By Christopher Hibbert

From the Preface:

They referred to as themselves 'Kings of the World', the 'Shadows of God' ; and of their massive domain names those grandiose titles of the Moghul Emperors of India appeared acceptable. Descendants of the Mongol warlord, Jenghiz Khan, and of the ferocious conqueror, Tamerlane, they have been the richest rulers on the earth, as strong because the Caesars. the 1st of them, Babur, born in 1483, had marched south from Samarkand, during the rugged passes of the Hindu Kush, to Kabul; from Kabul his armies moved farther south to Delhi; and in Delhi he validated the good empire in India which his heirs have been to rule for 5 generations. for the period of his grandson, Akbar, a constitution used to be granted by way of Queen Elizabeth I of britain to the 'Company and retailers of London buying and selling with the East Indies'. 13 years later, in 1613, his great-grandson, Jahangir, granted this corporation permission to set up an enduring buying and selling station at the Indian coast north of Bombay. So the English got here to India as retailers. And, as their ambassador on the Moghul courtroom warned the Company's administrators in London, they need to by no means 'seek plantation by means of the sword', like their predecessors, the Portuguese and the Dutch, yet 'at sea and in quiet trade'. as long as they did so, he guaranteed them, they'd prosper. and they did.

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Extra resources for The Great Mutiny India, 1857

Example text

Lord Dalhousie's reforms, while considered sensible and just by most of their British masters, were not seen in the same light by most Indians. T h r o u g h o u t Dalhousie's years in office intensive efforts had been m a d e to establish the rights of landholders to the property which they claimed to own and the a m o u n t of money which ought to be received f r o m it. Several great landowners had been dispossessed of large parts of their estates. T h o u s a n d s of lesser landlords had been dispossessed entirely.

Oh, it isn't that,' said the bereaved one, 'but on the way back from the cemetery I accepted the Corporal of the firing party', by no means such a good match. 16 Only a b o u t twelve in a hundred men in a regiment were allowed official wives - for which they received no more than five rupees a m o n t h if she were European, two and a half if native 1 7 - so that most soldiers either had to be or chose to remain bachelors. ' 1 8 Less pampered certainly than their officers, they nevertheless had n u m e r o u s native servants to perform the tasks that in England they would have had to do for themselves.

N o w standing on three legs, n o w on four, swaying to and fro, flapping their great ragged ears, putting their trunks into their mouths and pulling them out again . . There are s o m e crows sitting on a tree, with their beaks wide open gasping for breath; and a flock of goats have made up their minds that it is much too hot to browse, and following the example of the herdsman . . have got beneath the shade of s o m e trees and g o n e to sleep . . 2 6 A b o u t one o'clock the khansaman would lay out tiffin, comprising as at breakfast, in Majendie's experience, ' t h e most substantial and least tempting f o o d ' which could be imagined; and, after turning up their noses at everything on the table, the officers would return to their tents, their cheroots and that same listless state in which they had passed the morning.

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