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The Indian Contingent 9 months 1 week ago #50569

  • David Grant
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2225 Dafadar Bhagwan Singh
1st REGIMENT OF PUNJAB CAVALRY
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India General Service " Waziristan 1894-95 2225 Sowar Bhagwan Singh 1st Punjab Cavalry
India General Service Medal “Punjab Frontier 1897-98” 2225 Sowar Bhagwan Singh 1st Punjab Cavalry
Queen’s South Africa Medal. CC; OFS; Tvl 2225 Lce. Dafadar Bhagwan Singh 1st Punjab Cavalry
King’s South Africa Medal SA 1901; SA 1902 2225 Lce.Dafadar Bhagwan Singh 1st Punjab Cavalry
Indian Army Meritorious Service Medal 2225 Dafadar Bhagwan Singh, 21st Prince Albert Victor's Own Cavalry (Frontier Force)



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Only one squadron of 1st Punjab Cavalry were present for the Waziristan Campaign. Bhagwan Singh may not be entitled to the medal
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The Indian Contingent 7 months 3 weeks ago #51702

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With the sale of the QSA 1669 Sowar Mahd Newaz Khan 15th Bengal Lancers at Lockdale's this weekend, I am prompted to post this. On the roll just below Mahamed Newaz Khan is the name of Mir Allam Khan, one of the petitioners. A glimpse of the post war lives of some of the Indian soldiers that remained in South Africa and their fidelity to the Empire. This from "Indian Opinion" , 1908, the mouth piece of The Mahatma. Gandhi represented legally a few soldiers who had served in the Anglo-Boer War who chose to remain and these cases can be found in the Gandhi papers preserved in Delhi.

The Soldiers’ Petition
The following Petition has been sent to the Right Honourable, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, London
The Petition of the undersigned, representing the Pathans and Punjab resident in the Transvaal, Humbly Sheweth That:-
1. The Petitioners respectfully approach His Majesties’ Government with reference to the Asiatic Law Amendment Act, and the reply given to the Petitioners on the 26th day of March, 1908, in connection, as follows:-
“I have the honour, by direction, to inform you that the Petition enclosed in your letter of the 13th January representing the position of yourselves and others under the Asiatic Registration Act has been received by the Secretary of State for the Colonies. Lord Elgin has requested His Excellency Lord Selbourne to inform you that he has perused the Petition with attention but that, especially in view of the settlement of the difficulties in connection with the registration under the Act, it does not now appear to him to be necessary to take any action with regard to it.”
2. In the Petition to which the above reply was sent, the Petitioners prayed as follows:-
“ His Majesty’s Indian soldiers cannot, consistent with the dignity of a soldier, degrade themselves by being compelled to register in such a manner, and should His Majesty’s Government be unable to obtain just treatment for the King-Emperor’s Indian soldiers in the Transvaal, then they ask as men and British Indian soldiers, who are proud to have risked their lives in the cause of the Empire and have braved the privations of war, to be spared the degradation of imprisonment or deportation, and further wish that the King-Emperor will command that they be shot by Generals Botha and Smuts on one of the battlefields of South Africa, where they have been under fire whilst serving their King-Emperor and the British Empire”
3. As recent events have shown, the settlement to which the reply has fallen through, and the whole of the Indian community is now making representations to His Majesty’s Government for the repeal of the Act, which all Indians were given to understand was part of the compromise.
4. It was because the whole of the Indian Community represented by your Petitioners distrust the compromise, and felt greatly agitated as to the uncertainty as to the repeal, and because the registration by finger prints was accepted by the leaders of the Indian community that some members of the section represented by your Petitioners showed their resentment of the action by resorting to physical violence. Whilst such method of showing resentment cannot be approved by Petitioners, the suspicion entertained by them was evidently well grounded.
5. The position of your Petitioners is briefly as follows:-
(a) Your Petitioners consider the whole spirit of the Asiatic Law Amendment Act No.2 of 1907 to be degrading to anybody coming under it, much more so for soldiers who have been privileged to wear His Majesty’s uniform and who have bled for their sovereign.
(b) Your Petitioners are bound by a solemn oath:
(i) Not to accept the above mentioned Act, and to secure its repeal;
(ii) Never to give their digit impressions in connection with their identification, irrespective of what other members of the Indian community may choose to do.
6. Your Petitioners, in obedience to the advice given by the then Commissioner of Police and other high officials, and on been told that the Act was to be repealed, underwent voluntary registration merely for the sake of peace. Further than this your Petitioners are unable to go. They consider that, by showing an unmanly attitude and accepting degradation in order that they might be able to live in the Colony, they would be extremely un-soldier like.
7. Your Petitioners venture to submit that their uniform and their discharges should be a sufficient passport in any part of the British Empire, and should constitute their complete identification.
8. Your Petitioners do not understand legal subtleties and legal quibbles. They have not studied the Asiatic Act. They are helpless except when they are called upon to fight for their Sovereign. They do not understand English but that little they have been able to garner about the Asiatic Act is sufficient to make them condemn the measure.
9. Your Petitioners, therefore, humbly pray that, in consonance with the assurance given, the Asiatic Act be repealed, and that they be not called upon to submit to any degradation in the way of registration or otherwise. But should His Majesty’s Government be unable to secure such relief, they would repeat their pray that they be shot by Generals Botha and Smuts on one of the battlefields of South Africa, where they have been under fire, whilst serving their King-Emperor and the British Empire. And your Petitioners will ever pray, etc., etc.,
Dated at Johannesburg, this 14th day of September, 1908.
Jamadar Nawab Khan
“ Nakab Gool
“ Mahomed Shah
“ Mir Allam Khan
“ Noord Ali

And previously from the "Star" and reprinted in "Indian Opinion"

Ordered to Leave within 14 Days
There was another big crowd bath outside and in B court this morning, when the two Indians whose cases were postponed when Mr Gandhi and the others were dealt with first, were brought up and charged with contravening the Asiatic Registration Ordinance by not being in procession of a certificate of registration. One or two preliminary cases were taken first, and the best positions in the portion of the court devoted to the public were taken by the ordinary habitués for whom police proceedings seemed to have an extraordinary fascination. The consequence was that the Indians who did not expect the cases in which they were interested to come on before 11 o’clock, were many of them unable to get into the Court, and had to be content with crowding the approaches. Something like a thousand or 1,500 of Mr Gandhi’s compatriots assembled in and around the Court, and a subdued murmur of many voices, perfectly audible in Court, testified to the interest taken in the proceedings by those outside.
A Soldier of the King
Nawab Khan, an ex-soldier of the Indian Army, was charged.
Superintendent Vernon, “B” Division, said that at 10a.m. on December 28, he called upon the accused to produce his certificate of registration under Act 2 1907. He had known the accused for the past twelve months or more. Mr Gandhi did not ask any questions but he put the accused in the Witness box. He examined him as follows:-
You are a Jemadar? – Yes
You came to the Transvaal at the time of the war? – Yes, during the war
Attached to the transport corps? – Yes
What expeditions have you served in? – Burmah, Black Hill, Tirah Expedition (1897) and the Transvaal War.
And were you wounded three times? – Twice I was shot, and once I was cut over the eye.
Your father was attached to Lord Roberts’ staff when he went to Kandahar? – Yes he was Subadar Major.
Witness said he was in charge of the native police on the C.S.A.Railways.
The Magistrate said the evidence did not affect the position.
Mr Gandhi: You have refused to take out registration certificate under the new act? – I will not take it out under the new act.
Will you explain your reason?- Because it would ruin me altogether if I did so.
The Magistrates Comments
Mr Jordan in giving his decision said the accused was not registered and he must register. Since the hearing of the last case on the 28th he had been approached by both Indians and Chinese, and they had informed him that this question of the finger prints and nothing at all to do with their religion, absolutely nothing. In fact he would quote the words of one Indian who had been known to him personally for four years, and who said that if he had twenty finger prints he would put them all on as far as his religion was concerned. Also the same thing had been said to him by Chinamen, and that the whole thing was that they were frightened to register for fear of being molested. They put it to him (Mr Jordan) that the position taken up was absolute nonsense. Mr Jordan added that the accused was a different class of man to the ordinary coolies, the basket wallahs, and he ought to know better than to refuse to register. Accused would have to leave the Colony in fourteen days.
Accused in reply to what the Magistrate had said as to his being a different class to some of his compatriots, said in this matter they were all united. They would leave the country and go to gaol together.
Came with Lord Roberts
Sumander Khan, a Pathan and ex-soldier of the Indian Army, who had also at least one wound to show, was next charged with the same offence.
Superintendent Vernon gave evidence to the effect that the accused could not produce a certificate under the Ordinance, and Mr. Gandhi put the defendant into the box.
In reply to questions by Mr, Gandhi, Sumander Khan said he came across to this Colony with Lord Roberts. He had previously served thirty years in the Indian Army. He was present at the engagement at Paardekop and received a bullet wound in the right thigh. He was an orderly at the Asiatic Office at Pretoria.
You don’t want to submit to this Act? – No.
Have you been frightened by anyone? – No, who will frighten me? If I am hanged even I won’t register.
You have just paid a visit to India? – Yes – about two weeks.
Mr. Jordan: Can you write? – No.
How did you get your pay in India? – I used to make a mark
Did you not put your finger-print? – No
This concluded the evidence.
Mr. Gandhi said the remarks that had fallen from the Bench came as somewhat of a surprise to him. His Worship had stated that some Indian and Chinese had approached him and stated they were afraid to register. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the Court had before it two soldiers who were not likely to be frightened by anybody at all, and in fact the last witness had said that he was not likely to be frightened.
The Magistrate: you know perfectly well, Mr. Gandhi, there is a great deal of difference between the plain tribes and hill tribes; this man belongs to the hill tribes.
Mr. Gandhi said there was a very great difference, but there was no question of fright at all, and if there were any question of fright the arm of the law was long and strong enough to protect the meanest subject in the country.
Mr Jordan: I have no doubt it will be.
Mr. Gandhi said he did think it was futile to suggest that anyone had been frightened into not taking but a registration certificate and as one of the witnesses had said, there was absolutely no question of thumb impression of fingerprints. It was a question that touched the vitals of the community. It was a question of compulsion or a voluntary act.
Mr. Jordan said if Mr. Gandhi liked to hold a meeting outside he could do so.
Mr. Gandhi: The Bench has led the way or otherwise I would have held my peace.
Mr. Jordan: I won’t allow any more. It has nothing to do with the case.
Mr. Gandhi: I do not wish the public to leave the court under the impression that the whole of this fight is in connection with thumb and finger impressions. The whole of this fight is a struggle for liberty.
Mr. Jordan said that both Indian and Chinese had come to him and alleged they were intimidated and were frightened to go and register by a number of people and that was the reason they have for not registering.
An order was made that the accused should leave the Colony within 14 days.
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The Indian Contingent 6 months 2 weeks ago #52412

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On the 4th January on ebay were two Indian "copper" medals and I decided to buy them both despite their condition and the fact that the Delhi dealer could not provide names of the recipients. A two month wait and eventually they arrived today.
The first is to 123 Muleteer Ditta of the Indian Transport Corps entitled to the two clasps Orange Free State at Cape Colony. The second I am still deciphering.

My write up on the Indian Transport Corps is here angloboerwar.com/forum/5-medals-and-awar...ntingent?start=6#135

What is more exciting is that Ditta was a Boer War casualty. His son, Fazl Ahmed was granted a gratuity of Rs 147 from 1st September 1901. (L/AG/26/11/2)

This brings the total of medal to Indian Casualties known to four.

The suspender is of the non-swivel type that I have seen only on one other medal but of the "India" type. angloboerwar.com/forum/5-medals-and-awar...contingent?start=114
Any comment?
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The Indian Contingent 6 months 2 weeks ago #52421

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David
My only comment is that I envy you! The medal may have been battered about, but it did survive, which proves that it was an important item to the people who preserved it long enough for you to recognise its true significance.
Regards
Brett
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The Indian Contingent 6 months 2 weeks ago #52427

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David,

I am pleased they finally arrived in the post.

I have not seen sufficient bronze medals to comment but I am interested in the move to a fixed suspender and how/when this happened.

Well done on your purchases.

Best wishes
David

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The Indian Contingent 6 months 2 weeks ago #52431

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I fear the suspender is a replacement although interesting that who ever repaired it sought out a bronze one. There is no retaining pin. The roll gives no indication of a replacement medal being issued and the naming is consistent with other muleteer medals that I have.


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