Pooooo! Moink!

Methinks those beasties be a smidgen confused.

Ok...don't ask me why. Please? It's a Sunday morning and it's snowing/sleeting/raining all at the same time. And I have to go to the store.

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But I will not be purchasing any pig or cow at the store. No, the shopping I need to do today is to pick up the things I forgot yesterday. It's Otters turn to cook diner for Christmas, and I forgot to put a couple of things on my list. But, that's ok. It's not like I forgot anything important. Ok...I did, but that's besides the point.

The point is, I won't be buying any pig or cow. No, the protein I chose for dinner consists of shrimp and lamb. Nothing fancy; just a spicy garlic shrimp for appetizers and a Shepard's Pie for the main entree. I went that route because all the veggies are included in the main dish, and I'm lazy...

One of the deserts I'm making is a berry trifle. And I forgot the pound cake for that. So that's what I need to go to the store for. I could wait until Monday or Tuesday, and I just might. I mean, looking outside at the weather, it's saying to me, "Stay inside and do your laundry and play a video game all day".

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And I wish I could do that on the day you actually read this. Because, I try my hardest to not have to write these on the day they post. I already get up early. I don't need to spend an hour composing one of these at 5am.

But who cares about Otters personal foibles? All you guys care about is the fact that today is Made Up Monday! I'll tell you a fact, and you decide if I made it up or not.

Today, we need to talk about some history. No, it's not boring. It's interesting.

We travel back in time to 1857. And where are we? Why, India.

India was part of the British Empire at the time. However, anyone who thinks that means India fell under the control of the British Crown would be wrong. I suppose, technically, the British government ruled India. But that was on paper only. In reality, India was controlled by the East India Company. And as long as they paid their taxes to the crown, they were pretty much given free reign.

And they are a prime example of why corporations shouldn't be in charge of countries.

Most of their major decisions were based on profit. And that was their downfall.

In 1857, many members of the East India Company's army, known as Sepoys, began to revolt. Yes, the East India Company had it's own army. And they revolted against their leaders in 1857.

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For the next 13 months many parts of India were plagued by intense violence and atrocities on both sides.

The East India Company called it the Sepoy Mutiny. However, the men participating in the unrest preferred to call it The Indian War of Independence.

Fighting was intense, but not in all parts of India. In fact, the East India Company finally prevailed due largely to the fact that their soldiers from the Punjab region, the Sikh, remained loyal to the company and brutally put down the mutiny. The Sikh helped the company retain control over most of India until the regular British army could get there.

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How brutal? Well, examples had to be made of the leaders of the mutiny, right? So, how did they do that? They would tie the rebel leaders to the mouth of a cannon and turn them into a red mist. Of course, they would make scores of people watch them do it which didn't really scare them into obedience. Like most forms of cruelty it only hardened the resolve of those opposing the company.

In the end, the Sepoy lost. The East India Army/British Army lost about 2,500 men to combat and another 8,500 to disease. Among the rebels, the estimates for losses range from 10,000 to 100,000. The number is impossible to determine as the EIA and British Army didn't really care if the people they killed were actual members of the Sepoy forces or innocent civilians.

Now we come to the fun part. I'm going to tell you why the mutiny started, and you are going to tell me if it's true or false.

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In 1857, the East India Company upgraded the rifles of their Sepoys. They purchased new Enfield rifles. Now, in 1857, rifles were still muzzle loading. The ammunition came in cartridges that were made of paper. You would bite off the end of the paper and dump a little powder into the barrel of the rifle to prime it, then shove the whole cartridge down the rifle.

And that was the problem. You see, to function properly, the cartridges needed to have lubrication. The East India honchos decided to save money by changing the lubricant they used on these new cartridges.

They started using lard.

Lard is made from the fat of either pigs, or cows.

And the majority of the Sepoy army was either Muslim or Hindu. It's forbidden for Muslims to consume pig. An for Hindus, cows are sacred. Neither group wanted to run the risk of running afoul of their religion by using the new cartridges, so they refused. And the ones who refused were courts marshaled for treason.

And there was only one punishment for treason back then; Death.

So my mini minions, am I telling the truth? Did a year long mutiny/war of independence begin because of some lard?

I'll be back tomorrow to let you know!