Thursday, 13 December 2007

Sepoys & Griffins.

Madras Presidency Soldiers circa 1812

Many people today have an interest in the campaigns and wars fought on the Indian subcontinent, and it is highly probable if you have found this blog, that you are already aware of many of the 19th century campaigns associated with the Raj.

These battles are well known and are well provided with accounts and resources, however what are not nearly so well covered are the battles and campaigns of the earlier 17th and 18th Centuries, which are far less well documented.

My aim in publishing this blog is to try to bring together some of the material that I have found over the past few years, on these lesser known conflicts, and to try to make it available to a wider audience.

If you aware aware of additional sources for information on any of the battles or campaigns that I have included in my blog, I would be very pleased to hear from you.

My interest in these events arises from having many ancestors who took part in these events. Having had my abiding interest in history sparked by visits to my great aunt, and having been spell bound as a kid by family legends, of places and events from that far away land.

Many of the best stories, concerned my great great grandfather Charles James Barton.

Major Charles James Barton, [front row, left], and his brother offices of the Bombay Artillery, circa 1858.

This blog is dedicated to my great great grandfather, and the very many other people who marched across the dusty plains of India, or who struggled up the rain filled ghats.

It is also dedicated to those many thousands of foe, who played such an important part in their homelands history, doing their very best to keep out of their homes and towns, a difficult and dangerous opponent.

I would particularly welcome input from peoples whose ancestors fought so hard against the armies of the East India Company. For this story is incomplete without their side of the story, for we should not forget, that we were taking over other people's lands, and that these poor people were often the innocent victims of these events. This is the story of one the World's first multinationals, and the effects of globalisation. It is very largely the story of one of the first Company Armies.

However, out of strife grew a great personal respect for these brave Indian's.

If we are to avoid the repeat of these events, it is important for future generations to understand the past, in many ways I believe the events described here, are more relevant towards an understanding of the potential struggles of tomorrow, than the studies are the ism's of Marx, Engels, or the works of the evil dictators of the 20th Century, Hitler, Stalin and Mao, which so many students of history and politics spend there time studying these days.

As an amateur historian, I run the constant risk of offending orthodox historical methods, and am quite likely in error, or hold views that may not suit current thinking. Please be patient with me, or write to me and describe to me the error of my ways.

I would be most interested in hearing from you, if you have any comments or additional information that you would like to share with me. I can be contacted on

Nick Balmer December 2007.

1 comment:

Murali RamaVarma said...

Dear Nick,

I was very happy to read this blog which has given a fine introduction to a most interesting part of India’s history. You have been found very frank in your views and you are certainly in a position to write on various interesting incidents and about some of those daring personalities of those times.

Centuries later, when we analyze those people and incidents, opinions may differ. However, the heroism displayed, the acknowledgements made of each other and the benefits that accrued, sometimes unintentional, are subjects we need to study in great detail. The initiative you have taken is all the more welcome in this context.

Your legacy also keeps you on a unique pedestal to write exhaustively on these interesting subjects.

I envy your boyhood days when you could spend time with your grandma hearing those wonderful tales of your great ancestors.

Please come out with regular posts.