not more for the physical sufferings of their kindred than for their humiliation by an inferior race.
The method was simple and horrible. According to an eye-witness account of executions ordered by John Nicholson, later lionised as the ‘hero’ of Delhi, “the first ten were picked out, their eyes were bandaged and they were bound to the guns – their backs leaning against the muzzles, and their arms fastened to the wheels. The port fires were lighted, and at a signal from the artillery major, the guns were fired. It was a horrid sight. . .a regular shower of human fragments of heads, of arms, of legs appeared in the air through the smoke. . .fragments of Hindoos and fragments of Muslims, all mixed together – were all that remained of those ten.” [Letter by a British officer from Peshawar who witnessed 30 executions on a single day, printed in Blackwood’s Magazine, Edinburgh, November 1857]. The news of these executions and the mode adopted in carrying them into effect, “spread far and wide, and even in the city of Kabul
Our object is to make an example to terrify others” John Lawrence, Chief Commissioner, Punjab wrote to the then commanding officer of the Delhi Field Force, Gen. Sir Herbert Edwardes in June, 1857, advising that “I would select all those against whom anything bad can be shown – general bad character, turbulence, prominence in disaffection, or in the fight, disrespectful demeanour to their officers – . . . .I would then add to them the oldest soldiers. All these should be shot or blown away from guns. . . .The sepoys will see that we punish to deter, and not for vengeance.