Organized crime took advantage of 1857 as law and order broke down and anarchy erupted. Victorian mobs were as organized as the Mob is today and Dacoits were organized Indian gangs. Black markets took advantage of the chaos and then funneled money into reconstruction to make more money as the old haves becams have-nots. War profiteers became the nouveau riche. War also unlocks gems and jewels as people in 1856 produced heirlooms in panic to flee or build up emergency cash reserves. Then war reveals more gems and jewels. The Loyalist sacking of Delhi (pro rata by the prize system as if a business form of organized looting) produced more gems and jewels. Professional thieves and gem experts could make a lot of money provided they got out of India before the fightng started. Sikes was rumored to have been trapped in Delhi during the siege but he used a mob credit line in a besieged bank to finance a black market and then as a professional gem assessor worked for the prize agents assessing loot on even number days while secretly assessing loot and buying gems from rogue soldiers looting outside of the prize agents on odd number days. Thus he gamed the war coming and going and used credit lines of precious cash to make a fortune as a professional criminal. He later profited from reconstruction but fled the country with a ‘get out of India card’ issued by Military Intelligence for spying done as a private contractor during 1857. Amateur criminals, copy cat criminals, released criminals, and mutineer looters ultimately failed to score lootmaar. But oraganized criminals scored the ultimate lootmaar by professional guile and craft of criminality. Loot is an Indian word and Lootmaar is the ultimate loot.
War refugees filled the roads as civil war ravished one quarter of India: the Muslim Bastions and parts of the Decca where Rebels ravished the local Maratha and then fought the Loyalists. Civilians saw looting, raping, released criminals, copy cat criminals, deserters, mutineers, rebels ‘freeing people of their valuables’ (including dead rebels found possessing thousands of rupees plus gold on their corpses or rebels dressed like pirates in golden loot) , ghazi holy warriors waging jihad by burning down and robbing and raping Hindus, town treasuries and merchants looted, farms looted, bullocks stolen, even firewood and string beds looted as Delhi records can attest. The latter was truly pathetic crime. Civilians would come and shake their fists at the looters of the string beds —- rebels. Police and law and order vanished. Mad Max anarchy erupted. Harvests were destroyed or looted. Food stocks were stolen. Food was then horded or sold only to the black market. Roads were cut and supplies were cut. The result was anarchy and famine.
No one knows how many civilians perished in 1857. Some revisionists claim 10 million without evidence but it was more likely one million. Revisionists also ignore the Rebels running amok or the Dacoits or released criminals or copycat criminals (and who released the criminals and then refused to deal with the breakdown of law and order and dacoits?). The Loyalists were somehow more restrained in comparison. But war is ugly and in 1857 war was very ugly indeed. The Decca saw attacks mostly by Rebels and relief mostly from Loyalists as Rose played to the gallery of popular opinion by appearing to be the rescuer. But in the Muslim Bastions a large chunk of the civilian population, Muslim, supported the war and waged war on the Loyalists and danced in the streets as Loyalists were strung up or chopped into radishes or burned alive. And a lot of the severed heads were not British but Indian — Hindu.
Massacres in the early days of the rebellion triggered an Army of Retribution. Indian Loyalists were brutal with retribution and the runty Brits on hearing about Cawnpore went berserk. And there is nothing quite so scary as a runty cockney or scot or limey or paddy or ivor going collectively berserk. So 1857 became a byword for horror but the civilians bore the brunt of the horror.
Sir Thomas Metcalfe was a key political officer in Delhi when the Red Queen of the Red Fort poisoned him along with five other key Brits. This helped caused 1857. There are rumors his ghost haunted the city as long as his extranged son Theo was insane. Theo was ‘high strung’ and during 1857 clearly had a total breakdown physically and mentally and spiritually. He was later ordered shipped back to England or else be arrested for insanity and murder.
Theo Metcalfe survived the Delhi pogrom but behaved so shockingly everyone decided he was having a total breakdown. He lynched Rebels from the burned out ruins of the Metcalfe House raving ‘I know you! you killed me! I know you! You killed me…..’ Though he came through with key information that allowed Nicholson to win a key battle his demented presence was shocking and finally it was ordered he be shipped off to England or be arrested as dangerously insane. Nicholson suggested Metcalfe Junior was a human ‘Cawnpore Well Of Ghosts’ and others suggested he was possessed by the deaths of the hundreds of human beings slaughter during the Delhi Pogrom, both white and brown,. He became an expert in death and revenge as if he knew exactly how every victim (white and brown) that day died, down to the smallest detail of horror. He never entirely recovered.
The Rajputs were the historic power brokers in India’s history. 1857 was no exception. The British could only hope. The Rebels offered bribes plus threats. Zafar stamped off Rebel letters to Rajput princes promising their principalities would be respected. But Scindia of Gwalior and Sikandar of Bhopal were both under continuous attack through the whole of the rebellion so that sent a message big time to the Rajput princes. So did Wahhabi propaganda offering ‘Servitude’ under Muslim Rulers ‘such as will be permitted’. The Wahhabists told the Rajputs that was historically correct and of course was much better than’ tyranny’ under the British. For some reason that propaganda failed to impress the powerbrokers of India.
“You are ordered to report to jihad duty!’ or so the Mughal Emperor said in 1857. The kingmakers, the Rajput Princes, declined to join the Rebellion. Why? Bad propaganda. Gwalior and Bhopal under attack by Rebels. Nana Sahib, the fig leaf Hindu being introduced to his Muslim replacement was another. Reports of Rajput severed heads being paraded on Muslim lances was another. The disrespect the Mughals historically showed the Rajput Princes was another. Rajput family idols and talismans hauled off by Aurangzeb to be cemented into the front steps of the Grand Mosque for victorious Muslims to defile with their slippers coming and going from mosque was another reason. But the main reason was the Rebels offered the past. Rajputs knew the past. The past was bloody and their blood flooded the Mughal Muslim Past of Old Hindustan. The British offered a future of a secular United Sates of India, a nation, secular, modern, with new infrastructure like irriation canals and a telegraph and a railroad and schools and universities. All of the big princes wanted that.
The Rajput Princes had blueprints for modernization and punch lists of to-dos. Doab and Oudh might not like the Ganges Canal but the Rajputs were desperate for massive million pound irr1gation canals in Rajasthan and that was the price tag. Millions. Only the Raj could produce millions. They chattered with the Nizam of Hyderabad on their personal telegraphs and even the Nizam, the richest and most powerful Muslim in India, wanted a modern India.They were the ‘Modernize or die’ bunch who pragmatically decided to let the Raj spend millions to modernize and then politely ask the British to leave. But wait until the millions of pounds worth of infrastructure is built first! Idiots! Dah! And the princes were even planning their own ‘public schools’ ie private schools to educate their people emblazoned with their royal logos as royal patrons. In the end it came down to ‘Modernize and die’ vs ‘Modernize or die’ and the Rajput kingmakers picked ‘Modernize or die’.
Gwalior Fort was the crown jewel in the shieldwall of the Maratha of the Maharashra. It was also the keystone in the shieldwall. If Gwalior fell then Bhopal probably would fall so then Indore would fall and Baroda would fall and Surat Port would fall and Bombay would fall. To attack Gwalior the Rebels needed a toehold and Jhansi was the toehold. The Rebels used Nana Sahib to seduce the Rani of Jhansi to join the rebellion by hook or crook. Scindia let the Muslim militia fight the Rani knowing they would defect to her side. The Muslims of Gwalior were a dangling sword of Damocles hanging over Scindia’s head. Wahahbists told the Muslims of Gwalior they had to wage jihad and attack Scindia because he was Hindu and no Muslim could be loyal to a Hindu. That Scindia gave freedom of religion was not the issue. Power for Islam was the issue. Muslims were waging 1857 jihad to deliver India back into nslamic rule and Islamic rule does not tolerate Hindus ruling Muslims or freedom of religion for non Muslims or any secular law or any law other than Sharia Law. Wahhabists never allow non Muslims to command or rule Muslims or any law except Sharia Law or any nationality except the world caliphate. No Muslim can be loyal to anything or anyone other than Islam. Period. Scindia of Gwalior was the first head on the chopping block. Every royal prince and even the Nizam of Hyderabad, Muslim, was watching Scindia through all of 1857 as he was threatened, insulted, attacked, and ordered to kowtow to his new masters. Scindia was even told by Rebels he was no longer worthy a 21 gun salute as a peer of the realm and was going to be demoted to some inferior capacity under the new regime. All the while Scindia evoked his right to be neutral and rule his principality as he deemed wise for his people — to no avail.
The royal divan and symbols of power of the rajahs were on the chopping block if Scindia of Gwalior could be crushed by the Rebels in 1857. If one lawful ruler could be murdered and his kingdom taken then any ruler’s head was next on the chopping block. Scindia evoked his royal right to rule, to stay neutral, and be the master of his own kingdom. Imagine if Germans told the Flemish they just planned to use their country to attack France…. wait…. they did….. never mind. Scindia was in the same situation. The Bengal Army, Gwalior Contigent of the Bengal Army, other contigents of mutineers, ghazi holy warriors, mutineers, deserters, outlaws, copy cat criminals, all converged on Gwalior and ignored his right to rule or the right of Gwalior to exist. Rebels marched into the durbar and waged guns in the rajah’s face and bellowed threats. They rolled artillery up and threatened to blow Gwalior to pieces and slaughter the people. They tried to loot and rob the countryside.They kidnapped a son of a leading citizen of Gwalior and poured boiling oil into his eyes to force his father to deliver money. They assaulted and raped and fought police and Maratha and Rajputs of Gwalior. Every time they rampaged then Scindia persuaded them to return to their trashed contonment with extra wages, cheap whores, and opium and bhang. They trashed their lovely contonment and chopped down the trees in the heat of summer to spite Scindia (like cutting off a nose to spite one’s face) and insulted him when they were not begging him to intercede for them as the war turned bad. And this went on for a year. Conspicously, the people of Gwalior, outside of the Muslims and Brahmins) stayed loyal and the Maratha and Rajputs in his private army stayed loyal. Only the Muslims and elite Brahmins defected to the Rebels.
Scindia of Gwalior was only 22 years old when the civil war started. After the war which he barely survived he went on to modernize Gwalior, create a magnificent palace after he modernized Gwalior, (the fort’s palaces were falling down) and build one of the finest ‘public’ ie private schools in India: Scindia School. The punch list of the Scindias was so large his son had to finish the list and finance the relaunching of the Indian Steel Industry. Scindia was a careful progressive but typical of the rajahs who in fact all favored ‘Modernize or die’. Today his scion are routinely insulted by Jhansi fans for his ‘treason’ for fighting off the Rani of Jhansi who attacked Gwalior to murder him and seize the throne for the exiled Peshwa. Scindia was called a slipper holder or horse keeper ie degraded shudra by the elite Brahmins who plotted his overthrow. It was a grudge match between the scion of the Maratha who threw out the corrupt Brahmins of the disgraced Peshwa dictatorship and the scion of the Brahmins thrown out by ‘degraded shudra’. Scindia said he was Kshatriya but the Brahmins who partied at Gwalior Fort that week in a honey pot that proved to be a trap to snare a ferret claimed he was degraded shudra. The Brahmins proved to be as disloyal as the Muslims but met a fate at ancient Gwalior Fort that would haunt everyone…..
Scindia was a worshiper of Shiva while the Brahmins who invaded to murder him and take his throne were worshipers of Vishnu or Vaishnavites. Hinduism was divided between the ‘verticals’ and the ‘horizontals’ referring to the ritual marks on the forehead of the rival worshipers. Vishnu was the Aryan Bhat Brahmin god who ritually slaughtered the native Indians who worshiped Shiva in a ritual genocide that supposedly degraded all Indians down to degraded shudra except a few kshattriya who supposedly surrender to Brahminic rule. Originally the Brahmins were not the top caste and indeed the kshatriya often claim they are still the top caste. When Scindia prayed to Shiva he prayed to an older god than the Aryan Bhat Brahmins and when he insisted he was kshatriya and a lawful rajah or ruler he was evoking his ancient right before Vishnu symbolically engaged in ritual genocide to degrade native Indians down to degraded shudra. Reactionary Brahmins do not even accept kshatriya or vaishya but only accept shudra and untouchable religious lepers. The Brahmins who partied with the Peshwa were this lot.
The fall of Delhi resulted on a tragedy as refugees (women and children) fled the city. Some fled from Rebel gates. Some fled from Loyalist gates. Savage urban warfare drove the Hindus away while most of the Muslim civilians joined the jihad to the death. Rajput ladies who never saw the outside of their dead husband’s’ house now faced staggering down dusty roads alone and ruined. Purdah required Rajput females to stay locked up inside tiny rooms or courtyards so many had withered limbs. They had to throw back their burkas to prove they were not male because many Rebels fleeing too late dressed in burkhas. It was a frightening experience to elite Rajputs. The countryside around Delhi was looted, ravished, chaotic, the roads dominated by dacoits and outlaws, anyone with money attacked, the only law and order coming from the recently arrived British as John Nicholson’s military police slowly restored law and order. Neither the fleeing British ladies or the Rajput ladies faced kind people or mercy. Mad Max anarchy had taken over. Gentility was obsolete.
The Nawab of Jhajjar and his beloved tiger. The Nawab of this small market town was a famous casualty of the civil war, caught between two sides and spared by none. His tiny principality was ravished by war, rebels descending like locusts. He was hanged for being a coward for not daring to stand up to the rebels or helping refugees fleeing when the rebels both offered five rupees per severed head and threatened anyone who tried to save lives of ‘enemies’ or ‘spies’ or ‘closet kafirs’. He greeted his death with such dignity the British wept as if watching a performance of a shakespearean mantinee idol at the Haymarket.
Dacoit Eddie Rao Singh used his expertise in organized crime to profit from the war. His gang controlled the roads and his logistics soon cornered the unraveling markets of rapidly vanishing supplies and food stuffs and medicine and luxuries as the countryside around Delhi was looted to the bone. He bought up food and supplies and bought a gate and rebel guards to insure daily deliveries of food and medicine and luxuries to the trapped Delhiwallahs scared of leaving Delhi, scared of Dacoits, scared of Rebels, and scared of being attacked at the gates if fleeing with money. Rebels ‘guarded’ the gates to keep the people ‘save’ ie inside and unable to leave. Gate guards looted anyone who tried to leave. So the city population was trapped inside by lawlessness. Eddie Rao Singh’s partner was a Victorian gem dealer and cat buglar called Bill Sikes who was like wise trapped in Delhi with a fortune in gems and jewels. But Sikes had a credit line in a besieged bank and liquid capital financed Eddie’s black market which scored both during the siege, after the siege, and in reconstruction. Eddie ended up a millionaire when the war ruined the elite haves and left the have-nots still more poor.
Manglo was the most tragic victim of the siege of Delhi. She was one of the famous courtesans and was famous for her beauty, wit, singing, dancing, and sophistication. She tried to flee Delhi and a gate ‘guard’ not only robbed her but kidnapped her and raped her. The sowar Rustam Khan kept her prisoner throughout the siege, boasting of his torture of the most beautiful woman in Delhi, charging rupees for rebel soldiers to line up to gang rape her. Even appeals from the Red Fort were useless. It says something about the utter lawlessness of Delhi during the siege that no one dared to free her until Ghalib and some black marketeers finally had to fight their way into the urban lair and rescue the poor woman. Her fate sent the good Delhiwallahs into terror and they feared daring to escape Delhi because of the ‘guards’ guarding the city which in effect made the people of Delhi prisoners. The siege of Delhi was thus a breakdown of law and order for the Loyalists never surrounded Delhi at all. Only criminality surrounded Delhi.
The courtesans of Delhi were like the geisha of Japan. They were elite artists of culture, music, danging, wit, and sophistication. Unlike the courtesans of Luchnow who supported the Rebels, the courtesans of Delhi were attacked by the Rebels. Manglo was kidnapped and tortured. Others were found murdered. Wahhabists raved they were whores and whores of course deserved death by stoning. Mix Sex Society was declared haram despite the fact Delhi enjoyed mix sex society behind the scenes with purdah only symbolically obeyed. The courtesans were attacked throughout the siege.
The courtesans of Delhi reflected a different world than Lucknow. Delhi was a different place. Delhiwallahs considered the Rebels from Oudh riffraff and badmash and poorbia and openly called then ‘niggers’. The Brahmin sepoys from Oudh were illiterate, poor, and felt ‘disrespected’ by everyone including whores. They used the siege to exact revenge on the elite ‘whores’ for snubbing them. The British normally bought and ran military police and military bazaars complete with military whores for their soldiers so the sepoys in Delhi were angry they only found cheap street whores willing to cater to them while the elite looked down on them as badmash. The Elite were shocked the sepoys actually expected them to cater to riffraff. The result was bloody. However, the cheap street whores eagerly served as molls as long as the looting money lasted. After the siege the molls who strutted so proudly were attacked by the Delhiwallahs.
Sikandar of Bhopal was a scion of remarkable amazons of Bhopal. She ruled as nawab during the war and claimed to be neutral like all princes. The British advised all princes to claim to be neutral to try to prevent them from being attacked. But Sikandar was attacked throughout 1857 into 1858 by Wahhabi rebels seducing her inbred male relations to overthrow her and install a proper Muslim MALE. The Amazons of Bhopal infuriated the Wahhabists who considered it immoral and against Sharia Law for a female to rule or command males. Sikandar was compared to Queen Elizabeth ! by John Nicholson who called her ‘Gloriana’. She hunted, played polo, waged war, played chess, and was brilliant in commanding men courtesy of her brilliance rather than her plain face. She survived the war barely to modernize Bhopal. Like the other key princes of India, she believed in ‘modernize or die’. Ironically, she waged a perpetual feud with the Rani of Jhansi throughout the war. The Rani would send a letter ending with ‘and when this war is over I will come personally to finish you off…” and Sikandar would turn the letter over and reply ‘come armed because I will be…..”. The feud has never been explained.
Shahjehan was the daughter of Sikandar but she embraced the Rebel side courtesy of a Wahhabi perfume seller turned gigolo who seduced her along with the daughter of his mentor at the same time … while writing tirades damning Sikandar as a whore and the 1857 jihad as blessed. After the war he was indicted for treason but escaped hanging by cravenly recanting. He seduced Shahjehan after Sikandar died claiming she was pregnant. it proved to be a lie. The Wahhabi gigolo was desperate to plant his rump on the throne of Bhopal so he then tried to seduce her young daughter and then Shahjehan’s granddaughter (still a small child) before trying to marry the granddaughter off to his son (still a very small child). The child died of the stress and terror plus possible starvation and abuse. Shahjehan starved and humiliated her own daughter and grandchildren by her first husband and allowed her gigolo to force her back into purdah while he ran Bhopal into the ground, stealing money, dismantling the modernization, closing the schools, until the British arrested him for treason. By the end Shahjehan and her gigolo were hated by Bhopal.
Sultan Jahan survived her mother who turned into a wicked stepmother courtesy of a Wahhabi gigolo. She endured a sick seduction by the Wahahbi, then her chosen husband being threatened, then her children taken from her, then starvation, humiliation, and threats on her life. So triumphed as the last Amazon Nawab of Bhopal. She saw in the 1900s with a car ride to a large gathering of Indian women for the vote where she dramatically threw off her burka to proclaim the need for all Indian women to cast off purdah to embrace the vote. She died beloved.
Hakim Ahsanullah Khan was an example of the old elite Mughal culture that existed before the siege of Delhi. He was the Prime Minster of the Red Fort because as he quipped , Zafar could not afford to pay him to be his royal physician so he bartered instead. Hakim Sahib enjoyed a beautiful home with 500 plus books, international art work of priceless good taste, and entertained the elite to suave parties that reflected wit and art and music and singing and good taste. Ghalib adored him. When the siege went sour the Rebels needed a scapegoat and burned down his home. Hakim Sahib never forgave Zafar when he realized Zafar was not senile enough not to realize the horror he ‘blessed’ that fateful day and simply was too cowardly to defy the rebels when that moment of possibly fatal heroism might have saved Delhi. Zafar enjoyed a few weeks of being Emperor again as Hakim Sahib gashed his teeth at the escalating horror. Hakim Sahib spent most of the siege desperately trying to run an improvised hospital that soon overflowed with hundreds of desperately wounded and shell shocked Delhiwallahs. He was utterly ruined.
‘Eddie Rao Singh was a Jat dacoit and he hated the Mughals for historically persecuting his people, the Muslims for murdering his people., the Wahhabists for being hypocrites destroying Delhi, the Royal Family for being lousy amateur badmash, (Eddie was professional badmash and amateurs were giving good criminals a bad name). Eddie also hated the Brahmin sepoys because historically the Jats ruled the Punjab as Kshatriya ruling caste until the Aryan Bhat Brahmins invaded the Punjab. War was war but the Brahmins claimed so called ‘holy Vedas’ ritually destroyed all uppity native Indians who dared to defy them. Brahmins claimed Vishnu delivered a ritual genocide of all defiant natives who refused to surrender excepting a few docile and craven Kshatriya who surrendered on bent knee. The Jats did not so the Vedas then ritually ‘degraded’ all Jats down to ‘degraded Shudra’ and Untouchables for defying the Vedas. Eddie, like a lot of Jats who became Dacoits to wage war on the Brahmins, told the Brahmins they could take their Vedas, their Rig Vedas, Their Varna Caste of Colors (Racial), their Manusmrita, Their Parashurama, Their Dasavatara, and their ritual genocide of uppity hostiles and shove it where the moon does not shine. Between the black market business and dacoit business Eddie and his Jats waged war on Brahmins. Jats are never ‘degraded’ by nobody. Jats are Kshatriya and Kshatriya are the ruling caste then and now and forever.
Benares was the holy city of India, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in history. Each Muslim invader made a policy to see Benares, admire it, and then destroy priceless Hindu temples to show Islamic triumph. The Golden Temple was destroyed over and over and over. Finally Aurangzeb The Terrible drew up a list of half a thousand temples to be destroyed once and for all and then he destroyed the Golden Temple and used the very stones to erect his gigantic mosque with one of the tallest minarets in the world as if a middle finger salute to the Hindus of Benares. About five years before 1857 the Wahhabi weavers rampaged through Benares and tried to destroy the holy linga inside the rebuilt Golden Temple (rebuilt after the Mughals lost power) and pour holy cow blood down a holy well after destroying a famous outside linga during Holi. They protested that under Sharia Law no Hindu can enjoy a Hindu festival. or rebuild any temple once destroyed by Islam. The rebuilt Golden Temple shared the Holy Well very uneasily with the mosque built on the original holy place. Muslims would listen to Wahhabi clerics and then rave about the idols just on other side of the well covered by a canvas wall. Rajputs saved the Golden Temple and burned down the Muslim quarter. In 1857 Wahhabi Rebels tried to defile the Golden Temple with a green flag of jihad but was stopped by a mysterious beast the priests unleashed which was rumored to Ravana the beastly but devoted worshiper of Shiva. Loyalists and Rebels fought in the streets until the advance guard of the Loyalist Army marching north arrived. Then the city was safe despite the fact the British general, Neill, was an idiot. During 1857 no major Hindu shrine or temple blessed the rebellion. Today Benares Golden Temple is guarded 24/7 to stop jihadists blowing it up.