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Indian Mutiny

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brunel
1247057.  Tue Aug 29, 2017 1:25 pm Reply with quote

crissdee wrote:
Something else on a slightly related topic.

Afaik, the Mutiny/Uprising kicked off because we made our Indian troops use ammo lubricated with pork fat which offended their religious beliefs. In my line of work, we use industrial alcohol as a cleaning agent and I wonder how the religiously temperant may feel about that, should they take the job (they could have mine for a start!😠)

Whilst that may have been a contributing factor, my understanding is that the allegation of the use of pork or beef fat to grease the cartridges wasn't the primary cause, but just one of a wide range of factors which caused increasing anger.

As I understand it, a more significant factor was the fact that the Bengal Army, which I believe was the main Presidency army which kicked off the uprising, were mainly recruited from higher castes that felt that, by the 1850's, their previous caste rights (such as exemptions from overseas military service, which the British had granted them on the grounds that travelling overseas would cause a ritual degradation of their caste status), were being gradually eroded away.

Furthermore, there was also the issue that, after the Punjab and Awadh regions had been captured, the soldiers who were posted there no longer received the bonus pay they had previously received for carrying out operations outside of the Company's jurisdiction, something which was actively resented.

As part of that, there was also a feeling that, once the Company yielded to pressure from the British government to allow Christian missionaries to preach in India, that those missionaries were subverting and trampling on their long held religious beliefs and customs, and that in general there was a sense that the Company was starting to intrude on customs and systems of governance that had, until then, they had tended to accommodate rather than displace.

The claims about the bullets was a factor that aggravated things, that is true, but there were already long standing grievances that, by themselves, would probably have triggered the uprising anyway.

 

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