The "White Mutiny" of early 1860s against the East India company in India

.White mutiny 1859-61, India.

Have ever heard of  or read about The White Mutiny , the unrest and protest  that occurred on the Indian soil in the early 1860s. The interesting aspect is the participants were mostly Whites. This was the second mutiny organized by the Whites in India during the EIC rule and the first being  the Monghyr Mutiny, a "White mutiny" of 1766.

India Gov. General's Hose, 19yh CE

As far as the  second White Mutiny is concerned, it was vehemently  organized by the European army men  in the aftermath of  the dissolution in 1858-59 of the "European Forces" of the East India Company.

The intense first major war of independence of 1857 that began in the Cantonment of Meerut against the corrupt and oppressive ESI rule had spread to other northern states, The British government finally stepped in and  under the English Crown took direct administration of the subcontinent to squeeze the vast income  that had been flowing from India.  The East India Company was abolished in favor of the direct rule of India by the British government and the new Indian Act of  1858 transferred units of the East India Company to the control of the British Crown.

Flag of Royal Indian Army
To  run the administration effectively  the newly formed British India regime had two separate military forces until 1862, one unit serving tours of duty in India known as the "Queen's army''; the other army was  that of  the East India Company (EIC). Further, the financial crisis caused by the wide-spread  mutiny and destructions led to a reorganization of the Indian administration’s finances on a modern basis. The Indian army was also extensively reorganized by the Crown.

Flag of East India Co. ps://

 Above image: The flag of the Company with the flag of Great Britain in the canton................

The Company's troops were a blend  of "European" regiments of Britons recruited specifically for service in India and "Native" regiments recruiting from the locality with British officers; the Europeans were mostly Irish.  The British who were good at creating disparity did not leave the EIC army unaffected. The positions of officers of the European regiments were ''not bought by purchase but advancement was normally by seniority''. Whereas  sovereign crown's military officers came under the category of   "Purchased commission" and advancement  was through ''seniority or   battlefield commission''.  In both armies promotion could be accelerated by losses or transfers on active service.

The EIC Army had an advantage over the Queen's Army, the EIC troops received batta or extra allowances of pay to cover various expenditures relating to operations out of the home territories. On the other hand,  the troops under the Crown British  did not have the privileges for out of home duty notwithstanding the fact they were senior to those of the same rank in the EIC.

This disparity in terms of special pay and privileges  between two Armies, obviously had caused resentment and  many cultural differences which led them to stand apart independently. 

Lord Canning British India,

Gov. Gen. British India Lord Canning

The  reasons for the resentment among the army men were as follows: 

01. The attitude of the Gov. Gen. of India  Lord Canning, He never had served  the procedural notice of transfer  to the "European Forces". 

02.  Gov. Gen. Canning's failure to understand the legal interpretation of  laws  with respect to  transfers in the army had an impact on the army men. 

03. The biased   British media added more fuel to the fire by showing the European Force in bad light and tagging them as 'undisciplined and are prone to mutinous tendency'. 

04.  The legality of the transfer  being clear and well established,  both the British government and the Government of India ignored the right legal interpretations. 

05.  With no solution at hand, the British government looked upon the brewing trouble between two British Armies as a growing threat to the empire and  undermine  the shaky  British rule in India. 

06. The Crown administration thought  the the White mutiny was like a powder keg and if it is ignited this will incite the rebellion among the "still excited population throughout India"

07. Soldiers under the 1st Bengal European Light Cavalry performed "only guard and barrack duties" and "refused to turn out for parade using  ''mutinous language.'' 
The European Forces - officers and men demanded either an enlistment bonus/bounty or release from their obligations. There were  open rebellion and violent protest at some locations as  they stood little chance to be enlisted in the Queens' Army. Finally,  10,116 men opted to return home, of whom only 2,809 re-enlisted..

The British India government, thus averted a major revolt by the White soldiers that would have recreated yet another major rebellion. by the natives who were sore about the dishonesty and   racial discriminatory attitude of the officers in the higher echelons of the administration. Field Marshal Colin Campbell sent the White Army to China in the II opium war and tried to subdue them when the revolt was on.