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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs