Boxer Rebellion in China and the role Indian soldiers played in crushing it
New Delhi, Sep 18: As part of China's psy-ops, the PLA troops have been playing Punjabi pop on loudspeakers on the border areas amidst the tense face-off with China.
The Chinese had used similar tactics in 1962 in the western and eastern sectors as well as in 1967 during the Nathu La skirmish.
The question is why are the Chinese focusing so much Punjabi and Sikh soldiers. It may be recalled that the Sikh and Punjab regiments had dominated the British Army troops that had crushed the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900.
The Boxer Rebellion, Boxer Uprising or the Yihetuan Movement was an anti-imperialist, anti-foreign and anti-Christian uprising in China between 1899 and 1901 towards the end of the Qing dynasty. The rebellion was initiated by the Militia United in Righteousness, known in English as Boxers as many of the members had practised Chinese martial arts, which was referred to in the Western world at that time as Chinese Boxing.
The villagers of North China had been building a resentment against Christian missionaries. Their motto was support the Qing Government and exterminate the foreigners. The foreigners and Chinese Christians sought refuge in the Legation Quarter.
After the Boxers threatened foreigners and kept 400 of them holed up in the Legation Quarter, the alliance troops comprising 8 nations moved into Beijing. Around 8,000 of the soldiers of the British Army were from India. Many were from the Sikh and Punjab regiments. Several Rajasthani troops also took part in crushing the Boxer Rebellion.
The rebellion came to an end on September 7 1901 with the signing of the Boxer Protocol between the two sides. The Manchu government agreements to pay 330 million USD in damages. The Chinese also agreed to execute some of the leaders part of the rebellion.
The Qing dynasty collapsed a decade later.
An account by one Indian sepoy said that after the victory, the British Army indulged in looting, while the French and Russian troops killed civilians and raped women. This was however strongly opposed by the Indian troops.
Amar Singh Rathore, protegee of Sir Rana Pratap Singh, in his diary expressed discontent regarding the treatment of the local Chinese by the Russians. He mentioned about the rape of Chinese women by the members of the Allied Forces and also the torture of the local Chinese population.
There is I think not much to write except the cruelty and mismanagement of the Russians. To my opinion, they are quite heartless and brutal. Russians have very bad management and cannot live without plunder, he also wrote.
In fact Hari Singh (Hurjee), officers of the Jodhpur Lancers rescued Chinese women from being paraded naked by the Russian soldiers. He had also ordered the Russians to let the women go and when they refused, his men captured Russian soldiers and brought them to the headquarters.