Bengal Army Vs Indus Army 1857

By: Naveed Tajammal

Indus-ArmyAfter the Conquest of the Sikh Kingdom, in 1849 the region was designated in records as Punjab, Though the British had taken over Lahore Takht [throne] by February 1846, when they rode in and took over the Lahore Fort, as the chaotic rule after the death of Ranjit Singh 1839 had continued, followed by revolt of Mul Raj, 1848, the Dewan [Administrator] of Multan suba [province],which was the final take over. In the train of British came the Purbi Bengal Army, as records show the composition of British East Indian Army till 1856, was as under;

[Report of Commissioners.1859, Vol.v-p-377]

Bengal Army, had Crown and Company British troops numbering,24,594,the native high caste Brahmans and Rajputs were 137,109,The Madras Army,had,10,352 British troops and 33,201 native troops mainly purbi, of above Hindu castes, Bombay Army had,10,158 British and 44,911 native troops, total being 45,104 British and 234,221 native; total Force of 280,325 men.

Only in the upper Indus region after formation of this new Punjab geographic entity and inclusive of Trans-Indus, Peshawar and Derajat Divisions, there were 36,000 Bengali Army purbi’s infesting the Region, As well as 13,430 local levies of irregular troops, guarding frontiers or ferry points. The Bengal Army was stationed in newly formed cantonments in the each new, to be Administrative District. The result was that from 1846 onward a massive influx of Hindustani purbi, in thousands came, with British and the Bengal Army, purbi  syces [grooms tending horses],grass cutters to feed the, animals of Animal transport regiments, Artillery drivers of the bullocks, camp-followers, bazar people and domestic help, all were tried and tested Hindustani, purbi’s, loyal to the British till then and so came the Bengali Babu’s  and scribes, ever ready to squeeze and wring the poor and earn on, the side, while the sun shone upon them, it was on their instigation that Urdu was imposed on us. And soon all lucrative offices in all Government departments were filled by them. Only in Lahore Division of the six native extra assistants in the division 5 were purbi’s of 19 Tehsildars and 47 Kotwals and 47 Thanadars, half were purbi Hindustani’s, by 1857[Mutiny Reports vol. lll LHR div p-227],the same proportion existed at lower tehsil/Thannah/Mohurir levels in the Saddar offices,the desk jobs of Serishtedars, Nazirs and Mohurrirs, orderly Jemadars and even Chaprrassai’s [peons] were filled by The one and only Purbi Hindustani.

In short after 1846, and fully after 1849, the whole region was the Gold mine of the Hindustani, whose rapacious revenue collection tactics surpassed that of even the plundering Sikh of the former times. During the mutiny period of the Bengal Army the troops had been by and large contained and put under guard. However the dismissal of Hindustani within the statecraft could not be implemented, as no substitutes could be arranged on such a short notice, as all rungs on the ladder on the lower executive side were with the purbi, who continued harassing and looting the Public at large in the mayhem. Followed by the Hindu Khatri grain merchants who also acted as the money lenders, the major cause why Indus Army took on the Bengali Army revolt of 1857.

John Lawrence, had taken remedial measures, firstly he secured all major strategic installations, Lahore, fort and Arsenal, Ferozepur likewise, which had 7,000 barrels of Gun powder, and also Forts of Phillour and Govindgarh. All Bengal army units were disarmed and those found guilty were hung.

By middle of 1857 it was fully established that Indus region had No sympathy with those of Purab. So between May-December 1857, 18 new regiments were raised numbering 34,000 men, as well irregular levies of 7,000 horsemen and 9,000 men on foot, to keep watch and ward on the Bengali purbi army men under close arrest. The Hindu Brahmans ruse of taking over the British Indian Empire and introducing their Hindutva rule was cut in the bud, but for timely intervention of Indus Army.

The crux of Indus regions hatred for the Hindustani was not just the scornful attitude of Bengal Army, but the greed of those employed in the lower echelons of the British Statecraft. They were the instigators, fermenters of sedition, prime movers, and their emissaries were pundits of mandhirs [Hindu temples] who had sung the patriotic lullaby to achieve their ultimate end to rule, and used the Muslims of their Hindustan as scapegoats, and were first to, redeem and rejoin the British fold and flourished the most.

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  • Naveed Tajammal  On August 15, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Thankyou for posting the article Yasmeen.

  • White Pearl  On August 15, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    Very well said !

  • GRK  On August 15, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    very thought informative.thanks for sharing sincerely yours grk

  • shahbazthuthaal  On August 16, 2013 at 6:11 am

    Naveed thanks for sharing

    Muhammad Shahbaz ThuthaalEME CHSMultan road,lahore.0301-3667777

    >________________________________ > From: Pakpotpourri2’s Blog >To: >Sent: Thursday, August 15, 2013 8:19 PM >Subject: [New post] Bengal Army Vs Indus Army 1857 > > >pakpotpourri2 posted: “By: Naveed Tajammal After the Conquest of the Sikh Kingdom, in 1849 the region was designated in records as Punjab, Though the British had taken over Lahore Takht [throne] by February 1846, when they rode in and took over the Lahore Fort, as the chaoti” >

  • Asad Rehman  On August 16, 2013 at 8:39 am

    This is the most prejudiced article that that I have read,this is more to divide than represent history.AZR.

    • Naveed Tajammal  On August 16, 2013 at 11:02 am

      Not really it would depend upon the perception of the reader,Facts are always Facts,and these are the Observations taken from reports sent from various Zillahs,finding the root cause of why indus army took on the Bengal army,remember there was No conscription as such, all were volunteers.

  • Zubair  On August 16, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    So is it true that the Punjabis help to relieve the British in 1857 was a revenge on the Punjbias——————-yes it may have be. I am not sure if the Urdu was “imposed” on us by the British. If at all they would have imposed the Hindu version of Hindi. I believe Lahore was the birthplace of Urdu unlike what people would have us believe. It was borne at the Army camp at Lahore when Mahmud decied to make that city his capital.

    • Naveed Tajammal  On August 16, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      Not really Urdu was imposed with English and the anglo-saxon laws between 1850-1854,it is all recorded and reasons
      why so,mainly the stance of Bengali Babu’s,who had come in the train as mentioned in the article,do take time and study
      the urdu dictionary,as was the standard version,55% are hindi loan words,as to the name Urdu assigned,well actual Turkish word
      is ‘ordu’ which means a army group,the language of men of letters till british imposed their new educational system was ‘Farsi’.
      the same was taught in mektab& reality Urdu only took root here after 1947.

  • Waheeduddin  On August 18, 2013 at 5:08 am

    This is a nice piece of historical research, which should be appreciated. I do not know if it contains any linguistic sentimentalism or regional group sentimentalism. I see it as a purely academic excercise. Bengal Army and Indus Army are the terms which apparently were in the British usage. The historical background of the Punjabi (Sikh) support of John Lawrence’s counterattack on the Freedom forces of the Bengal Army (Hindutani Army) is eruditely discussed.

    Incidentally, linguistic sentimentalism is a very destructive force, which has been responsible for the biggest ctastrophe, that has befallen Pakistan. Language develops; it cannot be enforced. The best example is Urdu, which developed in a short course of time. It did not exist before in order to be enforced. In due time Lahore became the most prominent centre of Urdu; the other being Lucknow, Delhi and Hyderabad. Where would Urdu be without Iqbal, Manto, Kishen Chader, Hafeez and Faiz? We are communicating with each other in English. I cannot type in Punjabi nor is Urdu an option. This is a choice of convenience. Once I was very well-versed in Urdu; now I have to use English to communicate effectively. So, what is in a language?

    In India there is a myriad of Aryan and Dravidian languages. In the Krishna-Godavari-Kaveri valley as opposed to the Ganges valley, Hindi is not only not spoken but is scorned upon and yet India has managed to develop a unique sense of nationalism, which defies its past. The kingdoms of Cholas, Pallavas and Kaketias among others were culturally and linguistically unrelated to and independent of the North and yet the Dravidian states have become parts of the cultural milieu that is India.

    History is great to study and learn lessons from but we cannot live in history. We live in the present, which is the only link to the future.

    Waheed Ahmed

    • Naveed Tajammal  On August 18, 2013 at 5:09 am

      Well said Waheed sahib,
      Do remember india,as in INDIA,has as per its 1991 linguistic survey done in detail,
      which shows that,there exist,1576 different mother tongues within india,each with a different
      grammatical structure.which further proves that india as assumed and propagated was never
      one unit.
      However our Lhandha/sindhi,as i had discussed in my review on the book of G.M Syed,”The case of sindh”,
      Has dialects indeed, but the grammatical structure is One.
      none can deny even today that best urdu,dictionary is as yet of,john T.Platt’s,published in 1884.i have the
      original,it has in total 54570 words.& in reality unknown to most urdu speakers it is pure hindi[31,000word] plus
      sanskrit words,i have done my is amazing none has raised any issue on this.
      Hindi/sanskrit must be expunged from urdu,if it has to survive as a language within our old Sindh basin
      even Pukhto,over the time has taken from our Lhandha 163 vital words.our Saraiki remains as yet
      the only Pure dialect,and depicts our Vaseeb[social mores],in the poetry or usage of terms.

      Naveed Tajammal,

  • idrees  On August 18, 2013 at 5:10 am

    Interesting. The British sensibly and successfully employed one set against the other. During this they also helped a kind of integration to develop which resulted in modern India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. History never stops. We are always creating history. We live in the sea of history. Only the flow of currents changes and it is never still.

    Khush Raho, khushiyan baanto
    Love, Freedom, Connectivity & Justice

  • Shomu Bhatacharya  On August 19, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Thank you for this historical input and it is quite revealing too. No wonder we as Indians even at that time coud never unite and like even today we keep exploiting each other politically, religiously, economically, socially and also communally.
    Regards Samir

    • Naveed Tajammal  On August 19, 2013 at 6:01 pm

      Thankyou for the comment,however to further enlighten you,this article was to throw light on the facet of our actual historical Divide that being of Sindh Va Hindh,two entities linguistically apart as well,beside from the historical geography point of view.regards

  • Aslam  On May 4, 2014 at 4:23 am

    Article is a real picture of the mid nineteen Century what British Indian Army was made of,,,now a mile stone directing to behave like a BUNDDAI DAI PUTTER bunno wernah,,,,,be ready for a GHUSSETY again to be under plundering like SIKHS/instead of a PURBI BENGAL ARM a BUNNARSI Army is waiting to give you AN OTHER PHAINTY !!!

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