Forms of Prophylaxis in Civilian ‘Mutiny’ Accounts

  • Alex Padamsee


This chapter will test out the relevance of Lyall’s ‘displaced staging’ of Muslim ‘conspiracy’ by examining its incidence in a variety of contemporary ICS accounts. I can begin this process by locating one such instance in a narrative published in The Delhi Gazette in December 1857, by J F Kitchen, Head Assistant to the Collector of Goregaon. Kitchen begins his account with the news received by the Magistrate that a body of mutineers from the ‘3rd Cavalry’ were headed towards the city with the intention of ‘polish[ing] off Goregaon Christians’ — but it is largely characteristic of the narrative as a whole that the rebel ‘sowars’ (cavalrymen) are not glossed according to their religious affiliation.1 The only signs of any peculiarly Muslim disaffection are confined to the mention of some disquiet among the ‘Moslems of the force’ accompanying his flight from Goregaon to Delhi, and a ‘green flag’ carried by some insurgents from the ‘Gwalior Contingent’.2 The signs of disaffection among the troops are apparently removed by ‘a change of locality’; and the rebels carrying the ‘green flag’ pose no immediate threat. In short, like Lyall, Kitchen has little direct experience of Muslim ‘conspiracy’. Quite the reverse, in fact: the narrative ends with a testimonial by the author on behalf of the (Muslim) Nawab of Jhujjur for his protection of ‘Christians’, and particularly for sheltering the author’s family.3


Civil Station Christian Population Large Narrative Green Flag Fort Wall 
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  1. 5.
    William Edwards, Personal Adventures during the Indian Rebellion in Rohilcund, Futtehghur, and Oude (London: Smith, Elder and Company, 1858). By the time of its publication, the publishers Smith, Elder and Company already had five ‘Mutiny’ narratives in its back-catalogue (for details of which, see the listings in the end-pages of the Edwards volume).Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    And continues to be so even now. See for instance, the Introduction to Salim Al-Din Quraishi (ed.) Cry For Freedom: Proclamations of Muslim Revolutionaries in 1857 (New Delhi: Sang-e-Meel Publications, 1999).Google Scholar

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© Alex Padamsee 2005

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  • Alex Padamsee

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