NATIVE ADJUTANT
NAUSELWANJEE
5TH REGIMENT OUDE MILITARY POLICE CAVALRY
An unusual no bar Indian Mutiny medal named to a Parsee (or Parsi).  The medal is
properly named in running script in the normal engraving style for Mutiny medals
awarded to natives.

The members of the Parsee (or Parsi) faith are a small religious minority in India.  The
followers of the prophet Zoroastria (Zarathushtra in the West), they are believed to
have immigrated to India from Persia in the 8th Century.  They prospered in India and
even today the Parsees are an unusually affluent community, but now number less than
100,000 members.

It is probable that Native Adjutant Nauselwanjee was the son of a prosperous Parsee
merchant, whose family’s wealth and position provided with him the opportunity to
receive the education necessary to allow him to be appointed to the position of Native
Adjutant.  Interestingly, however, members of the Parsee faith were generally
considered to be nonviolent.
1  Thus, service in the military was inconsistent with their
religious beliefs and it is unusual to find any Victorian military medal named to a
member of the Parsee faith. The appointment of Nauselwanjee as Native Adjutant
was almost certainly done in order to take advantage of his education by appointing
him to a position that was primarily responsible for keeping the records and accounts
of the regiment.  What is not known, however, is how his service in the military, whether
as Native Adjutant or otherwise, could have been reconciled with his religious beliefs
and customs.

It is uncommon for a Mutiny medal to include Native Adjutant in the naming of the
medal, as Native Adjutant is an appointment and not a rank, the appointment usually
being held by the junior Jemadar of the regiment.  The post was sometimes called
Woordie Major in native cavalry regiments, but apparently the Oude Military Police
cavalry regiments did not follow this convention, possibly because they were more akin to
mounted infantry than true cavalry.
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1.There is some debate in the literature of the time whether the lack of participation in the military by Parsees was mandated by their religious beliefs or simply by the fact that soldiering was not
considered a sufficiently prestigious or financially rewarding occupation for a Parsee youth. See for example, Dosabhai Framji Karaka, History of the Parsis: Their Manners, Customs, Religion and
Present Position, Macmillian and Co, 1884. The recent appointment in 2007 of Air Marshall Fali Homi Major as Chief of the Air Staff would seem to support the latter view.  There was no
dispute, however, as to the seemingly almost complete absence of any Parsees serving in the military or police during the era of the Raj.