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gra was scarcely touched by the Mutiny; consequently no painful note is struck when that place is visited in the company of Hindus and Mahomedans. I would be sorry to go with such people into the Palace at Delhi, or the Residency at Lucknow. In India, by common consent, the Mutiny is never spoken about. In 1907, the Anglo-Indian papers let the fiftieth anniversary of the Mutiny pass by without comment. I notice, however, in magazines edited by Hindus, a tendency to lay at the door of Mahomedans the worst acts done during the Mutiny; and the fact remains that a Hindu, and not a Mahomedan, was responsible for the tragedies that English people find hardest to forgive and forget, that Nana Sahib ordered the Cawnpore massacres. . . .

The title-pages of the first and later version of Harkness’s book on India. Click on image to enlarge it.

I happened to be in Delhi during the fiftieth anniversary of the Mutiny, and there is no denying that many English people in the capital of the Mahomedan Emperors were at that time extremely nervous, although troops could havebeen brought in two hours from Meerut to reinforce the English soldiers at the Fort. At each turn I met one or two English soldiers, carrying only a little cane and apparently out for a stroll, and there was no nook or corner in the city where a disturbance could have gone on without their knowledge. A report had been circulated that a gun would be fired in case of danger; and then all English persons were to go to the Fort; and preparations were actually made in some houses for a sudden flight. Many natives from country places arrived in Delhi before daybreak, carrying the long sticks that such men use while walking ; but after a bath in the holy Jumna, they went quietly home. Delhi is an Indian city. Not a single European shop provides for the wants of the little English community living in the Cantonment. A club, exactly like all other English clubs in India, and two or three English hotels remind visitors that there is such a place as England ; but the city is Indian throughout, and its ivories and silks are the joy of American tourists. [190]

In Delhi, an Englishman is treated with more respect than in places further south. Policemen salute when he passes and natives salam and move off the foot-path. The horrors of the Mutiny are not forgotten in Delhi; and the common people there are very much afraid of an Englishman. I met several persons who had witnessed the struggle; and an old English lady showed me a garment dropped by the Emperor Bahardur Shah, when he fled from the Palace. She escaped from Delhi in a covered cart, with her children; but many of her friends were killed, and to this day she carries a pistol and lives in fear of an outbreak. [195]

In the Fort that encloses the Palace, the first horrors of the Mutiny were perpetrated; when, in the words of Sir Evelyn Wood, 'Mahomedan soldiers hastened from Meerutto Delhi and proclaimed there the restoration of the Mogul Empire.' Then the Chaplain of the Fort, and his daughter, and English people who had hurried over the bridge on hearing that a native force was marching upon the city, were cruelly murdered. Standing on the spot where the Mutiny commenced, I realized something of the horrors of those days. Books leave many gaps to be filled in by readers, people who, perhaps, have never pieced together the actual facts of the Mutiny and have only vague ideas about Delhi, Lucknow and Cawnpore, and feel for Nicholson, Lawrence, Outram, Campbell and others a great deal of national pride and hero worship. But in these days, when so many Indian problems have come up for reconsideration, it is our duty to form a just and true idea of the Mutiny; and, standing on the spot where the.[197] first victims fell, I thought of the old Mahomedart Emperor, who, with his sons and grandson, looked out of the Palace that morning and saw the awful attempt that was being made to restore power and dignity to the former rulers of India. For fifty years Delhi had been in the hands of the English; and the Emperor Bahardur Shah arrd his family had been prisoners in the Palace. The sons and one of the grandsons of the Emperor v were shot by Lieutenant Hodson, after the fall of Delhi, their only sin being a desire to regain the Empire of their forefathers. Lieutenant Hodson was. a brilliant soldier, we are told, but had previously been relieved of his duties as a Magistrate owing to 'an excitable temperament'; and at the tomb of the Emperor Humayun, where the old Emperor Bahardur Shah surrendered to the English, Lieutenant Hodson shot with his own hand the two sons and the grandson of the last of the Mahomedan Emperors. Sir Evelyn Wood says that this act was generally approved in India at the time, 'when quarter was seldom asked, and still more rarely given'; and Sir Colin Campbell followed the body of Hodson to the grave the following year, 'to mark my regret and esteem for the most brilliant soldier under my command and one I was proud to call my friend.' Sir Evelyn Wood adds that the conduct of Hodson has since been reprobated; and in his view justly.

Related material on Cawnpore and the 1857 Mutiny

Last modified 20 December 2018