The Mutiny at the Margins series takes a fresh look at the revolt of 1857 from original and unusual perspectives, focusing in particular on neglected socially marginal groups and geographic areas which have hitherto tended to be unrepresented in studies of this cataclysmic event in British imperial and Indian historiography.
Chapter 6: Views on the Indian Army
Views on the Indian Army
THE elimination of extra payments for service outwith the province of Bengal by the General Service Enlistment Act of 1856 was a major factor provoking unrest in the sepoy army. Attempts had been made seven years earlier to reduce these allowances amongst the Bengal army units stationed in the Punjab and the North West frontier. General Napier, the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army, had protested loudly against this at the time and warned that it would be seriously damaging to morale within the army. These words proved to be prophetic. General Napier himself resigned over the issue. In the wake of the Uprising of 1857, those seeking to argue that the ‘mutiny’ was an avoidable ...