Chicago citation style: Gilliat, Edward. APA citation style: Gilliat, E. MLA citation style: Gilliat, Edward. Contributor: Gilliat, Edward Date: Also available in digital form. Contributor: Bartlett, D. David W.
Date: Contributor: Hodson, W. You might also like. Photo, Print, Drawing Getting bigger 1 drawing. Cartoon showing cobra labeled "India question" looming over Gandhi who is represented as a snake charmer. Contributor: Barker, Michael Date: Map The marches of the British armies, in the peninsula of India during the campaigns of Marches shown in color.
The Indian Mutiny of 1857
Nicholson was to become probably the finest frontline battlefield commander in the Victorian British Empire. He was involved in the first Anglo-Afghan war, the two Anglo-Sikh wars and the Great Rebellion or Mutiny, dying in the thick of battle as the British army he was leading stormed into the ancient city of Delhi in September In stature, he was at least 6ft 2in 1. His manner tended to be unsocial, one of dark foreboding, and there was a certainty and forcefulness about him that brooked no opposition.
He gave the impression of one whose destiny was set.
As a soldier, he was a terrifying and impressive figure on his grey charger. In the three set-piece battles that he fought as commander, though, he ended up fighting on foot among his troops. He led his men from the front, fighting with a long curved sword and showing neither fear nor mercy on the battlefield.
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Nicholson was a lonely and a shy man, a limited man in some respects. But he was aware of those limitations, especially relating to his temper. That he was possibly homosexual or, more likely, a repressed homosexual, served only to torment his Victorian Christian soul. However, the one thing Nicholson was not, in the modern sense, was a racist.
He certainly considered himself to be of a superior culture, yet that inner prejudice is contradicted by the relationship he had with his Indian troops and officials. One gets the distinct impression that, apart from a handful of close friends, Nicholson preferred the company of Indians to Europeans. Nicholson, like many of his contemporaries, learnt several Indian languages and spoke to the locals in their own tongue. There is overwhelming evidence that Nicholson cared for his Indian troops and went to extremes to see to their welfare.go here
John Nicholson: the sadistic British officer who was worshipped as a living god in India
Indeed, by July he was permanently accompanied by a large cohort of irregular soldiers from the hill tribes. Of course, famously, there was also a religious sect, albeit small, who worshipped him, much to his irritation. Equally, there is also no evidence that Nicholson was a jingoistic imperialist. He certainly believed Britain to be top dog, but who in Britain then did not? Nicholson had no difficulty in considering joining the Turkish Ottoman army, and equally, in the right circumstances, he would have willingly led a division for the Persian army.
It is often forgotten that Nicholson was an effective, if stern, colonial administrator. Ironically, the latter gave him the freedom he needed to be a good soldier, independent and unfettered by regimental ties and obstructions.
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As early as , a scholarly book of documents relating to the Graham family and the Indian Mutiny criticised Nicholson. But it was not until the s that Nicholson has become the target of severe attack by several authors.
Long before 1857, Indians rose against the British in a now-forgotten mutiny
So it is that heroes become villains. The case against Brigadier General John Nicholson is that he showed no or little mercy on his enemy. That perception is correct. But it is not the whole story. It might seem incongruous to compare General John Nicholson with President Abraham Lincoln of the United States, and yet they had two things in common — their behavioural patterns and the medicine they took.
This was a bizarre concoction of liquorice, marshmallow, honey and mercury, the mercury constituting a third of the dose. The result for both men was erratic behavioural patterns and a tendency to violent outbursts. Things were not helped by the fact that for constant liver pains in the s Nicholson also took doses of what is today the modern domestic and industrial solvent hydrochloric acid.
To this literally poisonous cocktail needs to be added the fact that Nicholson was psychologically damaged by a difficult childhood in a gloomy puritan household, having lost his father at the age of 9. He was then brought up in genteel poverty by a religiously fixated and probably guilt-ridden mother, whom he loved dearly.
Having been posted to India, it would be eleven years until Nicholson saw his home in Lisburn again. By then, assisted by the trauma of his experience in Afghanistan, the damage was complete. Nicholson has been accused by several modern writers of brutality.