STANFORD HISTORY EDUCATION GROUP sheg.stanford.edu
Document C: Sita Ram
Sita Ram was a sepoy who remained loyal to the British. Yet even he had his
"doubts" about them. The following is an excerpt from memoirs he wrote
sometime in the 1860s about the rebellion.
It chanced that about this time the English Government sent parties of men
from each regiment to different garrisons for instruction in the use of the
new rifle. These men performed the new drill for some time until a report
got about, by some means or other, that the cartridges used for these new
rifles were greased with the fat of cows and pigs. The men from our
regiment wrote to others in the regiment telling them of this, and there was
soon excitement in every regiment.
Some men pointed out that in forty years of service nothing had ever been
done by the English Government to insult their religion, but as I have
already mentioned the sepoys' minds had been inflamed by the seizure of
Oudh. Interested parties were quick to point out that the great aim of the
English was to turn us all into Christians and they had therefore introduced
the cartridge in order to bring this about, since both Muslims and Hindus
would be defiled by using it. . . .
[The Proclamation of the King of Delhi] stated that the English Government
intended to make all Brahmins into Christians, which had in fact been
proved correct, and in proof of it one hundred ministers were about to be
stationed in Oudh. Caste was going to be broken by forcing everyone to eat
beef or pork. . . .
I had never known the English to interfere with our religion or our caste in
all the years since I had been a soldier, but I was nevertheless filled with
doubt. . . . I had also remarked the increase in Missionaries during recent
years, who stood up in the streets of our cities and told the people that their
cherished religion was all false, and who exhorted them to become
Source: Sita Ram, From Sepoy to Subedar: Being the Life Adventures of
Subedar Sita Ram, A Native Officer in the Bengal Army, Written and
Related by Himself.