Travel

Lucknow

Lucknow was the scene of many dramatic events during the 1857 Indian uprising. British residents were besieged in the Residency for many months before finally being rescued. The ruins of the Residency have been maintained exactly as when the siege ended.


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Photos of Lucknow and the ruins of the residency.
Shattered walls of the Residency, Lucknow, 1996. View from the Rumi Darwaza (Rome Gate). Lucknow, 1996. Moghul building, Lucknow, 1996.
Cannon shot scarred ruins of the Residency. Lucknow, 1996. Cannon shot scarred ruins of the residency. Lucknow, 1996.


Indian Mutiny - Quoted from the 11th edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica (1911).

... a spark was put in 1857 by an act of almost incredible folly on the part of the military authorities in India. The introduction of the Mini rifle, with its greased cartridges, was accompanied by no consideration of the religious prejudices of the Bengal sepoys ...

It was easy for agitators to persuade the sepoys that the new cartridges were greased with the fat of animals sacred to one creed or forbidden to another, and that the British government was thus engaged in a deep-laid plot for forcing them to become Christians by first making them outcasts from their own religions. The growth of missionary enterprise in India lent colour to this theory, which was supported by the fact that no precautions had been taken to grease the Indian cartridges with a neutral fat, such as that of sheep and goats.

... the sepoys fears of defilement by biting the new cartridges had a considerable foundation in fact. At a court-martial in 1857 Colonel Abbott, inspector general of ordnance, gave evidence that the tallow might or might not have contained the fat of cows. No attempt, in fact, had been made to exclude the fat of cows and pigs ...

The low caste natives employed in the arsenals knew what grease was actually being employed, and taunted the Brahman sepoys with the loss of caste that would follow their use of the new cartridges.

At this time took place the mysterious distribution of chapattis, small cakes of unleavened bread, which had previously been known in connection with the mutiny at Vellore (1806). From village to village, from district to district, through hill-land and lowland, the signal unexplained at the time, inexplicable still sped; and in village after village, in district after district, the spreading of the signal was followed by the increased excitement of the people.

At Berhampur, 100 m. to the north, on the 27th of February, the 19th Bengal infantry refused on parade to take their percussion caps, on the ground that to bite the new cartridges would defile them. The absence of any European troops made it impossible to deal with this act of mutiny on the spot. The defaulting regiment was marched down to Barrackpur for punishment. On the 29th of March, two days before its arrival, a sepoy named Manghal Pandi, from whom the mutineers afterwards came to be spoken of as Pandies, drunk with bhang and enthusiasm, attempted to provoke a mutiny in the 34th Bengal infantry, and shot the adjutant, ...

...there was no adequate European force at hand to execute a severer sentence. Bengal had been recklessly depleted of white troops, and there was only one European regiment between Calcutta and Dinapur, a distance of 400 m. Canning sent at once for more British troops from Burma. Meantime new accounts of refusals to use even the old cartridges came from distant parts of Hindostan, from Umballa under the very eyes of Anson, the commander-in-chief, and from Lucknow, the capital of the newly annexed kingdom of Oudh. Lord Canning, the governor-general, who had at first hoped that he had only to deal with isolated cases of disaffection, at last recognized that the plague was epidemic, and that only stern measures could stay it. But before he could take the necessary steps, there reached Calcutta the news of the outbreak at Meerut and the capture of Delhi.

The Indian Mutiny was in no sense a national rising. The great mass of the people in the affected districts either stood neutral, waiting with the immemorial patience of the East to accept the yoke of the conqueror ...

Travel info for Lucknow

Good Points about Lucknow


External : Portrait by W Carey - Capture of Lucknow