Sign hailing 'hero' British soldiers to be replaced after Indian-origin doctor complaints

Tuesday 01st December 2020 11:27 EST

26-year-old junior doctor, Dr Vivek Majumder saw a 'distasteful' sign claiming Lucknow had been 'relieved' following a siege in India in 1857. 

According to Dr Majumder, the Daily Mail reported, “The sign, next to the India Cross on the castle's esplanade, was 'too celebratory of the British and dismissive of the Indian forces.”

Further Dr Majumder told the newspaper “In my eyes it was blatant pandering to imperialism, and It was not the first time I had seen distasteful imperialistic things in Scottish public spaces, but this was the first that painted the British as 'Heroes' and that Lucknow was 'relieved'.”

The Siege of Lucknow followed a mutiny of most of the 100,000 soldiers in the British East India Company's Bengal Army, stationed in North India, in 1857.

Sir Henry Lawrence, the East India Company's Commissioner in Lucknow ordered his garrison to retreat into the British residency in the city.

A week after Dr Majumder emailed Historic Environment Scotland, who is responsible for the sign, officials accepted his criticism and promised to change it.

Dr Majumder further told the daily, “I don't think Britain's past should be forgotten, nor its attitudes in the past. There's an 8ft stone Celtic cross there that needs explaining and it’s a step in the right direction.”

Dr Crispin Bates, Professor of South Asian History, reportedly said although Britons saw the event as a 'great victory', Indians viewed it as the First National Indian War of Independence. 

“Unsurprisingly, Indians see these events very differently. In 1910, Indian nationalist Savarkar called it ‘The First National Indian War of Independence’.

A spokesman for HES said the sign would be updated to include a 'fuller context' from the Indian perspective. 

It said, “It is critical for our visitors to better understand this event and why it led to the erection of the India Cross on the Edinburgh Castle. As such, one of our historians is currently undertaking research to ensure the new content on an updated panel, is accurate and balanced.”

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