March 21, 2008

Was it an Administrative Blunder by British East Indian Company against Sikhs during the uprising of 1857?

A battle was fought in Chattra District in October 1857. The rebels were defeated and their two leaders, Jai Mangal Pandey and Nadir Ali Khan were executed in Chattra. During the battle the European soldiers had also died. A contingent of Sikhs soldiers, who were part of Rattary’s Battalion (Presently, 3 Sikh Battalion of Indian Army) had also fought to suppress the uprising in Chattra. Some of the Sikhs soldiers of Rattary Battalion had also died. It is on record that those Sikhs soldiers were buried along with English soldiers near Catholic Ashram, which is one kilometre away from Chattra city. There is a Divisional Forest Office nearby. The inscription on the cemetery reads,
“In the grave are buried "The 56 men of Her Majesty's 53rd Regiment of foot and a party of Rattrys sikhs who were killed at Chatra on October 2, 1857 in action against mutineers of the Ramgarh Battalion.”

Rattrays Sikhs was a battalion raised by Captain Thomas Rattray of 64th Regiment of Bengal Army as per a decision of British East India government taken in 1855. The battalion was to be a Corps of Military Police. It was raised in Punjab out of the Sikhs soldiers who had fought in Anglo Sikh war against the British forces. It was raised as Bengal Military Police Battalion.

It is known fact that the as per the Sikhs religious rites, they are cremated. They are not buried. However, in the episode mentioned above, the Sikhs were buried. The same fact is displayed on the Government website of the District of Chattra.

A Disclaimer
I understand that the Pandits of History would strongly object to the above type of posting. It is in a way, a journalist kind of reporting wherein in a scoop is being reported. The readers may find a motivated reporting here. However, my only intention is to bring out an activity or an incidence which went against the established belief of one community. I accept somewhere by nationalism is working behind the site to report this. However, even then, I will plead that it is an attempt to bring out an incidence which could be used as an evidence and argument by those historians who want to counter the Cambridge or Pan Britannica History.

Official Site of Chattra District of Jharkhand State of India.

Rattrays Sikh on Sikh Philosophy Network.


  1. Hi Sumri,
    I like your blog,
    I think I'd once or twice read about a similar burial for Sikh soldiers in WW I, in fact I there are graves of Sikh soldiers In France and Germany from the Great War. You may want to research a bit on this.
    If I come across something similar I'll let you know it.
    Keep up the good work.

  2. Dear Harbabir,

    Thanks for joining it.

    I appreciate your offer.

    Firstly I must say that I am highly impressed by your accomplishments in the field of langugages especially the classic languages. I wish that you take up history as a subject and make a career out of it by joining university as a research scholar.

    Now I would like to emphasis that my post is about the interpertation not the scoop of finding sikhs buried. Secondly I am talking about 1857 which brings in many more questions.

    Otherwise I appreciate your observation. I have also read about such incidences. However, I have pointed out in disclaimer that I have not visited the place to varify the fact with my own eyes. I am just banking on one source with the faith that it is a government of India source and they are giving an authentic fact.



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