Blowing From Guns: Statistics

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Blowing From Guns: Statistics

Postby Mark » 02 Sep 2011 21:32

Does anyone know the numbers/statistics of Indians who were executed by the British during and after the Indian Mutiny using the method 'Blowing From Guns'? Although a seemingly brutal method of execution I have read somewhere that many Indians considered it a more honourable (if that's the right word to use) way to die than by other methods of execution employed at the time.

That said the thought of it does send a shiver down one's spine! :shock:

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Re: Blowing From Guns: Statistics

Postby The RQM » 02 Sep 2011 22:55

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Re: Blowing From Guns: Statistics

Postby Mark » 02 Sep 2011 23:23




Thanks for the link, RQM! Very interesting reading :)

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Re: Blowing From Guns: Statistics

Postby Maureene » 03 Sep 2011 00:04

Mark wrote:Although a seemingly brutal method of execution I have read somewhere that many Indians considered it a more honourable (if that's the right word to use) way to die than by other methods of execution employed at the time.


It seems that the view that being blown from a gun was the more honourable way to die relates to the Hindu belief in caste and pollution, as shown by the following extracts from the book The history of the Indian revolt, and of the expeditions to Persia, China, and Japan, 1856-7-8 by George Dowd 1859 available on Google Books

Mr Montgomery, judicial commissioner of the Punjaub, issued an address to one of the native regiments, two sepoys of which had been blown away from guns for mutinous conduct. He exhorted them to fidelity, threatened them with the consequences of insubordination, and added: 'You have just seen two men of your regiment blown from guns. This is the punishment I will inflict on all traitors and mutineers; and your consciences will tell you what punishment they may expect hereafter. These men have been blown from guns, and not hanged, because they were Brahmins, and because I wished to save them from the pollution of the hangman's touch; and thus prove to you that the British government does not wish to injure your caste and religion.'
http://books.google.com/books?id=wwYUAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA199 (page 199)

The small Mahratta state of Satara was a little troubled. Two officers of the recently deposed rajah, his commander-in-chief and his commandant of artillery, were detected in treasonable correspondence with Nena Sahib. One of them, having been found guilty, was sentenced to be hanged; the indignity struck with horror one imbued with high-caste notions, and ho asked to be blown away from a gun as a more noble death; this was refused; and under the influence of dismay and grief, he made a confession which afforded a clue to a further conspiracy
http://books.google.com/books?id=wwYUAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA480 (page 480)

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Re: Blowing From Guns: Statistics

Postby Liz » 05 Sep 2011 04:32

Mark wrote:the thought of it does send a shiver down one's spine!


Yes indeed, but let's remember the historic context. There are period references to local rulers using this as a method of execution long before the Mutiny, along with execution by elephant and other far more drawn out processes.

There are also period references that describe some local rulers as 'merciful' compared to others, because they did not lop off body parts often and when they did, they had boiling oil nearby so the injury could be cauterised promptly!
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Re: Blowing From Guns: Statistics

Postby L. Braden » 19 Oct 2011 20:15

You're right, Liz!
Blowing from guns was originally a Mughal/Moghul method of punishing rebels, traitors, etc., and later adopted by the French and British in India. According to other sources, which contradict those cited above, it certainly wasn't thought by Muslims to be an honorable way to die, because a man so destroyed could not go to Paradise; and Hindus believed that it destroyed the soul as well as the body. So believe what you will! Besides, if more than one was executed, those gathering up the remains could not always know what belonged to who; and such a mixture of different castes or religions for burial or cremation was considered defiling. The preferred death was that by firing squad, because (for Hindus) unless you hanged a man upside down, the soul was believed to pass out through an impure path and thus doom him to eternal reincarnations of the lowest forms of life.
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Re: Blowing From Guns: Statistics

Postby Peter » 06 Nov 2011 16:09

1st Art Gallery offer a reproduction of Mutineers about to be blown from guns by the Bengal Horse Artillery 1858, by Orlando Norie:

http://www.1st-art-gallery.com/Orlando- ... -1858.html.

Click on the image for an enlargement.
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Re: Blowing From Guns: Statistics

Postby Peter » 19 Feb 2012 12:54

Mark A. Reid in viewtopic.php?f=16&t=5686 recommended Told From The Ranks, Andrew Melrose, London, 1897. Great reference, Mark.

I had a look at it and came across this industrialised application of ‘blown from guns’:

(Background: The Central India Field Force under Sir George Whitlock captured Kirwee on 10th June, 1858. While the Rajah surrendered, “most of the native troops” left the city and took up a position on a “high hill” that the English attacked “about three in the morning”.)

p 23.JPG
p 23.JPG (32.08 KiB) Viewed 8534 times


And for those who enjoyed Private Richard Sharpe pocketing the Tippoo of Mysore’s ruby and other jewels during the Seige of Seringapatam (Sharpe’s Tiger):
Attachments
pp 20 & 21.JPG
pp 20 & 21.JPG (35.54 KiB) Viewed 8534 times
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Re: Blowing From Guns: Statistics

Postby Mark » 19 Feb 2012 14:44

Imagine the psychological effect on the British soldiers carrying out these executions in adition to the poor fellows being executed :shock:

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Re: Blowing From Guns: Statistics

Postby jose50 » 22 Mar 2012 19:09

Interesting to me as great-grandad was a Sergeant in the HEIC European artillery. I wonder if he ever participated in the carnage.
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Re: Blowing From Guns: Statistics

Postby grumpy » 22 Mar 2012 22:47

Mark wrote:Imagine the psychological effect on the British soldiers carrying out these executions in adition to the poor fellows being executed :shock:

Mark


The soldiers were hard men in a harsh era, terrifyingly outnumbered, and having heard about the atrocities committed on wives and children. Capital punishment and flogging were commonplace.

I doubt they turned a hair.

As one who lived through the Blitz and the doodlebugs, I find it difficult in these more recent days to get too upset about the activities of Bomber Command ............. we are conditioned by events and the times in which we live.
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Re: Blowing From Guns: Statistics

Postby L. Braden » 23 Mar 2012 20:51

Yes, all contemporary accounts of the Mutiny War confirm that (despite the pleas of Lord Canning and others) the British were generally thorough in their vengeance; and if there was any post-traumatic stress disorder, few if any mentioned it for fear of being ridiculed or blacklisted. As Col. Neill (the most notorious avenger) put it, "Severity at the first is mercy in the end."
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Re: Blowing From Guns: Statistics

Postby Peter » 26 Mar 2012 06:13

Blowing From Guns.JPG

Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, XXX, 1952, Autumn, No 123, p 142


(I do not hold the references to XII and XIII).
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Re: Blowing From Guns: Statistics

Postby Peter » 26 Mar 2012 06:23

Blowing From Guns.JPG
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Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, XXX, 1952, Autumn, No 123, p 142


(I do not hold the references to XII and XIII).
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Re: Blowing From Guns: Statistics

Postby Peter » 19 Apr 2012 04:52

Blowing From Guns.JPG
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Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, Vol XII, 1933, Autumn, No 47, p 191, Reply 367
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