Digital Dimdima
Under One Flag
The Light Has Gone Out
India Wins Freedom
Apostle of Peace
The Last War of Independence
Quit India
Leave India to God… or to Anarchy
Gandhi and Ambedkar
A Pinch of Salt!
Saga of Indian Revolutionaries
Bardoli
Gandhiji Withdraws from Political Activities
The Himalayan Blunder
A People Reject Their Rulers
Jallianwala — The Aftermath
Massacre at Jallianwala Bagh
The Gentle Satyagrahi
Gandhi in Champaran
Carrot and Stick
Revolutionaries Outside India
Heroes and Martyrs
Gandhi in South Africa
From Swadeshi to Swaraj
Swadeshi Enterprise
The New Spirit of India
The Great Divide
Partition of Bengal
The Battle is Taken to the Legislature!
The Monk Who Shook The Nation
Father of Indian Unrest
An Old Man's Dream
Women : Crossing the Threshold
The Battle Lines are Drawn
The Battle For A Free Press
Pressing On !
Europeans Take To The Street!
The British Raj in Black and White
Mamool Raj
The One-Man Army
Hunger Deaths
The Delhi Durbar
Return to Swadeshi
Barbarous Britannia
‘Rani Ka Hookum’
Perishing in Peace
The Blue Mutiny
English Education
The Trial of the Last Emperor
Roll of Honour
The Empire Strikes Back
British Authority Collapses
Sepoys on the Move
Tribal Uprisings
The Empire Builders
For God and Country

The Trial of the Last Emperor

 
Had Bahadur Shah Zafar been conversant with international law, he might have questioned the very legitimacy of the trial he was made to face.
The last Mughal was charged with sedition which means acting rebelliously or promoting rebellion against the government. But who constituted the government of India in 1857? Technically, Bahadur Shah himself. He was the Emperor of India, and though he had lost all power, he was the legal ruler of the country. The East India Company was only an agent of the Mughal emperor, that status having been given to it by Shah Alam in 1764. So how could the emperor be charged with sedition? Was he rebelling against his own government?
The Company could have abolished the title of Badshah as suggested by Lord Dalhousie but it chose not to. Bahadur Shah was past 80, and was ailing. The Company preferred to wait for the death of the emperor to remove the legal anomaly which recognized the Mughal emperor as a de jure ruler while the Company constituted the de facto government. 
Maulana Azad argues that even the so called mutiny could not be considered a mutiny as the sepoys did not revolt against the sovereign of the land i.e. Bahadur Shah; when the army denied the authority of the Company, it appealed to the Emperor to resume his sway.
However, these finer legal points were not raised before the commission constituted by the company to hold Bahadur Shah's trial. The emperor was not provided with legal assistance. He was too old and infirm to understand the implications of the trial at which he was pronounced guilty and exiled to Rangoon. Indian legal experts like B.R. Agarwala describe the trial of Bahadur Shah as a farce.

1857 in Cold Print

Newspapers in India wrote extensively on the happenings in 1857–59. Commenting on reports in a prominent pro-British paper, Sir George Trevelyan observed:
"...Every column teemed with invectives which at that time seemed coarse and tedious, but which we must now pronounce to be wicked and blasphemous. For what could be more audacious than to assert that Providence had granted us a right to destroy a nation in our wrath? — to slay and burn, and plunder, not in the cause of order and civilization, but in the name of our insatiable vengeance, and our imperial displeasure..."
Several Indian papers of Bombay (Mumbai) such as the Bombay Samachar, the Jam-e-Jamshed and the Rast Goftar defended their countrymen against the attack of British journalists. 
Three papers, Durbin, Sultan-ul-Akhbar, and Samachar Sudhavarshan were prosecuted for writing seditious articles. In Calcutta, Bengal Hurkaru was suspended for six days until its editor S.L. Blanchand resigned.
Harischandra Mukherji the editor of the Hindoo Patriot, presented a balanced view of the situation prevailing in the country. His writings clearly showed that there was no danger to the government and that there was no need to introduce the harsh measures against Indians advocated by some Englishmen.

The Reaction Abroad

In an article published on 31 July 1857 in the New York Daily Tribune, Karl Marx wrote, "By and by there will ooze out other facts able to convince even John Bull himself that what he considers a military mutiny is in truth a national revolt".
In the same newspaper on 8 May 1858 the social scientist, Friedrich Engels wrote on the excesses of the British army:
"…The fact is, there is no army in Europe or America with so much brutality as the British. Plundering, violence, massacre—things that everywhere else are strictly and completely banished—are a time-honoured privilege, a vested right of the British soldier….For twelve days and nights there was no British army at Lucknow—nothing but a lawless, drunken, brutal rabble, dissolved into bands of robbers far more lawless, violent and greedy than the sepoys who had just been driven out of the place. The sack of Lucknow in 
1858 will remain an 
everlasting disgrace to the British military service…"

       Go to   Next Page

Liked This Article? Then Rate It.

 Select A
 DIMDIMA Site

 

 


Terms of Use | Site Map | Privacy Policy | Testimonials | Feedback | About Us | Contact Us |  Link to Us | Links | Advertise with Us
Copyright © 2014 dimdima.com. All Rights Reserved.