Monthly Archives: May 2020

The Human Geography of the UK. super advanced course lesson 9


super advanced course lesson 9

Human Geography of the UK

Divisions within the UK

The United Kingdom is a country. But arguably it is four countries or even three and a quarter countries.

Within the United Kingdom there exists Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England. Each of these is subdivided into counties. For short we write ‘co’ and this is understood contextually to mean ‘county’. For example, ‘Co Duham’ is read as ‘County Durham’. Confusingly, ‘co’ can also mean ‘company’ in other contexts.

The county boundaries have changed much over the centuries. Another name for a county is a ‘shire.’ However, when ‘shire’ appears in the name of a county it is pronounced ‘sher’. For instance, in Yorkshire it is pronounced ‘YORK sher’.

A county sometimes takes its name from its county town. For instance Aberdeen is the county town of Aberdeenshire. Lancaster is the county town of Lancashire. Chester is the county town of Cheshire. Other counties that take their name from the county town include Invernessshire (the only triple ‘S’ in the English language), Leicestershire, Kirkcudbrightshire (pronounced ‘ker KUB ree sher’) and Worcestershire.

County Down takes its name from its county town which is Downpatrick. However, Down does not have ‘shire’ as part of its name. Note that County Down does not always have ‘County’ as part of its name. Sometimes you can simply say ‘Down’ if from the context it is obvious you are talking about the county. The word county is often abbreviated to ‘Co.’. So ‘Co. Armagh’ is read as ‘County Armagh.’ Note that Armagh is pronounced ‘ar MAA’.

In half the cases the county does not take its name from its county town. A case in point is Berkshire. There is no town called ‘Berk’. Note that Berkshire is pronounced ‘BARK sher.’ Yes, the ‘e’ is pronounced as an ‘a’ in this word. So it is ‘bark’ like a dog.

Fermanagh (pronounced ‘fer MAN a’)  is a county and there is no town of Fermanagh. Glamorgan is a county and there is no town of Glamorgan. There are more examples such as Devon, Dorset, Surrey and Cornwall.

Some counties Essex, Sussex, Middlesex take their name from the Saxons. Essex means ‘East Saxons’, Sussex means ‘South Saxons’ and Middlesex means ‘Middle Saxons.’ The Saxons came from what is now Germany in the 5th century AS. Middlesex was amalgamated into Greater London in the late 19th century. The name Middlesex survives in the names of some hospitals and a university. People sometimes refer to Wessex which means ‘West Saxons’. This refers to several counties in south-west England.

Norfolk is a county which’s name means ‘North People’. Just south of it is Suffolk which means ‘South People.’ Folk is an old word for ‘people’.

Some counties have the same name as the county town by the suffix ‘shire’ is not part of the county’s name. For example, there is County Durham and its county town is Durham. In County Londonderry the county town is Londonderry (which is usually called Derry).

A county town can actually be a city. In Yorkshire the county town (York) has the status of a city.  Yorkshire is the largest county in area in the UK. It is divided into four ridings: North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, East Yorkshire and West Yorkshire. East Yorkshire is usually known as ‘Humberside’ because the River Humber flows through it.

There are some metropolitan counties. These include Greater London and Greater Manchester. It is called ‘Greater’ London because the City of London is only about a 1 mile radius of St Paul’s Cathedral. Greater London takes in all of what used to be Middlesex as well as taking in land that once belong to Kent, Essex and Surrey.

Some counties are called the Home Counties. These are the ones immediately adjacent to London. These include Surrey, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire,  Essex and Kent.

Some counties take their name from a geographical feature. For example, Lonsdale has the River Lons flowing through it. ‘Dale’ means ‘valley’.

In Wales the counties are sometimes known by their Welsh names. Cardiganshire is sometimes called Ceredigion.

In the 1970s Scotland reorganised its counties into regions. This involved putting several counties into a region. Grampian is one region. It includes Aberdeenshire, Moray, Nairnshire and other counties. There is a region called Central and there are others.

Some counties in England were abolished. Rutland was amalgamated into a nearby county.  Rutland takes its name from a lake called Rutland Water. Rutland is the smallest county in the UK. The same went for Huntingdonshire. This happened in the early 1970s. 20 years later these counties were recreated.


In England people sometimes take about regions of the country. These usually are the South-East, the South-West, the West Midlands, the East Midlands, the North-West, East Anglia, London and the North-East. Yorkshire is so big that it counts as a region. The North-East is all the counties further north of Yorkshire. The North-West is everything from Manchester and Liverpool all the way to the border Scotland.

East Anglia means Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex and other counties. The East Midlands is Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire and some other counties. The East Midlands is sometimes called ‘West Anglia’ because it is to the west of East Anglia. Confused?

The West Midlands includes Greater Birmingham,  Worcestershire, Shropshire and other counties. Worcestershire is pronounced ‘WOOS ta sher’.

The South-East, is Kent, Berkshire, Sussex and others. Note that Berkshire is pronounced ‘BARK sher’. The ‘e’ is pronounced like an ‘a’ as in ‘bark like a dog.’

The South-West is Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire.

England has 48 counties and Wales has 12. Northern Ireland has six counties. 

Each county has a coat of arms.

Local government is sometimes on a county basis. People are elected to county councils. It is confusing because sometimes there are councils under a county council.

Sports are sometimes played on a county basis.

Extreme points

The most northerly point in the UK is in the Shetland Islands. The main island of the Shetlands is called Zetland. There is a very small breed of pony from those islands called a Shetland pony. The Shetland Islands belonged to Norway for centuries. 99% of the toponyms in the archipelago take their names from Old Norse and not from Scots Gaelic or English.

Fair Isles is half way between the Shetlands and the Orkney Isles. Fair Isle is the most remote place in the UK.

The northernmost point of the British Mainland is John O’Groats. The most southerly point in the United Kingdom is Land’s End. This is in Cornwall. Land’s End is also the most westerly point in the UK. People often say ‘from Land’s End to John O’Groats’  which means throughout the United Kingdom. Notably France has a place called ‘Finisterre’ which means ‘land’s end.’

Beyond Land’s End there are the Scilly Isles. The Scilly Isles off the coast of Cornwall are the most southerly point in the UK.  Cornwall is the county that includes Land’s End and these islands. There is a language in Cornwall called Cornish. Few Cornish people can speak the Cornish language. Everyone there can speak English. ‘Scilly’ is pronounced ‘silly’. These islands were the preferred holiday destination of Harold Wilson.

Co Fermanagh contains the westernmost place in the UK. Near Dover you find the most easterly location in the United Kingdom.

Nottinghamshire is the geographical centre of England. Its county town is Nottingham. Although the term is ‘county town’ Nottingham has city status. The Robin Hood stories relate to Nottingham. Sherwood Forest is there.

Lincolnshire is the second largest county in England. Not that the second ‘L’ in Lincolnshire is silent. Moreover, Lincoln is the county town of Lincolnshire. We say ‘county town’ even if it is officially a city. Lincoln has always been a city since it has a cathedral.

The tallest mountain in the UK is Ben Nevis. It is in Scotland. The tallest mountain in England is Scafell Pike in Cumbria. Mount Snowdon is the tallest in Wales. It is not that tall. It has a railway station and a restaurant atop it. Slieve Donard is Northern Ireland’s highest peak.

Disputed zones

Berwick-upon-Tweed is a town which is just inside England. It is on the border with Scotland. At times it was part of Scotland. The town has that name because the River Tweed runs through it.

Monmouth is part of Wales. It has sometimes been regarded as part of England.

Angelsea is the only county that is an island. It is sometimes called by its Welsh name Yns Mon. There is only about 100 metres of sea between Anglesea and the mainland. However, there are steep cliffs here. There is a road bridge across the chasm. 

Special cities

Newcastle-upon-Tyne is so called because the River Tyne blows by it. This distinguishes it from Newcastle-under-Lyme which is in the West Midlands. Of the two Newcastles the Tynside one is much bigger. Sometimes people simply called it Newcastle. The Newcastle-upon-Tyne area is called Tyneside. The people of Newcastle-upon-Tyne are known as Geordies. That is because at the time of the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion the people of the city remained faithful to King George II. The proper name for people from Newcastle-upon-Tune is ‘novocastrian’ but no one says that.

London is the biggest city in the UK. People from London are Londoners. Working class Londoners are called ‘Cockneys.’ That is not a rude word. The second biggest is Birmingham. The people of Birmingham are known as Brummies. Then there is Glasgow. Someone from that city is called a Glaswegian. 

The largest city in Scotland is Glasgow. It is bisected by the River Clyde. But the capital is Edinburgh. Edinburgh is beside the sea. The nickname of Edinburgh is ‘Auld Reekie’ meaning old smoky in Scots. 

Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland. It is beside Belfast Lough. A lough is a bay or a lake. The River Lagan and the River Blackstaff flow through Belfast.

Canterbury is the religious capital of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the highest priest in the Church of England. The first church in England was erected at Canterbury by St Augustine of Canterbury. Canterbury is usually pronounced ”KANT a bree”. 

Armagh is the religious capital of Ireland. That is not just Northern Ireland but for the whole of Ireland.

St Andrews was the religious capital of Scotland.

There is no religious capital for the whole UK.

St David’s is the religious capital of Wales. It is just north of Cardiff

Cardiff is the capital of Wales.

The River Tay is the longest river in Scotland. It also has the largest discharge of any river in the UK. To the north of the Tay is Dundee. Just south of the river is Tayport. 

The Pennines in the largest mountain range in the UK. It divides Yorkshire from Lancashire. There is a healthy rivalry between the two counties. Yorkshire has a white rose as its symbol. On the flag of Yorkshire there is a sky blue background and the white rose. Lancashire has a red rose as its emblem. Every year there is the roses match which is a cricket match between the two counties. The rivalry between the two largest counties in northern England dates back to the 15th century Wars of the Roses.

Manchester and Liverpool used to be part of Lancashire until the 19th century. These cities grew so big that they were taken out of the county. Greater Manchester is effectively a county. Liverpool is also effectively a county. The River Mersey flows through the city. Therefore people often call the city Merseyside.


English is the official language. Almost everyone can speak English in the UK even though a few of them do not speak it fluently.

Different countries of the UK have other languages.

In Northern Ireland there is Ulster Scots and Irish. Ulster Scots is related to English. Under 1% of the population in Northern Ireland speak Irish as their daily language. People sometimes call the Irish language ‘Gaelic’. Only 5% of people in Northern Ireland speak Ulster Scots.

In Scotland Scots Gaelic is a co-official language and so is Scots. Scots is very similar to English. Some people say it is a dialect of English.  If you read Scots you will recognise almost every word. Just one letter is changed from English to Scots in most cases. It is usually the vowel that is changed. Scots Gaelic is language is almost the same as Irish.

In Wales 20% of people speak Welsh as their mother tongue. This is mostly in the north. Everyone can speak English. Everyone must do a few lessons in Welsh at school. Even those who are not Welsh must learn the Welsh tongue.

In Cornwall 1% of people speak the Cornish language. It is  Celtic language related to Irish, Welsh and Scots Gaelic. There is a Cornish independence movement. Cornwall has the Flag of St Piran as its flag. It has a white cross on a black field. 

There are non-indigenous languages in the UK. The significant ones are Polish, French, Spanish, Romanian, Hindi and Punjabi. These are immigrant languages. After a few generations in the United Kingdom those of immigrant descent often intermarry. They often stop speaking their ancestral language. 

The UK has no national day. Some say that one should be created.

The pronunciation of UK toponyms is tricky. Note that if a place name has ‘ham’ in it the ‘H’ is silent. Thus Birmingham is pronounced ‘BIR ming um’, Durham is pronounced ‘DUR um’ and Fulham is pronounced ‘FULL um’.  The same applies to Balham, Clapham, Markham, Wittenham, Streatham, Twickenham, Eltham, Woolham, Topsham, Feltham, Newham, Tottenham and Lewisham. The old English word for farm or village is ‘ham’.

There is even a place near London called ‘Ham’. It is a village and not pig meat! In London there are places called West Ham and East Ham. But in those cases the ‘H’ is pronounced because it is the first letter of the word.

Many placenames have ‘wich’ in them. This is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘hwica’ meaning ‘place where the boats are beached for trading.’ You will notice that anywhere with ‘wich’ or ‘wych’ at the end of the name is by the sea or a river. Examples include Ipswich, Norwich, Harwich and Aldwych.

You see ‘cester’, ‘ceister’ and ‘chester’ in many town names. This comes from the Latin word ‘castrum’ meaning ‘camp’. It where the Roman Army camped. It is in Worcester (pronounced WOOSS ta), Leicester (pronounced LESS ta), Chester, Manchester, Dorchester, Gloucester (pronounced GLOSS ta) , Bicester (pronounced BISS ta), Circencester (pronounced SIE ren ses ta), Lancaster and Tadcaster.

trump’s impenitence


never explain never apologise

ignorance is encyclopedic to paraprhase abba eban

christian ethic. redepemtion. confession. contrition.

moral courage. face up to failure. accept responsibility

take ownership. JFK

not change anything. hoax. udner control. hydroxchloroquine. disinfectant.

ventilators to russia. thailand. let people in from china.

reopen. if good the do it. federal workers.

polls behind. biden. good ideas.

lies. stockpile. obama. obamagate. no particulars

divert attention. misdirect. mudsling.

fool some of the people all the time.

inarticulacy, illogic

germane questions. cannot engage with substantive issue. ad hominem. spite, snarling.

blithering idiot.

face up to present reality. what of america’s destiny

eliminate reason. disorganised. lies defended. stiuck to with tenacity. almost impressive.

impudence in persisting in moronic falsehoods. not even half truths. ocean going lies.

proclaimed victory before problem had even started. disregarded expert advice. refused to face facts.

false hope. cry victory prematurely.

worst practice. unwilling to learn. full marks for insincerity.

the american people’s right to know. tell the triuth

communications catastrophes.

rise to the challenge. re election coronavirus could have been a gift. strengthened by handling it wisely.

hyper polarisation.

no dilagie with other side

no tolerance for reason. decisively selfish

hysteria. emotion bereft of reason.

crisis. engages neither heart nor mind. his suibject is himself. cares not for the agony of people

currents of thoughtless and inexperience.

fashioned contours of trumpism

what sense of nationhood>? common bond, solidarity

his stupidly is beyong controversy.

conflict exosts between the reality based community

refugees problem. distraction

odious and desperate fallaces like birther

immigration at heart and centre of america station.

existence maintained by immigration. not to be defended. to be apologised. more immigration is inexoerable.

no intellect. no discipline. force of facts. ignores them. cannot separate wishful thinking from reality

unfree people cult f the personality

univeesal culture – truth, lofic, evidence. hypothesis. without these a disease cannot be duly understood

mind full of fallacies

gross anf vulgar. sees ethnic minorites are external or inorganic

speaks same tongue. many share same faith. christian hispanics. their land 500 years ago. long before tumps british and german ancestors

euro americans do not monopolise US life. America is a concept which cannot be exhausted in white terms alone

great civilsiaiton. determined shape of civilisaiton. china. culture. existed long before europe wrote

preusmption of innoence. iraq. take that out then we evaucte western civislaition of many of its experience. the flood. monotheism

self determintion

proportions and dimensions of disease

his aspiration to reopen in so short a time.

independnce. internation co -operation., how can we previal ahaisn the disease.

seak with a single voice. crisis lays heavy burdens on leaders

might tax even a seasoned statesmen

are trumpists buying? Bogus unsubstantiated accusations against oba,ma/. ? JOE Scarborough. murder of his staffer

intellectual community. understands its role. tell the truth

uniformly against his policies. he wants them to be uncritical.

duty to inform the punlic on great issues. go  forward ina  logical measure.

large and decisive place to reason. margin of doubt about modeling – spread of disease. vaccine

lunatic fringe drives trumpism. pastor – coronaviryus is a plot

deplore lockdown.

envy the blindness of their acolytes.

what is trumps strategy. ? VAST Stupidity?

inequitable distribution of stockpile. electoral consierations foremost. public obeisance to trump from governors.


tyranny. withhold life saving treating from those who need it.

claims for himself what he denies to others – absolute power without any responsibiluty.

acknowledge for others what he demans for himself. compassion.

effects world freedom

democracy threatened. elections. postal votes

does not want people ti listen to health experts. sacked. under threat

final act in trump drama

no distinction between trump’s personal advantage and what he does as president

prospect of millions dying in US is serioisly discussed

wild exhortations to mingle.

embattled, bieseged. encircle. by lies.

physical extinction

reason fights for survival

sacrifice of doctors and nurses. story of survival due to them. unlimited pride in them.

righteous. legitimate. where should sympathies lie?

plenitude of health. multi ethnic identity

world community scorns trump. smaller, poorer have done manifestly better

be on your guard against a philosophy that reason is bogus.

lineal descent of obscurantism. field of collective imbecility.  peril

opportunity for some companies

inferiority of US healthcare system. finance.

civilised conscience cannot accept it. rehabilitation

shall not allow to continue

obliterate trumpism. no compromise.

world community. accommodate US. fill expresison fo trumps personality –

inundate hispitals.

lockdown desotry national personality

withdraw his lies. authentic statements

ceasfire with liberal media.

victims of aggression.

permanent and agreed strcutrue- truth. evidence.

fundamentalism. modify a few things? pray for cure en masse

peace of the world. issue. iran/. martyred by aggressions. mutilated.

security system. treaties. START. JCPOA

attachement to truth or honesty. problem with peace

rational treatment of neuralfgic issues.

war exploded. in conformoty with intl law/

build peace. reconstructing conditions that caused war.

nationhood of iran. mysterious claims of breaking the deal

boundaries of israel. unilateral dictation and force.

shall not negotuate. sanctity of agreements. mutual co existence. regional co operation. commerce.

social problems. economic predicament. misery. peace

solutions. does not care.

coming weeks obstacles. disease. second wave, unemployment

unacceptance of reason and truth.

vigour in economy. hope burns bright.

iran only because trump tore up agreement. can they reach new agreement

devote attention to domestic woes. change the script. deadlock with iran


no greater fallacy to believe that coroan will go away

cancelled by him wanting it to be

moral imperative to solve disease. vital. solitary problem. federal framework is there for this. in point of fact national emergency. total authority. in contradciciton of the constitution

shared responsibiltu.our stockpile  jared kushner. americans live in states

democrat. previous wisdom.

mandate to drain the swamp. help the working class. bring back jobs. peace

invalidate truth.

immemorial attachment to reason.

withdrawl from middle east. old traditiomn of short victorious little war. no progressive policy.

maintenance of rancorous and sterile quarrel. havoc inflicted on middle east.

hatred raised. hopes kindled. reconcicl. harmony’ . tension is deep

ovations for stoking animosity. appreciative. love a good hate

deficines thrown into sharep rellief contras obama

academic rostrum. pellucid prose.

alluring pastures of academe. deservedly lauded as an icon.

trump causing the hecatomb. no end in sight’

prominent and central role in causing disease to spread

major preoccupaiton re election

scientiic communbity ahs not effect on his thoyght; outer margin

intellecutal presitge loathed. egg heads why there

not even a disctrene measure of literacy. fatal disadbatgeh in politics reasgion, bush sneru

haervard yard.  bush juniour.

issues distorted by saying it i bias.

against freed soicusuon. marginal manifdtation of anti enlighhtmenetn bigotyr,

enemy of free speech. enmies of the people.

history teaches us that society needs  free exprresison fo opinion and dissent,.

universal conscience gripped by coroanvirus.

trump does not understand his role. trumpsts uncritca of him . unformy against truth


media duty to ensure dialogue on great issyues . tolerabce.,



The Indian Mutiny



The situation

In 1857 many Indian soldiers turned against their British officers. This event is known to some as the Indian Mutiny. Most in India prefer to call it the First War of Independence or the First War of National Liberation.

In the 19th century most of India was either directly or indirectly under British rule. The Honourable East India Company (EIC) had its capital at Calcutta (Kolkata in modern spelling). Calcutta is in Bengal: a province in the east of India. The Company owned huge amounts of farm land. It charged rents and collected taxes. The EIC made money from cultivating jute, opium, tea and other cash crops. Opium was legally sold for recreational purposes in India, the UK and other lands.

The EIC had its own army and navy.  The EIC’s army had Indians as ordinary soldiers and white British officers. The EIC was licensed by the British Government. Every 20 years the UK Government passed a new regulating act. Each Regulating Act would require the EIC to do certain things and to refrain from doing others.

Some Britons in India called India ‘Company Land’ and jokingly said they were working for John Company.

The British Army was also in India but there were only a few regiments. This was in addition to the EIC’s army. Some Britons had made fortunes in the EIC and then sailed home to the British Isles. In Great Britain and Ireland some of these men forged political careers. That is why the UK Government took an increasing interest in Indian affairs.

Under the EIC India was divided into three mega provinces known as ‘presidencies’. These were Bombay Presidency which everything from Mumbai north and included most of the western half of North India. Bombay Presidency stretched right to the border with Afghanistan. The capital was Bombay (Mumbai).

Bengal Presidency includes what is now West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Nagaland, Bangladesh, Uttar Pradesh and Orissa. The capital was Calcutta (Kolkata). The name lives on in Presidency College in Kolkata.

Then there was Madras Presidency which was South India. Its capital was Madras (now called Chennai). Britons often called Madras by the name Fort St George after the name of the fort they built there.

Strictly speaking each presidencies army was separate. But they were all EIC armies.

Within each presidency many districts were directly governed by district commissioners. A district commissioner was a white Briton. There were also 585 princely states. A princely state was ruled by a rajah, maharajah, khan, gaekwad or whatever the title was of the Indian ruler. Britons called all these rulers ‘princes’ collectively rather than list all the different Indian titles.  These princely states had a co-operative relationship with the EIC. The princely states had their own armies and in some cases navies. A prince ruled his fiefdom as he saw fit so long as he did not upset the EIC too much. He had to agree to only have diplomatic relations via the British and recognise the ultimate authority of the British. In return he would receive military assistance. Indian princely states had fought each other for centuries. The people were glad that this had been brought to an end. In the west India had been invaded by Afghanistan many times. In the east she had fought Burma (Myanmar). Pirates had plagued the seas.

The Mughal Empire was still theoretically extant. Its capital was at Delhi. However, the Mughal Empire was a shadow of its former self.  At the apogee this empire had ruled from Afghanistan to the border of Burma. Its domain has stretched from the Tibetan frontier to Tamil Nadu. By 1857 the Mughal Emperor ruled little beyond his capital city. Therefore he was known as the King of Delhi. To call him an ’emperor’ seemed ludicrous. The Mughals were Persian speaking Muslims.

Some Indians grumbled about excessive taxation. The EIC had a monopoly on the lucrative opium trade. This was mostly sold to China.

Christian missionaries were increasingly active in India. Only 1% of people in British India converted to the Christian faith. But some Indians resented Christian evangelisation. A rumour spread abroad that the British were trying take away the faiths of Hinduism and Islam.

EIC soldiers were obliged to listen to Christian sermons in a few cases. Many were suspicious that the British were plotting to deprive Indians of their religions. Most people were intensely religious in the 19th century.

Some Britons had a conceit of themselves. There were a few who looked down their noses at the people of India.

In the 18th century there were very few British women in India. British men marrying Indian women was commonplace. Those of mixed stock were called Anglo-Indians. Britons in India whether married to Indians or not tended to socialise with Indians and adopt some Indian customs and learn Indian languages. Some of them were attracted to Indian culture and a few were in awe of it. There was little sense of racial or cultural superiority.

In the 19th century more British women came to India. British men then overwhelmingly chose to marry women of their own nationality. There was no law against interracial marriage but it was very much disapproved of. There started to be a gulf between Britons and Indians. There started to be a critical mass of Britishers in India. They began to keep themselves to themselves. Some Britons expressed disdain for Indian culture. Some British soldiers declined to learn even a few words of any Indian tongue. British men expected to be addressed as ‘sahib’ (master) and British women as ‘memsahib’ (lady) by any Indian.

White supremacy was advanced as a theory in the 19th century. Some whites including Britons honestly thought they were better than non-whites. The white supremacists claimed that whites were lionhearted as well as clever which is why they were destined to rule other races. These racists forgot that not long before India had been much more advanced than Europe. All across the world whites won, won and won. Whites ruled most of Africa and Asia. The USA was the only advanced country outside Europe and it was mostly white. Because whites had better military technology they started to fool themselves into believing that they were better than non-whites in every way.

The EIC promulgated the doctrine of lapse. This stated that is a ruler died without a male heir then the crown lapsed.  Previously a prince had been allowed to adopt a son. The EIC said an heir had to be an heir male of your body. The princely state would come under direct British rule. In the 1850s some Indian princely stated started to be absorbed into the zone under direct British control. Some Indians resented this. They felt allegiance towards the princely dynasty.

The army of the EIC recruited Hindus of the Brahmin and Kshatriya castes. They did not wish to serve overseas. They said that to cross ”the dark waters” would cause them to lose caste. To traditional Hindus caste was all. The EIC had acquired land in Malaysia and Singapore. The Company wanted its soldiers to serve in these lands. Though it was possible to travel overland from India to Malaysia it was far faster by ship. Some Hindus dreaded the idea of being outcaste. A few suspected that this was a British plot to make them convert to Christianity. If the Britons broke the caste of Brahmins or Kshatriyas these people would be made dalits (untouchables). The dalits are outside the caste system. They were despised by most Hindus and had to do filthy jobs. Rather than be outcaste people might elect to convert to the Christian faith. It seemed like a dastardly plot to Christianise India.

EIC soldiers had been paid extra to serve in Burma. Then it was announced they would no longer receive an additional allowance for this. This caused discontent.

The Enfield Rifled Musket was invented in 1853. This was a new type of gun. It was called ‘Enfield’ after the London Borough where it was manufactured.

In 1857 a new cartridge was introduced. To use it the soldier had to bite open a greased paper cartridge to get the gunpowder out.

A rumour got around that the cartridge was greased with the fat of pigs or cows. No Muslim would touch pork. No Hindu would ever ingest beef. One EIC official circulated a memorandum saying that the new cartridge was bound to provoke a hugely adverse reaction therefore it should not be issued. His sage counsel was disregarded. Indians would think this was something sacrilegious.

  1. What is the Indian Mutiny usually called in India?
  2. Which year did it take place?
  3. How many presidencies were there in India?
  4. Why did Britons start to distance themselves from Indian in the 19th century? five marks
  5. What is white supremacism? Five marks
  6.  Which Hindu castes were allowed into the EIC Army?
  7. What was controversial about the Enfield Rifled Musket?


In March 1857 a soldier named Mangal Pandey told his comrades that he was fed up to the back teeth of the British Raj. He declared his intention to rebel against his British officers. Some Indians reported this to their officers. British officers arrived to arrest Pandey. He tried to shoot them. The Britons ordered their Indian sepoys to restrain Pandey. All but one refused to do so. But they did not intervene to help Pandey. Sepoy Pandey was arrested. He was found guilty of mutiny and attempted murder. He was hanged. Thereafter the British called all rebels ‘Pandey’. There is a fictionalised film about him called Mangal Pandey.

A story did the rounds that the recent war against Russia had killed all but 100 000 Britons. The British were so few that they could easily be thrashed.

Trouble was brewing in Meerut. This town was home to the largest garrison in India. There were 4 000 Indian troops and 4 000 Britons there.

British officers assured their Indian troops that the cartridges were greased with fat from goats and chickens. Indians did not object to eating these beasts.

At Meerut cartridges were issued to sepoys. They refused to bite them. Some British officers offered a concession. The soldiers could tear the cartridges with their fingers instead. This was also impermissible to a  strict Hindu or a strict Muslim. For refusing to obey orders 85 soldiers were charged with insubordination. They were sentenced to 10 years hard labour.

As the 85 soldiers were dragged off to prison their cursed their comrades who had not come to their aid. Indians who had not mutinied were shamed for being so craven as to obey these immoral orders and to disgrace their faiths. The 85 has served the British valiantly for years. Some British officers were sympathetic. They felt guilty that their stalwart soldiers had been treated with undue harshness. These conscience stricken Britons promised to intercede for their men and to seek the reduction of these sentences.

There was muttering in the ranks. Many sepoys were irate about what they felt were a collection of injustices. There had been growing disaffection for years. But the cartridge was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Some of the sepoys resolved to free their comrades from prison. Some sepoys were still faithful to the British. They informed the Britishers about the plot. However, the British officers took no action.

There had been a British garrison in Meerut for decades. British soldiers wandered around unarmed in their free time. They felt very safe and relaxed there.

On 10 May all hell broke loose – from a British perspective. British soldiers walking in the market were set upon and killed by Indian civilians with knives. Some sepoys stormed the prison and rescued their incarcerated comrades. They then attacked the barracks housing the British soldiers and slew some.

Some Indian sepoys honoured their oath to the EIC and fought against the mutineers. A few mutineers wanted to kill even British civilians. Some Indian gallantly hid their British friends. But if an Indian was caught concealing a Briton for the mutineers then that Indian was put to death. Indian Christians were killed in some cases as they were rightly perceived as being on the side of the EIC.

  1. Why was Mangal Pandey executed?
  2. What does EIC stand for?
  3. Why did rebels often kill Indian Christians?
  4. At which town was the first outbreak of mutiny?
  5. What is a sepoy?

Restoring the Mughal Empire

The mutineers then marched to Delhi some 40 miles south. They went to the King of Delhi: Bahadur Shah Zafar. The name Bahadur Shah means ‘brave king.’  It turned out to be a misnomer. The mutineers told the king what they had done. They called upon him to endorse it and to proclaim himself Mughal Emperor. He was very reluctant to do so. He was unsure whether to believe everything he was hearing. The mutiny might be a small local affair. The king’s writ did not run much further than Delhi’s city limits. Could this rebellion really succeed? The Mughal Empire had a peace treaty with the EIC. Was it wise to break this? The EIC had not done anything wrong to the Mughals for decades. The Mughal Empire was so feeble that almost no one ever used the term ‘Mughal Empire’.

On May 16 Bahadur Shah Zafar was cajoled against his better judgment into signing a proclamation reasserting his title as Emperor of India. Many rallied to his banner. The British were staggered to see that he genuine commanded loyalty. For decades they had treated him and his forbears as a powerless anachronism. Even some Hindus professed their allegiance to Bahadur Shah as Badshah i Hind (emperor of India). The British were astonished by this since they assumed most Hindus detested the oppressive Mughals who had desecrated hundreds of Hindu mandirs and reduced Hindus to dhimmi status: making them pay extra high taxes.

The emperor had coins minted. Distributing coinage with his name on it was an indication of sovereignty.

The British in Delhi and their Indian supporters were killed. Some Indians hid their British friends to save their lives.

The mutineer commanders soon began squabbling. Bahadur Shah muttered, ”soon the British will be hanging me.”

Not all the mutineers wanted the Mughal Empire back. But even for those who disliked it the emperor was the only central authority other than the British.  The mutineers had to have someone to rally around. The British liked to remind the Hindu majority that previous Mughal emperors had cruelly persecuted the Hindus. Babur, Aurangzeb and other Mughals dynasts had destroyed hundreds of Hindu temples building mosques in their place. By contrast the British boasted that they had never demolished a single Hindu temple or a single mosque.

The news spread like wildfire to other EIC garrisons. Some British commanders knew that their regiments were disaffected. The unit would then be told to hand in its weapons. Once this was done the regiment would be disbanded. These men were then dispersed. But some later joined the rebels. In one place the EIC soldiers who had been disarmed were fired upon by the British soldiers.

Some British officers were convinced that their men were steadfast to them. In some cases British officers even moved into a barrack room with their men and slept in the same room to prove their utter trust in their subordinates. This trust was mostly repaid.

The princely stated of Oudh (pronounced ‘Awadh’) had been abolished on 4 years earlier.  It had been absorbed into a province under direct British administration. Many people in Oudh disliked the dissolution of their state and yearned for its re-establishment. They had heartfelt loyalty for their former royal family. They therefore rose in revolt against the British interlopers.

Lieutenant Colonel Neill marched his men through the Ganges Plain. If his suspected civilians were aiding the rebels he had them hanged. Dozens of innocent people were put to death on his orders.

  1. What was the name of the King of Delhi?
  2. What title did he resume in 1857?
  3. Why were people in Oudh usually anti-British?
  4. Why was Bahadur Shah hesitant about proclaiming himself emperor? Five marks
  5. Why did the British do to EIC regiments of dubious loyalty?


There was a large British garrison at Kanpur ( then spelt ‘Cawnpore’). Kanpur is in what is now called Uttar Pradesh in north central India. It was an is an overwhelmingly Hindu and Hindi speaking area. In those days it was known as the United Provinces. General Wheeler was in command. Unusually for the era, Wheeler was married to an Indian. He had a close relationship with a local potentate named Nana Sahib. Wheeler was confident in the fidelity of his Indian soldiers. However, mutineers closed in and besieged Cawnpore in June 1857. The city is now spelt ‘Kanpur’. Wheeler was trapped in the city with thousands of people British soldiers and civilians as well as pro-British Indians. Nana Sahib took the side of the rebels.

On 27 June an agreement was reached with Nana Sahib. The rebels would allow safe passage to some of the people in the city. Wounded soldiers, women and children would be evacuated by boat to Allahabad. The defenders of the city were very low on food so agreed. Those being evacuated were allowed to take guns. The majority of defenders of the city remained in Kanpur.

As the evacuees approached the river the rebels demanded that the Indian soldiers among the British party be separated from the others. The pro-British Indian soldiers were duly separated from the rest. What was to happen to these pro-British soldiers? Were they going to be killed?

What happened next is a matter of dispute. Did some British soldier want to save his Indian comrade and so opened fire on the rebels? Or did the rebels start shooting? In the end the wounded British soldiers and their Indian allies were all killed.

The rebels took the women and children hostage. They were not allowed to proceed to Allahabad. The civilians were held hostage for a couple of weeks. Then the rebel commander ordered his men to kill the civilians. The rebels refused saying that it would be an act unworthy of an Indian solider. As no Indian solider would commit this crime the commander found some local butchers who agreed to do so.

The slaying of the civilians and of British and Indian soldiers despite the promise of safe passage incensed British opinion. Thereafter the British and their Indian confederates had a policy of giving no quarter to the enemy.

The rebels regarded pro-British Indians are hirelings. If they fell into rebel hands the Indian loyalists met no mercy.

In September Kanpur was relieved. British arrived were marched past the remains of British civilians who had been killed. The British officers reasoned that this would rouse a fury in their troops who would then be willing and even eager to kill their enemies.

Rebels who were taken prisoner were taken the Bibighar – the house where the civilians had been slain. The unfortunate rebels were made to eat pork or beef. In some cases they were forced to lick human blood. They were then executed by being blown from cannon. Under the Mughals this was a punishment for rebellion. Some Hindus believed this deprived them of reincarnation.

Oudh had been annexed only in 1856. The people of Oudh disliked this and wanted their state back. Lucknow was a large city there and it was garrisoned with British troops and their Indian allies.

  1. Why did Wheeler think there would be no rebellion at Kanpur?
  2. What went wrong with the evacuation of wounded soldiers and civilians from Kanpur? Five marks
  3. How did the EIC and British execute rebels?


Sir John Lawrence and his men at Lucknow were besieged. With the hundreds of British soldiers were hundreds of Indians who remained true to them and 1 000 civilians. The defenders of Lucknow resisted for 3 months. Then a relief column came. Sir Henry Havelock reached Lucknow with his soldiers. But they were too few to break the siege. In the end they joined the defenders of the city.

It was not until November that a large relief column arrived. The rebels who had been investing the city withdrew. They branded the pro-British Indians as quislings.

Some princely states threw in their lot with the British at the outset. As the British notched up more and more victories then more princely stated declared their undying fidelity to the British Crown. They wanted to be on the winning side. They saw that the penalty for rebellion was severe indeed.

The Sikhs had been bested by the EIC only a few years earlier in the Second Anglo-Sikh War. The Punjab had been absorbed into the British Raj. Some of it was under direct British control but there were also some princely states. No Sikh wished to see a revival of the Mughal Empire which had striven to extirpate the Sikh faith. Therefore the Sikhs backed the East India Company.

  1. Who was the British commander at Lucknow?
  2. Why did the Sikhs side with the British?

The Rani of Jhansi

In June 1857 the rebellion spread to Jhansi. This state had been annexed only in 1853. The Rana had died that year without a son. He had an adopted son but the British would not accept the adoptee as heir. The British went by the rule that pertained in the United Kingdom. A king could only be succeeded by an heir male of his body. An illegitimate son did not count. Britons said that a son born of concubine was born outside of wedlock.

Some British civilians fled to Jhansi Fort. The fort was stormed and the civilians were killed. The British held the Rani of Jhansi responsible for this even though she had not ordered it.

The Rani was the queen of her people. Her name was Lakshmibai and she is seen as a heroine to Indians to this day. In those times men and women had totally separate roles. Despite this she bravely assumed military command of her soldiers. She led them into battle.

The EIC Army retook Jhansi in 1858. The Rani was killed in a battle shortly afterwards. She was the only senior rebel commander to die in action.

  1. Why did Jhansi rise up against the British?
  2. Why is Lakshmibai exalted by many Indians today as a superlative womanhood?

The Siege of Delhi

There were British soldiers in Delhi when the rebellion broke out. The British managed to blow up some ammunition dumps to stop the ammo getting into rebel hands. British soldiers and civilians then fled Delhi. Those who did not were killed.

On 1 July the British and their Indian allies approached Delhi to lay siege to it. As they did so the EIC forces hanged dozens of civilians they claimed had abetted the rebels. One man who was seized and interrogated was a Kashmiri Hindu named Mr Nehru. He was the grandfather of Jawaharlal Nehru. Luckily for him Mr Nehru happened to speak a little English which was very rare in India back then. He managed to delay matters and talk them out of hanging him by many effusive expressions of pro-British sentiment. Many others were not so fortunate.

The defenders of Delhi were more numerous than the attackers. The British column approaching Delhi hanged many civilians whom it suspected of assisting the rebels. The British and EIC column was led by an Irishman named John Nicholson. The British and their Indian confederates. had really bounced back. The Mutiny had erupted only 8 weeks earlier.

The attackers did not manage to surround the city for several weeks. The defenders gallantly counterattacked several times.

Finally British siege artillery arrived. It pummelled the city walls and knocked out the rebel artillery. At the end of August more reinforcement arrived for the British: Sikhs and Pakhtuns. Pakhtuns are Pashtun speaking Muslims from the North-West Frontier (i.e. modern day Pakistan). Up until this point the defenders could have simply left the city. But by late August they were surrounded.

The assault on Delhi began.  John Nicholson led from the front. He insisted on leading the charge to inspire his men with his valour. The British and their allies burst into the city at Kashmir Gate. Many of the attackers were killed including John Nicholson. The attackers were almost driven off. But they persisted and managed to get to the Red Fort.

Nicholson is now honoured by a statue at his old school. This is contentious. Some believed that it should be removed.

The attackers deliberately killed hundreds of Indian civilians. The assailants pillaged freely. Bahadur Shah and his sons were taken prisoner at Humayun’s Tomb.

The British troops escorting the emperor’s sons Mirza Mughal and Mirza Khazir Sultan to the rear saw a group of enemy soldiers coming close. The British officer in charge was William Hodson. Hodson was loathe to kill prisoners of war (POWs). However, he feared that in a coming clash with the enemy his high value prisoners might escape or be rescued. Hodson ordered Mirza Mughal and Mirza Khazir Sultan to be shot dead. It was done. If these men had been freed it would have been a boost to rebel morale and provided them with leaders. Britons justified to kill these two men since they had betrayed their British allies.

Shah Bahadur was sent into exile in Burma (Myanmar) where there were almost no Muslims. Many Britishers said he should have been executed. He lived out his days composing mournful Urdu verses. His surviving son in India changed his name and lived in obscurity. Only in 2007 did a documentary identify who his descendants were. They were living modestly in South India.

Retaking Delhi was a huge psychological fillip for the British and their Indian adherents. It was a body blow to the morale of the rebels.

In November 1857 the British felt secure enough to offer amnesty to any rebel who had not killed a civilian. Not many trusted such assurances of mercy.

  1. Why did Britons in Delhi explode an ammunition store?
  2. Who was the British commander leading the assault on Delhi?
  3. Why were the emperor’s sons killed?
  4. What happened to the last emperor?
  5. How did the British and EIC armies behave in Delhi? Five marks

The next year

The Viceroy of India was Lord Canning the son of the late Prime Minister George Canning. Lord Canning urged his troops to be merciful. Some of the contemptuously called him ‘clemency Canning.’ Lord Canning had only arrived in the subcontinent a few months earlier.

There were only a hundred miles of railway in India at the time. The British and pro-British Indians had not  been able to use it much. Likewise, the telegraph had only been installed in India a few years earlier. Nevertheless the few places with telegraph facilities were useful in conveying messages for the British Raj.

When the year 1858 dawned it became plain that the British and their Indian supporters were winning. The King of Nepal threw in his lot with the British.  With British agreement he dispatched his army to India to repress the rebellion. The Nepalese Army was very useful to their British allies in defeating the insurgency in Oudh.

The EIC had beaten Nepal in the 1814 Nepal War. The Ochterlony Monument in Kolkata commemorates this. Nepal used to be double its current size. Simla used to be part of Nepal for instance. After 1814 the British and Nepalese had a sympathetic relationship.

Some of the rebels fled to Nepal in 1858. The king ordered them to be arrested and handed over to the British authorities. The Britishers were grateful to the Nepalese for their endeavour in quelling the revolt. The British even returned some of the land they had seized from Nepal in 1814.

Some rebels continued to resist in the wilderness. The British and their Indian supporters find this difficult to mop up. The rebellion was not finally snuffed out until November 1858. Seditionists were silent.

The EIC was dissolved in 1858. The UK Government started to assume direct control of India. Queen Victoria assured Indians that they could rise to any position in the administration.

In future the British authorities took care not to offend Indian religious sensibilities. They ended the doctrine of lapse. Regiments from ethnic groups that had rebelled were disbanded. In future the Indian Army relied more heavily on the Sikhs and the Gurkhas (Nepalese). The British did not let Indians have any artillery after 1857. They never entirely trusted their Indian allies.

Some Britons thought that the rebellion was more Muslim than Hindu. Delhi started to have a Hindu majority for the first time in centuries.

Much of India was completely placid. South India was almost entirely docile. In Bengal there was almost no fighting. In Gujarat there was very little fighting. The Punjab and North-West Frontier was supportive of the British. In Maharashtra and Sindh the situation was tranquil.

From and India nationalist perspective one of the most heartening was that there has excellent Hindu-Muslim. However, by no means all Muslims or all Hindus supported the rebellion even in the affected areas. Almost no Sikhs or Christians backed the revolt.

The British had a lucky escape in that the Afghans did not choose this most propitious moment to attack. If they had done so it would have spelt finis for the British Raj. The British had even considered handing some territory to the Afghans to placate them. However, it was noted that the Afghans had broken solemn oaths sworn on the Holy Koran when they made a deal with the British in 1839. The Afghans were not to be trusted.

The rebellion only affected north central India. If every region had risen up then the British would have been scrambling for their ships.

There were 310 000 Indians in the EIC’s Army. There were 45 000 British troops in India. Only about a third of the EIC  Army rebelled. There were armies of princely states that rebelled against the British. There were also ordinary men who were not part of any army who grabbed any weapon (even a farm tool) and fought against the British.

At least 100 000 Indian combatants were killed. Tens of thousands of Indian civilians were killed. Most of them were killed by the British and their Indian followers. A small number of Indian civilians were put to death by the rebels.

The rebellion failed due to a lack of co-ordination and leadership. There was no overall strategy and poor communication. Bahadur Shah was uninspiring and lacked self-assurance. Having launched one mutiny it was difficult for the rebels not to suffer another. Discipline broke down. The Rebel Army suffered from desertion. After May 1857 some rebels simply deserted their units and went home to their villages especially after they had gathered some loot. This desertion accelerated in late 1857 when it looked like the rebels were being vanquished.

Rebels had radically different visions of a post-British India. Some cared only about their state. Some wanted total independence for their state. Some cared only about their religion. Some wanted the Mughal Empire back and others were dead against it.

No Briton or Indian loyalist was ever punished for killing a civilian in 1857.

  1. When did the rebellion end?
  2.  What role did Nepal play? (Five marks)
  3. Which regions of India were peaceful?
  4. Why did some princely states fight on the British side?
  5. Why did the rebels lose? (Five marks)


From an Indian nationalist perspective the co-operation between Hindus and Muslims was most encouraging. But national identity was underdeveloped. Many Indians regarded themselves are primarily Hindu or primarily Muslim rather than Indian. People identified with their princely state or region. There was little sense of being Indian. Being a Rajput, Gujarati, Punjabi or Bengali matter far more to most people than being Indian.

The telegraph and railways had only just started. These were to bring India together over the coming decades.

Local identity played a key role in the rebellion. People often rebelled because of local grievances such as the dissolution of a state. States with pro-British princes did not rebel. The rebellion was geographically circumscribed. It did not spread outside north central India. The British were never so enfeebled that adjacent independent countries such as Nepal and Afghanistan decided to enter the fray.

The rebels are not usually called freedom fighters in India. Any Indian who took the side of the British is deprecated. He is regarded as having sold out his nation for a mess of potage.

Historians are unsure how planned the rebellion was. Was it spontaneous? However, there is little evidence that it was planned. It is hard to know because most people were illiterate in 1857. Many rebels were killed. Those who survived had to keep quiet about it for their own safety. Therefore there are few documents from the rebel side. If there was a plan it was naturally clandestine and therefore went unrecorded.

A key historiographical debate is how religiously inspired the rebellion was. Was it solely or mainly about animal fat on cartridges? To what extent did other political or economic issues play a role? There were some underlying discontents but it took sacrilege to catalyse this into open warfare.

A dream of Portuguese red king


couple of dasy ago saw 2 females speakin angolan portuguese at willesdent junc. I guessed that was it. In revery I was with red king. He asked me to say things in Portuguese. did not know the words. made it u[p. but he found me out. he spoke lusitanian better than I did. How soi> He is a dimwit with the best will in the world

I feel an impostor. In relation to jurisprudence ? Pretensions to wear the wig. what else can it signdiy? Desire to reunite with the famiyl?

Indira Gandhi. super advanced course lesson 10


super advanced course lesson 10


In 1917 Indira Priyadarshini Nehru was born at Allahabad, India. Her father was Jawaharlal Nehru who was a barrister and a luminary in the Congress Party. Her mother was Kamala Nehru. Indira’s grandfather Motilal was also a barrister and had been leader of Congress.

The family were Hindus and had come from Kashmir a century earlier. They were fluent in Hindi and English.

Indira was born several years after her parents wed. She was a much longed for child. Her middle name means ‘dear to the sight.’ She was given the best education money could buy. She grew up in a large and commodious house with extensive gardens and several servants. She was cognizant that not everyone was so blessed as her. Some people in that city lived in abject penury.

In the 1920s her family started to oppose the British Raj outright. Her father and grandfather were frequently arrested. They were fined for civil disobedience. They refused to pay these fines. Policemen came to the house to confiscate goods to the value of the fine. As the police tried to take away the furniture the toddler Indira punched them.

Indira totally agreed with the Congress Party. Her family decided not to buy any British products. They decided that they would also destroy all the British made objects they owned. In public in held a bonfire and burnt their pricey British clothes. In solidarity Indira burnt her treasured dolls.

In the 1920s Kamala was plagued by ill health. She gave birth to a boy who died within days.

In the 1930s Kamala died. Indira’s relationship with her father became even closer. Being an only child was highly unusual back then.

As a teenager she met Ferozevarun Gandhi who proposed marriage to her. She turned him down because she was of legal age but she considered herself too young.

In time Indira was sent to school at Badminton, England. She was fairly scholarly.

In 1935 Indira went to Oxford University. She attended Somerville College. This was an all female college. She joined the Labour Club. Indira was attracted to the UK Labour Party because they were sympathetic to Indian independence.

Whilst in the UK she was dating Ferozevarun Gandhi. He was a Parsee which is a very minor Indian religion. He was studying at the London School of Economics (LSE). Indira and Ferozevarun visited Paris together.

Indira struggled with Latin at Oxford. She soon dropped out.

Ferozevarun and Indira sailed to India. They became engaged. In 1942 they married in Allahabad.  The marriage was conducted according to Hindu usages. Thereafter she was known as Mrs Gandhi.

Indira soon became pregnant. Her husband was arrested for anti-colonial agitation. Indira then gave birth to her firstborn Rajiv in 1944.  In 1945 Ferozevarun was set free. In 1946 their second child Sanjay was born.

In 1947 India became independent. Indira was in the Congress Party. India granted women political equality upon independence.

In the 1950s Indira entered politics. She rose rapidly. Her husband worked as a journalist.

Indira traveled abroad with her father. She and her sons sailed with the prime minister to Indonesia for the Bandung Conference.

By the mid 1950s Indira and her husband were estranged. They lived separately but did not divorce. There was a stigma surrounding divorce at the time.

Indira sent her sons to boarding school. They attended the Doon School which is in Dehra Dun. Dehra Dun is in the hills north of Delhi. The Doon School is one of India’s elite schools and was founded by an Eton schoolmaster in the 1930s.

In 1960 Ferozevarun died. Indira never remarried.

By the early 1960s Indira was a cabinet minister. Her father was visibly ailing.

In 1964 Nehru died. He was replaced as prime minister by Lal Bahadur Shastri.

In 1965 Shastri died in the Soviet Union. Some suspect that he was poisoned.

Indira was made prime minister. She was the second woman in the world to become prime minister. She said she wanted to advance women’s rights and abolish pauperism.

Mrs Gandhi tacked towards the USSR. The prime minister believed that India needed to take advantage of all that the Soviets had to offer.  She was not communist but was not anti-communist either. I P Gandhi scorned American rhetoric about democracy when the US propped up so many pernicious dictatorships. She excoriated the United States for fighting in Vietnam. The USA had decided to back Pakistan a religiously discriminatory military dictatorship over India which was one of the freest countries on earth. Indira visited the USSR several times and lauded it for its achievements.

Indira continued to try to help lower caste people. She believed positive discrimination must be used to help these people. She was also eager to advance women. Mrs Gandhi outlawed dowries. That is because some Hindus believe that a bride’s family must offer a dowry. If a woman’s family did not have enough money then she could not wed. The amount for dowries went up and up. It became ruinous. Mr Gandhi said this system was pernicious and ruined families. A woman who did not wed was scorned by some.

Under Mrs G the licence raj continued. To produce or import things people needed licences. This was intended to ensure there was no useless overproduction. The needs of the poor would be provided for. She did not want wealth leaving India with people buying many costly foreign manufactures. She pursued a socialist economic policy.

Some in Congress were unhappy with her. Some of the old guard were envious because they wanted the top job. They regarded her as inexperienced.

In 1971 she played a blinder against Pakistan. Hundreds of thousands of refugees from East Pakistan fled to India because the Pakistani Army was slaughtering civilians. When the sympathy of the world was clearly with India Mrs G ordered an invasion. The Pakistani Army in East Pakistan was smashed in short order.

Indians were jubilant. Bangladesh was free. Mrs G’s popularity was at its apogee. She held an election and won a resounding victory.

Her foes accused her of having a conceit of herself. She was depicted by cartoonists as Queen Victoria. Perhaps victory went to her head and she was haughty.

Sanjay Gandhi entered Parliament. Rajiv was not attracted to politics. He flew for Air India.

The Government of India wanted to reduce the population. A policy of vasectomies was introduced. Sometimes it was forced on men and this was illegal. Sanjay was involved in implementing this policy.  Some people left Congress over this.

In 1974 the oil crisis struck. A legal challenge deposed her as an MP. She declared a state of emergency.

The hike in oil prices hit India very hard. It became costly to generate electricity. It became too expensive to transport food and other goods by truck. Therefore the price of foodstuffs increased.

Mrs G met Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher was leader of the Conservative Party. She was nervous. Mrs G advised the woman to be more self-assured or she would never make it as PM.

In 1976 Sanjay died in an air crash. Indira was distraught. Her other son Rajiv agreed to enter the political arena.

In 1977 the state of emergency ended. Elections were held. Mrs G was defeated. Congress went into opposition.

In 1979 another election was held. Indira’s party was known as Congress (Indira) to distinguish it from other parties that used the name Congress. Congress (Indira) won a clear victory. Mrs G was back as prime minister.

Mrs G had to contend with an insurgency in the Punjab. She had to order the army to be more pro active.

Indira flew around the world. She was respected by statesmen far and wide. She maintained a cordial relationship with the West as well as the USSR. Mrs G visited the United States and the UK. She also hosted the Queen of the United Kingdom on a state visit to India.

In June 1984 the prime minister ordered the army to defeat the KLF which was holed up in the Golden Temple, Amritsar. This is the holiest site of Sikhism. The army achieved its objective. However, the fighting in the Golden Temple enraged Sikhs.

Some of the PM’s bodyguards were Sikhs. She was advised not to allow Sikh soldiers near her. Some of them might decided to seek revenge for the damage to their holiest site. Mrs G said she trusted her men and would not send the Sikhs away because that would be bigotry.

On 31 October 1984 two Sikh soldiers decided that they would slay the prime minister. Mrs Gandhi was about to give an interview to Peter Ustinov. As they walked across the garden in Safdarjang Road two soldiers shot her. She collapsed. She was rushed to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. However, she died of exsanguination.

One of her assassins was shot dead at the scene. The other was shot and wounded. The wounded man was later judicially executed.

Mrs Gandhi was cremated in Delhi at the customary location for the obsequies for Indian dignitaries. She was succeeded as prime minister by her son Rajiv.


  1. In which year was she born?
  2. In which city was she born?
  3. What was her father’s name?
  4. What faith was the family?
  5. Which school did she attend?
  6. Which British party did she join?
  7. Why did she leave Oxford?
  8. Whom did she marry?
  9. What religion was Ferozvarun?
  10. What were the names of her sons?
  11. Which of her sons was first politically ambitious?
  12. Why was Sanjay unpopular?
  13.  Who was PM before Indira in 1965?
  14. Why did some in Congress dislike Indira?
  15. What year was the victory in East Pakistan?
  16. When did Indira lose an election?
  17. What year did she return as PM?
  18. In which year did she die?
  19. What is your estimation for her? Five marks

a dream of gender


there was a long haired not very feminine looking man. Beside him was a woam who looked similar. Thwere were bith white and had pinchec cvheeks. They were brunettes. This was a ciouple. I could not tell whcih was whuch. was it the same persoN.? Turns out I got the genders the wrong way around.




Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg. The house in which he was born still stands and is open to the public. This Austrian city was ruled by the Archbishop of Salzburg. The city’s name means ‘salt mountain’ because of the salt mines in the mines outside the city. The River Salzch (‘salty’) flows through the city.

The Mozart family were musicians for the archbishop. The Mozarts were Christians of Catholic denomination. It was the 18th century and most people were religious. Wolfgang’s father was a composer for the  prelate. Wolfgang’s middle name Amadeus means ‘love of God’.

Wolfgang was taught music and little else. He had a natural flair for music. But incessant practising meant that he learnt several instruments very fast. He did not go to school. His father kept him at home to teach the boy music non-stop. Wolfgang had several siblings. Most were musical but none were as gifted as he was.

Before long Mozart’s father gave up his job. He took the child around the courts of Europe showing off the boy’s musical accomplishments. They went to London. People paid money to see this little boy play. He also composed music.

Back then the Holy Roman Empire existed. The province where Mozart was born was Upper Austria. This was part of the Holy Roman Empire. The emperor asked Mozart to visit. The child impressed the emperor. In his adulthood Mozart spent most of his life in Vienna close to the emperor.

The Freemasons is a society with strange rituals. Mozart joined this fraternal society. The Catholic Church forbade its communicants from being freemasons. But Mozart did not care. He became disillusioned with the freemasons and their bizarre ceremonies. He left the organisation.

Mozart composed the music for several operas such as The Marriage of Figaro, Escape from the Seraglio, The Magic Flute and Don Giovanni.  Mozart was not the librettist for these. The Magic Flute was a send up of the Freemasons. The Freemasons were unhappy at being ridiculed.

The operas were huge hits. Mozart was lionised but he did not make much money.

W A Mozart married. He had several children. None of them were musically distinguished.

Antonio Salieri was a well known Italian composer in Vienna. Mozart came to know him well and they were friends.

Other non operatic compositions by Mozart include Eine Kleine Nachmusik (a little night music) and his French horn concerto.

Wolfgang was incredibly talented. He was also odd and childish. They say that genius comes with madness. He had a scatological sense of humour. He had been denied a childhood so he remained a child all his life.

Mozart’s financial situation deteriorated. He was a mismanager. He fell ill and died in his 30s. Mozart was buried in an unmarked grave. This was the norm for those who were not nobles in Vienna at the time.

Mozart is one of the most popular composers of all time.

In 1984 Peter Shaffer’s play on Mozart became a film. It was called Amadeus. It was a huge hit.


  1. In which city was Mozart born?
  2. Who was the most important person in Salzburg?
  3. What was Mozart’s father’s job?
  4. Why did Mozart not go to school?
  5. What does his middle name mean?
  6. Why did he travel so much?
  7. Name an opera by him?
  8. Did he write the words for the operas?
  9. Name a non opera composition by him?
  10. Did he marry?
  11. What is your opinion of him? Five sentences.