Thursday, August 4, 2011

Outbreak of Rebellion-1857-59 (contd-2)

Mirat (Meerut), situated in the north of Uttar Pradesh, took the lead of the rebellion on 24 April, 1857, when 85 troopers out of 90,of the Third Cavalry, refused to take the cartridge on the parade ground.They were tried by Court Martial and sentenced to 10 years' ( 5 years' in the caes of 11)imprisinment withhard labour.
On May 9, the condemned men were taken to the parade ground and in the presence of a vast gathering, their military uniforms were taken off and they were put in fetters  like felons.When these "ironed and hackled' men turned to their comrades and reproached them for "quitely suffering  this disgrace to descend upon them, there was not a sepoy present who did not feel the rising indignation in his throat". Maddened by the spectacle they at once prepared for a revolt.
The lead was taken by the third Cavalry, to which the regiment the condemned troopers belonged.
On May 10, Sunday, at about sunset, when the British Rifles assembled for church parade, the third cavalry looked upon it as the signal for their own improvement. Several hundreds broke open the jail, released the their comrades and other inmates, killed the Commanding Officer Col. Finnis. The 11th regiment also joined the mutineers.
The sepoys of Meerut reached Delhi by long route march on 11th May. Arriving first at Red Fort, they convinced Bahadur Shah II to lead them. After a great deal of hesitation Bahadur Shah at last agreed and was proclaimed empire of Hindusthan. In the mean time, as more and more sepoys from Meerut arrived, and massacred European men,ladies and children. They proceeded to the cantonment when the local sepoys joined them and cut off their own officers' head.The remaining Europeans both civil and military fled from Delhi as best  they could less than a week's time. The success of the mutineers was complete, and they became undisputed masters of the city of Delhi under the nominal authority of the emperor Bahadur Shah.