148 years ago, today

Under Wikipedia’s current “Selected Anniversaries”, a special date with regard to this blog– May 10, 1857, i.e. the Sepoy Mutiny:

…The Pattern 1853 Enfield (P/53) rifle was introduced into India. Its cartridge was covered by a greased membrane which was supposed to be cut by the teeth before the cartridges were loaded into the rifles. There was a rumour that the membrane was greased by cow or pig fat…The British claimed that they had replaced the cartridges with new ones not made from cow and pig fat and tried to get sepoys to make their own grease from beeswax and vegetable oils but the rumour persisted. The Commander in Chief in India, General George Anson reacted to this crisis by saying, “I’ll never give in to their beastly prejudices”, and despite the pleas of his junior officers he did not compromise.
…On 9 May, 85 troopers of the 3rd Light Cavalry at Meerut refused to use their cartridges. They were imprisoned, sentenced to ten years of hard labour, and stripped of their uniforms in public. It has been said that the town prostitutes made fun of the manhood of the sepoys during the night and this is what goaded them.
When the 11th and 20th native cavalry of the Bengal Army assembled in Meerut on 10 May, they broke rank and turned on their commanding officers.

…and a Mutiny was born. Read more here.

One thought on “148 years ago, today

  1. This blog totally skipped South Asian Arrival Day (May 5). On May 5, 1838, the first group of Indian indentured servants arrived in North America (Guyana). Celebrate 167 years of desis in the western Hemisphere.

    Or don’t.