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Blowing from a gun

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Blowing from a gun was a method of execution in which the victim was typically tied to the mouth of a cannon which was then fired. George Carter Stent described the process as follows:[1]

The prisoner is generally tied to a gun with the upper part of the small of his back resting against the muzzle. When the gun is fired, his head is seen to go straight up into the air some forty or fifty feet; the arms fly off right and left, high up in the air, and fall at, perhaps, a hundred yards distance; the legs drop to the ground beneath the muzzle of the gun; and the body is literally blown away altogether, not a vestige being seen.

Blowing from a gun was a reported means of execution as long ago as the 16th century, by the Mughal Empire, and was used until the 20th century. The method was utilized by Portuguese colonialists in the 16th and 17th centuries, from as early as 1509 across their empire from Ceylon (modern day Sri Lanka)[2] to Mozambique[3] to Brazil.[4] The Mughals used the method throughout the 17th century and into the 18th, particularly against rebels.[5]

This method of execution is most closely associated with the colonial government of the British Raj. Following the Indian Rebellion of 1857, "blowing from a gun" was a method the British used to execute rebels[6] as well as for those natives found guilty of desertion.[7] Using the methods previously practised by the Mughals, the British began implementing blowing from guns in the latter half of the 18th century.[8]

The destroying of the body and scattering the remains over a wide area had a particular religious function as a means of execution in the Indian subcontinent as it effectively prevented the necessary funeral rites of Muslims and Hindus.[9] Thus, for believers the punishment was extended beyond death. This was well understood by foreign occupiers and the practice was not generally employed by them as concurrent foreign-occupiers of Africa, Australasia or the Americas. Most recently there was an exceptional use of the practice in Afghanistan in 1930, against 11 Panjshiri rebels.[10]

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  • How To Make A Laser Assisted Blowgun


I just made a laser guided blowgun for under $3, but don’t let its simplicity fool you. It’s powerful enough to break glass, and even blast darts into concrete. In this project we’re making a custom laser sighted blowgun, that not only looks cool, but adds another dimension to the fun you can have, in the backyard. Let’s start this project with a roll of scotch tape, a stack of sticky notes, and a paper party hat. I’m using the small 2x2 squares, and if we wrap one carefully around the tip of the hat, the cone shape acts as a forming guide for making a pointy paper dart. We’ll need a little bit of tape to reinforce the tip and hold it altogether, so when it slides off, it’ll still keep its conical shape. Now watch what happens if we push the tip into a 1/2” PVC tube and give it a little twist. You can see the pressure leaves a little mark right where it starts getting too big for the tube. Let’s carefully trim along the inside edge of the marking, and just like that, we’ve made a mini paper dart that’ll fit perfectly inside the blowgun barrel. But it’s not quite ready to use yet. We still need to add some weight to the tips so they’ll fly straight. I found one of the quickest and easiest ways to do that, is to squirt a little hot glue inside the cones until they’re about 1/3rd of the way full. If you don’t have hot glue, try pulling off a little piece of poster putty instead, and shove it down into the tip with something like a screwdriver. That’ll work just as good. Alright, we’ve got some paper darts. All we need now is a blowgun, so let’s work on making that next. I went to the hardware store and picked up a 2 foot length of 1/2” PVC pipe, and a reducing adaptor. This female adaptor is 3/4” on one side, and reduces to a 1/2” slip connector on the other. Now if we simply push the adaptor onto the tube and give it a little tap, we’ve just created a super simple blowgun that can be used right away. You can see the weighted darts fly amazingly straight, and will take out paper cups with an impressive amount of power. They’re just strong enough to do a little damage, but still safe enough to shoot around the house. Not that you should. But you could. Alright, let’s take this system to a whole new level with a roll of duct tape, and some wire nails. I got this roll of camouflage tape from the hardware store, and we’ll need to start by putting a long strip on the table with the sticky side facing up. Now watch this. If we carefully set the pipe lengthwise in the center of the tape, then gently rock it from side to side, the tape will start to wrap itself around the tube. Doing the same thing with a second piece of tape will cover any gaps, and just like that, our blowgun’s got a custom camo wrap. Now just add some electrical tape around the tip of the barrel and around the mouthpiece, to cover the rough edges and make it look a little nicer. At this point, you can see our blowgun is starting to look pretty serious. So let’s get busy making some rounds of ammunition that are a little more serious as well. I’m using #16 and #18 wire nails, because they’re relatively lightweight, and have a nice flat head on the top. You can see when a nail gets pushed through an empty paper cone, it instantly transforms into a high speed nail dart. It’ll work fine just like this, but to make it a little more durable, try adding a dab of hot glue on the inside of the cone, then pulling down on the nail until the head catches firmly at the bottom. They’ll need about 2 minutes for the glue to cool and harden, so while we’re waiting, why don’t we try making something a little different. A stack of colored sticky notes will make different colored darts, and just for fun I snipped the tips off these purple ones and drove small screws deep into the glue. I call these ones my glass breakers, and you’ll see how they got that name in just a minute. Now if you wanna experiment with different types of darts, you can really use any length of nail you want. Smaller darts will be easier to shoot, and fly faster, while heaver darts will penetrate deeper and do more damage. Now that we’ve got some good ammunition, we’re gonna need a way to store it. I found a 6” length of 1/2” foam pipe insulation for a little over a dollar, and tried cutting little donut shapes off the end, about 3/4” thick. I used some electrical tape to reinforce the outside of the disc, then just for looks, used a black marker to color the foam a little bit darker. The next step is to make another foam disc the exact same way, then slide both of them onto the barrel of the blowgun. At this point, we’re ready to modify the quiver so it’ll carry 8 rounds of ammunition. I found a phillips head screwdriver and carefully heated it over a flame for about 20 seconds. That get’s it just hot enough to burn little holes into the foam on contact. Just make sure you’re only burning holes in the top disc because we’re gonna want the bottom one left intact. You can see the 8 holes we made space the darts evenly, and guide the nails as they push down into the padding below. These makeshift quivers keep all the darts securely in place, while protecting the tips of the darts at the same time. Alright, our customized blowgun is looking pretty impressive, and we could stop here. But let’s go one step further, and give it a laser. I picked up a red laser pointer from the dollar store and hot glued it 8-1/2” back from the tip of the barrel, then reinforced it with a couple of zip ties, for durability. The thing I like best about these $1 lasers are how one button operates an LED flashlight, while the other activates the laser sight, making this system operable in the dark. Now I got a slightly better laser from the pet section of the grocery store and turned it into a custom laser scope that compliments the gun really well. With this setup, the position of the laser can be fine tuned with amazing precision, which you can see, results in surprisingly accurate shots. Alright, now that we’ve got a custom, laser guided blowgun, let’s have some fun. I took mine outside and found that the darts easily penetrate into wooden posts with out even trying. They’ll also stick into tree trunks, or completely abuse the side of a wooden deck, like the one on my kids playhouse. I was able to hit some targets from over 100 feet away, and if I missed, the darts just sailed right into the concrete wall behind it, which actually blows my mind completely. I still don’t really know how these stick into cinderblock, but they do. For one last experiment, I tried loading one of the glass breaker rounds, and fired at a glass full of water. Needless to say, they do live up to their name. Now you’ve probably realized that if you use different rolls of tape, you can customize your blowgun any way you want, and if you want a safer kind of ammo, try using colored mini marshmallows. They’re the perfect fit for 1/2” PVC, and can be shot safely, but still with incredible accuracy. Well now you know how to make an incredible, laser guided blowgun, that will rattle off nail darts with power and precision. The best part is, if you make these in bulk, they can cost as little as $2.50 each. And that’s including the $1 laser. Well that’s it for now. If you liked this project perhaps you’ll like some of my others. Check them out at



A commonly reported method of blowing a man from a gun is to tie him in front of the muzzle of the gun and then have him shot. Loading the cannon with an actual cannonball is on occasion reported; but, more commonly, the use of blank cartridge or grapeshot is attested. The following description of the manner of tying up the convicted is from Afghanistan, 7 July 1839, ordered by Shuja Shah, during the campaign against Dost Mohammad Khan:[11]

The three men were then tied with ropes to the guns, their backs against the muzzle. The rope, fastened to one of the spokes of the wheel, passed with a knot round the arms, over the muzzle of the gun, round the other arm, and then to the spoke of the opposite wheel, which kept the body fixed.

Although immobilizing a victim in front of a gun before firing the cannon is by far the most reported method, a case from Istanbul in 1596 alleges that the victim was actually put into the gun and executed in that manner.[12] Reports exist that attest that, on occasion, people were fastened to rockets and blown into the air. This is said to have been the punishment for a Brahmin during Hyder Ali's reign (1761–1782),[13] and also, in an 1800 treason case, in the Maratha Empire.[14]

Problems with the method

Things did not always work out according to plan at such executions; at a mass execution at Firozpur in 1857, there was an order that blank cartridge should be used, but some guns were loaded with grapeshot instead. Several of the spectators facing the cannons were hit by the grapeshot and some had to have limbs amputated as a result. In addition, some of the soldiers had not been withdrawn properly and sustained injuries from being hit by whizzing pieces of flesh and bone.[15] In another case, a soldier who was to be shot managed to fall down just as the shot went off, with the following result:[16]

One wretched fellow slipped from the rope by which he was tied to the guns just before the explosion, and his arm was nearly set on fire. While hanging in his agony under the gun, a sergeant applied a pistol to his head; and three times the cap snapped, the man each time wincing from the expected shot. At last a rifle was fired into the back of his head, and the blood poured out of the nose and mouth like water from a briskly handled pump. This was the most horrible sight of all. I have seen death in all its forms, but never anything to equal this man's end.

Others reported with shudders how birds of prey circled above the execution place and swooped down to catch pieces of human flesh in the air,[17] while others were nauseated by the dogs loitering about the place of execution and rushing to the scene to devour some of the "delicacies" spread around as a result of the execution.[18]

Mughal Empire

Blowing from a gun as a method of execution has a long and varied history on the Indian sub-continent, and many reports from the mid-18th century and onwards testify to its varied use. The execution method was used during rebellions and as punishment for a variety of crimes. Here, a focus is chosen upon the Mughal tradition of blowing from guns as a local tradition preceding, for example, the British tradition on the same sub-continent.

Several historians note that blowing people from the guns as a method of execution was an "old Mughal punishment" on the Indian sub-continent.[19] Just prior to the institution of the reign of the first Mughal emperor, Babur, his son Humayun is said to have blown from guns 100 Afghan prisoners on 6 March 1526, in one incident of his father's many struggles against the Lodi dynasty.[20] During the latter half of the 17th century, members of the Jat people in Northern India rebelled and raided against the Mughal Empire, and the emperor Aurangzeb is said in one account to have ordered one of their leaders blown from a gun.[21] Purbeel Singh, said to have been the last Hindu chief of Umga, close to Aurangabad in today's Bihar state, was reportedly taken by an unnamed Mughal emperor to Aurungabad, and blown from a gun.[22] The Sikh rebel Banda Singh Bahadur was finally vanquished in 1716 by the emperor Farrukhsiyar, and after his execution, Banda's son was ordered to be "blown to bits by a cannon".[23]

While the preceding cases are examples of rebels or military adversaries being blown from guns, the Mughal era also contained a few examples of using this form of execution for other types of perceived crime. For example, in a rather anecdotal story from the times of Jahangir (r. 1605 – 1627), the emperor had six mullahs blown from guns, for having consented to, and given approval of, the forcible abduction and marriage of a Hindu girl to a Muslim officer.[24] In 1714, thieves were a severe annoyance to a marching army; a trap was made, and two thieves caught by the concealed guards were later blown from guns. During a siege in 1719, the problem of deserters was eventually solved for the commander of the Mughal army by blowing four deserters caught in the act from guns, in the presence of his troops.[25]

Portuguese Empire

Portuguese colonialists are, in several accounts, charged with having used blowing from a gun as a form of capital punishment in many of their colonies. A short review follows:

Sri Lanka

The Portuguese explorer Francisco de Almeida is reported to have blown many individuals from guns at Ceylon, around 1509.[2] During the Dutch siege of Colombo in 1656, the city population endured extreme famine. One nursing mother became so starved that her production of milk stopped, and her infant was dying. She chose to kill it, and eat it. Once the Portuguese general became aware of her act of cannibalism, he ordered her blown from a gun, but in this particular instance, the clergy and the principal citizens dissuaded him from carrying out the act.[26]


During explorer Francisco Barreto's 1569–73 campaign in Monomotapa, he at one time imprisoned some 50 Muslim individuals, and had them "impaled, blown from mortars, torn apart on tree-trunks, axed or shot".[3] In mid-18th-century Tete, in north-western Portuguese Mozambique, the capital punishment for slaves is said to have been to be blown from guns,[27] and, in the first decade of the 19th century, it is reported that an inveterate raider chief was caught by the Portuguese and blown from a gun.[28]


In 1618 Brazil, native resistance against the Portuguese was unshaken, although a leader of them, Amaro, was taken prisoner and blown from a gun.[29]

British-occupation of India

Before 1857

The British had a long tradition prior to the Mutiny of executing sepoys found guilty of mutiny or desertion in this manner. According to one historian, the British tradition began in 1760, when the government examined the modes of capital punishment in use. In the district of the 24 Perganas, it was found that the common military mode of capital punishment was flogging to death. Regarding blowing from a gun as an old Mughal punishment, the government opted for this technique, as being, relative to death by flogging, more deterrent, more public and more humane. Already in 1761, orders were given in Lakhipur "to fire off at the mouth of a cannon the leader of the thieves who was made prisoner, that others may be deterred".[30] Technically, in cases of court-martial, it seems that until 1857 the courts were composed of native officers rather than British, but it is added: "although they are presided over, and generally led and ruled, by the superintending officer, whose duty, however, is merely to transcribe the evidence, and assist the native officers with advice and counsel".[31]

In March 1764, a subedar (native officer) thought to entice his troops over to the enemy;[32] he was court-martialed and blown from a gun in front of the troops.[33] In September the same year, major Hector Munro executed 24 or 25 "ring leaders" who caused a battalion to desert (the desertion being on account of "lack of rewards", "scarcity of provisions" and problems with climate and disease). Approving of the execution, one commenter said: "no disposition to mutiny was thenceforth manifested". In 1775, the Indian soldier Muctoom Sahib (designated by the British as a "commandant") refused to embark for Mumbai when "commanded" to by foreign East India company mercenaries. Inspired by and in deference to their commander's resolve, the men under Muctoom Sahib followed suit. As a violent reprisal, the foreign-mercenaries executed Muctoom Sahib by blowing from a gun; the men under his command, demoralized, embarked to Mumbai.[34] In 1782, mutinies broke out in Bardhaman and Barrackpore. Three mutineers were sentenced to death by the court in Bardhaman, 2 of whom to be blown from a gun, the last to be hanged. In the Barrackpore trials, 4 of the 5 on trial were sentenced to be blown from a gun, while the last was to receive a thousand lashes and "to be drummed out of the cantonments with a rope around his neck".[35] During the Third Anglo-Mysore War (1789–1792), six regiments mutinied over arrears of pay and held their officers confined. When order was restored, two of the most active were blown from guns.[36] Not only mutineers were blown from guns, but also soldiers found guilty of desertion, as is shown from a few cases in 1781 and 1783.[37]

Not only sepoys were executed by being blown from a gun. In 1798, mutiny broke out in the British unit 1st battalion of the Madras artillery. One British soldier was condemned to be blown from a gun.[38] This, however, seems to have been exceptional, and one historian says that the soldier Forster is the only European on record to have been blown from a gun by the British authorities.[39]

In 1804, during a military engagement, the troops under lieutenant Birch's command refused to quit the ground of their encampment. Colonel Burn deemed harsh measures were necessary, convened a court-martial, and two of the officers involved were blown from guns and 9 others "severely flogged". With full approval of the action, the writer observes: "a measure which, there is every reason to believe, had the best effect, as the corps behaved during the subsequent siege with the greatest steadiness and propriety".[40]

In the 1806 Vellore Mutiny, beginning with a night massacre of British officers and soldiers, with many sepoys killed during the suppression, 6 individuals were sentenced to be blown from the guns.[41] In 1812, a plot was discovered at Travancore to kill the European officers; two ring leaders were blown from the guns, and several others were hanged.[42] In 1819, six deserters who had joined the ousted rajah of the annexed Kingdom of Nagpur were apprehended by the British and were blown from the guns on 7 February.[43] In 1832 Bangalore, a conspiracy allegedly designed to exterminate all Europeans was discovered. Out of some 100 implicated, 4 were sentenced to be blown from the guns, two others to be shot.[44]

Sometimes, although a person was condemned to death, he might hope for a pardon or a commuting of the punishment. In 1784, a regiment mutinied over lack of pay. Lieutenant General[45] Laing suppressed the rebels and ordered twelve to be blown from guns. The last of the twelve was very lucky, however: Bound to the cannon's mouth, he had to endure three times that the fuse burnt out. He then asked Lieutenant General Laing whether he was really destined to die in this manner, and Laing chose to pardon him.[46] In 1795 Midnapore, 5 sepoys were condemned in court-martial to be blown from guns on account of mutiny, 3 others to be hanged. Their cases were appealed, however, and their sentences were commuted to be dismissed from service instead.[47] In Barrackpore Mutiny of 1824, occasioned by the resentment of sepoys to being shipped to the front in the First Anglo-Burmese War, four days after the bloody suppression of the mutiny, one of the leaders, Bindee Tiwarree of the 47th regiment was found hiding, disguised as a faqir. In the ensuing court-martial, he was condemned to be blown from a gun, but instead he was hung in chains, and after his death his body was placed in a gibbet for a few months.[48] In 1836, a sepoy was found guilty of having fled before the enemy and abandoned his European officers. Rungish was condemned to be blown from a gun, but the sentence was commuted into "transportation beyond the sea".[49]

The Great Rebellion

Suppression of the Indian Revolt by the English, a painting by Vasily Vereshchagin c. 1884. Note: This painting was allegedly bought by the British crown and possibly destroyed (current whereabouts unknown). It anachronistically depicts the events of 1857 with soldiers wearing (then current) uniforms of the late 19th century.
Suppression of the Indian Revolt by the English, a painting by Vasily Vereshchagin c. 1884. Note: This painting was allegedly bought by the British crown and possibly destroyed (current whereabouts unknown). It anachronistically depicts the events of 1857 with soldiers wearing (then current) uniforms of the late 19th century.

This method of execution is strongly associated with its use by British troops during the Indian Rebellion of 1857. To appreciate the scale and frequency of the executions made by the British during the 1857 insurrection, one may, for example, look at the reports of incidents given in merely a single journal, "Allen's Indian Mail", for the year 1857:

On 8 June, two sepoys from the 35th light Infantry were blown from guns. 10 June, in Ludhiana, Peshawar, some 40 from the 54th regiment were blown from guns. On 13 June, ten[50] sepoys from the 45th Regiment at Firozpur were blown from guns, two hanged. The same day, in Ambala, 10 sepoys from the 54th regiment suffered the same fate. The 26th of the same month, in Aurungabad, 1 was blown from a gun, 1 hanged, and 3 were shot. On 8 July, in Jhelum, it is assumed that captured rebels would be blown away. On the 19th, Aurungabad, 1 was blown away, 2 shot. On 5 September, Settara, 6 were blown away. On 17 September, Multan, 1 was blown away, 121 were summarily executed. On 23 September, in Karachi, 1 was blown away, 7 were hanged and 20 deported. (The local body count on court-martialed individuals then came to 4 blown away, 14 hanged, 22 deported and 3 beheadings.) At the end of October, in Rohilkhand near Agra, 1 was blown away. On 16 November, Bombay, two sepoys from the 10th regiment were blown away.[51]

As an example of official statistics, rather than a collection of newspaper reports, in an 1859 paper to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom on the rebellion in the Peshawar Valley in the Punjab, for the period May–September 1857, 523 were recorded executed, of them 459 shot by musketry, 20 hanged (13 for desertion) and the last 44 blown from a gun. Of those 44, 4 were executed on charges of desertion, rather than mutiny.[52] Official July–November statistics for the area about Agra says that of 78 who were given capital sentences, two had their sentence commuted into imprisonment, whereas 4 were blown from guns.[53] Other official statistics, this time from Indore, state that, of 393 sepoys officially punished, 32 were executed, 21 of them by being blown from guns.[54]

The preceding cases are examples of execution after formal court martial, and do not, therefore, record deaths as occurring during battle or during informal executions or massacres.

Several British were convinced that the sepoy insurgents had blown British women from guns.[55] A specific case, mentioned by several sources, concerns that of Mr. and Mrs. Birch, Mrs. Eckford and Mrs. Defontaine,[56] all of whom were said to have been blown from guns at Fatehgarh.[57]

The skull of an Indian soldier blown from a gun was found in a British pub and is the subject of the book, "The Skull of Alum Bheg: The Life and Death of a Rebel of 1857." [58]

After 1857

The Rebellion of 1857 was not the last time that British military used blowing from a cannon as an execution method. In 1871, for example, 65 members of the Sikh sect Kukas or Namdhari were executed by the military, by being blown from guns.[59]


Within Afghanistan, a tradition of using blowing from a gun as capital punishment is attested from the early nineteenth century up to 1930. Some examples are following:

Early cases

In 1802, the forces of Mahmud Shah Durrani inflicted a crushing defeat on the Ghilzai tribes, and to discourage further aggression, he ordered one leader and his two sons blown from guns, as well as building a minaret out of Ghilzai skulls.[60] In 1803, when Shah Shujah Durrani ousted his half-brother Mahmud from power, he revenged himself on an ally of Mahmud, Ashik, by blowing him from a gun for having captured by means of treachery Shujah's and Mahmud's half-brother Zaman Shah Durrani, who had been king of the Durrani Empire prior to having been ousted by Mahmud in 1800.[61]

The iron emir, 1880–1901

In 1880, Abdur Rahman Khan became emir of Afghanistan, and he swiftly gained the nickname "the iron emir" for his perceived brutality and strong rule. For example, one source estimates that, during his 20 years on the throne, an average of 5,000 executions a year took place, several by blowing from guns.[62] For example, in December 1889 alone, 24 are recorded as having been blown from guns, and many others executed in other ways.[63]

Tajik reign of terror, 1929

In January 1929, a new cycle of extreme violence broke out in Afghanistan when the Tajik Habibullāh Kalakāni became emir. The British minister Humphreys wrote: "None was safe, houses were pillaged indiscriminately, women were ravished and a reign of terror was established unprecedented in the annals of bloody Afghan history". Political opponents were often blown from guns or executed in other ways.[64] Habibullah's regime was toppled in October 1929, and then the Kuhestani Tajiks were persecuted. An article in The New York Times from 6 April 1930 was headlined with: "Eleven Afghans Blown from Guns at Kabul".[10]

In fiction

In Flashman in the Great Game, written by George MacDonald Fraser and set during the 1857 Indian Rebellion, Harry Flashman, a British Army officer who is impersonating an Indian, is knocked unconscious and captured during a British attack on the camp of Rani Lakshmibai. Flashman is assumed to be a rebel and awakens gagged and tied over the muzzle of a gun. He narrowly manages to avoid execution and has the rebels who were to be executed alongside him freed, an uncharacteristically humane act for a character usually portrayed as a liar, a bully and a scoundrel.

The Steam House (French: La maison à vapeur) is an 1880 Jules Verne novel ending with Nana Sahib getting blown up with a large cannon.

In H. Beam Piper's Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen, Kalvan, transferred from our universe into an Alternate History, proposes that captured clergy of the corrupt "church" Styphon's House should be killed this way. He rationalizes to himself that the British had used that technique on Sepoy Mutineers, "in the reign of her enlightened Majesty, Victoria, and could you get any more respectable than that?" Kalvan also thinks this constitutes "a bad pun about cannon-ized martyrs." It's particularly appropriate because Styphon's House made its wealth as the sole source of gunpowder.


  1. ^ Havholm (2008), p. 77
  2. ^ a b Calcutta Review (1851), p. 395
  3. ^ a b Alden (1996), p. 55
  4. ^ Southey (1822), p.469
  5. ^ 17th century case, Afsos, Court (1871), p. 64, 18th century case Hazārah, McChesney, Khorrami (2012), p. 54
  6. ^ Long (1869), p. 397–398
  7. ^ February 1781 Parlby (1822), p. 188, May 1783 Baillie (1788), p. 490, July 1783 Forbes (1815), p. 123, October 1783 Forbes (1815), p. 133 November 1783 Baillie (1788), p. 468
  8. ^ Long (1869), p. 51 page 224
  9. ^ Past Present, Volume 233 , Issue 1, November 2016, Pages 185-225, Calculated to Strike Terror: The Amritsar Massacre and the Spectacle of Colonial Violence by Kim A. Wagner,
  10. ^ a b Cullather, Meyerowitz (2003), p. 50
  11. ^ Atkinson (1842), p. 189–190
  12. ^ Boyar, Fleet (2010), p. 112
  13. ^ Campbell (1839), p. 421
  14. ^ Duff (1826, 3), p. 190, and Lal, Prinsep (1831), p. 127
  15. ^ Ball, (1859, 3), p. 411
  16. ^ American Peace Society (1858) p. 23
  17. ^ "It is a curious fact, and well attested by many persons present, that a number of kites (a bird of prey very common in India) actually accompanied the melancholy party in their progress to the place of execution, as if they knew what was going on, and then kept hovering over the guns from which the culprits were to be blown away, flapping their wings, and shrieking, as if in anticipation of their bloody feast, till the fatal flash, which scattered the fragments of bodies in the air; when, pouncing on their prey, they positively caught in their talons many pieces of the quivering flesh before they could reach the ground! At sight of this the native troops employed on this duty, together with the crowd which had assembled to witness the execution, set up a yell of horror".. The description is from the execution of those found guilty in the Vellore Mutiny in 1806, Blakiston (1829), p. 309.
  18. ^ In an 1845 Herat case: "It was a scene that I shall never forget—a horrid spectacle, and touched me to the very heart. The broken limbs of the unfortunate man were scattered in all directions, while his bowels, which had not been thrown to so great a distance, were in an instant devoured by the dogs that were loitering about the spot." Ferrier (1856), p. 189.
  19. ^ See, for example, Heathcote (1995), p. 105, and Fremont-Barnes (2007), p. 79[dead link].
  20. ^ Sabahuddin, Shukla (2003), p. 122
  21. ^ Afsos (1871), p. 64
  22. ^ Asiatic Soicety of Bengal (1847), p. 658
  23. ^ Hazārah, McChesney, Khorrami (2012), p. 54
  24. ^ Bakshi (1997), p. 103–104
  25. ^ Irvine (1922), thieves, p. 287, and deserters, p. 415.
  26. ^ Ribeiro, Le Grand (1847), p. 138
  27. ^ According to the same source, this punishment was only inflicted in cases of rebellion, otherwise, deportation was the most severe punishment Thoman (1869), p. 111
  28. ^ Salt (1814), p. 39–40
  29. ^ Southey (1822), p. 469
  30. ^ Long (1869), p. 51 page 224 for 17 November 1760 decision, footnote remarking that thief was a carpenter named Nayn
  31. ^ Anderson (1859), p. 39
  32. ^ At that time, Shuja-ud-Daula, who was defeated by the British in the Battle of Buxar some months later
  33. ^ Broome (1850), p. 435
  34. ^ For 1764 and 1775 events, Butalia (1998), p. 273. Hector Munro's report on 24 executed to the House of Commons may be read here: Adolphus (1840), p. 268. In his letter dated 18 September to the East India Company, however, Monro says 25, detailing where they were sent for execution, Long (1869), p. 397–398.
  35. ^ Deerrett (1783), p. 83–85
  36. ^ Almon (1791), p. 637
  37. ^ February 1781 Parlby (1822), p. 188, May 1783 Baillie (1788), p. 490, July 1783 Forbes (1815), p. 123, October 1783 Forbes (1815), p. 133, November 1783 Baillie (1788), p. 468
  38. ^ Butalia (1998), p. 273–274
  39. ^ Grey, Garrett (1996), p. 216. However, a case from 1784 in the cantonment at Arcot says that a mutiny over reduced pay broke out in October among European troops, and that one active serjeant was condemned to be blown from a gun. Baldwin (1785), p. 390.
  40. ^ Philippart (1823), p. 497
  41. ^ Rosselli (1974), p. 52
  42. ^ Wilkes (1815), p. 310
  43. ^ Macready (1853), p. 236
  44. ^ Detailed report by captain Doveton from 1844, Doveton (1844), p. 620–624
  45. ^ On achieved rank under Madras governor George Macartney Munro (1789), p. 344
  46. ^ Munro (1789), p. 358
  47. ^ Seton-Karr (1865), p. 181–185
  48. ^ Wellington, Wellington (1868), p. 332, and Pogson (1833), p. 30–31
  49. ^ Asiatic Journal (1837), p. 58
  50. ^ Number executed specified in "Government Records" (1911), p. 132
  51. ^ Allen's Indian Mail (1857), pp. 465, 466, 502, 549, 601, 731, 771, 911
  52. ^ Parliament of Great Britain (1859), p. 80
  53. ^ Indian News (1858), p. 125
  54. ^ Shrivastav (1971), p. 108
  55. ^ See, for example, remark by colonel Mylne, Russell (1859), p. 45
  56. ^ In a letter dated 30 August 1857, received by William Muir working as an intelligence officer, the persons were Mr. Bridges (an indigo planter), his wife, his mother-in-law and their daughter Mrs. Eckford. Muir, Coldstream (1902), p. 501.
  57. ^ The Inquirer & Commercial News, Wednesday 7 April 1858, "Phoenix", 10 September 1857, Noel (1859), p. 461
  58. ^ What a skull in an English pub says about India's 1857 mutiny, BBC News, Thursday 5 April 2018
  59. ^ In this case, however, the viceroy of India, Richard Bourke, earl of Mayo, disowned the action of Mr. Cowan, who presided over the first 49 executions and dismissed that officer responsible for the mass execution. Knight (2012), p. 13. However, this was on basis of a procedural point concerning how the trial under Cowan had been held; Mr. Forsyth, Mr. Cowan's hierarchical superior, also blew the last 16 from guns, some time thereafter, but according to requirements of "fair trial". Singh (1995), p. 503–507.
  60. ^ Noelle (2012), p. 290
  61. ^ Tate (1911), on treachery, p. 115, on blowing from a gun, p. 121.
  62. ^ Apart from blowing from guns, the source mention as well that people could be bayoneted to death, hanged, crucified, disemboweled, sawn in two, hanged or dragged to death behind horses. Akbarzadeh, Macqueen (2008), p. 93. Lord Curzon, visiting Kabul in 1894, narrates the following chilling story about a rapist: "One official who had outraged a woman was stripped naked and placed in a hole dug for the purpose on the top of a high hill outside Kabul. It was in mid-winter; and water was then poured upon him until he was converted into an icicle and frozen alive. As the Amir sardonically remarked, “He would never be too hot again.”" Edwards (1996), p. 111.
  63. ^ Lee (1996), p. 551. In 1891 Herat, a rebel leader was also blown from a gun, p. 580.
  64. ^ Letter from Humphreys to the foreign secretary from 20 January 1929, cited in Roberts (2003), p. 51 and p. 61. For the case of Ali Ahmad Khan blown by guns in July 1929, see Lee (1996), p. 378.


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