Friday, August 5, 2011

Outbreak of Rebellion 0f 1857-59 (contd-4)

A vivid account of the state of Delhi has been preserved in the diary of Jiwanlal Munshi who was in Delhi at that time.Writing under the date, May 12, i.e., the date after the arrival of the mutineers at Delhi, he writes;
"all trades in the city ceased entirely, for every shop that was opened was cleared of its contents". Ordinary business were suspended and shops were closed. The spirit of cruelty and indiscipline which characterised the mutinous Sepoys was not confined to their dealings with the British, but was displayed, through out, even in their treatment of the Indians.
On 15 May, he writes, 'several respectable men were seized and made to carry burdens to intimidate them and extort money.
On May 23, the soldiers plundered the house of Kanheya Lal of Hyderabad. Under instruction from the king Nawab Mir  Ahmed Ali Khan, issued orders to seize all the bankers and wealthy men of the city - particularly those in favour of British and to extort money from those to pay the mutineers.
Jiwanlal's account is endorsed by independent testimony.
Late at night at June 4, the sepoys, both cavalry and infantry,  revolted, with the exception of 53rd N.I.who remained loyal but were driven away by English guns. Even this detachment of this Regiment, who guarded the treasury and fought for four hours against the mutinous sepoys, was not admitted into the entrenchment.The mutineer sepoys, were joined by Nana's retainers, and seized the treasury after overpowering the loyal sepoys of the 53rd N.I. They rifled it, released the prisoners from jail, and took possession of the magazine.They then marched towards Delhi and reached Kalyanpur, the first stage of the road. But on the very next day , i.e., 6 June, the Sepoys returned to Kanpur with Nana as their leader .
The incidents that happened at Kanpur was best be narrated from the statements of Tantia Topi, a follower of Nana,  " the three regiments of infantry and the Second Light Cavalry surrounded us, and imprisoned Nana and myself in the treasury and plundered the magazine and the treasury of everything they contained, leaving nothing in either. Of the treasure,  the sepoys  made over two lacs and eleven thousand rupees to the Nana, keeping their own sentries over it.' They asked  them to 'come along to Delhi".
It is interesting to not that Tantia's statement tallys well with Nana's version.        
Nan assumed the role of a conquering hero.On June 30, he was proclaimed Peshwa amid the usual pomp and ceremonies of olden times.