mewafarosh

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Re: mewafarosh

Postby mike snook » 16 Aug 2014 18:59

jf

Going in with first with your conjectured early Guides Infantryman...tulwars are absolutely fine for irregular infantry at this early period. No problem in that respect. Also, strip away the sashes and trimmings, (either a matter of fashion or possibly something to wrap himself in at night), and he would look pretty much like the sort of early rig I've been talking about - the more informal on-over-the-head kurtah-smock, with buttons only at the throat, as is portrayed here. I wouldn't have any great problem at all with him representing the very earliest style of Guides Infantry. Say, for the sake of argument, he isn't actually a Guide, he's certainly doing a passing good impression of one. The long-arm I tend to view as most likely a loose general portrayal by the London end artist working from an original sketch we cant see....the weapon is not notably inconsistent for length with either the fusil version of the P1842 musket or a Brunswick, (though probably on balance a bit closer to the latter for length). Accurately drawn, however, the Brunswick would have the oblong brass plate on the stock and the funny little brass fitting, (which I think is purely ornamental), to the rear of the trigger guard. They're not present here, but as I say might have been breezed over by either of the artists involved.

I think I see, in the more detailed (original?) Carpenter, (the one with the elephant), which I believe dates from the Mutiny, or at least much closer to it, both styles of infantry garment. The man second from the left is an infantryman and has a centre fastening long tunic, pretty much of military 'frock coat' length and greatly akin to what we've already seen above. Two figures to his left is a native officer of infantry (no riding boots) in a poshteen or such like. They guy pointing to our right is also an infantry officer, (P1845 infantry officer's sword is what I see), I think of the so called 'native' kind, but it's altogether inconceivable that it's one of those wild and wooly PIF Europeans; the guy sat down at dead centre is an infantryman, but we can't really see what he's got on; and then the third figure to his right is also an infantryman. He is wearing a 60-round ammunition pouch and, on his left hip, what I would interpret to be the long, mean, straight-bladed sword-bayonet which went went with the Brunswick rifle. Now he, I reckon, and I know the view is imperfect, has a smock-kurta on, not the same button up frock-coat/tunic we see second from the left. The reasons I say this, based on a rear view, is that the item has been drawn by the artist to be much looser hanging, (see the sleeves for example), there are no shoulder straps and there is no vent at the back, such as the Gurkha Guide and the man second from the left would surely need in their more formal (heavier cloth?) garments. The mounted guy on the right is entirely consistent with a Sikh member of a PIF Cavalry Regiment. He wears a poshteen over his regimental alkaluk and the long black riding boots one would expect to see. He could be 2nd PC...red alkaluk... but that's a bit of a guess. The guy standing to the right of the horses' head (which is to say our left) is also definitely a member of an irregular cavalry regiment, identifiable by his regimental alkaluk with the characteristic broad lace arcing down to the abdomen from the shoulders. He's not a Sikh and is consistent with being a Muslim trooper. He's not wearing his riding boots...but then again he hasn't got a horse!

I agree that Lumsden might not have meant the green descriptor to extend also to Forbes mewafaroshes....one comes across this sort of potential for confusion in primary sources all the time...often a secondary author will state that this single primary source proves such and such and one ends up thinking....'actually old boy that text is a bit on the ambiguous side and I'm not altogether convinced that he means what you think he means'. In this case I think you're absolutely right to highlight what Lumsden wrote as a good example of where reasonable grounds for doubt exist. Such cases demonstrate why its so important to achieve collateral through other sources...it's not always going to be achievable, but is nonetheless something one should always strive for prior to committing an assertion to print in a pukka (book) form....or for that matter I suppose, a painting or a toy soldier...anything really, where one expects people to part with good money for the privilege of owning 'it', whatever 'it' happens to be. If people have been over and over the sources and there is good reason to believe that there isn't any more evidence to be had, and yet doubt remains in this or that respect, then I think a historian has the right to take the plunge and say this is what I think....as long as an expression of opinion, (something based on balance of probability say) is flagged up as such. Yep...I agree Lumsden might not have meant two lots of green.

As ever

M

As ever
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Re: mewafarosh

Postby mike snook » 16 Aug 2014 19:04

I can't say I've heard of him. Will keep an eye out though.
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Re: mewafarosh

Postby jf42 » 16 Aug 2014 20:05

mike snook wrote:jf

Going in with first with your conjectured early Guides Infantryman...tulwars are absolutely fine for irregular infantry at this early period. No problem in that respect. Also, strip away the sashes and trimmings, (either a matter of fashion or possibly something to wrap himself in at night), and he would look pretty much like the sort of early rig I've been talking about - the more informal on-over-the-head kurtah-smock, with buttons only at the throat, as is portrayed here. I wouldn't have any great problem at all with him representing the very earliest style of Guides Infantry. Say, for the sake of argument, he isn't actually a Guide, he's certainly doing a passing good impression of one. The long-arm I tend to view as most likely a loose general portrayal by the London end artist working from an original sketch we cant see....the weapon is not notably inconsistent for length with either the fusil version of the P1842 musket or a Brunswick, (though probably on balance a bit closer to the latter for length). Accurately drawn, however, the Brunswick would have the oblong brass plate on the stock and the funny little brass fitting, (which I think is purely ornamental), to the rear of the trigger guard. They're not present here, but as I say might have been breezed over by either of the artists involved.

I think I see, in the more detailed (original?) Carpenter, (the one with the elephant), which I believe dates from the Mutiny, or at least much closer to it, both styles of infantry garment. The man second from the left is an infantryman and has a centre fastening long tunic, pretty much of military 'frock coat' length and greatly akin to what we've already seen above. Two figures to his left is a native officer of infantry (no riding boots) in a poshteen or such like. They guy pointing to our right is also an infantry officer, (P1845 infantry officer's sword is what I see), I think of the so called 'native' kind, but it's altogether inconceivable that it's one of those wild and wooly PIF Europeans; the guy sat down at dead centre is an infantryman, but we can't really see what he's got on; and then the third figure to his right is also an infantryman. He is wearing a 60-round ammunition pouch and, on his left hip, what I would interpret to be the long, mean, straight-bladed sword-bayonet which went went with the Brunswick rifle. Now he, I reckon, and I know the view is imperfect, has a smock-kurta on, not the same button up frock-coat/tunic we see second from the left. The reasons I say this, based on a rear view, is that the item has been drawn by the artist to be much looser hanging, (see the sleeves for example), there are no shoulder straps and there is no vent at the back, such as the Gurkha Guide and the man second from the left would surely need in their more formal (heavier cloth?) garments. The mounted guy on the right is entirely consistent with a Sikh member of a PIF Cavalry Regiment. He wears a poshteen over his regimental alkaluk and the long black riding boots one would expect to see. He could be 2nd PC...red alkaluk... but that's a bit of a guess. The guy standing to the right of the horses' head (which is to say our left) is also definitely a member of an irregular cavalry regiment, identifiable by his regimental alkaluk with the characteristic broad lace arcing down to the abdomen from the shoulders. He's not a Sikh and is consistent with being a Muslim trooper. He's not wearing his riding boots...but then again he hasn't got a horse!

I agree that Lumsden might not have meant the green descriptor to extend also to Forbes mewafroshes....one comes across this sort of potential for confusion in primary sources all the time...often a secondary author will state that this single primary source proves such and such and one ends up thinking....'actually old boy that text is a bit on the ambiguous side and I'm not altogether convinced that he means what you think he means'. In this case I think you're absolutely right to highlight what Lumsden wrote as a good example of where reasonable grounds for doubt exist. Such cases demonstrate why its so important to achieve collateral through other sources...it's not always going to be achievable, but is nonetheless something one should always strive for prior to committing an assertion to print in a pukka (book) form....or for that matter I suppose, a painting or a toy soldier...anything really, where one expects people to part with good money for the privilege of owning 'it', whatever 'it' happens to be. If people have been over and over the sources and there is good reason to believe that there isn't any more evidence to be had, and yet doubt remains in this or that respect, then I think a historian has the right to take the plunge and say this is what I think....as long as an expression of opinion, (something based on balance of probability say) is flagged up as such. Yep...I agree Lumsden might not have meant two lots of green.

As ever

M

As ever



Very helpful. I see both sets of images with much more clarity. What you say about makes sense to me as I look at them.

Carpenter's "The Artillery": "the guy sat down at dead centre is an infantryman, but we can't really see what he's got on."

I believe he, like the mounted Sikh at right, is wearing a neemcha, the short-sleeved version of the poshteen.

Carpenter travelled widely in India, painting both rulers and local life, between 1850 and 1856- so he saw these PIF troops pre-Mutiny.

Nothing military here but lovely images:
http://collections.vam.ac.uk/search/?sl ... 0&limit=45
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Re: mewafarosh

Postby mike snook » 16 Aug 2014 22:30

I see I missed out an an important little word when describing the Carpenter

'...it's not altogether inconceivable that it's one of those wild and wooly PIF Europeans' ....is what I meant to say.

Roger to the pre-Mutiny chronological attribution. Nice little portfolio at the link. Thanks for that jf....and also for the word neemcha which I will try and remember!

As ever

M
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Re: mewafarosh

Postby jf42 » 16 Aug 2014 23:44

"not altogether inconceivable" - yes, got that.

Neemcha, was a new one on me, too. Along with choga and puttoo.
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Re: mewafarosh

Postby rd72 » 17 Aug 2014 05:44

At the risk of being a bit behind the mark on responding, as the conversation has stampeded along mightily in the interim, I thought that I might give what I have found, of very limited use though it is...

mike snook wrote:
The sgts are cpls though, which is not to say they wouldn't have acquired weapons nominally for sgts.

Are there any dates associated with the introduction of the sappers and miners carbine? Going to be tough to tell the difference between 1857 and 1860/1, and be certain, but a definite date of first manufacture for such a weapon might throw some light. I'll see what I can find out about 15th Sikhs being roled as pioneers and re-roled as infantry.

M


Good God..... Time for some glasses, I guess....

On a similar note the presence of Sappers may also be derived by the bayonet they carried for their carbines. They were of a special pattern socket bayonet with a guard..

Image

If images are about that will show the hilt....

As for the timeframe of the Sappers carbine...

"East India Company Sappers Carbine. This Company gun was adaption of the British Regulation Pattern 1841 or Sappers and Miners Carbine. The P/41 was little more than a shortened form of the P/39 musket, with thirty-inch 0.73-calibre barrel held by pins, but had an open-notch back sight, two rammer pipes, and a swivel beneath the butt in addition to one held by a screw through the fore-end."

I'm afraid that this doesn't really speak to a specific date period... and certainly not about "57" or "60/61"... sorry...
Cheers,
Rob
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Re: mewafarosh

Postby jf42 » 17 Aug 2014 07:04

This- allegedly- according to NAM Chelsea online collection, is a Pattern 1857 EIC Sappers and Miners Carbine. It seems to differ in quite a few details.

Bullet still comes out at right hand end, though.

Pattern EIC Sappers & Miners.577 rifled carbine 1857.jpg
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Re: mewafarosh

Postby rd72 » 17 Aug 2014 17:20

JF,
Interesting weapon, wasn't aware of it... The NAM sight says that they were never issued as initially made to EIC S&Ms... It would seem that they were bored out after the Mutiny and issued as the "P58" S&M carbine. The same concept was applied to the P59 Musket which was no different on the outside to the P53 but it had a smoothbore barrel in .656 calibre. All part of the "one step behind" arming of Native troops in India after the Mutiny. Of course the RE carbine in British Army service was rifled with oval bore Lancaster rifling.
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Re: mewafarosh

Postby jf42 » 17 Aug 2014 20:08

Rob, I am just an innocent bystander, in awe of the complexity of information regarding one fairly obscure class of weapon and what it might tell us of the man holding it.
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Re: mewafarosh

Postby rd72 » 17 Aug 2014 22:46

Hear, hear.. The amount of information and deduction that so far has come from this discussion (re: you and Mike) is astounding... I know very little about native forces in this period and following intently.
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Re: mewafarosh

Postby jf42 » 18 Aug 2014 08:15

Yes indeed, Rob. Same here. Personally speaking, I'm learning exponentially as we go. It's bringing a whole area alive for me that previously was very shadowy.

As a footnote to my original enquiry I find this reference in:
'The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India' - Volume IV of IV Kumhar-Yemkala
<http://www.aolib.com/reader_20668_64.htm>

"They are also very quarrelsome and abusive when bargaining for the sale of their wares or arguing with each other. This is so much the case that men who become very abusive are said to be behaving like Kunjras; while in Dacca Sir H. Risley states [47] that the word Kunjra has become a term of abuse, so that the caste are ashamed to be known by it, and call themselves Mewa—farosh, Sabzi—farosh or Bepari."

In a note on the Rayee of Bihar - "a sub-group of the wider Kunjra community" -the Wikipedia tells us "They are also known as Sabzifarosh (from Persian سبزی‌فروش meaning vegetable-seller), Mewafarosh (from Persian میوه‌فروش meaning fruit-seller).

I imagine the key word here in relation to the 1st Punjab Cavalry might be "quarrelsome."
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Re: mewafarosh

Postby mike snook » 18 Aug 2014 11:16

jf

Re yours of 16.1713

'The regiment was recruited from Pathans, Punjabi Muslims, Sikhs and Dogras. That suggests this occasion dealt with the Sikh element of the regiment only.'

If my notes suggested that I've overplayed my speculative interpretation, jf, because the guy at the extreme left (status and persuasion unclear), the guy to Williamson's right (officer, persuasion unclear) and the obscured bloke behind Williamson (possibly servant) aren't Sikhs. It's possible, on reflection, that the lordly one isn't either.

As ever

M
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Re: mewafarosh

Postby mike snook » 18 Aug 2014 11:25

There is also this photo...suspiciously alike the 5 man group to suggest commonality...in which the man at right is also, unlike his compatriots, in uniform. Service weapon consistent with the earlier phot.

I've earlier captioned it 'Mutiny types' but let's say 'Prosperous civilian and Sikh Matchlockman with Sikh soldier (possible Punjab Sappers & Miners) c 1856-60'.

M
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Re: mewafarosh

Postby jf42 » 18 Aug 2014 19:34

mike snook wrote:jf

Re yours of 16.1713

'The regiment was recruited from Pathans, Punjabi Muslims, Sikhs and Dogras. That suggests this occasion dealt with the Sikh element of the regiment only.'

If my notes suggested that I've overplayed my speculative interpretation, jf, because the guy at the extreme left (status and persuasion unclear), the guy to Williamson's right (officer, persuasion unclear) and the obscured bloke behind Williamson (possibly servant) aren't Sikhs. It's possible, on reflection, that the lordly one isn't either.

As ever

M


Possibly, but I probably jumped to conclusions and didn't look at the picture with sufficient care or thought. I think I am beginning to get my eye in now.

In the image of 'Mutiny types' you posted, which does indeed look like it's from the same stable as the 'Sikh Sappers' photo, is that the hilt of a tulwar in evidence under the left elbow of the Prosperous Civilian? If so, would it compromise his civilian status? I am now thinking I can also see the rim of a shield behind his left flank rear.
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Re: mewafarosh

Postby mike snook » 18 Aug 2014 21:22

Yes you're right....another matchlockman type....not of the Sikh persuasion...who tricked me by putting his gun down out of sight!

M
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