); John Nicholson †; Jung Bahadur Kunwar Rana[1]; Dhir Shamsher Kunwar Rana[2]; Randhir Singh
Casualties and losses: 6,000 Europeans killed[3]; As many as 800,000 Indians and possibly more, both in the rebellion and in famines and epidemics of disease in its wake, by comparison of 1857 population estimates with Indian Census of 1871.[3]

The Indian Rebellion of 1857 was a major, but ultimately unsuccessful, uprising in India in 1857–58 against the rule of the British East India Company, which functioned as a sovereign power on behalf of the British Crown.[4][5] The rebellion began on 10 May 1857 in the form of a mutiny of sepoys of the Company's army in the garrison town of Meerut, 40 mi (64 km) northeast of Delhi (now Old Delhi). It then erupted into other mutinies and civilian rebellions chiefly in the upper Gangetic plain and central India,[a][6][ b][7] though incidents of revolt also occurred farther north and east.[c][8] The rebellion posed a considerable threat to British power in that region,[d][9] and was contained only with the rebels' defeat in Gwalior on 20 June 1858.[10] On 1 November 1858, the British granted amnesty to all rebels not involved in murder, though they did not declare the hostilities to have formally ended until 8 July 1859. Its name is contested, and it is variously described as the Sepoy Mutiny, the Indian Mutiny, the Great Rebellion, the Revolt of 1857, the Indian Insurrection, and the First War of Independence.[e][11]

The Indian rebellion was fed by resentments born of diverse perceptions, including invasive British-style social reforms, harsh land taxes, summary treatment of some rich landowners and princes,[12][13] as well as scepticism about the improvements brought about by British rule.[f][14] Many Indians rose against the British; however, many also fought for the British, and the majority remained seemingly compliant to British rule.[g][14] Violence, which sometimes betrayed exceptional cruelty, was inflicted on both sides, on British officers, and civilians, including women and children, by the rebels, and on the rebels, and their supporters, including sometimes entire villages, by British reprisals; the cities of Delhi and Lucknow were laid waste in the fighting and the British retaliation.[h][14]

After the outbreak of the mutiny in Meerut, the rebels quickly reached Delhi, whose 81-year-old Mughal ruler, Bahadur Shah Zafar, was declared the Emperor of Hindustan. Soon, the rebels had captured large tracts of the North-Western Provinces and Awadh (Oudh). The East India Company's response came rapidly as well. With help from reinforcements, Kanpur was retaken by mid-July 1857, and Delhi by the end of September.[10] However, it then took the remainder of 1857 and the better part of 1858 for the rebellion to be suppressed in Jhansi, Lucknow, and especially the Awadh countryside.[10] Other regions of Company controlled India—Bengal province, the Bombay Presidency, and the Madras Presidency—remained largely calm.[ i][7][10] In the Punjab, the Sikh princes crucially helped the British by providing both soldiers and support.[j][7][10] The large princely states, Hyderabad, Mysore, Travancore, and Kashmir, as well as the smaller ones of Rajputana, did not join the rebellion, serving the British, in the Governor-General Lord Canning's words, as "breakwaters in a storm."[15]

In some regions, most notably in Awadh, the rebellion took on the attributes of a patriotic revolt against European oppression.[16] However, the rebel leaders proclaimed no articles of faith that presaged a new political system.[k][17] Even so, the rebellion proved to be an important watershed in Indian- and British Empire history.[l][11][18] It led to the dissolution of the East India Company, and forced the British to reorganize the army, the financial system, and the administration in India, through passage of the Government of India Act 1858.[19] India was thereafter administered directly by the British government in the new British Raj.[15] On 1 November 1858, Queen Victoria issued a proclamation to Indians, which while lacking the authority of a constitutional provision,[m][20] promised rights similar to those of other British subjects.[n][o][21] In the following decades, when admission to these rights was not always forthcoming, Indians were to pointedly refer to the Queen's proclamation in growing avowals of a new nationalism.[p][22][q][23]

East India Company's expansion in India

Main article: Company rule in India

India in 1765 and 1805, showing East India Company-governed territories in pink

India in 1837 and 1857, showing East India Company-governed territories in pink

Although the British East India Company had established a presence in India as far back as 1612,[24] and earlier administered the factory areas established for trading purposes, its victory in the Battle of Plassey in 1757 marked the beginning of its firm foothold in eastern India. The victory was consolidated in 1764 at the Battle of Buxar, when the East India Company army defeated Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II. After his defeat, the emperor granted the Company the right to the "collection of Revenue" in the provinces of Bengal (modern day Bengal, Bihar, and Odisha), known as "Diwani" to the Company.[25] The Company soon expanded its territories around its bases in Bombay and Madras; later, the Anglo-Mysore Wars (1766–1799) and the Anglo-Maratha Wars (1772–1818) led to control of even more of India.[26]

In 1806, the Vellore Mutiny was sparked by new uniform regulations that created resentment amongst both Hindu and Muslim sepoys.[27]

After the turn of the 19th century, Governor-General Wellesley began what became two decades of accelerated expansion of Company territories.[28] This was achieved either by subsidiary alliances between the Company and local rulers or by direct military annexation. The subsidiary alliances created the princely states of the Hindu maharajas and the Muslim nawabs. Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, and Kashmir were annexed after the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849; however, Kashmir was immediately sold under the 1846 Treaty of Amritsar to the Dogra Dynasty of Jammu and thereby became a princely state. The border dispute between Nepal and British India, which sharpened after 1801, had caused the Anglo-Nepalese War of 1814–16 and brought the defeated Gurkhas under British influence. In 1854, Berar was annexed, and the state of Oudh was added two years later. For practical purposes, the Company was the government of much of India.[29]

Causes of the rebellion

Main article: Causes of the Indian Rebellion of 1857

The Indian Rebellion of 1857 occurred as the result of an accumulation of factors over time, rather than any single event.

The sepoys were Indian soldiers who were recruited into the Company's army. Just before the rebellion, there were over 300,000 sepoys in the army, compared to about 50,000 British. The forces were divided into three presidency armies: Bombay, Madras, and Bengal. The Bengal Army recruited higher castes, such as Rajputs and Bhumihar, mostly from the Awadh and Bihar regions, and even restricted the enlistment of lower castes in 1855. In contrast, the Madras Army and Bombay Army were "more localized, caste-neutral armies" that "did not prefer high-caste men".[30] The domination of higher castes in the Bengal Army has been blamed in part for initial mutinies that led to the rebellion.

Two sepoy officers; a private sepoy, 1820s

In 1772, when Warren Hastings was appointed India's first Governor-General, one of his first undertakings was the rapid expansion of the Company's army. Since the sepoys from Bengal – many of whom had fought against the Company in the Battles of Plassey and Buxar – were now suspect in British eyes, Hastings recruited farther west from the high-caste rural Rajputs and Bhumihar of Awadh and Bihar, a practice that continued for the next 75 years. However, in order to forestall any social friction, the Company also took action to adapt its military practices to the requirements of their religious rituals. Consequently, these soldiers dined in separate facilities; in addition, overseas service, considered polluting to their caste, was not required of them, and the army soon came officially to recognise Hindu festivals. "This encouragement of high caste ritual status, however, left the government vulnerable to protest, even mutiny, whenever the sepoys detected infringement of their prerogatives."[31] Stokes argues that "The British scrupulously avoided interference with the social structure of the village community which remained largely intact."[32]

After the annexation of Oudh (Awadh) by the East India Company in 1856, many sepoys were disquieted both from losing their perquisites, as landed gentry, in the Oudh courts, and from the anticipation of any increased land-revenue payments that the annexation might bring about.[33] Other historians have stressed that by 1857, some Indian soldiers, interpreting the presence of missionaries as a sign of official intent, were convinced that the Company was masterminding mass conversions of Hindus and Muslims to Christianity.[34] Although earlier in the 1830s, evangelicals such as William Carey and William Wilberforce had successfully clamoured for the passage of social reform, such as the abolition of sati and allowing the remarriage of Hindu widows, there is little evidence that the sepoys' allegiance was affected by this.[33]

However, changes in the terms of their professional service may have created resentment. As the extent of the East India Company's jurisdiction expanded with victories in wars or annexation, the soldiers were now expected not only to serve in less familiar regions, such as in Burma, but also to make do without the "foreign service" remuneration that had previously been their due.[35]

A major cause of resentment that arose ten months prior to the outbreak of the rebellion was the General Service Enlistment Act of 25 July 1856. As noted above, men of the Bengal Army had been exempted from overseas service. Specifically, they were enlisted only for service in territories to which they could march. Governor-General Lord Dalhousie saw this as an anomaly, since all sepoys of the Madras and Bombay Armies and the six "General Service" battalions of the Bengal Army had accepted an obligation to serve overseas if required. As a result, the burden of providing contingents for active service in Burma, readily accessible only by sea, and China had fallen disproportionately on the two smaller Presidency Armies. As signed into effect by Lord Canning, Dalhousie's successor as Governor-General, the act required only new recruits to the Bengal Army to accept a commitment for general service. However, serving high-caste sepoys were fearful that it would be eventually extended to them, as well as preventing sons following fathers into an army with a strong tradition of family service.[36]

There were also grievances over the issue of promotions, based on seniority. This, as well as the increasing number of European officers in the battalions,[37] made promotion slow, and many Indian officers did not reach commissioned rank until they were too old to be effective.[38]

The Enfield rifle

The final spark was provided by the ammunition for the new Enfield Pattern 1853 rifled musket.[39] These rifles, which fired Minié balls, had a tighter fit than the earlier muskets, and used paper cartridges that came pre-greased. To load the rifle, sepoys had to bite the cartridge open to release the powder.[40] The grease used on these cartridges was rumoured to include tallow derived from beef, which would be offensive to Hindus,[41] and lard derived from pork, which would be offensive to Muslims. At least one Company official pointed out the difficulties this may cause:

unless it be proven that the grease employed in these cartridges is not of a nature to offend or interfere with the prejudices of religion, it will be expedient not to issue them for test to Native corps.[42]

However, in August 1856, greased cartridge production was initiated at Fort William, Calcutta, following a British design. The grease used included tallow supplied by the Indian firm of Gangadarh Banerji & Co.[43] By January, rumours were abroad that the Enfield cartridges were greased with animal fat.

Company officers became aware of the rumours through reports of an altercation between a high-caste sepoy and a low-caste labourer at Dum Dum.[44] The labourer had taunted the sepoy that by biting the cartridge, he had himself lost caste, although at this time such cartridges had been issued only at Meerut and not at Dum Dum.[45] There had been rumours that the British sought to destroy the religions of the Indian people, and forcing the native soldiers to break their sacred code would have certainly added to this rumour, as it apparently did. The Company was quick to reverse the effects of this policy in hopes that the unrest would be quelled.[46][47]

On 27 January, Colonel Richard Birch, the Military Secretary, ordered that all cartridges issued from depots were to be free from grease, and that sepoys could grease them themselves using whatever mixture "they may prefer".[48] A modification was also made to the drill for loading so that the cartridge was torn with the hands and not bitten. This however, merely caused many sepoys to be convinced that the rumours were true and that their fears were justified. Additional rumours started that the paper in the new cartridges, which was glazed and stiffer than the previously used paper, was impregnated with grease.[49] In February, a court of inquiry was held at Barrackpore to get to the bottom of these rumours. Native soldiers called as witnesses complained of the paper "being stiff and like cloth in the mode of tearing", said that when the paper was burned it smelled of grease, and announced that the suspicion that the paper itself contained grease could not be removed from their minds.[50]

Civilian disquiet

The civilian rebellion was more multifarious. The rebels consisted of three groups: the feudal nobility, rural landlords called taluqdars, and the peasants. The nobility, many of whom had lost titles and domains under the Doctrine of Lapse, which refused to recognise the adopted children of princes as legal heirs, felt that the Company had interfered with a traditional system of inheritance. Rebel leaders such as Nana Sahib and the Rani of Jhansi belonged to this group; the latter, for example, was prepared to accept East India Company supremacy if her adopted son was recognised as her late husband's heir.[51] In other areas of central India, such as Indore and Saugar, where such loss of privilege had not occurred, the princes remained loyal to the Company, even in areas where the sepoys had rebelled.[52] The second group, the taluqdars, had lost half their landed estates to peasant farmers as a result of the land reforms that came in the wake of annexation of Oudh. As the rebellion gained ground, the taluqdars quickly reoccupied the lands they had lost, and paradoxically, in part because of ties of kinship and feudal loyalty, did not experience significant opposition from the peasant farmers, many of whom joined the rebellion, to the great dismay of the British.[53] It has also been suggested that heavy land-revenue assessment in some areas by the British resulted in many landowning families either losing their land or going into great debt to money lenders, and providing ultimately a reason to rebel; money lenders, in addition to the Company, were particular objects of the rebels' animosity.[54] The civilian rebellion was also highly uneven in its geographic distribution, even in areas of north-central India that were no longer under British control. For example, the relatively prosperous Muzaffarnagar district, a beneficiary of a Company irrigation scheme, and next door to Meerut, where the upheaval began, stayed relatively calm throughout.[55]

Charles Canning, the Governor-General of India during the rebellion.

Lord Dalhousie, the Governor-General of India from 1848 to 1856, who devised the Doctrine of Lapse.

Lakshmibai, the Rani of Maratha-ruled Jhansi, one of the principal leaders of the rebellion who earlier had lost her kingdom as a result of the Doctrine of Lapse.

Bahadur Shah Zafar the last Mughal Emperor, crowned Emperor of India, by the Indian troops, he was deposed by the British, and died in exile in Burma

"Utilitarian and evangelical-inspired social reform",[56] including the abolition of sati[57][58] and the legalisation of widow remarriage were considered by many—especially the British themselves[59]—to have caused suspicion that Indian religious traditions were being "interfered with", with the ultimate aim of conversion.[59][60] Recent historians, including Chris Bayly, have preferred to frame this as a "clash of knowledges", with proclamations from religious authorities before the revolt and testimony after it including on such issues as the "insults to women", the rise of "low persons under British tutelage", the "pollution" caused by Western medicine and the persecuting and ignoring of traditional astrological authorities.[61] European-run schools were also a problem: according to recorded testimonies, anger had spread because of stories that mathematics was replacing religious instruction, stories were chosen that would "bring contempt" upon Indian religions, and because girl children were exposed to "moral danger" by education.[61]

The justice system was considered to be inherently unfair to the Indians. The official Blue Books, East India (Torture) 1855–1857, laid before the House of Commons during the sessions of 1856 and 1857, revealed that Company officers were allowed an extended series of appeals if convicted or accused of brutality or crimes against Indians.

The economic policies of the East India Company were also resented by many Indians.[62]

The Bengal Army

A scene from the 1857 Indian Rebellion (Bengal Army).

Each of the three "Presidencies" into which the East India Company divided India for administrative purposes maintained their own armies. Of these, the Army of the Bengal Presidency was the largest. Unlike the other two, it recruited heavily from among high-caste Hindus and comparatively wealthy Muslims. The Muslims formed a larger percentage of the 18 irregular cavalry units[63] within the Bengal Army, whilst Hindus were mainly to be found in the 84 regular infantry and cavalry regiments. The sepoys were therefore affected to a large degree by the concerns of the landholding and traditional members of Indian society. In the early years of Company rule, it tolerated and even encouraged the caste privileges and customs within the Bengal Army, which recruited its regular soldiers almost exclusively amongst the landowning Brahmins and Rajputs of the Bihar and Awadh regions. These soldiers were known as Purbiyas. By the time these customs and privileges came to be threatened by modernising regimes in Calcutta from the 1840s onwards, the sepoys had become accustomed to very high ritual status and were extremely sensitive to suggestions that their caste might be polluted.[64]

The sepoys also gradually became dissatisfied with various other aspects of army life. Their pay was relatively low and after Awadh and the Punjab were annexed, the soldiers no longer received extra pay (batta or bhatta) for service there, because they were no longer considered "foreign missions". The junior European officers became increasingly estranged from their soldiers, in many cases treating them as their racial inferiors. In 1856, a new Enlistment Act was introduced by the Company, which in theory made every unit in the Bengal Army liable to service overseas. Although it was intended to apply only to new recruits, the serving sepoys feared that the Act might be applied retroactively to them as well.[65] A high-caste Hindu who travelled in the cramped conditions of a wooden troop ship could not cook his own food on his own fire, and accordingly risked losing caste through ritual pollution.[66]

Onset of the Rebellion

Indian mutiny map showing position of troops on 1 May 1857

Several months of increasing tensions coupled with various incidents preceded the actual rebellion. On 26 February 1857 the 19th Bengal Native Infantry (BNI) regiment became concerned that new cartridges they had been issued were wrapped in paper greased with cow and pig fat, which had to be opened by mouth thus affecting their religious sensibilities. Their Colonel confronted them supported by artillery and cavalry on the parade ground, but after some negotiation withdrew the artillery, and cancelled the next morning's parade.[67]

Mangal Pandey

Main article: Mangal Pandey

On 29 March 1857 at the Barrackpore parade ground, near Calcutta, 29-year-old Mangal Pandey of the 34th BNI, angered by the recent actions of the East India Company, declared that he would rebel against his commanders. Informed about Pandey's behaviour Sergeant-Major James Hewson went to investigate, only to have Pandey shoot at him. Hewson raised the alarm.[68] When his adjutant Lt. Henry Baugh came out to investigate the unrest, Pandey opened fire but hit Baugh's horse instead.[69]

General John Hearsey came out to the parade ground to investigate, and claimed later that Mangal Pandey was in some kind of "religious frenzy". He ordered the Indian commander of the quarter guard Jemadar Ishwari Prasad to arrest Mangal Pandey, but the Jemadar refused. The quarter guard and other sepoys present, with the single exception of a soldier called Shaikh Paltu, drew back from restraining or arresting Mangal Pandey. Shaikh Paltu restrained Pandey from continuing his attack.[69][70]

After failing to incite his comrades into an open and active rebellion, Mangal Pandey tried to take his own life, by placing his musket to his chest and pulling the trigger with his toe. He managed only to wound himself. He was court-martialled on 6 April, and hanged two days later.

The Jemadar Ishwari Prasad was sentenced to death and hanged on 22 April. The regiment was disbanded and stripped of its uniforms because it was felt that it harboured ill-feelings towards its superiors, particularly after this incident. Shaikh Paltu was promoted to the rank of havildar in the Bengal Army, but was murdered shortly before the 34th BNI dispersed.[71]

Sepoys in other regiments thought these punishments were harsh. The demonstration of disgrace during the formal disbanding helped foment the rebellion in view of some historians. Disgruntled ex-sepoys returned home to Awadh with a desire for revenge.

Unrest during April 1857

During April, there was unrest and fires at Agra, Allahabad and Ambala. At Ambala in particular, which was a large military cantonment where several units had been collected for their annual musketry practice, it was clear to General Anson, Commander-in-Chief of the Bengal Army, that some sort of rebellion over the cartridges was imminent. Despite the objections of the civilian Governor-General's staff, he agreed to postpone the musketry practice and allow a new drill by which the soldiers tore the cartridges with their fingers rather than their teeth. However, he issued no general orders making this standard practice throughout the Bengal Army and, rather than remain at Ambala to defuse or overawe potential trouble, he then proceeded to Simla, the cool "hill station" where many high officials spent the summer.

Although there was no open revolt at Ambala, there was widespread arson during late April. Barrack buildings (especially those belonging to soldiers who had used the Enfield cartridges) and European officers' bungalows were set on fire.[72]


"The Sepoy revolt at Meerut," from the Illustrated London News, 1857

An 1858 photograph by Felice Beato of a mosque in Meerut where some of the rebel soldiers may have prayed

At Meerut, a large military cantonment, 2,357 Indian sepoys and 2,038 British soldiers were stationed along with 12 British-manned guns. The station held one of the largest concentrations of British troops in India and this was later to be cited as evidence that the original rising was a spontaneous outbreak rather than a pre-planned plot.[73]

Although the state of unrest within the Bengal Army was well known, on 24 April Lieutenant Colonel George Carmichael-Smyth, the unsympathetic commanding officer of the 3rd Bengal Light Cavalry, ordered 90 of his men to parade and perform firing drills. All except five of the men on parade refused to accept their cartridges. On 9 May, the remaining 85 men were court martialled, and most were sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment with hard labour. Eleven comparatively young soldiers were given five years' imprisonment. The entire garrison was paraded and watched as the condemned men were stripped of their uniforms and placed in shackles. As they were marched off to jail, the condemned soldiers berated their comrades for failing to support them.

The next day was Sunday. Some Indian soldiers warned off-duty junior European officers that plans were afoot to release the imprisoned soldiers by force, but the senior officers to whom this was reported took no action. There was also unrest in the city of Meerut itself, with angry protests in the bazaar and some buildings being set on fire. In the evening, most European officers were preparing to attend church, while many of the European soldiers were off duty and had gone into canteens or into the bazaar in Meerut. The Indian troops, led by the 3rd Cavalry, broke into revolt. European junior officers who attempted to quell the first outbreaks were killed by the rebels. European officers' and civilians' quarters were attacked, and four civilian men, eight women and eight children were killed. Crowds in the bazaar attacked off-duty soldiers there. About 50 Indian civilians, some of them officers' servants who tried to defend or conceal their employers, were killed by the sepoys.[74] While the action of the sepoys in freeing their 85 imprisoned comrades appears to have been spontaneous, some civilian rioting in the city was reportedly encouraged by kotwal (local police commander) Dhan Singh Gurjar.[75]

Some sepoys (especially from the 11th Bengal Native Infantry) escorted trusted British officers and women and children to safety before joining the revolt.[76] Some officers and their families escaped to Rampur, where they found refuge with the Nawab.

The British historian Philip Mason notes that it was inevitable that most of the sepoys and sowars from Meerut should have made for Delhi on the night of 10 May. It was a strong walled city located only forty miles away, it was the ancient capital and present seat of the nominal Mughal Emperor and finally there were no British troops in garrison there in contrast to Meerut.[73] No effort was made to pursue them.


Massacre of officers by insurgent cavalry at Delhi

Early on 11 May, the first parties of the 3rd Cavalry reached Delhi. From beneath the windows of the King's apartments in the palace, they called on him to acknowledge and lead them. Bahadur Shah did nothing at this point, apparently treating the sepoys as ordinary petitioners, but others in the palace were quick to join the revolt. During the day, the revolt spread. European officials and dependents, Indian Christians and shop keepers within the city were killed, some by sepoys and others by crowds of rioters.[77]

The Flagstaff Tower, Delhi, where the European survivors of the rebellion gathered on 11 May 1857; photographed by Felice Beato

There were three battalion-sized regiments of Bengal Native Infantry stationed in or near the city. Some detachments quickly joined the rebellion, while others held back but also refused to obey orders to take action against the rebels. In the afternoon, a violent explosion in the city was heard for several miles. Fearing that the arsenal, which contained large stocks of arms and ammunition, would fall intact into rebel hands, the nine British Ordnance officers there had opened fire on the sepoys, including the men of their own guard. When resistance appeared hopeless, they blew up the arsenal. Six of the nine officers survived, but the blast killed many in the streets and nearby houses and other buildings.[78] The news of these events finally tipped the sepoys stationed around Delhi into open rebellion. The sepoys were later able to salvage at least some arms from the arsenal, and a magazine two miles (3 km) outside Delhi, containing up to 3,000 barrels of gunpowder, was captured without resistance.

Many fugitive European officers and civilians had congregated at the Flagstaff Tower on the ridge north of Delhi, where telegraph operators were sending news of the events to other British stations. When it became clear that the help expected from Meerut was not coming, they made their way in carriages to Karnal. Those who became separated from the main body or who could not reach the Flagstaff Tower also set out for Karnal on foot. Some were helped by villagers on the way; others were killed.

The next day, Bahadur Shah held his first formal court for many years. It was attended by many excited sepoys. The King was alarmed by the turn events had taken, but eventually accepted the sepoys' allegiance and agreed to give his countenance to the rebellion. On 16 May, up to 50 Europeans who had been held prisoner in the palace or had been discovered hiding in the city were killed by some of the King's servants under a peepul tree in a courtyard outside the palace.[79][80]

Supporters and opposition

States during the rebellion

The news of the events at Meerut and Delhi spread rapidly, provoking uprisings among sepoys and disturbances in many districts. In many cases, it was the behaviour of British military and civilian authorities themselves which precipitated disorder. Learning of the fall of Delhi, many Company administrators hastened to remove themselves, their families and servants to places of safety. At Agra, 160 miles (260 km) from Delhi, no less than 6,000 assorted non-combatants converged on the Fort.[81]

The military authorities also reacted in disjointed manner. Some officers trusted their sepoys, but others tried to disarm them to forestall potential uprisings. At Benares and Allahabad, the disarmings were bungled, also leading to local revolts.[82]

Troops of the Native Allies by George Francklin Atkinson, 1859.

Most Muslims did not share the rebels' dislike of the British administration[83] and their ulema could not agree on whether to declare a jihad.[84] There were Islamic scholars such as Maulana Muhammad Qasim Nanautavi and Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi who took up arms against the colonial rule.[85] But a large number of Muslims, among them ulema from both the Sunni and Shia sects, sided with the British.[86] Various Ahl-i-Hadith scholars and colleagues of Nanautavi rejected the jihad.[87] The most influential member of Ahl-i-Hadith ulema in Delhi, Maulana Sayyid Nazir Husain Dehlvi, resisted pressure from the mutineers to call for a jihad and instead declared in favour of British rule, viewing the Muslim-British relationship as a legal contract which could not be broken unless their religious rights were breached.[88]

Although most of the mutinous sepoys in Delhi were Hindus, a significant proportion of the insurgents were Muslims. The proportion of ghazis grew to be about a quarter of the local fighting force by the end of the siege and included a regiment of suicide ghazis from Gwalior who had vowed never to eat again and to fight until they met certain death at the hands of British troops.[89]

The Sikhs and Pathans of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province supported the British and helped in the recapture of Delhi.[90][91] Historian John Harris has asserted that the Sikhs wanted to avenge the annexation of the Sikh Empire eight years earlier by the Company with the help of Purbiyas ('Easterners'), Biharis and those from the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh who had formed part of the East India Company's armies in the First and Second Anglo-Sikh Wars. He has also suggested that Sikhs felt insulted by the attitude of sepoys who, in their view, had beaten the Khalsa only with British help; they resented and despised them far more than they did the British.[92]

Sikh Troops Dividing the Spoil Taken from Mutineers, circa 1860

The Sikhs feared reinstatement of Mughal rule in northern India[93] because they had been persecuted heavily in the past by the Mughal dynasty.

Sikh support for the British resulted from grievances surrounding sepoys' perceived conduct during and after the Anglo-Sikh Wars. Firstly, many Sikhs resented that Hindustanis/Purbiyas in service of the Sikh state had been foremost in urging the wars, which lost them their independence. Sikh soldiers also recalled that the bloodiest battles of the war, Chillianwala and Ferozeshah, were won by British troops, and they believed that the Hindustani sepoys had refused to meet them in battle. These feelings were compounded when Hindustani sepoys were assigned a very visible role as garrison troops in Punjab and awarded profit-making civil posts in Punjab.[93]

In 1857, the Bengal Army had 86,000 men, of which 12,000 were European, 16,000 Sikh and 1,500 Gurkha. There were 311,000 native soldiers in India altogether, 40,160 European soldiers and 5,362 officers.[94] Fifty-four of the Bengal Army's 74 regular Native Infantry Regiments mutinied, but some were immediately destroyed or broke up, with their sepoys drifting away to their homes. A number of the remaining 20 regiments were disarmed or disbanded to prevent or forestall mutiny. In total, only twelve of the original Bengal Native Infantry regiments survived to pass into the new Indian Army.[95] All ten of the Bengal Light Cavalry regiments mutinied.

The Bengal Army also contained 29 irregular cavalry and 42 irregular infantry regiments. Of these, a substantial contingent from the recently annexed state of Awadh mutinied en masse. Another large contingent from Gwalior also mutinied, even though that state's ruler supported the British. The remainder of the irregular units were raised from a wide variety of sources and were less affected by the concerns of mainstream Indian society. Some irregular units actively supported the Company: three Gurkha and five of six Sikh infantry units, and the six infantry and six cavalry units of the recently raised Punjab Irregular Force.[96][97]

On 1 April 1858, the number of Indian soldiers in the Bengal army loyal to the Company was 80,053.[98][99] However large numbers were hastily raised in the Punjab and North-West Frontier after the outbreak of the Rebellion. The Bombay army had three mutinies in its 29 regiments, whilst the Madras army had none at all, although elements of one of its 52 regiments refused to volunteer for service in Bengal.[100] Nonetheless, most of southern India remained passive, with only intermittent outbreaks of violence. Many parts of the region were ruled by the Nizams or the Mysore royalty, and were thus not directly under British rule.

The varied groups in the support and opposing of the uprising is seen as a major cause of its failure.

The Revolt

Initial stages

Fugitive British officers and their families attacked by mutineers.

An etching of Nynee Tal (today Nainital) and accompanying story in the Illustrated London News, August 15, 1857, describing how the resort town in the Himalayas served as a refuge for British families escaping from the rebellion of 1857 in Delhi and Meerut.

Bahadur Shah Zafar was proclaimed the Emperor of the whole of India. Most contemporary and modern accounts suggest that he was coerced by the sepoys and his courtiers to sign the proclamation against his will.[101] In spite of the significant loss of power that the Mughal dynasty had suffered in the preceding centuries, their name still carried great prestige across northern India.[102] Civilians, nobility and other dignitaries took an oath of allegiance. The emperor issued coins in his name, one of the oldest ways of asserting imperial status. The adhesion of the Mughal emperor, however, turned the Sikhs of the Punjab away from the rebellion, as they did not want to return to Islamic rule, having fought many wars against the Mughal rulers. The province of Bengal was largely quiet throughout the entire period. The British, who had long ceased to take the authority of the Mughal Emperor seriously, were astonished at how the ordinary people responded to Zafar's call for war.[102]

Initially, the Indian rebels were able to push back Company forces, and captured several important towns in Haryana, Bihar, the Central Provinces and the United Provinces. When European troops were reinforced and began to counterattack, the mutineers were especially handicapped by their lack of centralized command and control. Although the rebels produced some natural leaders such as Bakht Khan, whom the Emperor later nominated as commander-in-chief after his son Mirza Mughal proved ineffectual, for the most part they were forced to look for leadership to rajahs and princes. Some of these were to prove dedicated leaders, but others were self-interested or inept.

Attack of the mutineers on the Redan Battery at Lucknow, 30 July 1857

In the countryside around Meerut, a general Gurjar uprising posed the largest threat to the British. In Parikshitgarh near Meerut, Gurjars declared Choudhari Kadam Singh (Kuddum Singh) their leader, and expelled Company police. Kadam Singh Gurjar led a large force, estimates varying from 2,000 to 10,000.[103] Bulandshahr and Bijnor also came under the control of Gurjars under Walidad Khan and Maho Singh respectively. Contemporary sources report that nearly all the Gurjar villages between Meerut and Delhi participated in the revolt, in some cases with support from Jullundur, and it was not until late July that, with the help of local Jats, and the princely states so the British managed to regain control of the area.[103]

The Imperial Gazetteer of India states that throughout the Indian Rebellion of 1857, Gurjars and Ranghars (Muslim rajputs) proved the "most irreconcilable enemies" of the British in the Bulandshahr area.[104]

Mufti Nizamuddin, a renowned scholar of Lahore, issued a Fatwa against the British forces and called upon the local population to support the forces of Rao Tula Ram. Casualties were high at the subsequent engagement at Narnaul (Nasibpur). After the defeat of Rao Tula Ram on 16 November 1857, Mufti Nizamuddin was arrested, and his brother Mufti Yaqinuddin and brother-in-law Abdur Rahman (alias Nabi Baksh) were arrested in Tijara. They were taken to Delhi and hanged.[105] Having lost the fight at Nasibpur, Rao Tula Ram and Pran Sukh Yadav requested arms from Russia, which had just been engaged against Britain in the Crimean War.


Main article: Siege of Delhi

Assault of Delhi and capture of the Cashmere Gate, 14 September 1857

The British were slow to strike back at first. It took time for troops stationed in Britain to make their way to India by sea, although some regiments moved overland through Persia from the Crimean War, and some regiments already en route for China were diverted to India.
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Part 2 of 3

Capture of Delhi 1857.

It took time to organise the European troops already in India into field forces, but eventually two columns left Meerut and Simla. They proceeded slowly towards Delhi and fought, killed, and hanged numerous Indians along the way. Two months after the first outbreak of rebellion at Meerut, the two forces met near Karnal. The combined force including two Gurkha units serving in the Bengal Army under contract from the Kingdom of Nepal, fought the main army of the rebels at Badli-ke-Serai and drove them back to Delhi.

The Company established a base on the Delhi ridge to the north of the city and the Siege of Delhi began. The siege lasted roughly from 1 July to 21 September. However, the encirclement was hardly complete, and for much of the siege the Company forces were outnumbered and it often seemed that it was the Company forces and not Delhi that were under siege, as the rebels could easily receive resources and reinforcements. For several weeks, it seemed likely that disease, exhaustion and continuous sorties by rebels from Delhi would force the Company forces to withdraw, but the outbreaks of rebellion in the Punjab were forestalled or suppressed, allowing the Punjab Movable Column of British, Sikh and Pakhtun soldiers under John Nicholson to reinforce the besiegers on the Ridge on 14 August.[106][107] On 30 August the rebels offered terms, which were refused.[108]

The Jantar Mantar observatory in Delhi in 1858, damaged in the fighting

Mortar damage to Kashmiri Gate, Delhi, 1858

Hindu Rao's house in Delhi, now a hospital, was extensively damaged in the fighting

Bank of Delhi was attacked by mortar and gunfire

An eagerly awaited heavy siege train joined the besieging force, and from 7 September, the siege guns battered breaches in the walls and silenced the rebels' artillery.[109]:478 An attempt to storm the city through the breaches and the Kashmiri Gate was launched on 14 September.[109]:480 The attackers gained a foothold within the city but suffered heavy casualties, including John Nicholson. The British commander wished to withdraw, but was persuaded to hold on by his junior officers. After a week of street fighting, the British reached the Red Fort. Bahadur Shah Zafar had already fled to Humayun's tomb. The British had retaken the city.

Capture of Bahadur Shah Zafar and his sons by William Hodson at Humayun's tomb on 20 September 1857

The troops of the besieging force proceeded to loot and pillage the city. A large number of the citizens were killed in retaliation for the Europeans and Indian civilians that had been slaughtered by the rebels. During the street fighting, artillery was set up in the city's main mosque. Neighbourhoods within range were bombarded; the homes of the Muslim nobility that contained innumerable cultural, artistic, literary and monetary riches were destroyed.

The British soon arrested Bahadur Shah, and the next day the British agent William Hodson had his sons Mirza Mughal, Mirza Khazir Sultan, and grandson Mirza Abu Bakr shot under his own authority at the Khooni Darwaza (the bloody gate) near Delhi Gate. On hearing the news Zafar reacted with shocked silence while his wife Zinat Mahal was content as she believed her son was now Zafar's heir.[110] Shortly after the fall of Delhi, the victorious attackers organised a column that relieved another besieged Company force in Agra, and then pressed on to Cawnpore, which had also recently been retaken. This gave the Company forces a continuous, although still tenuous, line of communication from the east to west of India.

Cawnpore (Kanpur)

Main article: Siege of Cawnpore

Tatya Tope's Soldiery

A memorial erected (circa 1860) by the British after the Mutiny at the Bibighar Well. After India's Independence the statue was moved to the All Souls Memorial Church, Cawnpore. Albumen silver print by Samuel Bourne, 1860

In June, sepoys under General Wheeler in Cawnpore (now Kanpur) rebelled and besieged the European entrenchment. Wheeler was not only a veteran and respected soldier but also married to a high-caste Indian woman. He had relied on his own prestige, and his cordial relations with the Nana Sahib to thwart rebellion, and took comparatively few measures to prepare fortifications and lay in supplies and ammunition.

The besieged endured three weeks of the Siege of Cawnpore with little water or food, suffering continuous casualties to men, women and children. On 25 June Nana Sahib made an offer of safe passage to Allahabad. With barely three days' food rations remaining, the British agreed provided they could keep their small arms and that the evacuation should take place in daylight on the morning of the 27th (the Nana Sahib wanted the evacuation to take place on the night of the 26th). Early in the morning of 27 June, the European party left their entrenchment and made their way to the river where boats provided by the Nana Sahib were waiting to take them to Allahabad.[111] Several sepoys who had stayed loyal to the Company were removed by the mutineers and killed, either because of their loyalty or because "they had become Christian". A few injured British officers trailing the column were also apparently hacked to death by angry sepoys. After the European party had largely arrived at the dock, which was surrounded by sepoys positioned on both banks of the Ganges,[112] with clear lines of fire, firing broke out and the boats were abandoned by their crew, and caught or were set[113] on fire using pieces of red hot charcoal.[114] The British party tried to push the boats off but all except three remained stuck. One boat with over a dozen wounded men initially escaped, but later grounded, was caught by mutineers and pushed back down the river towards the carnage at Cawnpore. Towards the end rebel cavalry rode into the water to finish off any survivors.[114] After the firing ceased the survivors were rounded up and the men shot.[114] By the time the massacre was over, most of the male members of the party were dead while the surviving women and children were removed and held hostage to be later killed in the Bibighar massacre.[115] Only four men eventually escaped alive from Cawnpore on one of the boats: two private soldiers, a lieutenant, and Captain Mowbray Thomson, who wrote a first-hand account of his experiences entitled The Story of Cawnpore (London, 1859).

During his trial, Tatya Tope denied the existence of any such plan and described the incident in the following terms: the Europeans had already boarded the boats and Tatya Tope raised his right hand to signal their departure. That very moment someone from the crowd blew a loud bugle, which created disorder and in the ongoing bewilderment, the boatmen jumped off the boats. The rebels started shooting indiscriminately. Nana Sahib, who was staying in Savada Kothi (Bungalow) nearby, was informed about what was happening and immediately came to stop it.[116] Some British histories allow that it might well have been the result of accident or error; someone accidentally or maliciously fired a shot, the panic-stricken British opened fire, and it became impossible to stop the massacre.[117]

The surviving women and children were taken to the Nana Sahib and then confined first to the Savada Kothi and then to the home of the local magistrate's clerk (the Bibighar)[118] where they were joined by refugees from Fatehgarh. Overall five men and two hundred and six women and children were confined in The Bibigarh for about two weeks. In one week 25 were brought out dead, from dysentery and cholera.[113] Meanwhile, a Company relief force that had advanced from Allahabad defeated the Indians and by 15 July it was clear that the Nana Sahib would not be able to hold Cawnpore and a decision was made by the Nana Sahib and other leading rebels that the hostages must be killed. After the sepoys refused to carry out this order, two Muslim butchers, two Hindu peasants and one of Nana's bodyguards went into The Bibigarh. Armed with knives and hatchets they murdered the women and children.[119] After the massacre the walls were covered in bloody hand prints, and the floor littered with fragments of human limbs.[120] The dead and the dying were thrown down a nearby well. When the 50-foot (15 m) deep well was filled with remains to within 6 feet (1.8 m) of the top,[121] the remainder were thrown into the Ganges.[122]

Historians have given many reasons for this act of cruelty. With Company forces approaching Cawnpore and some believing that they would not advance if there were no hostages to save, their murders were ordered. Or perhaps it was to ensure that no information was leaked after the fall of Cawnpore. Other historians have suggested that the killings were an attempt to undermine Nana Sahib's relationship with the British.[123] Perhaps it was due to fear, the fear of being recognised by some of the prisoners for having taken part in the earlier firings.[115]

Photograph entitled, "The Hospital in General Wheeler's entrenchment, Cawnpore". (1858) The hospital was the site of the first major loss of European lives in Cawnpore

1858 picture of Sati Chaura Ghat on the banks of the Ganges River, where on 27 June 1857 many British men lost their lives and the surviving women and children were taken prisoner by the rebels.

Bibigarh house where European women and children were killed and the well where their bodies were found, 1858.

The Bibighar Well site where a memorial had been built. Samuel Bourne, 1860.

A contemporary image of the massacre at the Satichaura Ghat

The killing of the women and children hardened British attitudes against the sepoys. The British public was aghast and the anti-Imperial and pro-Indian proponents lost all their support. Cawnpore became a war cry for the British and their allies for the rest of the conflict. Nana Sahib disappeared near the end of the Rebellion and it is not known what happened to him.

Other British accounts[124][125][126] state that indiscriminate punitive measures were taken in early June, two weeks before the murders at the Bibighar (but after those at both Meerut and Delhi), specifically by Lieutenant Colonel James George Smith Neill of the Madras Fusiliers, commanding at Allahabad while moving towards Cawnpore. At the nearby town of Fatehpur, a mob had attacked and murdered the local European population. On this pretext, Neill ordered all villages beside the Grand Trunk Road to be burned and their inhabitants to be killed by hanging. Neill's methods were "ruthless and horrible"[127] and far from intimidating the population, may well have induced previously undecided sepoys and communities to revolt.

Neill was killed in action at Lucknow on 26 September and was never called to account for his punitive measures, though contemporary British sources lionised him and his "gallant blue caps".[128] When the British retook Cawnpore, the soldiers took their sepoy prisoners to the Bibighar and forced them to lick the bloodstains from the walls and floor.[129] They then hanged or "blew from the cannon", the traditional Mughal punishment for mutiny, the majority of the sepoy prisoners. Although some claimed the sepoys took no actual part in the killings themselves, they did not act to stop it and this was acknowledged by Captain Thompson after the British departed Cawnpore for a second time.


Main article: Siege of Lucknow

The interior of the Secundra Bagh, several months after its storming during the second relief of Lucknow. Albumen silver print by Felice Beato, 1858

Very soon after the events at Meerut, rebellion erupted in the state of Awadh (also known as Oudh, in modern-day Uttar Pradesh), which had been annexed barely a year before. The British Commissioner resident at Lucknow, Sir Henry Lawrence, had enough time to fortify his position inside the Residency compound. The defenders, including loyal sepoys, numbered some 1700 men. The rebels' assaults were unsuccessful, so they began a barrage of artillery and musket fire into the compound. Lawrence was one of the first casualties. He was succeeded by John Eardley Inglis. The rebels tried to breach the walls with explosives and bypass them via tunnels that led to underground close combat.[109]:486 After 90 days of siege, the defenders were reduced to 300 loyal sepoys, 350 British soldiers and 550 non-combatants.

On 25 September, a relief column under the command of Sir Henry Havelock and accompanied by Sir James Outram (who in theory was his superior) fought its way from Cawnpore to Lucknow in a brief campaign, in which the numerically small column defeated rebel forces in a series of increasingly large battles. This became known as 'The First Relief of Lucknow', as this force was not strong enough to break the siege or extricate themselves, and so was forced to join the garrison. In October, another larger army under the new Commander-in-Chief, Sir Colin Campbell, was finally able to relieve the garrison and on 18 November, they evacuated the defended enclave within the city, the women and children leaving first. They then conducted an orderly withdrawal, firstly to Alambagh 4 miles (6.4 km) north where a force of 4,000 were left to construct a fort, then to Cawnpore, where they defeated an attempt by Tantia Tope to recapture the city in the Second Battle of Cawnpore.

In March 1858, Campbell once again advanced on Lucknow with a large army, meeting up with the force at Alambagh, this time seeking to suppress the rebellion in Awadh. He was aided by a large Nepalese contingent advancing from the north under Jung Bahadur Kunwar Rana.[130] General Dhir Shamsher Kunwar Rana, the youngest brother of Jung Bahadur, also led the Nepalese forces in various parts of India including Lucknow, Benares and Patna.[2][131] Campbell's advance was slow and methodical, with a force under General Outram crossing the river on cask bridges on 4 March to enable them to fire artillery in flank. Campbell drove the large but disorganised rebel army from Lucknow with the final fighting taking place on 21 March.[109]:491 There were few casualties to Campbell's own troops, but his cautious movements allowed large numbers of the rebels to disperse into Awadh. Campbell was forced to spend the summer and autumn dealing with scattered pockets of resistance while losing men to heat, disease and guerrilla actions.


Main article: Central India Campaign (1858)

Jhansi Fort, which was taken over by rebel forces, and subsequently defended against British recapture by the Rani of Jhansi

Jhansi State was a Maratha-ruled princely state in Bundelkhand. When the Raja of Jhansi died without a biological male heir in 1853, it was annexed to the British Raj by the Governor-General of India under the doctrine of lapse. His widow Rani Lakshmi Bai, the Rani of Jhansi, protested against the denial of rights of their adopted son. When war broke out, Jhansi quickly became a centre of the rebellion. A small group of Company officials and their families took refuge in Jhansi Fort, and the Rani negotiated their evacuation. However, when they left the fort they were massacred by the rebels over whom the Rani had no control; the Europeans suspected the Rani of complicity, despite her repeated denials.

By the end of June 1857, the Company had lost control of much of Bundelkhand and eastern Rajasthan. The Bengal Army units in the area, having rebelled, marched to take part in the battles for Delhi and Cawnpore. The many princely states that made up this area began warring amongst themselves. In September and October 1857, the Rani led the successful defence of Jhansi against the invading armies of the neighbouring rajas of Datia and Orchha.

On 3 February, Sir Hugh Rose broke the 3-month siege of Saugor. Thousands of local villagers welcomed him as a liberator, freeing them from rebel occupation.[132]

In March 1858, the Central India Field Force, led by Sir Hugh Rose, advanced on and laid siege to Jhansi. The Company forces captured the city, but the Rani fled in disguise.

After being driven from Jhansi and Kalpi, on 1 June 1858 Rani Lakshmi Bai and a group of Maratha rebels captured the fortress city of Gwalior from the Scindia rulers, who were British allies. This might have reinvigorated the rebellion but the Central India Field Force very quickly advanced against the city. The Rani died on 17 June, the second day of the Battle of Gwalior, probably killed by a carbine shot from the 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars according to the account of three independent Indian representatives. The Company forces recaptured Gwalior within the next three days. In descriptions of the scene of her last battle, she was compared to Joan of Arc by some commentators.[133]


Colonel Henry Marion Durand, the then-Company resident at Indore, had brushed away any possibility of uprising in Indore.[134] However, on 1 July, sepoys in Holkar's army revolted and opened fire on the cavalry pickets of the Bhopal Contingent (a locally raised force with British officers). When Colonel Travers rode forward to charge, the Bhopal Cavalry refused to follow. The Bhopal Infantry also refused orders and instead levelled their guns at European sergeants and officers. Since all possibility of mounting an effective deterrent was lost, Durand decided to gather up all the European residents and escape, although 39 European residents of Indore were killed.[135]


See also: Siege of Arrah

The rebellion in Bihar was mainly concentrated in the Western regions of the state; however, there were also some outbreaks of plundering and looting in Gaya district.[136] One of the central figures was Kunwar Singh, the 80-year-old Rajput Zamindar of Jagdispur, whose estate was in the process of being sequestrated by the Revenue Board, instigated and assumed the leadership of revolt in Bihar.[137] His efforts were supported by his brother Babu Amar Singh and his commander-in-chief Hare Krishna Singh.[138]

On 25 July, mutiny erupted in the garrisons of Danapur. Mutinying sepoys from the 7th, 8th and 40th regiments of Bengal Native Infantry quickly moved towards the city of Arrah and were joined by Kunwar Singh and his men.[139] Mr. Boyle, a British railway engineer in Arrah, had already prepared an outbuilding on his property for defence against such attacks.[140] As the rebels approached Arrah, all European residents took refuge at Mr. Boyle's house.[141] A siege soon ensued – eighteen civilians and 50 loyal sepoys from the Bengal Military Police Battalion under the command of Herwald Wake, the local magistrate, defended the house against artillery and musketry fire from an estimated 2000 to 3000 mutineers and rebels.[142]

On 29 July, 400 men were sent out from Danapur to relieve Arrah, but this force was ambushed by the rebels around a mile away from the siege house, severely defeated, and driven back. On 30 July, Major Vincent Eyre, who was going up the river with his troops and guns, reached Buxar and heard about the siege. He immediately disembarked his guns and troops (the 5th Fusiliers) and started marching towards Arrah, disregarding direct orders not to do so.[143] On 2 August, some 6 miles (9.7 km) short of Arrah, the Major was ambushed by the mutineers and rebels. After an intense fight, the 5th Fusiliers charged and stormed the rebel positions successfully.[142] On 3 August, Major Eyre and his men reached the siege house and successfully ended the siege.[144][145]

After receiving reinforcements, Major Eyre pursued Kunwar Singh to his palace in Jagdispur; however, Singh had left by the time Eyre's forces arrived. Eyre then proceeded to destroy the palace and the homes of Singh's brothers.[142]

In addition to Kunwar Singh's efforts, there were also rebellions carried out by Hussain Baksh Khan, Ghulam Ali Khan and Fateh Singh among others in Gaya, Nawada and Jehanabad districts.[146]

In Lohardaga district of South Bihar (now in Jharkhand), a major rebellion was led by Thakur Vishwanath Shahdeo who was part of the Nagavanshi dynasty.[147] He was motivated by disputes he had with the Christian Kol tribals who had been grabbing his land and were implicitly supported by the British authorities. The rebels in South Bihar asked him to lead them and he readily accepted this offer. He organised a Mukti Vahini (people's army) with the assistance of nearby zamindars including Pandey Ganpat Rai and Nadir Ali Khan.[147]

Other regions


Execution of mutineers at Peshawar

What was then referred to by the British as the Punjab was a very large administrative division, centred on Lahore. It included not only the present-day Indian and Pakistani Punjabi regions but also the North West Frontier districts bordering Afghanistan.

Much of the region had been the Sikh Empire, ruled by Ranjit Singh until his death in 1839. The kingdom had then fallen into disorder, with court factions and the Khalsa (the Sikh army) contending for power at the Lahore Durbar (court). After two Anglo-Sikh Wars, the entire region was annexed by the East India Company in 1849. In 1857, the region still contained the highest numbers of both European and Indian troops.

The inhabitants of the Punjab were not as sympathetic to the sepoys as they were elsewhere in India, which limited many of the outbreaks in the Punjab to disjointed uprisings by regiments of sepoys isolated from each other. In some garrisons, notably Ferozepore, indecision on the part of the senior European officers allowed the sepoys to rebel, but the sepoys then left the area, mostly heading for Delhi.[148] At the most important garrison, that of Peshawar close to the Afghan frontier, many comparatively junior officers ignored their nominal commander, General Reed, and took decisive action. They intercepted the sepoys' mail, thus preventing their coordinating an uprising, and formed a force known as the "Punjab Movable Column" to move rapidly to suppress any revolts as they occurred. When it became clear from the intercepted correspondence that some of the sepoys at Peshawar were on the point of open revolt, the four most disaffected Bengal Native regiments were disarmed by the two British infantry regiments in the cantonment, backed by artillery, on 22 May. This decisive act induced many local chieftains to side with the British.[149]

Marble Lectern in memory of 35 British soldiers in Jhelum

Jhelum in Punjab saw a mutiny of native troops against the British. Here 35 British soldiers of Her Majesty's 24th Regiment of Foot (South Wales Borderers) were killed by mutineers on 7 July 1857. Among the dead was Captain Francis Spring, the eldest son of Colonel William Spring. To commemorate this event St. John's Church Jhelum was built and the names of those 35 British soldiers are carved on a marble lectern present in that church.

The final large-scale military uprising in the Punjab took place on 9 July, when most of a brigade of sepoys at Sialkot rebelled and began to move to Delhi.[150] They were intercepted by John Nicholson with an equal British force as they tried to cross the Ravi River. After fighting steadily but unsuccessfully for several hours, the sepoys tried to fall back across the river but became trapped on an island. Three days later, Nicholson annihilated the 1,100 trapped sepoys in the Battle of Trimmu Ghat.[151]

The British had been recruiting irregular units from Sikh and Pakhtun communities even before the first unrest among the Bengal units, and the numbers of these were greatly increased during the Rebellion, 34,000 fresh levies eventually being raised.[152]

Lieutenant William Alexander Kerr, 24th Bombay Native Infantry, near Kolapore, July 1857

At one stage, faced with the need to send troops to reinforce the besiegers of Delhi, the Commissioner of the Punjab (Sir John Lawrence) suggested handing the coveted prize of Peshawar to Dost Mohammed Khan of Afghanistan in return for a pledge of friendship. The British Agents in Peshawar and the adjacent districts were horrified. Referring to the massacre of a retreating British army in 1842, Herbert Edwardes wrote, "Dost Mahomed would not be a mortal Afghan ... if he did not assume our day to be gone in India and follow after us as an enemy. Europeans cannot retreat – Kabul would come again."[153] In the event Lord Canning insisted on Peshawar being held, and Dost Mohammed, whose relations with Britain had been equivocal for over 20 years, remained neutral.

In September 1858 Rai Ahmad Khan Kharal, head of the Khurrul tribe, led an insurrection in the Neeli Bar district, between the Sutlej, Ravi and Chenab rivers. The rebels held the jungles of Gogaira and had some initial successes against the British forces in the area, besieging Major Crawford Chamberlain at Chichawatni. A squadron of Punjabi cavalry sent by Sir John Lawrence raised the siege. Ahmed Khan was killed but the insurgents found a new leader in Mahr Bahawal Fatyana, who maintained the uprising for three months until Government forces penetrated the jungle and scattered the rebel tribesmen.[154]

Bengal and Tripura

In September 1857, sepoys took control of the treasury in Chittagong.[155] The treasury remained under rebel control for several days. Further mutinies on 18 November saw the 2nd, 3rd and 4th companies of the 34th Bengal Infantry Regiment storming the Chittagong Jail and releasing all prisoners. The mutineers were eventually suppressed by the Gurkha regiments.[156] The mutiny also spread to Kolkata and later Dacca, the former Mughal capital of Bengal. Residents in the city's Lalbagh area were kept awake at night by the rebellion.[157] Sepoys joined hands with the common populace in Jalpaiguri to take control of the city's cantonment.[155] In January 1858, many sepoys received shelter from the royal family of the princely state of Hill Tippera.[155]

The interior areas of Bengal proper were already experiencing growing resistance to Company rule due to the Muslim Faraizi movement.[155]


In central and north Gujarat, the rebellion was sustained by land owner Jagirdars, Talukdars and Thakors with the support of armed communities of Bhil, Koli, Pathans and Arabs, unlike the mutiny by sepoys in north India. Their main opposition of British was due to Inam commission. The Bet Dwarka island, along with Okhamandal region of Kathiawar peninsula which was under Gaekwad of Baroda State, saw a revolt by the Vaghers in January 1858 who, by July 1859, controlled that region. In October 1859, a joint offensive by British, Gaekwad and other princely states troops ousted the rebels and recaptured the region.[158][159][160]

British Empire

The authorities in British colonies with an Indian population, sepoy or civilian, took measures to secure themselves against copycat uprisings. In the Straits Settlements and Trinidad the annual Hosay processions were banned,[161] riots broke out in penal settlements in Burma and the Settlements, in Penang the loss of a musket provoked a near riot,[162] and security was boosted especially in locations with an Indian convict population.[163]


Death toll and atrocities

"The Relief of Lucknow" by Thomas Jones Barker

Both sides committed atrocities against civilians.[r][14]

In Oudh alone, some estimates put the toll at 150,000 Indians were killed during the war, with 100,000 of them being civilians. The capture of Delhi, Allahabad, Kanpur and Lucknow by British forces were followed by general massacres.[164]

Another notable atrocity was carried out by General Neill who massacred thousands of Indian mutineers and Indian civilians suspected of supporting the rebellion.[165]

The rebels' murder of British women, children and wounded soldiers (including sepoys who sided with the British) at Cawnpore, and the subsequent printing of the events in the British papers, left many British soldiers outraged and seeking revenge. As well as hanging mutineers, the British had some "blown from cannon," (an old Mughal punishment adopted many years before in India), in which sentenced rebels were tied over the mouths of cannons and blown to pieces when the cannons were fired.[166][167] A particular act of cruelty on behalf of the British troops at Cawnpore included forcing many Muslim or Hindu rebels to eat pork or beef, as well as licking buildings freshly stained with blood of the dead before subsequent public hangings.[168]

Practices of torture included "searing with hot irons...dipping in wells and rivers till the victim is half suffocated...sequencing the testicles...putting pepper and red chillies in the eyes or introducing them into the private parts of men and women...prevention of sleep...nipping the flesh with pinners...suspension from the branches of a tree...imprisonment in a room used for storing lime..."[169]

British soldiers also committed sexual violence against Indian women as a form of retaliation against the rebellion.[170][171] As towns and cities were captured from the sepoys, the British soldiers took their revenge on Indian civilians by committing atrocities and rapes against Indian women.[172][173] As one account reads,

The [British] victors retaliated against the civilians [at Fatehpur) by sacking villages, raping women, killing children and hanging hundreds of men. When the people of Cawnpore [Kanpur] heard this, they feared similar retaliation..... At Fatehgarh, for example, when the English defeated the enemy, their officers ordered a mass scale killing [of] the rebels and the citizens on the spot. General Neill had also ordered Hanging parties.... No evidence was sought and none given before executing the victim.... When the [78th] Highlanders moved to another village, they caught about 140 men, women and children. They selected sixty men from the group, forced them to build the gallows of wooden logs taken from the burning homes. They then chose ten men of the group [and] hanged them without any evidence or trial. For others, they had reserved flogging and beating to teach them a lesson..... At one of the villages, about two thousand villagers armed only with their lathis [wooden canes] turned out in protest. They stood up to face the [78th] Highlanders. The British troops surrounded them and set their village on fire.... The villagers trying to escape were shot to death. One soldier describes the incident thus: 'We took eighteen of them prisoners; they were all tied together, and we fired a volley at them and shot them on the spot' .... Stringing and shooting the men in front of their family was a sport the troops enjoyed. Watching women stooping and begging for the lives of their men seemed to thrill the young soldiers and their officers. The prisoners were made to stand under the hot summer sun for hours till they fainted. It was easy to flog them when they were half-conscious, otherwise, they would squirm and make it hard to strike. Flogging invariably ended in killing of the victims. The English wanted to break the faith of their Hindu and Muslim prisoners.[174][175][176]

Most of the British press, outraged by the stories of alleged rape committed by the rebels against British women, as well as the killings of British civilians and wounded British soldiers, did not advocate clemency of any kind towards the Indian population.[177] Governor General Canning ordered moderation in dealing with native sensibilities and earned the scornful sobriquet "Clemency Canning" from the press[178] and later parts of the British public.

In terms of sheer numbers, the casualties were much higher on the Indian side. A letter published after the fall of Delhi in the Bombay Telegraph and reproduced in the British press testified to the scale of the Indian casualties:

.... All the city's people found within the walls of the city of Delhi when our troops entered were bayoneted on the spot, and the number was considerable, as you may suppose, when I tell you that in some houses forty and fifty people were hiding. These were not mutineers but residents of the city, who trusted to our well-known mild rule for pardon. I am glad to say they were disappointed.[179]

British soldiers looting Qaisar Bagh, Lucknow, after its recapture (steel engraving, late 1850s)

From the end of 1857, the British had begun to gain ground again. Lucknow was retaken in March 1858. On 8 July 1858, a peace treaty was signed and the rebellion ended. The last rebels were defeated in Gwalior on 20 June 1858. By 1859, rebel leaders Bakht Khan and Nana Sahib had either been slain or had fled.

Edward Vibart, a 19-year-old officer whose parents, younger brothers, and two of his sisters had died in the Cawnpore massacre,[180] recorded his experience:

The orders went out to shoot every soul.... It was literally murder... I have seen many bloody and awful sights lately but such a one as I witnessed yesterday I pray I never see again. The women were all spared but their screams on seeing their husbands and sons butchered, were most painful... Heaven knows I feel no pity, but when some old grey bearded man is brought and shot before your very eyes, hard must be that man's heart I think who can look on with indifference ...[181]

Execution of mutineers by blowing from a gun by the British, 8 September 1857.

Some British troops adopted a policy of "no prisoners". One officer, Thomas Lowe, remembered how on one occasion his unit had taken 76 prisoners – they were just too tired to carry on killing and needed a rest, he recalled. Later, after a quick trial, the prisoners were lined up with a British soldier standing a couple of yards in front of them. On the order "fire", they were all simultaneously shot, "swept... from their earthly existence".

The aftermath of the rebellion has been the focus of new work using Indian sources and population studies. In The Last Mughal, historian William Dalrymple examines the effects on the Muslim population of Delhi after the city was retaken by the British and finds that intellectual and economic control of the city shifted from Muslim to Hindu hands because the British, at that time, saw an Islamic hand behind the mutiny.[182]

Approximately 6,000 of the 40,000 Europeans living in India were killed.[3]

Reaction in Britain

Justice, a print by Sir John Tenniel in a September 1857 issue of Punch

The scale of the punishments handed out by the British "Army of Retribution" were considered largely appropriate and justified in a Britain shocked by embellished reports of atrocities carried out against British and European civilians by the rebels.[183] Accounts of the time frequently reach the "hyperbolic register", according to Christopher Herbert, especially in the often-repeated claim that the "Red Year" of 1857 marked "a terrible break" in British experience.[179] Such was the atmosphere – a national "mood of retribution and despair" that led to "almost universal approval" of the measures taken to pacify the revolt.[184]

Incidents of rape allegedly committed by Indian rebels against European women and girls appalled the British public. These atrocities were often used to justify the British reaction to the rebellion. British newspapers printed various eyewitness accounts of the rape of English women and girls. One such account was published by The Times, regarding an incident where 48 English girls as young as 10 had been raped by Indian rebels in Delhi. Karl Marx criticized this story as false propaganda, and pointed out that the story was written by a clergyman in Bangalore, far from the events of the rebellion, with no evidence to support his allegation.[185] Individual incidents captured the public's interest and were heavily reported by the press. One such incident was that of General Wheeler's daughter Margaret being forced to live as her captor's concubine, though this was reported to the Victorian public as Margaret killing her rapist then herself.[186] Another version of the story suggested that Margaret had been killed after her abductor had argued with his wife over her.[187]

During the aftermath of the rebellion, a series of exhaustive investigations were carried out by British police and intelligence officials into reports that British women prisoners had been "dishonored" at the Bibighar and elsewhere. One such detailed enquiry was at the direction of Lord Canning. The consensus was that there was no convincing evidence of such crimes having been committed, although numbers of European women and children had been killed outright.[188]

The term 'Sepoy' or 'Sepoyism' became a derogatory term for nationalists, especially in Ireland.[189]


Bahadur Shah Zafar (the last Mughal emperor) in Delhi, awaiting trial by the British for his role in the Uprising. Photograph by Robert Tytler and Charles Shepherd, May 1858

The proclamation to the "Princes, Chiefs, and People of India," issued by Queen Victoria on November 1, 1858. "We hold ourselves bound to the natives of our Indian territories by the same obligation of duty which bind us to all our other subjects." (p. 2)

Bahadur Shah was arrested at Humanyun's tomb and tried for treason by a military commission assembled at Delhi, and exiled to Rangoon where he died in 1862, bringing the Mughal dynasty to an end. In 1877 Queen Victoria took the title of Empress of India on the advice of Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli.

The rebellion saw the end of the East India Company's rule in India. In August, by the Government of India Act 1858, the company was formally dissolved and its ruling powers over India were transferred to the British Crown.[190] A new British government department, the India Office, was created to handle the governance of India, and its head, the Secretary of State for India, was entrusted with formulating Indian policy. The Governor-General of India gained a new title, Viceroy of India, and implemented the policies devised by the India Office. Some former East India Company territories, such as the Straits Settlements, became colonies in their own right. The British colonial administration embarked on a program of reform, trying to integrate Indian higher castes and rulers into the government and abolishing attempts at Westernization. The Viceroy stopped land grabs, decreed religious tolerance and admitted Indians into civil service, albeit mainly as subordinates.

Essentially the old East India Company bureaucracy remained, though there was a major shift in attitudes. In looking for the causes of the Rebellion the authorities alighted on two things: religion and the economy. On religion it was felt that there had been too much interference with indigenous traditions, both Hindu and Muslim. On the economy it was now believed that the previous attempts by the Company to introduce free market competition had undermined traditional power structures and bonds of loyalty placing the peasantry at the mercy of merchants and money-lenders. In consequence the new British Raj was constructed in part around a conservative agenda, based on a preservation of tradition and hierarchy.

On a political level it was also felt that the previous lack of consultation between rulers and ruled had been another significant factor in contributing to the uprising. In consequence, Indians were drawn into government at a local level. Though this was on a limited scale a crucial precedent had been set, with the creation of a new 'white collar' Indian elite, further stimulated by the opening of universities at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras, a result of the Indian Universities Act. So, alongside the values of traditional and ancient India, a new professional middle class was starting to arise, in no way bound by the values of the past. Their ambition can only have been stimulated by Queen Victoria's Proclamation of November 1858, in which it is expressly stated, "We hold ourselves bound to the natives of our Indian territories by the same obligations of duty which bind us to our other is our further will that... our subjects of whatever race or creed, be freely and impartially admitted to offices in our service, the duties of which they may be qualified by their education, ability and integrity, duly to discharge."

Acting on these sentiments, Lord Ripon, viceroy from 1880 to 1885, extended the powers of local self-government and sought to remove racial practices in the law courts by the Ilbert Bill. But a policy at once liberal and progressive at one turn was reactionary and backward at the next, creating new elites and confirming old attitudes. The Ilbert Bill had the effect only of causing a white mutiny and the end of the prospect of perfect equality before the law. In 1886 measures were adopted to restrict Indian entry into the civil service.

Military reorganisation

Captain C Scott of the Gen. Sir. Hope Grant's Column, Madras Regiment, who fell on the attack of Fort of Kohlee, 1858. Memorial at the St. Mary's Church, Madras

Memorial inside the York Minster

The Bengal army dominated the Indian army before 1857 and a direct result after the rebellion was the scaling back of the size of the Bengali contingent in the army.[191] The Brahmin presence in the Bengal Army was reduced because of their perceived primary role as mutineers. The British looked for increased recruitment in the Punjab for the Bengal army as a result of the apparent discontent that resulted in the Sepoy conflict.[192]

The rebellion transformed both the native and European armies of British India. Of the 74 regular Bengal Native Infantry regiments in existence at the beginning of 1857, only twelve escaped mutiny or disbandment.[193] All ten of the Bengal Light Cavalry regiments were lost. The old Bengal Army had accordingly almost completely vanished from the order of battle. These troops were replaced by new units recruited from castes hitherto under-utilised by the British and from the minority so-called "Martial Races", such as the Sikhs and the Gurkhas.

The inefficiencies of the old organisation, which had estranged sepoys from their British officers, were addressed, and the post-1857 units were mainly organised on the "irregular" system. From 1797 until the rebellion of 1857, each regular Bengal Native Infantry regiment had had 22 or 23 British officers,[194] who held every position of authority down to the second-in-command of each company. In irregular units there were fewer European officers, but they associated themselves far more closely with their soldiers, while more responsibility was given to the Indian officers.

The British increased the ratio of British to Indian soldiers within India. From 1861 Indian artillery was replaced by British units, except for a few mountain batteries.[195] The post-rebellion changes formed the basis of the military organisation of British India until the early 20th century.


Victoria Cross

Medals were awarded to members of the British Armed Forces and the British Indian Army during the rebellion. The 182 recipients of the Victoria Cross are listed here.

Indian Mutiny Medal

290,000 Indian Mutiny Medals were awarded. Clasps were awarded for the siege of Delhi and the siege and relief of Lucknow.[196]

Indian Order of Merit

A military and civilian decoration of British India, the Indian Order of Merit was first introduced by the East India Company in 1837, and was taken over by the Crown in 1858, following the Indian Mutiny of 1857. The Indian Order of Merit was the only gallantry medal available to Native soldiers between 1837 and 1907.[197]


Main article: Names of India's First War of Independence

There is no universally agreed name for the events of this period.

In India and Pakistan it has been termed as the "War of Independence of 1857" or "First War of Indian Independence"[198] but it is not uncommon to use terms such as the "Revolt of 1857". The classification of the Rebellion being "First War of Independence" is not without its critics in India.[199][200][201][202] The use of the term "Indian Mutiny" is considered by some Indian politicians[203] as belittling the importance of what happened and therefore reflecting an imperialistic attitude. Others dispute this interpretation.

In the UK and parts of the Commonwealth it is commonly called the "Indian Mutiny", but terms such as "Great Indian Mutiny", the "Sepoy Mutiny", the "Sepoy Rebellion", the "Sepoy War", the "Great Mutiny", the "Rebellion of 1857", "the Uprising", the "Mahomedan Rebellion", and the "Revolt of 1857" have also been used.[204][205][206] "The Indian Insurrection" was a name used in the press of the UK and British colonies at the time.[207]


See also: Panic of 1857

The Mutiny Memorial in Delhi, a monument to those killed on the British side during the fighting.

Adas (1971) examines the historiography with emphasis on the four major approaches: the Indian nationalist view; the Marxist analysis; the view of the Rebellion as a traditionalist rebellion; and intensive studies of local uprisings.[208] Many of the key primary and secondary sources appear in Biswamoy Pati, ed. 1857 Rebellion.[209][210]

Suppression of the Indian Revolt by the English, which depicts the execution of mutineers by blowing from a gun by the British, a painting by Vasily Vereshchagin c. 1884. Note: This painting was allegedly bought by the British crown and possibly destroyed (current whereabouts unknown). It anachronistically depicts the events of 1857 with soldiers wearing (then current) uniforms of the late 19th century.

Thomas Metcalf has stressed the importance of the work by Cambridge professor Eric Stokes (1924–1981), especially Stokes' The Peasant and the Raj: Studies in Agrarian Society and Peasant Rebellion in Colonial India (1978). Metcalf says Stokes undermines the assumption that 1857 was a response to general causes emanating from entire classes of people. Instead, Stokes argues that 1) those Indians who suffered the greatest relative deprivation rebelled and that 2) the decisive factor in precipitating a revolt was the presence of prosperous magnates who supported British rule. Stokes also explores issues of economic development, the nature of privileged landholding, the role of moneylenders, the usefulness of classical rent theory, and, especially, the notion of the "rich peasant".[211]

To Kim Wagner, who has conducted the most recent survey of the literature, modern Indian historiography is yet to move beyond responding to the "prejudice" of colonial accounts. Wagner sees no reason why atrocities committed by Indians should be understated or inflated merely because these things "offend our post-colonial sensibilities".[212]

Wagner also stresses the importance of William Dalrymple's The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty, Delhi 1857. Dalrymple was assisted by Mahmood Farooqui, who translated key Urdu and Shikastah sources and published a selection in Besieged: Voices from Delhi 1857.[213] Dalrymple emphasized the role of religion, and explored in detail the internal divisions and politico-religious discord amongst the rebels. He did not discover much in the way of proto-nationalism or any of the roots of modern India in the rebellion.[214][215] Sabbaq Ahmed has looked at the ways in which ideologies of royalism, militarism, and Jihad influenced the behaviour of contending Muslim factions.[216]

Almost from the moment the first sepoys mutinied in Meerut, the nature and the scope of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 has been contested and argued over. Speaking in the House of Commons in July 1857, Benjamin Disraeli labelled it a 'national revolt' while Lord Palmerston, the Prime Minister, tried to downplay the scope and the significance of the event as a 'mere military mutiny'.[217] Reflecting this debate, an early historian of the rebellion, Charles Ball, used the word mutiny in his title, but labelled it a "struggle for liberty and independence as a people" in the text.[218] Historians remain divided on whether the rebellion can properly be considered a war of Indian independence or not,[219] although it is popularly considered to be one in India. Arguments against include:

• A united India did not exist at that time in political, cultural, or ethnic terms;
• The rebellion was put down with the help of other Indian soldiers drawn from the Madras Army, the Bombay Army and the Sikh regiments; 80% of the East India Company forces were Indian;[220]
• Many of the local rulers fought amongst themselves rather than uniting against the British;
• Many rebel Sepoy regiments disbanded and went home rather than fight;
• Not all of the rebels accepted the return of the Mughals;
• The King of Delhi had no real control over the mutineers;[221]
• The revolt was largely limited to north and central India. Whilst risings occurred elsewhere they had little impact because of their limited nature;
• A number of revolts occurred in areas not under British rule, and against native rulers, often as a result of local internal politics;
• "The revolt was fractured along religious, ethnic and regional lines.[222]

The hanging of two participants in the Indian Rebellion, Sepoys of the 31st Native Infantry. Albumen silver print by Felice Beato, 1857.

A second school of thought while acknowledging the validity of the above-mentioned arguments opines that this rebellion may indeed be called a war of India's independence. The reasons advanced are:

• Even though the rebellion had various causes, most of the rebel sepoys who were able to do so, made their way to Delhi to revive the old Mughal empire that signified national unity for even the Hindus amongst them;
• There was a widespread popular revolt in many areas such as Awadh, Bundelkhand and Rohilkhand. The rebellion was therefore more than just a military rebellion, and it spanned more than one region;
• The sepoys did not seek to revive small kingdoms in their regions, instead they repeatedly proclaimed a "country-wide rule" of the Mughals and vowed to drive out the British from "India", as they knew it then. (The sepoys ignored local princes and proclaimed in cities they took over: Khalq Khuda Ki, Mulk Badshah Ka, Hukm Subahdar Sipahi Bahadur Ka – "the people belong to God, the country to the Emperor and authority to the Sepoy Commandant"). The objective of driving out "foreigners" from not only one's own area but from their conception of the entirety of "India", signifies a nationalist sentiment;
• The mutineers, although some were recruited from outside Oudah, displayed a common purpose.[223]
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Part 3 of 3

150th anniversary

The National Youth rally at the National Celebration to Commemorate 150th Anniversary of the First War of Independence, 1857 at Red Fort, in Delhi on 11 May 2007

The Government of India celebrated the year 2007 as the 150th anniversary of "India's First War of Independence". Several books written by Indian authors were released in the anniversary year including Amresh Mishra's "War of Civilizations", a controversial history of the Rebellion of 1857, and "Recalcitrance" by Anurag Kumar, one of the few novels written in English by an Indian based on the events of 1857.

In 2007, a group of retired British soldiers and civilians, some of them descendants of British soldiers who died in the conflict, attempted to visit the site of the Siege of Lucknow. However, fears of violence by Indian demonstrators, supported by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, prevented the British visitors from visiting the site.[224] Despite the protests, Sir Mark Havelock was able to make his way past police to visit the grave of his ancestor, General Henry Havelock.[225]

In popular culture


Henry Nelson O'Neil's 1857 painting Eastward Ho! depicting British soldiers say farewell to their loved ones as they embark on a deployment to India.

• Light of India - A 1929 short American silent film directed by Elmer Clifton and filmed in Technicolor, depicts the rebellion.
• Bengal Brigade – A 1954 film: at the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny. A British officer, Captain Claybourne (Hudson), is cashiered from his regiment over a charge of disobeying orders, but finds that his duty to his men is far from over
• Shatranj Ke Khilari – A 1977 Indian film directed by Satyajit Ray, chronicling the events just before the onset of the Revolt of 1857. The focus is on the British annexation of Oudh, and the detachment of the nobility from the political sphere in 19th-century India.
• Junoon (1978 film) – Directed by Shyam Benegal, it is a critically acclaimed film about the love affair between a Pathan feudal chief and a British girl sheltered by his family during the revolt.
• Mangal Pandey: The Rising (2005) – Ketan Mehta's Hindi film chronicles the life of Mangal Pandey.
• The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936) features a sequence inspired by the massacre at Cawnpore.
• Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – During the dinner scene at the fictional Pankot Palace, Indiana Jones mentions that Captain Blumburtt was telling him about the role which the palace played in "the mutiny" and Chattar Lal complains, "It seems the British never forget the Mutiny of 1857".
• The Last Cartridge, an Incident of the Sepoy Rebellion in India (1908) – A fictionalized account of a British fort besieged during the Rebellion.
• Victoria & Abdul (2017) – Queen Victoria embarrasses herself by recounting to the court the one-sided account of the Indian Mutiny that Abdul had told her, Victoria's faith and trust in him are shaken and she decides he must go home. But soon after, she changes her mind and asks him to stay.[citation needed]
• Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi , a 2019 Hindi film chronicles the life of Rani Lakshmi Bai.


• 1857: Ek Safarnama – A play by Javed Siddiqui, set during the Rebellion of 1857 and staged at Purana Qila, Delhi.[226]


• Malcolm X's autobiography The Autobiography of Malcolm X details his first encounters with atrocities in the non-European world and his reaction to the rebellion and massacres in 1857.
• John Masters's novel Nightrunners of Bengal, first published by Michael Joseph in 1951 and dedicated to the Sepoy of India, is a fictionalised account of the Rebellion as seen through the eyes of a British Captain in the Bengal Native Infantry who was based in Bhowani, itself a fictionalised version of the town of Jhansi. Captain Savage and his turbulent relationship with the Rani of Kishanpur form an analogous interrelationship of the Indian people and the British and sepoy regiments at that time.
• J. G. Farrell's 1973 novel The Siege of Krishnapur details the siege of the fictional Indian town of Krishnapur during the Rebellion.
• George MacDonald Fraser's 1975 novel Flashman in the Great Game deals with the events leading up to and during the Rebellion.
• Two of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, The Sign of the Four and "The Adventure of the Crooked Man," feature events that took place during the Rebellion.
• Michael Crichton's 1975 novel The Great Train Robbery mentions the Rebellion and briefly details the events of the Siege of Cawnpore, as the Rebellion was happening in tandem with the trial of Edward Pierce.[227]
• The majority of M. M. Kaye's novel Shadow of the Moon is set between 1856–58, and the Rebellion is shown to greatly affect the lives of the main characters, who were inhabitants of the Residency at Lunjore (a fictional town in north India). The early chapters of her novel The Far Pavilions take place during the Rebellion, which leads to the protagonist, a child of British ancestry, being raised as a Hindu.
• Indian writer Ruskin Bond's fictional novella A Flight of Pigeons is set around the Indian Rebellion of 1857. It is from this story that the film Junoon was later adapted in 1978 by Shyam Benegal.
• The 1880 novel The Steam House by Jules Verne takes place in the aftermath of the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
• Jules Verne's famous character Captain Nemo, originally an Indian prince, fought on the side of the rebels during the rebellion (as stated in Verne's later novel The Mysterious Island).
• E. M. Forster's 1924 novel A Passage to India alludes several times to the Mutiny.
• Flora Annie Steel's novel On the Face of the Waters (1896) describes incidents of the Mutiny.
• The plot of H. Beam Piper's science fiction novel Uller Uprising is based on the events of the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
• Rujub, the juggler and In Times of Peril: A tale of India by G.A. Henty are each based on the Indian Rebellion of 1857[148][148]

See also

• Vellore Mutiny
• Political warfare in British colonial India
• Bengal Native Infantry
• Barrackpore Mutiny of 1824


1. "The 1857 rebellion was by and large confined to northern Indian Gangetic Plain and central India."[6]
2. "The revolt was confined to the northern Gangetic plain and central India."[7]
3. Although the majority of the violence occurred in the northern Indian Gangetic plain and central India, recent scholarship has suggested that the rebellion also reached parts of the east and north."[8]
4. "What distinguished the events of 1857 was their scale and the fact that for a short time they posed a military threat to British dominance in the Ganges Plain."[9]
5. "The events of 1857–58 in India (are) known variously as a mutiny, a revolt, a rebellion and the first war of independence (the debates over which only confirm just how contested imperial history can become) ...(page 63)"[11]
6. "Indian soldiers and the rural population over a large part of northern India showed their mistrust of their rulers and their alienation from them. ... For all their talk of improvement, the new rulers were as yet able to offer very little in the way of positive inducements for Indians to acquiesce in the rule."[14]
7. "Many Indians took up arms against the British, if for very diverse reasons. On the other hand, a very large number actually fought for the British, while the majority remained apparently acquiescent. Explanations have therefore to concentrate on the motives of those who actually rebelled."[14]
8. The cost of the rebellion in terms of human suffering was immense. Two great cities, Delhi and Lucknow, were devastated by fighting and by the plundering of the victorious British. Where the countryside resisted, as in parts of Awadh, villages were burnt. Mutineers and their supporters were often killed out of hand. British civilians, including women and children, were murdered as well as the British officers of the sepoy regiments."[14]
9. "The south, Bengal, and the Punjab remained unscathed, ..."[7]
10. "... it was the support from the Sikhs, carefully cultivated by the British since the end of the Anglo-Sikh wars, and the disinclination of the Bengali intelligentsia to throw in their lot with what they considered a backward Zamindar revolt, that proved decisive in the course of the struggle.[7]
11. "(they) generated no coherent ideology or programme on which to build a new order."[17]
12. "The events of 1857–58 in India, ... marked a major watershed not only in the history of British India but also of British imperialism as a whole."[11]
13. "Queen Victoria's Proclamation of 1858 laid the foundation for Indian secularism and established the semi-legal framework that would govern the politics of religion in colonial India for the next century. ... It promised civil equality for Indians regardless of their religious affiliation, and state non-interference in Indians' religious affairs. Although the Proclamation lacked the legal authority of a constitution, generations of Indians cited the Queen's proclamation in order to claim, and to defend, their right to religious freedom." (page 23)[20]
14. The proclamation to the "Princes, Chiefs, and People of India," issued by Queen Victoria on 1 November 1858. "We hold ourselves bound to the natives of our Indian territories by the same obligation of duty which bind us to all our other subjects." (p. 2)
15. "When the governance of India was transferred from the East India Company to the Crown in 1858, she (Queen Victoria) and Prince Albert intervened in an unprecedented fashion to turn the proclamation of the transfer of power into a document of tolerance and clemency. ... They ... insisted on the clause that stated that the people of India would enjoy the same protection as all subjects of Britain. Over time, this royal intervention led to the Proclamation of 1858 becoming known in the Indian subcontinent as 'the Magna Carta of Indian liberties', a phrase which Indian nationalists such as Gandhi later took up as they sought to test equality under imperial law" (pages 38–39)[21]
16. "In purely legal terms, (the proclamation) kept faith with the principles of liberal imperialism and appeared to hold out the promise that British rule would benefit Indians and Britons alike. But as is too often the case with noble statements of faith, reality fell far short of theory, and the failure on the part of the British to live up to the wording of the proclamation would later be used by Indian nationalists as proof of the hollowness of imperial principles. (page 76)"[22]
17. "Ignoring ...the conciliatory proclamation of Queen Victoria in 1858, Britishers in India saw little reason to grant Indians a greater control over their own affairs. Under these circumstances, it was not long before the seed-idea of nationalism implanted by their reading of Western books began to take root in the minds of intelligent and energetic Indians."[23]
18. The cost of the rebellion in terms of human suffering was immense. Two great cities, Delhi and Lucknow, were devastated by fighting and by the plundering of the victorious British. Where the countryside resisted, as in parts of Awadh, villages were burnt. Mutineers and their supporters were often killed out of hand. British civilians, including women and children, were murdered as well as the British officers of the sepoy regiments."[14]


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83. Ayesha Jalal (2008). Partisans of Allah. Harvard University Press. pp. 129. ISBN 978-0-674-02801-2. Nor did most Muslims share the rebels' hatred of the British, even as they deplored the more egregious excesses of colonial rule.
84. Ayesha Jalal (2008). Partisans of Allah. Harvard University Press. pp. 114–. ISBN 978-0-674-02801-2. During the 1857 uprising, the ulema could not agree whether to declare a jihad.
85. Ayesha Jalal (2008). Partisans of Allah. Harvard University Press. pp. 122–123. ISBN 978-0-674-02801-2. Maulana Muhammad Qasim Nanautawi (1833-1879), the great Deobandi scholar, fought against the British...Along with Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (1828-1905), he took up arms when he was presented with clear evidence of English injustice.
86. Ayesha Jalal (2008). Partisans of Allah. Harvard University Press. pp. 130. ISBN 978-0-674-02801-2. Many Muslims, including Sunni and Shia ulema, collaborated with the British.
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88. Ayesha Jalal (2008). Partisans of Allah. Harvard University Press. pp. 131. ISBN 978-0-674-02801-2. Maulana Sayyid Nazir Husain Dehalvi was the most influential of the Ahl-Hadith ulema in Delhi at the time of the revolt. The rebels coerced him into issuing a fatwa declaring a jihad...he ruled out armed jihad in India, on the grounds that the relationship with the British government was a contract that Muslims could not legally break unless their religious rights were infringed.
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200. In the light of the available evidence, we are forced to the conclusion that the uprising of 1857 was not the result of careful planning, nor were there any master-minds behind it. As I read about the events of 1857, I am forced to the conclusion that the Indian national character had sunk very low. The leaders of the revolt could never agree. They were mutually jealous and continually intrigued against one another. ... In fact these personal jealousies and intrigues were largely responsible for the Indian defeat.Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Surendranath Sen: Eighteen Fifty-seven (Appx. X & Appx. XV).
201. >Hasan 1998, p. 149
202. Nanda 1965, p. 701
203. "The Office of Speaker Lok Sabha". Archived from the original on 12 March 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2006.
204. "Indian History – British Period – First war of Independence".
205. "Il y a cent cinquante ans, la révolte des cipayes". 1 August 2007.
206. German National Geographic article
207. The Empire, Sydney, Australia, 11 July 1857, or Taranaki Herald, New Zealand, 29 August 1857.
208. Michael Adas, "Twentieth Century Approaches to the Indian Mutiny of 1857–58," Journal of Asian History, 1971, Vol. 5 Issue 1, pp. 1–19.
209. It includes essays by historians Eric Stokes, Christopher Bayly, Rudrangshu Mukherjee, Tapti Roy, Rajat K. Ray and others. Biswamoy Pati (2010), The 1857 Rebellion, Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780198069133
210. For the latest research see Crispin Bates, ed., Mutiny at the Margins: New Perspectives on the Indian Uprising of 1857: Volume I: Anticipations and Experiences in the Locality (2013).
211. Thomas R. Metcalf, "Rural society and British rule in nineteenth century India". Journal of Asian Studies 39#1 (1979): 111–119.
212. Kim A. Wagner (2010). The Great Fear of 1857: Rumours, Conspiracies and the Making of the Indian Uprising. Peter Lang. pp. xxvi–. ISBN 978-1-906165-27-7. Modern Indian historiography on 1857 still seems, at least in part, to be responding to the prejudice of colonial accounts ... I see no reason to downplay, or to exaggerate, the atrocities carried out by Indians simply because such events seem to offend our post-colonial sensibilities.
213. M. Farooqui, trans (2010) Besieged: voices from Delhi 1857 Penguin Books.
214. Wagner, Kim A. (2011). "The Marginal Mutiny: The New Historiography of the Indian Uprising of 1857". History Compass. 9: 760–766 [760]. doi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2011.00799.x.
215. See also Kim A. Wagner (2010), The Great Fear Of 1857: Rumours, Conspiracies and the Making of the Indian Uprising, Peter Lang, p. 26, ISBN 9781906165277
216. Sabbaq Ahmed, "Ideology and Muslim militancy in India: Selected case studies of the 1857 Indian rebellion". (PhD Dissertation, Victoria University of Wellington (NZ), 2015). online
217. The Indian Mutiny and Victorian Trauma by Christopher Herbert, Princeton University Press, Princeton 2007.
218. The History of the Indian Mutiny: Giving a detailed account of the sepoy insurrection in India by Charles Ball, The London Printing and Publishing Company, London, 1860.
219. V.D. Savarkar argues that the rebellion was a war of Indian independence. The Indian War of Independence: 1857 (Bombay: 1947 [1909]). Most historians have seen his arguments as discredited, with one venturing so far as to say, 'It was neither first, nor national, nor a war of independence.' Eric Stokes has argued that the rebellion was actually a variety of movements, not one movement. The Peasant Armed (Oxford: 1980). See also S. B. Chaudhuri, Civil Rebellion in the Indian Mutinies 1857–1859(Calcutta: 1957).
220. The Indian Mutiny, Spilsbury Julian, Orion, 2007.
221. S&T magazine issue 121 (September 1988), p. 20.
222. The communal hatred led to ugly communal riots in many parts of U.P. The green flag was hoisted and Muslims in Bareilly, Bijnor, Moradabad, and other places the Muslims shouted for the revival of Muslim kingdom." R. C. Majumdar: Sepoy Mutiny and Revolt of 1857 (pp. 2303–31).
223. Sitaram Yechury. The Empire Strikes Back Archived 8 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Hindustan Times. January 2006.
224. "UK India Mutiny ceremony blocked". BBC News. 24 September 2007.
225. Tripathi, Ram Dutt (26 September 2007). "Briton visits India Mutiny grave". BBC News.
226. "A little peek into history". The Hindu. India. 2 May 2008.
227. The Great Train Robbery (1st ed.). Ballantine Books. 1975. pp. 272–275, 278, 280.


Text-books and academic monographs

• Alavi, Seema (1996), The Sepoys and the Company: Tradition and Transition 1770–1830, Oxford University Press, p. 340, ISBN 978-0-19-563484-6.
• Anderson, Clare (2007), Indian Uprising of 1857–8: Prisons, Prisoners and Rebellion, New York: Anthem Press, p. 217, ISBN 978-1-84331-249-9.
• Bandyopadhyay, Sekhara (2004), From Plassey to Partition: A History of Modern India, New Delhi: Orient Longman, p. 523, ISBN 978-81-250-2596-2.
• Bayly, Christopher Alan (1988), Indian Society and the Making of the British Empire, Cambridge University Press, p. 230, ISBN 978-0-521-25092-4.
• Bayly, Christopher Alan (2000), Empire and Information: Intelligence Gathering and Social Communication in India, c 1780–1870, Cambridge University Press, p. 412, ISBN 978-0-521-57085-5.
• Bose, Sugata; Jalal, Ayesha (2004), Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy (2nd ed.), London: Routledge, p. 253, ISBN 978-0-415-30787-1.
• Brown, Judith M. (1994), Modern India: The Origins of an Asian Democracy (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, p. 480, ISBN 978-0-19-873113-9.
• Greenwood, Adrian (2015), Victoria's Scottish Lion: The Life of Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde, UK: History Press, p. 496, ISBN 978-0-75095-685-7.
• Harris, John (2001), The Indian Mutiny, Ware: Wordsworth Editions, p. 205, ISBN 978-1-84022-232-6.
• Hibbert, Christopher (1980), The Great Mutiny: India 1857, London: Allen Lane, p. 472, ISBN 978-0-14-004752-3.
• Jain, Meenakshi (2010), Parallel Pathways: Essays On Hindu-Muslim Relations (1707–1857), Delhi: Konark, ISBN 978-8122007831.
• Judd, Denis (2004), The Lion and the Tiger: The Rise and Fall of the British Raj, 1600–1947, Oxford University Press, xiii, 280, ISBN 978-0-19-280358-0.
• Keene, Henry George (1883), Fifty-Seven. Some account of the administration of Indian Districts during the revolt of the Bengal Army, London: W.H. Allen, p. 145.
• Kulke, Hermann; Rothermund, Dietmar (2004), A History of India (4th ed.), London: Routledge, xii, 448, ISBN 978-0-415-32920-0.
• Leasor, James (1956), The Red Fort, London: W. Lawrie, p. 377, ISBN 978-0-02-034200-7.
• Ludden, David (2002), India And South Asia: A Short History, Oxford: Oneworld, xii, 306, ISBN 978-1-85168-237-9.
• Majumdar, R.C.; Raychaudhuri, H.C.; Datta, Kalikinkar (1967), An Advanced History of India (3rd ed.), London: Macmillan, p. 1126.
• Markovits, Claude, ed. (2004), A History of Modern India 1480–1950, London: Anthem, p. 607, ISBN 978-1-84331-152-2.
• Marshall, P. J. (2007), The Making and Unmaking of Empires: Britain, India, and America c.1750–1783, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press., p. 400, ISBN 978-0-19-922666-5
• Metcalf, Barbara D.; Metcalf, Thomas R. (2006), A Concise History of Modern India (2nd ed.), Cambridge University Press, p. 337, ISBN 978-0-521-68225-1.
• Metcalf, Thomas R. (1990), The Aftermath of Revolt: India, 1857–1870, New Delhi: Manohar, p. 352, ISBN 978-81-85054-99-5.
• Metcalf, Thomas R. (1997), Ideologies of the Raj, Cambridge University Press, p. 256, ISBN 978-0-521-58937-6.
• Mukherjee, Rudrangshu (2002), Awadh in Revolt 1857–1858: A Study of Popular Resistance (2nd ed.), London: Anthem, ISBN 978-1-84331-075-4.
• Palmer, Julian A.B. (1966), The Mutiny Outbreak at Meerut in 1857, Cambridge University Press, p. 175, ISBN 978-0-521-05901-5.
• Peers, Douglas M. (2013), India Under Colonial Rule: 1700–1885, Routledge, ISBN 978-1-317-88286-2
• Ray, Rajat Kanta (2002), The Felt Community: Commonality and Mentality before the Emergence of Indian Nationalism, Oxford University Press, p. 596, ISBN 978-0-19-565863-7.
• Robb, Peter (2002), A History of India, Basingstoke: Palgrave, p. 344, ISBN 978-0-333-69129-8.
• Roy, Tapti (1994), The politics of a popular uprising: Bundelkhand 1857, Delhi: Oxford University Press, p. 291, ISBN 978-0-19-563612-3.
• Spear, Percival (1990) [First published 1965], A History of India, Volume 2, New Delhi and London: Penguin Books, ISBN 978-0-14-013836-8.
• Stanley, Peter (1998), White Mutiny: British Military Culture in India, 1825–1875, London: Hurst, p. 314, ISBN 978-1-85065-330-1.
• Stein, Burton (2001), A History of India, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, p. 432, ISBN 978-0-19-565446-2.
• Stokes, Eric (1980), The Peasant and the Raj: Studies in Agrarian Society and Peasant Rebellion in Colonial India, Cambridge University Press, p. 316, ISBN 978-0-521-29770-7.
• Stokes, Eric; Bayly, C.A. (1986), The Peasant Armed: The Indian Revolt of 1857, Oxford: Clarendon, p. 280, ISBN 978-0-19-821570-7.
• Taylor, P.J.O. (1997), What really happened during the mutiny: a day-by-day account of the major events of 1857–1859 in India, Delhi: Oxford University Press, p. 323, ISBN 978-0-19-564182-0.
• Wolpert, Stanley (2004), A New History of India (7th ed.), Oxford University Press, p. 530, ISBN 978-0-19-516678-1.

Articles in journals and collections

• Alam Khan, Iqtidar (May–June 2013), "The Wahabis in the 1857 Revolt: A Brief Reappraisal of Their Role", Social Scientist, 41 (5/6): 15–23, JSTOR 23611115
• Alavi, Seema (February 1993), "The Company Army and Rural Society: The Invalid Thanah 1780–1830", Modern Asian Studies, Cambridge University Press, 27 (1): 147–178, doi:10.1017/S0026749X00016097, JSTOR 312880
• Baker, David (1991), "Colonial Beginnings and the Indian Response: The Revolt of 1857–58 in Madhya Pradesh", Modern Asian Studies, 25 (3): 511–543, doi:10.1017/S0026749X00013913, JSTOR 312615
• Blunt, Alison (July 2000), "Embodying war: British women and domestic defilement in the Indian "Mutiny", 1857–8", Journal of Historical Geography, 26 (3): 403–428, doi:10.1006/jhge.2000.0236
• English, Barbara (February 1994), "The Kanpur Massacres in India in the Revolt of 1857", Past & Present, Oxford University Press, 142 (1): 169–178, doi:10.1093/past/142.1.169, JSTOR 651200
• Hasan, Farhat; Roy, Tapti (1998), "Review of Tapti Roy, The Politics of a Popular Uprising, OUP, 1994", Social Scientist, 26 (1): 148–151, doi:10.2307/3517586, JSTOR 3517586
• Klein, Ira (July 2000), "Materialism, Mutiny and Modernization in British India", Modern Asian Studies, Cambridge University Press, 34 (3): 545–580, JSTOR 313141
• Lahiri, Nayanjot (June 2003), "Commemorating and Remembering 1857: The Revolt in Delhi and Its Afterlife", World Archaeology, Taylor & Francis, 35 (1): 35–60, doi:10.1080/0043824032000078072, JSTOR 3560211
• Mukherjee, Rudrangshu (August 1990), "'Satan Let Loose upon Earth': The Kanpur Massacres in India in the Revolt of 1857", Past & Present, Oxford University Press, 128 (1): 92–116, doi:10.1093/past/128.1.92, JSTOR 651010
• Mukherjee, Rudrangshu (February 1994), "The Kanpur Massacres in India in the Revolt of 1857: Reply", Past & Present, Oxford University Press, 142 (1): 178–189, doi:10.1093/past/142.1.178, JSTOR 651201
• Nanda, Krishan (September 1965), The Western Political Quarterly, 18, University of Utah on behalf of the Western Political Science Association, pp. 700–701.
• Roy, Tapti (February 1993), "Visions of the Rebels: A Study of 1857 in Bundelkhand", Modern Asian Studies, Cambridge University Press, 27 (1): 205–228 (Special Issue: How Social, Political and Cultural Information Is Collected, Defined, Used and Analyzed), doi:10.1017/S0026749X00016115, JSTOR 312882
• Stokes, Eric (December 1969), "Rural Revolt in the Great Rebellion of 1857 in India: A Study of the Saharanpur and Muzaffarnagar Districts", The Historical Journal, Cambridge University Press, 12 (4): 606–627, doi:10.1017/s0018246x00010554, JSTOR 2638016
• Washbrook, D. A. (2001), "India, 1818–1860: The Two Faces of Colonialism", in Porter, Andrew (ed.), Oxford History of the British Empire: The Nineteenth Century, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 395–421, ISBN 978-0-19-924678-6
• Hakim Syed Zillur Rahman (2008), "1857 ki Jung-e Azadi main Khandan ka hissa", Hayat Karam Husain (2nd ed.), Aligarh/India: Ibn Sina Academy of Medieval Medicine and Sciences, pp. 253–258, OCLC 852404214

Historiography and memory

• Bates, Crispin, ed. Mutiny at the Margins: New Perspectives on the Indian Uprising of 1857 (5 vol. Sage Publications India, 2013–14). online guide; With illustrations, maps, selected text and more.
• Chakravarty, Gautam. The Indian Mutiny and the British Imagination (Cambridge University Press, 2005).
• Deshpande, Prachi. "The Making of an Indian Nationalist Archive: Lakshmibai, Jhansi, and 1857." journal of Asian studies 67#3 (2008): 855–879.
• Erll, Astrid (2006). "Re-writing as re-visioning: Modes of representing the 'Indian Mutiny' in British novels, 1857 to 2000" (PDF). European Journal of English Studies. 10 (2): 163–185. doi:10.1080/13825570600753485.
• Frykenberg, Robert E. (2001), "India to 1858", in Winks, Robin (ed.), Oxford History of the British Empire: Historiography, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 194–213, ISBN 978-0-19-924680-9
• Pati, Biswamoy (12–18 May 2007). "Historians and Historiography: Situating 1857". Economic and Political Weekly. 42 (19): 1686–1691. JSTOR 4419570.
• Perusek, Darshan (Spring 1992). "Subaltern Consciousness and the Historiography of the Indian Rebellion of 1857". NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction. Duke University Press. 25 (3): 286–301. doi:10.2307/1345889. JSTOR 1345889.
• Wagner, Kim A. (October 2011). "The Marginal Mutiny: The New Historiography of the Indian Uprising of 1857". History Compass. 9 (10): 760–766. doi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2011.00799.x.

Other histories

• Dalrymple, William (2006), The Last Mughal, Viking Penguin, ISBN 978-0-670-99925-5
• David, Saul (2003), The Indian Mutiny: 1857, London: Penguin Books, p. 528, ISBN 978-0-14-100554-6
• David, Saul (2007), Victoria's Wars, London: Penguin Books, ISBN 978-0-141-00555-3
• Mishra, Amaresh. 2007. War of Civilisations: The Long Revolution (India AD 1857, 2 Vols.), ISBN 978-81-291-1282-8
• Ward, Andrew. Our Bones Are Scattered. New York: Holt & Co., 1996.

First person accounts and classic histories

• Parag Tope, "Tatya Tope's Operation Red Lotus", Publisher: Rupa Publications India
• Anderson, Clare. The Indian Uprising of 1857–8: Prisons, Prisoners, and Rebellion. London, 2007.
• Barter, Captain Richard The Siege of Delhi. Mutiny memories of an old officer, London, The Folio Society, 1984.
• Campbell, Sir Colin. Narrative of the Indian Revolt. London: George Vickers, 1858.
• Collier, Richard. The Great Indian Mutiny. New York: Dutton, 1964.
• Forrest, George W. A History of the Indian Mutiny, William Blackwood and Sons, London, 1904. (4 vols)
• Fitchett, W. H., B.A., LL.D., A Tale of the Great Mutiny, Smith, Elder & Co., London, 1911.
• Inglis, Julia Selina, Lady, 1833–1904, The Siege of Lucknow: a Diary, London: James R. Osgood, McIlvaine & Co., 1892. Online at A Celebration of Women Writers.
• Innes, Lt. General McLeod: The Sepoy Revolt, A.D. Innes & Co., London, 1897.
• Kaye, John William. A History of the Sepoy War In India (3 vols). London: W.H. Allen & Co., 1878.
• Kaye, Sir John & Malleson, G. B.: The Indian Mutiny of 1857, Rupa & Co., Delhi, (1st edition 1890) reprint 2005.
• Khan, Syed Ahmed (1859), Asbab-e Baghawat-e Hind, Translated as The Causes of the Indian Revolt, Allahabad, 1873
• Malleson, Colonel G. B. The Indian Mutiny of 1857. New York: Scribner & Sons, 1891.
• Marx, Karl & Freidrich Engels. The First Indian War of Independence 1857–1859. Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1959.
• Pandey, Sita Ram, From Sepoy to Subedar, Being the Life and Adventures of Subedar Sita Ram, a Native Officer of the Bengal Native Army, Written and Related by Himself, trans. Lt. Col. Norgate, (Lahore: Bengal Staff Corps, 1873), ed. James Lunt, (Delhi: Vikas Publications, 1970).
• Raikes, Charles: Notes on the Revolt in the North-Western Provinces of India, Longman, London, 1858.
• Roberts, Field Marshal Lord, Forty-one Years in India, Richard Bentley, London, 1897
• Forty-one years in India at Project Gutenberg
• Russell, William Howard, My Diary in India in the years 1858–9, Routledge, London, 1860, (2 vols.)
• Sen, Surendra Nath, Eighteen fifty-seven, (with a foreword by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad), Indian Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Delhi, 1957.
• Thomson, Mowbray (Capt.), The Story of Cawnpore, Richard Bentley, London, 1859.
• Trevelyan, Sir George Otto, Cawnpore, Indus, Delhi, (first edition 1865), reprint 2002.
• Wilberforce, Reginald G, An Unrecorded Chapter of the Indian Mutiny, Being the Personal Reminiscences of Reginald G. WIlberforce, Late 52nd Infantry, Compiled from a Diary and Letters Written on the Spot London: John Murray 1884, facsimile reprint: Gurgaon: The Academic Press, 1976.

Tertiary sources

• "Indian Mutiny." Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Online. 23 March 1998.
• "Lee-Enfield Rifle." Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 23 March 1998.

Fictional and narrative literature

• Conan Doyle, Arthur. The Sign of the Four, featuring Sherlock Holmes, originally appearing in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine 1890.
• Farrell, J. G.. The Siege of Krishnapur. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1985 (orig. 1973; Booker Prize winner).
• Fenn, Clive Robert. For the Old Flag: A Tale of the Mutiny. London: Sampson Low, 1899.
• Fraser, George MacDonald. Flashman in the Great Game. London: Barrie & Jenkins, 1975.
• Grant, James. First Love and Last Love: A Tale of the Mutiny. New York: G. Routledge & Sons, 1869.
• Kaye, Mary Margaret. Shadow of the Moon. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1979.
• Kilworth, Garry Douglas. Brothers of the Blade: Constable & Robinson, 2004.
• Leasor, James. Follow the Drum. London: Heinemann, 1972, reissued James Leasor Ltd, 2011.
• Masters, John. Nightrunners of Bengal. New York: Viking Press, 1951.
• Raikes, William Stephen. 12 Years of a Soldier's Life In India. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1860.
• Julian Rathbone, The Mutiny.
• Rossetti, Christina Georgina. "In the Round Tower at Jhansi, 8 June 1857." Goblin Market and Other Poems. 1862.
• Anurag Kumar. Recalcitrance: a novel based on events of 1857–58 in Lucknow. Lucknow: AIP Books, Lucknow 2008.
• Stuart, V. A.. The Alexander Sheridan Series: # 2: 1964. The Sepoy Mutiny; # 3: 1974. Massacre at Cawnpore; # 4: 1974. The Cannons of Lucknow; 1975. # 5: The Heroic Garrison. Reprinted 2003 by McBooks Press. (Note: # 1 – Victors & Lords deals with the Crimean War.)
• Valerie Fitzgerald "Zemindar": 1981 Bodley Head. historic novel.
• Frédéric Cathala, 1857, KDP, 2017, historical novel.

External links

• Detailed Map: The revolt of 1857–1859, Historical Atlas of South Asia, Digital South Asia Library, hosted by the University of Chicago
• Development of Situation-January to July 1857 – Maj (Retd) AGHA HUMAYUN AMIN from WASHINGTON DC
• The Indian Mutiny
• Karl Marx, New York Tribune, 1853–1858, The Revolt in India
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Gopi Mohan Tagore
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/22/20

Raja Gopi Mohan Tagore (1760–1819) was scion of the Pathuriaghata Tagore family and noted zamindar and philanthropist from Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent.[1]

He was son of Darpanarayan Tagore, who branched and founded Pathuriaghata branch of Tagore family. He knew Sanskrit, French, Portuguese, English, Persian and Urdu languages.[1] Gopi Mohan Tagore was well known for his wealth and in 1812, made what may be the largest ever gift of gold to the Kali temple at Kalighat.[2]


Kalighat Kali Temple is a Hindu temple in Kalighat, Kolkata, West Bengal, India dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. It is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas.

Kalighat was a Ghat (landing stage) sacred to Kali on the old course (Adi Ganga) of the Hooghly river (Bhāgirathi) in the city of Kolkata. The name Calcutta is said to have been derived from the word Kalighat. The river over a period of time has moved away from the temple. The temple is now on the banks of a small canal called Adi Ganga which connects to the Hooghly. The Adi Ganga was the original course of the river Hooghly. Hence the name Adi (original) Ganga.

-- Kalighat Kali Temple, by Wikipedia

He was one of the founders of Presidency College, Kolkata, the institution that initiated western education in the country. He was fluent in English, and familiar with French, Portuguese, Sanskrit, Persian and Urdu, apart from Bengali.[3] His donation for founding of Presidency College later known as Hindu College was second largest, next only to Maharaja of Burdwan and a marble tablet was erected of him in Library Hall of College to commemorate it.[1] He was later appointed Governor of Hindu College and instituted a scholarship in his name for the eligible students.[1]

Goopi Mohan celebrated Durga Pujo with grandeur ...

Goddess Durga- Early 1900 print Durga is depicted in the Hindu pantheon as a Goddess riding a lion and with many arms, each carrying a weapon to defeat Mahishasura or the buffalo demon

Durga Puja (pronounced [dʊrɡaː puːdʒaː]), also called Durgotsava (pronounced [dʊrɡoːtsəʋə]), is an annual Hindu festival originating in the Indian subcontinent which reveres and pays homage to the Hindu goddess, Durga. It is particularly popular in the Indian states of West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Tripura, and Odisha, the country of Bangladesh, and the diaspora from this region, and also in Nepal, where it is celebrated as Dashain. The festival is observed in the Indian calendar month of Ashwin, which corresponds to the months of September–October in the Gregorian calendar, and is a ten-day festival, of which the last five are of significance. The puja is performed in homes and in the public, the latter featuring temporary stage and structural decorations (known as pandals). The festival is also marked by scripture recitations, performance arts, revelry, gift giving, family visits, feasting, and public processions. Durga puja is an important festival in the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism.

As per mythology, the festival marks the victory of goddess Durga in her battle against the shape-shifting asura, Mahishasura.

Demon Mahishasura statue in Mysuru, Karnataka, India

Mahishasura was a buffalo demon in Hindustory. He is known among most sections of Hindus for his deception and as someone who pursued his evil ways by shape shifting into different forms. He was ultimately killed by Goddess Durga getting named Mahishasuramardini. It is an important symbolic legend in Hindu mythology, particularly Shaktism. The legendary battle of Mahishasura as evil and Durga as good is narrated in many parts of South Asian and Southeast Asian Hindu temples, monuments and texts such as the Devi Mahatmya. The story is also told in the Sikh text Chandi di Var, also called Var Durga di, which many in Sikh tradition believe was included in the Dasam Granth by Guru Gobind Singh.

-- Mahishasura, by Wikipedia

Thus, the festival epitomises the victory of good over evil, though it is also in part a harvest festival celebrating the goddess as the motherly power behind all of life and creation. Durga puja coincides with Navaratri and Dussehra celebrations observed by other traditions of Hinduism, in which the Ram lila dance-drama is enacted, celebrating the victory of Rama against Ravana, and effigies of Ravana are burnt.

Though the primary goddess revered during Durga puja is Durga, the celebrations also include other major deities of Hinduism such as Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth, prosperity), Saraswati (the goddess of knowledge and music), Ganesha (the god of good beginnings), and Kartikeya (the god of war). In Bengali traditions, these deities are considered to be Durga's children and Durga puja is believed to commemorate Durga's visit to her natal home with her children. The festival is preceded by Mahalaya, which is believed to mark the start of Durga's journey to her natal home. Primary celebrations begin on the sixth day (Shasthi), on which the goddess is welcomed with rituals. The festival ends on the tenth day (Vijaya dashami), when devotees embark on a procession carrying the worshipped clay sculpture-idols to a river, or other water body, and immerse them, symbolic of her return to the divine cosmos and her marital home with Shiva in Kailash. Regional and community variations in celebration of the festival and rituals observed exist.

Durga puja is an old tradition of Hinduism, though its exact origins are unclear. Surviving manuscripts from the 14th—century provide guidelines for Durga puja, while historical records suggest that the royalty and wealthy families were sponsoring major Durga puja festivities since at least the 16th-century. The prominence of Durga puja increased during the British Raj in the provinces of Bengal and Assam. In today's time, the importance of Durga puja is as much as a social and cultural festival as a religious one, wherever it is observed. Over the years, Durga puja has become an inseparable part of Indian culture with innumerable people celebrating this festival in their own unique way while pertaining to tradition.

-- Durga Puja, by Wikipedia

and many Europeans including General Wellesly attended the festival and dinner hosted by him.[1]

The Duke of Wellington, by Thomas Lawrence. Painted c. 1815–16, after the Battle of Waterloo

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS (1 May 1769 – 14 September 1852) was an Anglo-Irish soldier and Tory statesman who was one of the leading military and political figures of 19th-century Britain, serving twice as Prime Minister. He won a notable victory against Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Wellesley was born in Dublin into the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland. He was commissioned as an ensign in the British Army in 1787, serving in Ireland as aide-de-camp to two successive Lords Lieutenant of Ireland. He was also elected as a Member of Parliament in the Irish House of Commons. He was a colonel by 1796 and saw action in the Netherlands and in India, where he fought in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War at the Battle of Seringapatam. He was appointed governor of Seringapatam and Mysore in 1799 and, as a newly appointed major-general, won a decisive victory over the Maratha Confederacy at the Battle of Assaye in 1803.

Wellesley rose to prominence as a general during the Peninsular campaign of the Napoleonic Wars, and was promoted to the rank of field marshal after leading the allied forces to victory against the French Empire at the Battle of Vitoria in 1813. Following Napoleon's exile in 1814, he served as the ambassador to France and was granted a dukedom. During the Hundred Days in 1815, he commanded the allied army which, together with a Prussian Army under Blücher, defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. Wellington's battle record is exemplary; he ultimately participated in some 60 battles during the course of his military career.

Wellington is famous for his adaptive defensive style of warfare, resulting in several victories against numerically superior forces while minimising his own losses. He is regarded as one of the greatest defensive commanders of all time, and many of his tactics and battle plans are still studied in military academies around the world. After the end of his active military career, he returned to politics. He was twice British prime minister as a member of the Tory party: from 1828 to 1830, and for a little less than a month in 1834. He oversaw the passage of the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829, but opposed the Reform Act 1832. He continued as one of the leading figures in the House of Lords until his retirement and remained Commander-in-Chief of the British Army until his death.

-- Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, by Wikipedia

He was a great patron of art, music, Sanskrit learning and athletic sports and used to donate generously for this purpose.[1] The famous wrestler, Radha Gowla, was in his pay role.[1] Among others in his pensioners were Lakhi Kanta, the noted Bengali lyricist and Kali Mirza, the noted singer of that time.[1]

He was a close friend of Raja Raj Krishna Deb of Sovabazar Raj.[1]

Built by Khwaja Abdul Ghani in 1872 and named after his son Khwaja Ahsanullah, the Nawab of Dhaka. Post independence it gradually fell into disrepair. It was only in 1985 that the place was acquired and renovated by the Government of Bangladesh and is now a museum. Made some perspective and color correction to the original photo. The original was stitched together from two separate photos. Taken on my Dec 2007 visit to Dhaka, Bangladesh. Sourav Das from Santa Barbara, USA - Ahsan Manzil, Dhaka

The Sovabazar Raj family, seated at Sovabazar Palace were the Zamindars of Shobhabazar. The clan begins with a Maharaja Naba Krishna Deb Bahadur left behind two sons, adopted son Raja Gopimohan Deb (1768) and his own son Raja Raj Krishna Deb. Raja Gopimohan Deb was founder director of Hindu College and founder of famous Dharma Sabha. He offered much precious gold and silver to Maa Kali of Kalighat. A very well known scholar in Hindi, Parsi, and English. His son was Radhakanta Deb, whereas Raja Rajkrishna Deb (1782–1823) had eight sons: Shiv Krishna; Kali Krishna; Debi Krishna; Apurba Krishna; Kamal Krishna; Madhab Krishna; Narendra Krishna Deb

The Zamindari consisted more than half of Sutanuti and thousands of acres of lands in several districts of Bengal (now parts of West Bengal and Bangladesh).

-- Sovabazar Raj, by Wikipedia

He once assisted father of Raja Baroda Kanta Roy of Jessore.[1]

He had begun the Tagore family's art collection with the assistance of the British artist George Chinnery, who had visited Calcutta in 1803,[4][1] which was later expanded by his great-grandson, Prodyot Coomar Tagore.

Self-portrait, c. 1840

George Chinnery (Chinese: 錢納利; 5 January 1774 – 30 May 1852) was an English painter who spent most of his life in Asia, especially India and southern China.

Chinnery was born in London, where he studied at the Royal Academy Schools...George Chinnery moved in 1796 to Ireland, where he enjoyed some success as an artist, and married Marianne (née Vigne) on 19 April 1799 in Dublin.

Chinnery returned to London in 1801 without his wife and two infant children. In 1802 he sailed to Madras (Chennai) on the ship Gilwell. He established himself as a painter there and then in Calcutta (Kolkata), where he became the leading artist of the British community in India.

By 1813 Chinnery was a freemason, listed as a member of Calcutta's well-to-do masonic lodge Star in the East. This was one of three masonic lodges in that city which took part in the official welcome for Lord Moira (1754-1826), also a freemason, on his arrival there (1813) as the new Governor-General of India.
Chinnery's masonic career is otherwise little documented, and its connection with his artistic output unexplored.

Some of his most famous paintings are of the Indian family of Colonel James Achilles Kirkpatrick British Resident to the Nizam of Hyderabad who had set up home, to some scandal among his fellow Europeans, with the Indo-Iranian great niece of the Nizam of Hyderabad's chief minister. He painted The Kirkpatrick Children presenting them " [with a] sympathy that is rare in portraiture of the period; the boy looking straight at the viewer with a self-conscious stance, hand on hip, while the girl looks uncomfortably at the floor." Mounting debt prompted a move in 1825 to southern China.

From 1825 until his death in 1852 Chinnery based himself in Macau, but until 1832 he made regular visits to Canton (now Guangzhou). He painted portraits of Chinese and Western merchants, visiting sea-captains, and their families resident in Macau. His work in oil paint was closely imitated by the Cantonese artist Lam Qua, who himself became a renowned portrait painter. Chinnery also painted landscapes (both in oils and in watercolours), and made numerous drawings of the people of Macau engaged in their daily activities.

In 1846 he made a six-month visit to Hong Kong, where he suffered from ill health but made detailed studies of the newly founded colony. He died in Macau on 30 May 1852 and is buried in the Old Protestant Cemetery there.

-- George Chinnery, by Wikipedia

He was the founder of Shyamnagar Mulajore Kali Temple at Shyamnagar. He founded it in mid May 1802.

He had six sons and a daughter. Surji Kumar, Chandra Kumar, Nanda Kumar, Kali Kumar, Hara Kumar and Prassana Kumar.,[1] of which Hara Kumar Tagore and Prasanna Kumar Tagore both of whom carried forward legacy of Tagore family, were noted.[1]


1. The Modern History of the Indian Chiefs, Rajas, Zamindars, &c. J.N. Ghose. 1881. p. 163. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
2. Dutta, Kalyani, "Kalighat", in "Calcutta, the Living City", Vol I, edited by Sukanta Chaudhuri, p 25, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-563696-1.
3. Sengupta, Subodh Chandra and Bose, Anjali, p 141
4. Prodyot Coomar Tagore, Catalogue of the Pictures and Sculptures in the Collection of the Maharajah Tagore, Thacker, Spink Calcutta, 1905.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Fri May 22, 2020 11:27 pm

Gnanendramohan Tagore [G.M. Tagore]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/22/20

Gnanendramohan Tagore
Born: 24 January 1826, Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India
Died: 5 January 1890 (aged 63), England
Occupation: Barrister
Spouse(s): Kamalmani

Gnanendramohan Tagore (also Gyanendramohan Tagore) (24 January 1826 – 5 January 1890) was the first Bengali, Indian or Asian to be called to the bar in England, in 1862.[1]

Early life

Gnanendramohan Tagore was the son of Prasanna Coomar Tagore and grandson of Gopi Mohan Tagore one of the founders of Hindu College, of the Pathuriaghata branch of the Tagore family. He had won a scholarship of Rs. 40 per month and joined Calcutta Medical College in 1842, but did not complete his medical education. While a student of Hindu College, amongst his classmates were Rajnarain Bose and Gobinda Chandra Dutt (father of Toru Dutt).[1]

When Hindu College was opened, orthodox sections of Hindu society thought that western education would not affect the rigid structure of Hindu society.[2] They had even forced Ram Mohan Roy to stay out of it.[3] However, ‘the contradictions between the College’s name and its secular curriculum soon became evident’ and many students of Hindu College embraced Christianity.[2]

Gnanendramohan converted to Christianity in 1851, under the influence of his mentor, Krishna Mohan and married his daughter Kamalmani.[1] As a result, he was disowned by his father and deprived of his inheritance.
[4] Prasanna Coomar Tagore left his vast landed estates to his nephew, Maharaja Bahadur Sir Jatindramohan Tagore.[5] Gnanendramohan later regained some of the inheritance through court.[1]

Later life

In 1859, Gnanendramohan Tagore went to England, with his wife, for medical treatment. On being cured he joined the University of London as professor of Hindu Law and Bengali. In 1861, he was living at Kensington Park Gardens, where he was visited by student and diarist Rakhal Das Haldar on 28 May.[6] He passed the law examinations and was called to the Bar from Lincoln's Inn in 1862, being the first Asian to be so called.[1] He returned to India in 1864 and joined Calcutta High Court in 1865.[1] After his wife's death in 1869, he went back to England with his two daughters, Bhabendrabala and Satyendrabala, and died there subsequently. He was buried in Brompton Cemetery.[1][7] When Gynandanandini, wife of Satyendranath Tagore, went with her children to England in 1877, Gnanendramohan received them and was their host for some time.[8]


1. Sengupta, Subodh Chandra and Bose, Anjali (editors), Sansad Bangali Charitabhidhan (Biographical dictionary) Vol I, 1976/1998, (in Bengali), p. 184, Sahitya Sansad, ISBN 81-85626-65-0
2. Raychoudhuri, Subir, The Lost World of the Babus, in Calcutta, the Living City, Vol I, edited by Sukanta Chaudhuri, p. 73, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-563696-1
3. Collet, Sophia Dobson, The Life and Letters of Raja Rammohun Roy, 1900/1988, p. 76, Sadharan Brahmo Samaj.
4. Deb, Chitra, Jorasanko and the Thakur Family, in Calcutta, the Living City, Vol I, edited by Sukanta Chaudhuri, p. 65, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-563696-1
5. Cotton, H.E.A., Calcutta Old and New, 1909/1980, p. 345, General Printers and Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
6. Haldar, Rakhal Das (1903). The English Diary of an Indian Student. Dacca: The Asutosh Library. pp. 23.
7. "বাঙালির ১৩০ বছরের ভুলের বোঝা কমল (Bengali)". Retrieved 27 June 2019.
8. Devi Choudhurani, Indira, Smritisamput, (in Bengali), Rabindrabhaban, Viswabharati, pp. 3-4
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Fri May 22, 2020 11:48 pm

Rajnarayan Basu [Rajnarain Bose] [Rishi Rajnarayan Basu]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/22/20

Rajnarayan Basu
রাজনারায়ণ বসু
শ্রী রাজনারায়ণ বসু
Born: 7 September 1826, Boral, 24 Parganas, Bengal, British India
Died: 18 September 1899, Midnapore, Bengal, British India
Nationality: Indian
Other names: Rishi Rajnarayan Basu
Education: Hare School
Occupation: Writer
Spouse(s): Prasannamoyee Basu (nee Mitra), Nistarani Basu (nee Dutta)
Children: Swarnalata Ghosh
Parent(s) : Nanda Kishore Basu (father)

Rajnarayan Basu (Bengali: রাজনারায়ণ বসু) (1826–1899) was an Indian writer and intellectual of the Bengal Renaissance. He was born in Boral in 24 Parganas and studied at the Hare School and Hindu College, both premier institutions in Kolkata, Bengal at the time. A monotheist at heart, Rajnarayan Basu converted to Brahmoism at the age of twenty.[1] After retiring, he was given the honorary title of Rishi or sage. As a writer, he was one of the best known prose writers in Bengali in the nineteenth century, writing often for the Tattwabodhini Patrika, a premier Brahmo journal.[2] Due to his defence of Brahmoism, he was given the title "Grandfather of Indian Nationalism"[3][4]

Birth and early life

Rajnarayan Basu was born on 7 September 1826 in the Boral village of South 24 Parganas of West Bengal. His father Nanda Kishore Basu was a disciple of a Raja Ram Mohan Roy and later one of his secretaries. A bright student since childhood, Rajnarayan was brought to Calcutta (modern Kolkata) and was admitted to Hare School Society's School (later known as Hare School). He studied there till the age of 14, and was notified by the teachers for his brilliance and intellect.

He married Prasannamoyee Mitra in 1843. After the death of his first wife, he married Nistarini Dutta daughter of Shri Abhayacharan Dutta of the Hatkhola Dutta family in 1847.


Rajnarayan Basu was an enemy of Michael Madhusudan Dutt, a prominent poet of the time, and the introducer of free verse in Bengali. Both were responsible for introducing classical Western elements into Bengali literature.[1] He briefly tutored Asia's first Nobel Prizewinner, Rabindranath Tagore and spent three years translating the Upanishads into English on the earnest request and co-operation of Debendranath Tagore. As a member of Young Bengal, Rajnarayan Basu believed in "nation-building" at the grassroots level. To do his part, after teaching at Vidyasagar's Sanskrit College as the second master of the English Department, he moved to Midnapore to teach in the mofussil district town.[1] He served as the headmaster of Midnapore Zilla School (later known as Midnapore Collegiate School) which was also the forerunner of Midnapore College.

Work life in Midnapore

He had joined the school on 21 February 1851 preceded by Mr. Sinclare, during whose time the school lost its glory and was in a deplorable condition. Rajnarayan's first goal was to reestablish the school in the firmament of education. The great teacher and educationist took some wonderful steps:

1. He had abolished corporal punishment and introduced a friendly and cooperative atmosphere among the teachers and students to make education more interesting to them.
2. He had immense hatred against the well-practiced procedure of "committing to memory and vomiting to paper". He always followed the rule of teaching through interaction of both students and teachers. His eloquent speeches with humorous jokes gradually attracted even the heart of the most dull student in the class. He put stress on interrogative teaching, so that the fundamentals of the student becomes strong.
3. He understood that the students also need place for physical exercise and sports so that there mental and physical power can be properly manifested, so he made a Lawn Tennis Court and a Gymnasium in the school premises.
4. He wanted students to be educated in "Character Making Education", so he advised teachers to look after the moral development of the students, so that they can be "Man in a true sense."
5. He observed that students sitting in benches without back-support, cannot keep there back straight, so their attention span becomes shorter while studying. So he introduced sits with back-supports for the first time.
6. Being an active leader of Young Bengal, he was moved by the 'Academic Association' of Henry Louis Vivian Derozio. So he also introduced Debate Associations and Mutual Improvement Association in school level.

He also established the first arch of women education in Midnapore, the first girls school and a night school for educating the illiterates. He established a public library that is still in use, although now it is known as the Rishi Rajnarayan Basu Smriti Pathagar (Rishi Rajnaraya Basu Memorial Library) which is the oldest public library in West Bengal. He was the first person to suggest using Bengali at meetings of the Vangiya Sahitya Parishad (Bengali literature society).[5] The Parishad was established to promote Bengali language literature yet ironically conducted meetings in English until Basu's request.

As an intellectual, he founded the Brahmo Samaj house and inaugurated Nabagopal Mitra's Hindu Mela, an organisation created to spread nationalist feelings among Indians.[1]

Hindu Mela was a political and cultural festival started in 1867 in Calcutta. Its primary objective was to instill a sense of national pride among the city-dwellers to indigenous handmade products rather than imported British-made products. It included the display of swadeshi wrestling, swadeshi art and recital and performances of swadeshi poetry and songs. The mela met regularly until 1880 after which it lost its importance due to the establishment of other institutions.

-- Hindu Mela, by Wikipedia

He was a member of the Indian Association and a member of a political group called the Sanjibani Sabha. He also lamented that there were no schools promoting the learning of Indian music among the middle-class[6] and he himself started one in Midnapore. In 1868, he retired and moved to Deoghar where he spent the last years of his life. His grandson, eminent philosopher and freedom-fighter, Sri Aurobindo has inscribed his tribute to Rajnarayan in a beautiful sonnet.

My Grandfather—Rajnarayan Bose[1826–1899]

Not in annihilation lost, nor given.
To darkness art thou fled from us and light,
O strong and sentient spirit; no more heaven
of ancient joys, no silence eremite
received thee; but the omnipresent thought
of which thou was a part and earthly hour,
took back its gift. Into that splendour caught
thou hast no lost thy special brightness.Power
remains with thee and old genial force
unseen for blinding light; not darkly larks;
as when a sacred river in its course
dives into ocean, there its strength abides
Not less because with because with vastness wed and works
unnoticed in the grandeur of the tides.

-- Sri Aurobindo

Select bibliography

In Bengali

• Brahmo Sadhon (Serving Brahmoism)(1865)
• Dharmatatvo Dipika (The Light of Religious Theory) (1866–67)
• Hindudhormer srestotto (The superiority of Hinduism)(1873)
• Sekal aar eikaal (Then and now) (1873)
• Hindu othoba Presidency College-er itibritto (A history of the Hindu or Presidency College) (1876)
• Bibidho probondho (Various essays) (1882)
• Rajnarayan Basur Attocharit (Autobiography) (1909)

In English

• A defence of Brahmoism and the Brahmo Samaj (1863)
• Brahmic Advice, Caution, and Help (1869)
• The Adi Brahmo Samaj, its views and principles (1870)
• The Adi Brahmo Samaj as a Church (1873)
==Trivia He was the maternal grandfather of Sri Aurobindo, whose mother was Swarnalata Bose (married to Dr.Krishnadhan Ghose)


1. Murshid, Ghulam (2012). "Basu, Rajnarayan". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
2. Devnath, Samaresh (2012). "Tattvabodhini Patrika". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
3. "The Brahmo Samaj and the shaping of the modern Indian mind By David Kopf", page 315,
4. "Makers Of Indian Literature Prem Chand By Prakash Chandra Gupta", back cover,
5. Chaudhuri, Indrajit (2012). "Sahitya Parisad Patrika". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
6. Microsoft Word – front.doc Archived 7 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine

External links

• Chronology of Life-events
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Sat May 23, 2020 12:00 am

Womesh Chunder Bonnerjee
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/22/20

Womesh Chunder Bonnerjee
Born: 29 December 1844, Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India
Died: 21 July 1906 (aged 61), Croydon, London, England
Nationality: British Indian
Alma mater: Middle Temple
Occupation: Lawyer
Known for: Co-founder and First president of Indian National Congress
Political party: Indian National Congress
Spouse(s): Hemangini Motilal (m. 1859)

Womesh Chunder Bonnerjee (or Umesh Chandra Banerjee by current English orthography of Bengali names) (29 December 1844 – 21 July 1906) was an Indian barrister. He was the co-founder and first president of Indian National Congress.[1]

Born on 1844 at Calcutta he studied at the Oriental Seminary and the Hindu School. His career began in 1862 when he joined the firm of W. P. Gillanders, attorneys of the Calcutta Supreme Court, as a clerk where he acquired a knowledge of law. In 1864 he was sent to England where he joined the Middle Temple and was called to the Bar in June, 1867. He returned to Calcutta in 1868 and within a few years he became the most sought after barrister in the High Court. He was the first Indian to act as a Standing Counsel, in which capacity he officiated four times — 1882, 1884, 1886-87. In 1883 he defended Surendranath Banerjee in contempt of court case against him in the Calcutta High Court. He was the fellow of Calcutta University and was the president of its law faculty. He retired from the Calcutta bar in 1901.

He presided over the first session of the Indian National Congress held at Bombay in 1885 from 28 December to 31 December. In the 1886 session held at Calcutta, he proposed the formation of standing committees of the Congress in each province for the better co-ordination of its work and it was on this occasion that he advocated that the Congress should confine its activities to political matters only. He was the president of the Indian National Congress again in the 1892 session in Allahabad where he denounced the position that India had to prove for worthiness of political freedom.

He moved to Britain and practiced before the Privy Council. He financed the British Committee of Congress and its journals in London. In 1865 Dadabhai Naoroji founded the London Indian society and Bonnerjee was made its general secretary. When Bonnerjee became the Congress president, Naoroji along with him, Eardley Norton and William Digby opened The Congress Political Agency, a branch of Congress in London. He unsuccessfully contested the 1892 United Kingdom general election as a Liberal party candidate for the Barrow and Furness seat. In 1893, Naoroji, Bonnerjee and Badruddin Tyabji founded the Indian Parliamentary Committee in England.

Early days

Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee was born on 29 December 1844 at Calcutta (now Kolkata), in the present-day state of West Bengal.[2] He studied at the Oriental Seminary and the Hindu School.[2] In 1859, he married Hemangini Motilal. His career began in 1862 when he joined the firm of W. P. Gillanders, attorneys of the Calcutta Supreme Court, as a clerk. In this post he acquired a good knowledge of law which greatly helped him in his later career. In 1864 he was sent to England through a scholarship from Mr. R. J. Jijibhai of Bombay[2] where he joined the Middle Temple and was called to the Bar in June, 1867.[3] On his return to Calcutta in 1868, he found a patron in Sir Charles Paul, Barrister-at-Law of the Calcutta High Court.[2] Another barrister, J. P. Kennedy, also greatly helped him to establish his reputation as a lawyer. Within a few years he became the most sought after barrister in the High Court. He was the first Indian to act as a Standing Counsel, in which capacity he officiated four times — 1882, 1884, 1886-87. In 1883 he defended Surendranath Banerjee in the famous contempt of court case against him in the Calcutta High Court. He was the fellow of Calcutta University and was the president of its law faculty[2] and often represented it in the legislative council.[3] He retired from the Calcutta bar in 1901.[2]

As president of Indian National Congress

He presided over the first session of the Indian National Congress held at Bombay in 1885[3] from 28 December to 31 December and attended by 72 members.[4] In the 1886 session held at Calcutta, under the presidency of Dadabhai Naoroji, he proposed the formation of standing committees of the Congress in each province for the better co-ordination of its work and it was on this occasion that he advocated that the Congress should confine its activities to political matters only, leaving the question of social reforms to other organisations. He was the president of the Indian National Congress again in the 1892 session in Allahabad[3] where he denounced the position that India had to prove for worthiness of political freedom.[5] He moved to Britain and practiced before the Privy Council.[3] He financed the British Committee of Congress and its journals in London.[3] In 1865 Dadabhai Naoroji founded the London Indian society and Bonnerjee was made its general secretary. In December 1866, Naoroji dissolved the society and formed East India Association.[6] When Bonnerjee became the Congress president Naoroji along with him, Eardley Norton and William Digby opened The Congress Political Agency, a branch of Congress in London.[6] He lived in Croydon and named his residence after his birthplace Khidirpur.[6] The Liberal party made him his candidate for the Barrow and Furness seat in 1892. Bonnerjee was defeated by Charles Cayzer, a Tory candidate. In the same elections Naoroji won the Finsbury Central constituency and defeated his nearest rival by a narrow margin of only 5 votes. Naoroji became the first Indian member of the British Parliament. In 1893, Naoriji, Bonnerjee and Badruddin Tyabji founded the Indian Parliamentary Committee in England.[6]

Personal life

His daughter Janaki Bonnerjee studied natural science, chemistry, zoology and physiology at Newnham College, Cambridge University.[7]


1. Nanda, B. R. (2015) [1977], Gokhale: The Indian Moderates and the British Raj, Legacy Series, Princeton University Press, p. 58, ISBN 978-1-4008-7049-3
2. Buckland, CE (1906). Dictionary of Indian Biography. London: Swan Sonnenshein & Co. p. 48.
3. Sayed Jafar Mahmud (1994). Pillars of Modern India, 1757–1947. APH Publishing. p. 19. ISBN 978-81-7024-586-5.
4. "Sonia sings Vande Mataram at Congress function". Rediff. 28 December 2006. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
5. Lacy, Creighton (1965). The Conscience Of India – Moral Traditions In The Modern World, Holt, New York: Rinehart and Winston, p. 123
6. Faruque Ahmed. Bengal Politics in Britain. pp. 24–25. ISBN 978-0-557-61516-2.[self-published source]
7. Susheila Nasta (2012). India in Britain: South Asian Networks and Connections, 1858-1950. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-230-39272-4.

External links

• Indian National Congress Website
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