NEW DELHI, March 8, 2008 (AFP) – British brutality during colonial rule in India cannot be forgotten but the nation is too polite to ask for an apology, India’s vice president Hamid Ansari said, according to a report on Saturday. “The amount of brutality by the British cannot be forgotten,” Ansari was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India at a book launch late on Friday.
“We are too polite to even ask for an apology from Britain” for the mass killings during the 1857 revolt, he said, noting that in contrast Australia’s government recently apologised to aborigines for historic injustices against them.
The Indian uprising, which helped pave the way for independence 90 years later, was spurred by reports that the British were introducing bullets greased with cow and pig fat — considered unclean by Hindus and Muslims respectively.
Tens of thousands on both sides were slaughtered in the uprising that the British savagely suppressed, historians say.
The revolt has long been known as the Indian Mutiny, but many historians now say the term mutiny belittles what they call India’s first war of independence.
Salman Khursheed, a senior leader of India’s ruling Congress party, echoed Ansari’s views, saying, “I