visit the Victorian blogs of Nicholson Political Officer and follow the story and also visit John Nicholson and the Great Mutiny. jef
Are these blogs real accounts or fictionalized ones…??
This is fiction based on research. The real journals were burned by the mother. Therefore it must be assumed she as a Victorian was scared of them despite her son being a national hero. Therefore I researched and guestimated what they probably would have been like. John actually hated his mother, was homosexual (and not even in the closet because he was open about his love for another man), and his behavior indicated he had Aspergers. Most political officers of the frontier at that time were very intergrated into the Indian culture and lived and dressed and spoke the native languages. He was not a member of the British Army. So don’t see him as a British officer but rather an outsider which he very much was. His journals would not have been British Imperialistic stuff but rather the reverse and his journals would have been critical of the senior British Army officers who bungled Meerut and caused the mutiny by incompetence (unlike ‘White Mughals’ like General Hearsay). Hence their being burned. they were too truthful!
His life was spent mostly alone in a district as the only ‘White’ man for hundreds of miles. Also typical was the fact these political officers did everything from war to justice to engineering to handling vaccines to education to bring doctors into the region to building hospitals and schools to dams to roads. He handled everything a government would do today. His ‘government’ would include mostly native militia, native recruits, wild frontier spies, members of what today would be MI 6, Western trained Indian doctors and teachers, body guards, secretaries for massive correspondence, and over ten to twenty highly trained Indian servants (think Indian Downton Abbey), plus a full justice court, executor, negotiators, etc, etc, etc, almost all Indian! Note that! almost all Indian! I then dramatized what such a situation would be like while recreating the historic events John lived through.
The profanity was historic.aspergers. I dramatized his ‘Tribe of Nicholson’ after reading that many of these lonely British officers were so attached to their Indian servants and highly skilled staff they either tried to take them home when they left India or else during the mutiny begged them to stay loyal. One officer committed suicide when his family of servants abandoned him during the mutiny. The emotional bonds were that close. Political officers were very lonely men very emotionally attached to India.
Being homosexual a bibi (Indian mistress) was not an option through I wrote a sequence where John tries to go straight. Most officers pre mutiny did have bibi in the bungalow and later a white family. Two families. One Indian and one White. This changed post mutiny.The mutiny caused a reaction of British isolation. Pre mutiny the British were very intergrated with India. Very trusting and emotionally attached. and John adopted an Indian orphan of a close Indian friend as his quasi son! That chap later became a key tandem spy master for a key British political officer whose death led to the Second Afghan War (because Son # 1 was attacked and wounded to prevent him going as spying tandem with his boss. Damn those Russians!)
The movies you see today are not correct. Hollywood shows everything from a British Army perspective which the political officer was not involved in. Very ‘White’ and therefore very misleading. Bollywood shows the situation as hateful oppression with the British as racist bigots. But pre mutiny the British were extraordinary sensitive to the Indian culture and wore Indian field dress, spoke the Indian languages, knew the Indian culture and history, and never imposed Christianity on the natives. In fact ‘John Company’ discriminated against Christian missionaries to stop Christianity! The regimental colors would be ‘blessed’ by Indian priests!
I suspect the burning of the journals also indicated that John might have converted or else flirted with Sikhism or else Shiva. Why else burn the journals of a war hero? Mommy Dearest needed the money being a greedy soul. So why burn a money making memoir? Therefore I dramatized Shiva because I could not successfully contact a Sikh. But John could just as likely been involved with Sikhism. Very likely in fact. Extremely lightly in fact. I wish a Sikh would do research into that point! I think he would discover that John was a Sikh convert!
Up to the mutiny the ideal goal was to actually withdraw the British presence. The frontier regiments were being set up so there would only be five Whites at most: the top commander to be the interface in the command structure, his right hand aide de camp for the white regiments if there were any , and perhaps a White doctor or engineer or such expert.The senior native sub commander would be his left hand interface with native regiments, and his spy ‘newswriter’ ie spy master would be native. As the Western schools turned out Indian doctors and engineers the White presence was suppose to drop. Ideally, the goal was to drop all White regiments entirely. the mutiny ironically changed everything and sucked the British into India as mission creep became mission mire. so the mutiny actually backfired.
IN fact the British were stuck in India despite the fact if they left the British people would have seen a 20% cut in their taxes! yep! India cost the UK! But the Muslims said once the British left they expected to rule Hindustan once more or else they would demand their own all Muslim dar ul Islam country. The British were afraid (quite rightly) that they were the only hated mortar holding the unconnected bricks together and once they left the creation of India would implode. The Raj acted as EU, (uniting over 200 principalities and regions) Indian NATO, and the World Bank. Today no country could do that! India is hold together better than EU Europe right now! Bravo India!
However the Frontier reforms started by people like John led to major reforms in the intergrated Ango Indian Army post mutiny. (PS mess clubs were segregated by all races and religions as well as officer ranks). The Hollywood white helmet image is incorrect. The officers main field dress was a Western Indian uniform and turban and many wore Mughal style beards. John and his other frontier political officers were shocked by the mutiny because they were ahead of the curve of massive reforms focused on the goal of lowering the White presence. John was typical of political officers, very hard working, (on call 24/7 with a vacation once every ten years), very honest, and very expert in INdia. John might have been socially malajusted but he loved India. his Bollywood name of ‘Butcher of Delhi’ was entirely unfair. His asperger howling rants aside, he was both extraordinary effective and masterful with his native units and led from the front. (he also advocated the ‘golden bridge’ to deliberately allow the rebels to retreat out of Delhi to allow the peaceful surrender to save Delhi. the butchers of Delhi were the Rebels who deliberately retreated during the hopeless battle under human shield to force Lucknow to not surrender by ensuring that Delhi would be destroyed). Like most British offices, John led his men (Indian and White) into battle. Hence the high death rate of officers like John during the mutiny. most of the Indian Rebels leaders led from the back. hence their defeats. during that period soldiers followed officers who led from the front. John’s native units actually loved him despite his malajusted personality. It is hard to explain that to modern day Indians who assume all British are racist pigs. But John’s men marched across the Punjab for John (and his fellow Indian officers).
John did not see himself as imposing tyranny on India. quite the contrary. EIC -Raj spent billions (today that would be trillions ) to modernize India. millions for irrigation canals and ‘metallic’ ie tarmac roads and railroads and bridges and ports and schools and hospitals to turn out thousands of trained Indian experts, free education for the Indian soldiers and their families. And by 1857 Bombay Textiles were up and running.Industrial spinning is the technological portal to full industrialization. By 1948 India was the second most industrialized country in Asia (after Japan and ahead of China). India got the second largest investment monies (just after Canada) and ahead of all of the other colonies. Statistics for India was raising steadily. Stefan Molyneux had an great Youtube video on this and it is worth watching. John and people liked him sincerely thought they were helping India, not raping India.
John’s vacation to England indicated he spied in Russia so John was involved like many such men in spying. MI 6 (to use a modern name) was heavily represented in frontier and indeed MI 6 was actually headquartered in India and not London. So I have several spy stories. Frontier officers were all heavily involved with scouting and spying. For instance John Watson was in all probably a doctor actually involved with spying with his native Indian counterpart. MI 6 set spies up as partners. White to Native. Tandem! always tandem! always! always! So I tried to dramatize John’s tandem native spy partner and Indian spymaster. I just could not do it very well. Not enough intel! But Brother # 2 (spy master and tandem fellow spy) would have led a very interesting life spying in the Great Game! Someone should tell the Great Game story from the Indian point of view! it would be fantastic reading! for instance the Wahhabi led Mutiny failed mostly because of their failure to spy! MI 6 was too effective! Delhi fell mostly because of Rebel incompetence and MI 6 spies who encouraged incompetence by making sure everything that could go wrong would go wrong!
And please remember that contrary to Bollywood and Hollywood, 1857 was a civil war! the Indian Civil War! It split India! Each side thought they were right. Each side had reasons to fight. John’s spy master and John’s Indian regiments , the Loyalists, had very solid reasons to fight. They were not Judas traitors. Like the American Civil War, the Indian Civil War was tragic and complex. no one was right or wrong. I presented John’s side of the tragic Civil War. But it was a tragic civil war.
I hope you read more of the blogs, John Nicholson of India, John Nicholson Political Officer, and John Nicholson and the Great Mutiny, which tell John’s reconstructed adventures. Please give me your feedback. And if you can find anyone to research Sikhism and its link to John Nicholson or else wants to write about John’s Indian spy master and tandem it would be great! Brother # 2’s story needs to be told! Or else tell the story from the point of view of John’s dramatized Indian staff/servants/family! jef
Made up nonsense. Nicholson was a true hero of his time. Looking at and judging his life through a ‘politically correct’ 21st century prism is as irrelevant as it is inaccurate.
Hey, I am trying to do a plot with Nicholson being a central character. can I have your email id or any contact details? I feel your help can act crucial!!!
submit your questions here and I can try. I wrote this many years ago. I am curious what your project is and how you want to show Nicholson. I can find a list of books I used too. jef rose.
Hey, Thanks for a quick reply. We are trying to link Nadir Shah’s lost treasure with Nicholson and want to show that he found it when he was there in Afghan and took it to India. In present, some people are trying to find it with the clues in his journal.
Would love to discuss the plot and character of John with you. Maybe on Skype or FaceTime?
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