About the Book Subedar is a historical rank in the Indian Army, ranking below British commissioned officers and above non-commissioned officers. He enlisted in as a sepoy into an infantry regiment of the Bengal Native Army, and he remained a soldier until he went on pension in after forty-eight years service. During the intervening period he had taken part in the campaigns against the Gurkhas, the Pindaris and Mahrattas, and the Sikhs; he had been present at the storming of Bharatpore; and he had taken part in the ill-fated First Afghan War. He remained true to his salt during the Mutiny. He rose from Sepoy to Subedar, but only attained the latter rank when he was too old to be able to perform his duties. He claims that he was wounded seven times, taken prisoner once, and was awarded six medals.
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During the intervening period he had taken part in the campaigns against the Gurkhas, the Pindaris and Mahrattas, and the Sikhs; he had been present at the storming of Bharatpore; and he had taken part in the ill-fated First Afghan War. He remained true to his salt during the Mutiny.
He claims that he was wounded seven times, taken prisoner once, and was awarded six medals. At the end of this long and interesting career, and at the behest of his last Commanding Officer, he set down in writing the story of his experiences in the service of the always incomprehensible British.
In addition to State Papers there are numerous memoirs, letters, and diaries of British officers, military and civilian, who played a part, great or small, in extending the frontiers of British India, and in pacifying the interior. Other memoirs may come to light in the future; they may be lying in a cupboard in some feudal mansion in Bundelkhand or the Punjab, or be hidden beneath the debris in a humble village home in Madras or Maharashtra.
Some officers took over Afghan houses, while others occupied buildings in the outskirts of the city. Life was much the same as it was in Hindustan. Soon it became very cold—such cold as can never be experienced in our country. The English soldiers who came from Europe did not suffer so much, but many of them became frost-bitten and affected with sores caused by the cold.
Snow fell as deep as a man was high. Provisions were very expensive. We Hindus never dared bathe, since it was almost certain death. We had no comfort nor ease, and we never received any of the lavish presents promised so profusely by Shah Shujah in order to persuade us to come to his accursed country.
Before the cold weather set in several regiments of the Bombay army were sent back to Baluchistan. I believe this force went by Jagdalak and the Khyber Passes—much the nearest route and with no deserts to be traversed. However, there was some fear of meeting the Sikh troops, who would have been delighted to attack the foreigners, despite the fact that their government was supposed to be at pee withSirkar.
Our army was much reduced in strength, but for some time everything remained peaceful. They pointed out that the king had been restored, and yet the foreigners still remained. But the Afghans replied that they had a right to have whatever king they chose. The women liked the foreigners because they were fair; they pride themselves in Kabul on being fair, and the whiter a woman is, the more beautiful she is considered to be.
These proceedings gave rise to great jealousies, and more than one officer was stabbed or fired at. How true it is that women are the cause of all evil! Several ladies of rank used to visit the political officers.
There is no comprehending the fancies of a woman. This is the custom all over the world, and has been so forever.
From sepoy to Subedar
Chapter – 5 When People Rebel-1857 and After MCQ Test – 3 |History Class – 8th
From Sepoy to Subedar