Brutal officers of colonial India - East India company's military - 01
Cartoon published in 1919 commenting on events at Amritsar

The merciless handling  of suspect Floyd , an African-American and  his subsequent death  caused by a white officer  Derek Chauvin of  the  Minneapolis police department, Minnesota  on May 25 last year   became a serious law and order problem across the USA. The police officer kept pressing his  knee into the suspect's neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds turning deaf  ear to his   desperate pleas that he 'can't breathe'; he passed out and later died right on the street of Minneapolis.  Millions of people who watched  this horrible treatment of a man by the belligerent  unscrupulous  American  police  were in a state of shock. In the aftermath of this  highly condemnable incident the outrage was   reverberated across the Europe,  in particular,  Britain. people across the world looked upon this wonton killing of a civilian  as a symbol of   systemic police brutality against African-Americans. The peaceful protest snowballed into widespread rampage in the USA and later it impacted Europe and elsewhere. 

In 1991 (March)  four Los Angeles policemen — three of them white were  let out Scott-free after their  savage beating of Rodney King, an African-American man.  On April 29, 1992, a jury consisting of 12 residents from the distant suburbs of Ventura County — nine white, one Latino, one biracial, one Asian — found the four officers not guilty.  A few hours later, the fury over the unjust acquittal  coupled with racial inequality, economic disparity and persistent police pressure on them, spilled over the streets across the US in the form of riots.  Earlier in 1991 caught on camera by a bystander, graphic video of the attack  went all over the USA and world and became a scandalous issue relating to inhuman treatment of African-Americans by the cops.  


In the wake of this incident in Minneapolis, USA , the people in Britain and elsewhere had begun to look at the atrocities  their country  committed in the colonies  in the  past century and earlier period. British imperialism and Britain's control of numerous colonies in the past era  and the government's refusal to tender apology to India  are viewed by the sensible people  as a symbol of  oppressive rule, slavery, insults to human dignity  and indiscriminate exploitation of resources and manpower. The most affected country among the British colonies is India. When the colonial British  ended their rule in India in August 1947, they had  left behind a large  emaciated and fatigued  population, little money in the government treasury, a divided subcontinent  (theocratic Muslim majority  Pakistan and  democratic Hindu majority India), lots of colonial statues of  Lords, Dukes and viceroys, etc  and a bleak future. 

Slave trader Edward Colston's statue, Bristol.

In June,  last year  young British  did not want to see any symbol of colonial their country  and this resulted in the pulling down of a  bronze statue of slave trader Edward Colston in  Bristol.  The statue of the prominent 17th Century slave trader has been a  contentious  issue  in Bristol for years. Colston, a   member of the Royal African Company, that  transported about 80,000 men, women and children from Africa to the Americas.  Many slave traders during that period got lots of profit. Same month, governors at Oriel College in Oxford voted to remove the statue of imperialist and mining magnate Cecil Rhodes.  The most disgusting thing in English history is when slavery was abolished due to efforts put in by great men like Wilberforce, the slave traders got a hefty compensation from the royal treasury.. What about the  African families that lost the loved one - zilch; only pain and humiliation. 

Incidentally,  Elihu Yale (5 April 1649 – 8 July 1721), once the Governor of Madras Presidency  was a British-American merchant and a slave trader, Heading  the East India Company settlement in Fort St. George, at Madras, it is said, on the sides, he was also running a slave trade in India;  he is  a benefactor of the Yale College (now Yale university),USA. 

William Dalrymple - an expert on  Colonial India  said   'Britain should have a 'museum of colonialism' so it can learn about its controversial history.   At the  Jaipur Literature Festival  (Sept. 2020) speaking about colonial statues In India he said,  'statures of all colonial figures need not be torn down, just those who committed 'war crimes'.  As  suggested by  Dalrymple  a  colonial museum would bring to light the criminality of certain colonial officers in India  like   Sir Colin Campbell, John Nicholson and ColoneJames Neil. These officers' forte was terrorizing and killing Indians in large scale because of their protests against colonial  exploitation and racial discrimination. This post is mainly concerned with the above-mentioned East India company's senior army men and their role in India in the 1800s.

In England certain groups  of people who have reservation about Britain's  dubious role in the British colonies in the past era,   want the statues of those men  who were responsible for the death of countless natives in the Indian subcontinents removed from the public places. The following army men are on the list, besides others like Robert Clive, former PM Winston Churchill and others

01. Commander-in-chief of India Sir Colin Campbell.(first Baron Clyde):

Field Marshal Sir Colin Campbell

Above image: The Field Marshal  Campbell with a statue in Clyde side, Glasgow,

blowing from the gun.

Above image: Depiction of summery execution of blowing from the gun - the colonial British way in India;  suppression of the Indian Revolt by the English;  painting by Vasily Vereshchagin c. 1884. In one  incident   65 members of the Sikh pacifist group known as the Kukas or Namdharis were executed by the military  by being blown from guns on 15 Jan 1872 in Malerkotla, Panjab. Note: This painting was allegedly bought by the British crown and possibly destroyed (current whereabouts unknown).  In the 1806 Vellore Mutiny, Tamil Nadu) six individuals were sentenced to be blown from the guns.  Reason:  Several British officers of Madras Presidency were murdered by the soldiers. in the Vellore fort ....... ........

Ouah queens palace (kothi)Lucknow, UP, India.

Lord Colin(Camphbell)

Field Marshal Colin Campbell, 1st Baron Clyde, KCSI (20 October 1792 -14 August 1863), was a British Army officer with the EIC. . Reaching Calcutta in August 1857, he played a pivotal role in containing the rampaging mob (the great Indian rebellion of 1987)  at  Lucknow in November 1857. Following month in December,  he defeated  Tantia Tope, a great Maratha warrior and a ruler-turned rebel. In march 1958, through concerted efforts,  he captured Lucknow town where the battle between the Indian rebels and the English company was a serious one.  Campbell in March1957 occupied the Queen's palace (kothi) owned by Oadh rulers  and successfully recaptured the town. Because of brute force  700 plus natives lost their lives.  In June 1860 he returned to England only after suppressing the uprising completely and establishing normalcy in north India. 

Ruthless when dealing with the natives  who raised their voice against unjust rule, ne never failed to oversee   cruel punishment  meted out to rebelling soldiers. One of his favorite punishments  exclusively  reserved for the Indian natives is firing them from a cannon after forcing them to lick blood. Blowing with the gun , the most excruciating punishment common during the 1857 great rebellion by the Indian soldiers. Filed Marshal Campbell  thought this kind of punishment would instill fear among the natives and  they won't protest against them. During these operations his men committed many indiscriminate reprisals against Indians in response to the mutineers earlier massacres of Europeans and Christians.
Above image: Order of the Bath, Star of a Knight Grand Cross awarded to Major-General Sir Colin Campbell, 1855...........

This type of punishment is horrible and  the prisoner's upper part of the body is tied to the mouth of the gun with head facing forward.. When fired,  victim's head   goes straight up into the air  and drops to the ground  hundred yards away. Legs drop below the ground near the muzzle and the body is blown  away into smithereens; no traces of them can be seen.


02. General John Nicholson:

General John Nicholson ' s statue  is in Dungannon, Northern Ireland.  He himself admitted inflicting 'the most excruciating tortures' on captured Indians 'with a perfectly easy conscience' during a mutiny in 1857, The Times reports. Reports also mention  that  he ordered a servant to be beaten to death because he  did not grovel enough. The statue of John Nicholson which stood in Delhi until Indian independence   was removed to Dungannon, Ireland.

Brigadier John Nicholson CB (11 December 1822 -23 September 1857) was a British Victorian era military officer known for his  crucial role in British India.  having spent 10 years in India by 1849,  Nicholson upon  his return to India in January 1852, was promoted as the  new Deputy Commissioner by his senior officer   Lawrence. he was sent to Bannu area, known for chaos and lawlessness, a tough job in a difficult terrain. With no option he became ruthless  with the protestors finally establishing  peace and order in that  region with a zero tolerance attitude on crime or any perceived disrespect of British rule. More often than not he used  flogging or other similar inhuman methods to both punish and humiliate the natives who dared break  the law.. His foul  and powder-keg temper, over-bearing personality and despotic rule  made Nicholson  fearsome. he completely eliminated crime in the Afghan and North Punjabi  areas dominated by tribal population.  He  Succumbed to his wounds on 23 September,  1857 nine days after he had led the assault on  Delhi. . He was buried the following day in a cemetery between the Kashmir Gate and Ludlow Castle.


03. James George Smith Neill:

Statue of James George Smith Neil ,Ayr,  Scotland.

James Neil's statue in Madras (Chennai)

Above: image:  The 10-foot imposing bronze statue of Colonel James Neil  was atop  a 12-foot pedestal near the Spencer building on Mount Road, Madras (Chennai,Tamil Nadu) in 1861,  To day, it is languishing in the  corner of the Anthropology section of the Chennai Museum in Egmore . He happened to be brutal officer with no scruples. There had been protests by various groups  in Madras way past to  have the statue removed from the public. The statue  symbolizes colonial oppression and racial superiority that made the early colonial officers treat shabbily. Once a symbol of power and Britishness, now it is a symbol of  disgrace for the British  rulers and politicians who at cost wanted to retain India that happened to a milch cow.  This gigantic statue of the butcher of Kanpur was considered misfit to be misfit to be in the center of a civilized society. 

While celebrated by the imperial government as a martyr, the Colonel earned notoriety among Indians as a brutal officer, an emblem of colonial oppression, became an affront that had to be vanquished.  At Allahabad, many  Europeans  were holed up in a fort fighting  against the rebels. in 1857.  General Neill arrived on 9th June  and immediately ordered the hanging of  many rebels.  No formal inquiry and no remorse. One of his  officers made a critical comment, saying Neil  also  permitted his soldiers to kill the "native" people without any inquiry and  set them aflame in their houses.  What was once a small village became a mound of burning embers, ashes, and half-baked human skeletons sticking out here and there. Literally, the entire  small quiet village was wiped out on account of one man's fury. Brig. Gen. Neill. This massacre took the entire  India and other countries by surprise and caused revulsion The  Sikh forces at   Jaunpur violently protested upon  seeing these massacres. Gen. Neil and his troops, from  June 6 to  June  15, acted violently  without any respite against the protesting Sepoys and the natives   and they violated every norm of war regulations.

The most disgusting and nauseating part of this revolt in which massacre was the key element orchestrated by Neill, the British higher-ups  rewarded him for his patriotic duty with a special appointment -  aide-De-camp to none other than the Queen of England.

Neill's huge statue in Madras
Above image: The above statue of  James Neil  on Mount Road in Madras was removed in  November night 1937   Madras became the  the first city in India to have  got rid long before  Independence in 1947.  Details of when and how the statue was unveiled in Madras are not available in the public domain, but it must have been a huge event. The arrival of the Madras Fusiliers after the Uprising of 1857. An inscription says that he was “universally acknowledged as the first who stemmed the torrent of rebellion in Bengal".   A popular sculptor Mathew Noble,, an English man  made the statue.. The statue was initially planned as an equestrian one, but this was later given up in favor of Neill standing in an attitude of command.