News

India Marks 150th Anniversary of Major Revolt Against British Rule

India has held celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of a landmark revolt against British rule. From New Delhi, Anjana Pasricha reports, marches, speeches and concerts have been held to commemorate the 1857 Mutiny, which is often billed as the country's first war of independence.

Performers enacted scenes from the 1857 uprising against British rule, poets recited verses, and the country's top leaders gathered at Delhi's historic Red Fort Friday. It was all to pay homage to the Indian soldiers who took part in the revolt.

Memories of the country's former colonial rulers were not left out of the celebrations. Men dressed as British soldiers waddled like penguins at the Red Fort, while a huge balloon shaped like a demon had the Union Jack printed on it.

In recent days, thousands of marchers holding colorful banners have been retracing the steps of the foot soldiers, or "sepoys," who set out 150 years ago from the town of Meerut to capture Delhi.

The immediate cause of the revolt was rumors that gun cartridges supplied by the British were greased with cow or pig fat - religious taboos for the Hindus and Muslims who made up the British-led Indian Army. But discontent with British rule had been building for a long time.

The soldiers reached Delhi, but the rebellion was ruthlessly crushed. Thousands died on both sides. Afterward, the British government formally took control of the subcontinent from the East India Company, which had acted as a virtual government over much of India until then.

However, historians say the uprising laid the seeds of a popular revolt, which - 90 years later, in 1947 - finally led Britain to grant independence.

On Friday, Indian leaders used the anniversary of the 1857 mutiny as an occasion to remember the heroes of the past, and to emphasize the need for unity in a vast country where religious issues continue to trigger tension.

Speaking from the ramparts of the historic 17th century Red Fort, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the rebellion a shining example of Indian unity.

The prime minister reminded Indians that during the 1857 mutiny, people had stood together shoulder to shoulder to fight the British, irrespective of their religion or community. He emphasized the need to draw a lesson from this, and called on the people to build an India marked by national unity and harmony between communities.

It was a sign of the times, however, that tight security was required for Friday's celebrations. Hundreds of soldiers were deployed across Delhi, which has experienced terrorist attacks blamed on Islamic militant groups.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs