Indian Sepoys, 1815 (c)
Watercolour on European paper, by a Company artist, Patna, 1815 (c).
Many Indian ethnic groups had their own long traditions as warrior peoples and the East India Company was quick to combine Western weapons, uniform and military training with the Indian's own martial skills. The offer of good pay, status, security and honour meant that the Company could always recruit sepoys (Indian soldiers) to make up the bulk of its military forces.
The Company tried to accommodate the local customs of its men. Indian soldiers were permitted to wear jewellery and bead necklaces. The Bengal Army regulations of 1799 stated that there was 'no objection to the Native officers and Sepoys wearing beads round their necks; but they must be uniform, and the men be permitted themselves to furnish them'.
NAM Accession Number
National Army Museum, Out of Copyright
National Army Museum, Study collection
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