In the last several sections, I spoke about my childhood and early involvement in the struggle for Indian independence. Before going further into my own role in the effort, I would like to go back in time and discuss the events that led up to the present revolutionary movement.
In 1857, our country was faced with a dire situation. It was as though India was a milk cow and the British East India Company was a farmer, relentlessly squeezing her dry, down to the very last drop. We all eagerly waited for the day when we would finally have the chance to rise up against their tyranny.
Then, in May the 7th Special Operations Squadron at Awadh suddenly launched a movement and flew the flag of revolution for the first time. Their uprising was triggered by rumours of a most outrageous offense. It was said that the British had been supplying Indian soldiers with the tallow of pigs and cattle, and that they had been unknowingly using this to grease their ammunition.
(Author’s note: Not only were the soldiers required to handle the ammunition, but they also needed to bite open the cartridges in order to release the gun powder, creating a most egregious situation.)
It is common knowledge that in Hinduism, cows are revered as holy gods. They are so highly venerated that they are even referred to as the mother of India. To kill these heavenly creatures and extract their fat is an unspeakably sinister crime. Moreover, in Islamic tradition the Quran gives strict warning in regard to swine.
These animals were so central to Hinduism and Islam, and yet they were being slaughtered and the people of India were being deceived into using their grease-laden cartridges. Upon hearing this grave news, it is entirely understandable and only natural that they would immediately be triggered into a furious outrage.
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