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Norgate tr ; James D. Lunt ed ; Frank Wilson ill ;. He came from a village near Rae Bareilly, where his father was a respected man, owning acres of land. As a child he had the opportunity to learn to read and write as an acolyte of the village priest. He served in the Bengal Army for nearly 50 years, from to just before In this period, he is shot at close range by a Maratha Pindari soldier, is captured and sold as a slave in Kabul, is blown up from a magazine explosion in which his entire regiment is killed, and is captured and nearly lynched by the mutinying sepoys for suggesting that they should not go against the British.

He also finds love in a woman he rescues from the Arabs manning the fort at Asirgarh, loses his caste twice and has to pay heavy compensation for being taken back into the fold, and as a final tragedy, he finds his son among the captured mutineers at Lucknow, who are to be shot by his own firing squad.

It is one of the few texts to record the views of a sepoy, though one who remained with the British during It is one of a handful of narratives from the Indian side, but on the whole, it is more informative about the sepoy's life - particularly in the years of the Bengal Army under the Company - than about the mutiny.

Nonetheless, it is clearly an important document and deserves to be better known. In those days the sahibs could speak our language much better than they do now, and they mixed more with us. Most of our officers had Indian women living with them I trust what I have now written, and what I have before at different times related to your Honour, may prove that there were some who remained faithful, and were not affected by the Wind of Madness which lately blew over Hindustan; for my belief is, it was this which blighted the army.

My Lord knows I am not much of a Munshi, although I have been taught Persian; therefore my language must be excused. And without doubt, I have forgotten the English years in some instances; but what I have related to you, and what I have here written, it is true.

To say more would be overstepping the bounds of propriety. That the story is absolutely genuine, and Sita Ram's own, cannot, I think, be doubted By him I was taught to write and read our own language; also a slight knowledge of figures was imparted to me.

After I had acquired this I considered myself far superior'in knowledge to all the other boys of my age whom I knew, and held up my head accordingly. All other castes were far below my notice. In fact I fancied myself more clever than my preceptor Duleep himself, and if it had not been for the high respect he was held in by my father, I should on some occasions have even dared to tell him so.

Until I was seventeen years of age I attended my father in the management of his land, and was entrusted to give the corn to the coolies he sometimes employed in cutting his crops, drawing water, and so on. Norgate tr and James D.


From Sepoy to Subedar






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