Lord Mayo is counted among the most nomadic viceroys in India. Lord Mayo, the fourth Viceroy of India, had traveled about twenty thousand miles during his three-year tenure in India. Most of this journey was done by sitting on horseback.
It was famous about him that he used to go 80 miles a day on horseback. Apart from this, during his appointment in India, he used all the modes of transport which were available to the British at that time – steamers, rails, elephants, yaks and even camels.
JH Rivet Carnac writes in his book ‘Many Memories’,’ Once in Central India, when Mayo found out that only a bullock cart could be used to go to a place, he wore a coat over his pajamas. And lay on the straw lying in the bullock cart. He declared his cigar, that he could not be relieved. Arriving at his destination in the morning, he said, “I had a very good sleep. Getting down, he wore his uniform and threw down the straw straws on his coat.”
Planned to go to Mount Harriot at last time
In the year 1872, Lord Mayo decided that he would travel to Burma and the Andaman Islands. At that time, dangerous prisoners were kept in Andaman and no Viceroy or Governor General had visited Andaman before.
For the first time in 1789, Lieutenant Blair had the idea of settling in Andaman. But in 1796, the British left these islands due to the spread of malaria and opposition from local tribes.
In the year 1858, the British started sending dangerous prisoners here. The first batch of 200 prisoners arrived here in January 1858. When Lord Mayo visited Andaman, there was a total population of 8,000, including 7,000 prisoners, 900 women and 200 policemen.
The Andaman tour of Mayo began on 8 February 1872. At nine in the morning, his ship Glasgow anchored at the portablair’s jetty. On landing, he was given a 21-gun salute. The same day he visited European barracks and prisoners’ camp on Ross Island. He visited Chatham Island with his entourage. When all his programs on Chatham Island ended prematurely, he said that the sun is still an hour away. Why not use the time to take a view of Mount Harriet.
Sher Ali Afridi stabbed with a knife in the dark
Sir William Wilson Hunter, who accompanied Mayo on this trip, writes in Mayo’s biography ‘Life of the Earl of Mayo’, ‘Mount Harriet was about 1,116 feet high. His climb was straight and very stiff. Climbing in the harsh sun, most of his team members were exhausted and exhausted. But Mayo was so refreshed that he refused to climb the mare running together, saying that someone else could use it. On reaching the peak, he enjoyed the sunset for 10 minutes and said to himself how beautiful it is!
By the time Mayo’s crew came down to go back, the darkness had come. On the Hopetown jetty a ferry was waiting for the Viceroy to take them to the ship.
Some people with torches were walking in front of Mayo. On the right side of Mayo was his personal secretary Major Owen Burn and on the left was Chief Commissioner of Andaman Donald Stewart. Mayo was about to board the boat when Stewart proceeded to instruct the guards. Just then, a long Pathan hiding in the bushes hit the knife with a knife on Mayo’s back.
Hunter writes that ‘in the light of the torch people saw a man’s hand and razor rising. He twice stabbed the knife between the two shoulders of Mayo. Mayo’s secretary Major Burn saw that a man rode on Mayo’s back like a leopard. The killer was caught within two seconds. Mayo, who fell on his knee in the water, somehow lifted himself up and said to his secretary, ‘Burn de have done it.’ Then he shouted in a loud voice and said, I don’t think I got hurt much. Mayo fell again as he said this. The back of his gray coat turned red with his blood. The people present there tore their coats and tried to stop the handkerchiefs and blood flowing through their hands. Some soldiers started rubbing their hands and feet.
Lord mayo died
Eyeing the incident, Mayo’s secretary Major Burn wrote in his papers kept in the Cambridge University Library, “The Viceroy said in a soft voice, take me to the ship.” We immediately picked them up with the help of sailors and brought them to the boat. His last words were to raise my head up. Mayo was hurriedly escorted to the waiting ship.
Hunter writes, “The people on board were preparing dinner.” As soon as Mayo’s boat reached the ship, the entire ship lights were extinguished so that people could not see what happened to Mayo. Mayo was picked up and taken to his cabin. When he was laid on his bed, everyone saw that Mayo had died. As soon as dawn, the British flag fluttering on the vessel was half-tilted.
Vow to kill a high ranking Englishman in 1869 itself
Sher Ali, who stabbed Mayo, was given the same punishment that was given for this crime at that time. After the murder of Mayo, Sher Ali was also brought on the same ship on which Mayo’s body was kept. There when the British authorities asked Sher Ali why he did this, his answer was ‘God ordered.’
When he was asked that ‘someone helped him in this work, he said’ there was no man. God is good in this.
Sher Ali was a resident of Tira Valley in the North West Frontier Province and used to work in the mounted police of Punjab. He was sentenced to death on the charge of killing his cousin Hyder in Peshawar. On appeal, this sentence was changed to life imprisonment in Andaman. Later, in a statement before Fansi, he said that in his view it was not a crime to kill his foodie enemy and since he was sentenced in 1869, he vowed that he should avenge it with a high ranking Will kill the Englishman.
Sher Ali sentenced to death
While awaiting punishment in Andaman, he waited for his prey for three years. On 8 February 1872, when he heard the news of Lord Mayo’s arrival, he started sharpening his knife from morning. Sher Ali was a strong man from the mountains. His height was 5 feet 10 inches. Despite being tied with handcuffs and fetters in his cell, he snatched his bayonet from an English sentry on the strength of his physical strength.
Initially, the British suspected that Maulvi Thanesari and other Mujahideen who were being punished in Andaman had ‘brainwashed’ Sher Ali to kill Mayo. But after a deep investigation, it was not found right.
Professor Helen James of the Australian National University on this incident in her paper ‘The Assassination of Lord Mayo: The First Jihad?’ I write, ‘During interrogation of Sher Ali’s companions, it was found that he had prepared this murder very carefully. Even before Mayo’s visit, he had taken a final farewell from all his companions. He had made some food items for everyone and spent all his money in it. But none of them had any idea that Sher Ali could go to such an extent. Earlier Sher Ali worked as a cavalryman in Peshawar for Major Hugh James and Rainel Taylor. Taylor was so impressed with him that he gave Sher Ali a horse, pistol and certificate in reward.
Sher Ali’s death order was sent to the Calcutta High Court for review as per rules. On 20 February 1872, the Tribunal confirmed the sentence, and on 11 March 1872 Sher Ali was hanged on Viper Island.
Lord Mayo was buried in Ireland
This incident shook the British Empire. This incident was not deliberately discussed much for a long time.
Professor Helen James writes in her research paper ‘The Assassination of Lord Mayo: The First Jihad’ – ‘It was totally unexpected but the role of the Wahhabis in the Revolt of 1857 and Acting Chief Justice John Norman of Calcutta on 20 September 1871 After the killing of a pro-Wahhabi supporter, Abdullah, the British government should have prepared for a recurrence of such an incident. Even earlier on September 10, 1853, in Peshawar, the commissioner of the colonel, Colonel Fredrik Macson, was murdered by stabbing him in the verandah of his bungalow.
Lord Mayo’s body was brought to Calcutta (now Kolkata) by the same vessel Glasgow from which he went to Port Blair. After reaching Calcutta on 17 February 1872, his body was brought to the Government House from Prinsep Ghat.
His body was kept in the Government House with state honors for two days. He was then flown to Bombay and then to Dublin, where he was buried in a church yard with state honors on 25 April 1872.