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First war of independence: 1857
For some reason, the moderator of this forum does not allow me to start any new thread.........so i responding here

I wrote an exhaustive article on the Rani of Jhansi.............i just wanted to share it with all of you.....hoping for some critical feedback from the learned members

There were minor instances of rebellion in Nizam's Hyderabad. The vazir, Salar Jung assisted the British and gained prominence for the Nizam. The British made the Nizam declare himself independent of the Mughal Emperor to signify the end of the empire. In return they gave back three districts to his soverignity.

Will detail the rebellion in Hyderabad from the book Hyderbad by Narender Luther.
150 years ago today, on June 17th 1857, blood soaked Lakhmibai was carried to the ashram of saint called Baba Gangadas. He poured a few drops of sacred Ganga water into her mouth and she breathed her last, chanting, "<i>Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya</i>".

Let's honor this great soul, thanks to Saurav Basu:
<b>The Rani of Jhansi</b>
<i>By Saurav Basu</i>
TinyURL: http://tinyurl.com/2p9gge


The Moving Finger Writes

1857: And the government is frightened to tell the whole truth

The Government of India seems frightened to tell the whole truth about what happened to India after the British—at first just the East India Company—came to our country first to trade and then to loot, lest it embarrass our former rulers. We haven’t got out of our colonial mindset yet—sixty years after Independence. What we are presently indulging in, is entertainment, like holding marches of thousands of men from Meerut to Delhi, to commemorate the 1857 War of Independence. Even this was limited to the capital as if the rest of the country did not matter. There was revolt not just in north India but in south India as well.

Nothing of any substance concerning 1857 has been promoted in other parts of the country as if what Savarkar very aptly called the First War of Independence is of no particular importance. Why is the UPA government scared? Not that plenty of information on the subject is unavailable. One of the most damning indictments of British reign in India is Will Durant’s book Case for India, published in 1930 by Simon and Shuster, New York, which was proscribed by the British Government. Durant does not need any special introduction. In his time he was an acknowledged American intellectual of high standing. As he saw it—and he spoke for the entire West— “India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of Europe’s languages, the mother of our philosophy, mother, through the Arabs, of much of our mathematics, mother, through Buddha, of the ideals embodied in Christianity, mother, through the village community of self-government and democracy.” He summarised the role of Mother India as “in many ways the mother of us all”.

As Durant saw it, “the British conquest of India was the invasion and destruction of a high civilisation by a trading company utterly without scruple or principle, careless of art and greedy for gain, over-running with fire and word a country temporarily disordered and helpless, bribing and murdering, annexing and stealing and beginning that career of illegal and ‘legal’ plunder which has now gone on ruthlessly for one hundred and seventy three years... .” He was writing then, of 1930. How did this happen? According to Durant “it was a simple matter for a group of English buccaneers, armed with the latest European artillery and mortars, to defeat the bows and arrows, the elephants and primitive musketry of the rajahs…”

India, before the arrival of the British, was a wealthy nation. The wealth, Durant wrote, was created by Hindus through “nearly every kind of manufacture of product known to the civilised world—nearly every creation of man’s brain and hand and prized either for its utility or beauty”. India was a far greater industrial and manufacturing nation than any in Europe or than any other in Asia. India had great engineering works. She had great merchants, great bankers and financiers and “not only was she the greatest shipbuilding nation, but she had great commerce and trade by land and sea which extended to all known civilised countries”.

It was that wealth that the British sought to appropriate—in other words, steal. The story as told by Durant is painful to read. It begins with Robert Clive—the greatest brigand of them all—who bribed Mir Jaffer, his opponent at Plassey, forged and violated treaties, accepted ‘presents’ given him by whining Indian rulers to the tune of $ 1,170,000 and what the East India Company did was nothing short of rape of Indian industry and wealth. Goods bought in India were sold in England else where at five times the original price, the British traders refused to pay the normal tells levied by local rulers, forged documents and even restored Mir Jaffer as ruler in Bengal for $ 2,500, 825. Hypocrisy was added to brutality, Durant writes and the cost of wars waged by the British was recovered to the last penny out of taxing the very Indian people. Every penny the British spent on conquest was billed to the conquered Indian people themselves as national debt.

In 1792 this amounted to $ 35 million—a huge sum for those days. It became $ 150 million in 1829, rose to $ 215 million in 1845, to $ 500 million in 1860 and finally to $ 3,500 million in 1929. During the First World War, India coughed up $ 500 million to the British war effort, contributed $ 700 million in subscriptions to war loans and products worth $ 1,250 million were dispatched abroad to keep Britain and its allies fed. Besides, India provided 1,338,620 soldiers to fight Britain’s war, though not one Indian was granted a Commission. Indian soldiers outnumbered soldiers provided by the combined White Dominions of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

It was the Indian troops who first turned back the Germans at the Marne. “Never” wrote Durant, “had a colony or a possession made so great a sacrifice for the master country.” How was that possible? Noted Durant: “Until England came to her, India did not exist; there was no political entity called India but only a congeries to independent states”—a point to be remembered even now. And these congeries of states would not unite. The British swallowed them up, one by one. But it was what Britain plundered from India that made it possible for Britain to rise from the gutter and become and industrialised state. India became the market for British goods. The conditions of the uprooted Indian craftsmen and artisans became unbearable. Some of them had their hands cut. We have this from Lord Willian Bentinck who wrote to the East India Company’s Court of Directors that “the bones of the cotton weavers are bleaching the plains of India”.

The Company’s armies fought twenty wars between the ‘Battle’ of Plassey and 1857. In the five years preceding 1857, more than 21,000 estates of zamindars of a total of 35,000 were confiscated. In 1818 Sir Thomas Munro wrote: “Foreign conquerors had treated the natives with violence and often with great cruelty. But none of them has treated them with so much scorn as we; none have stigmatised the whole people as unworthy of trust, as incapable of honesty…. It seems to me not only ungenerous, but impolitic to debase the character of a people fallen under our domination.”

The British went about systematically draining India of her wealth. According to a British historian, Monthomery Martin, writing in 1838, the annual drain of £ 3 million amounted in 30 years at 12 per cent compound interest to the enormous sum of £ 723,997,917 sterling. As Karl Max, of all people, commenting on this, wrote: “There cannot, however, remain any doubt but that the misery inflicted by the British on Hindustan is of essentially different and infinitely more intensive kind than Hindustan had to suffer before.”

The total tribute which was drained from India in the form of “Home Charges” and “Excess of Indian exports” amounted to the colossal figure of £ 151, 830,989 or about £ 152 million. Half the annual land revenue paid by the Indians to the British Government went back to Britain. Chengiz Khan and Ghazni Mohammad would have been jealous of the British.

(This is the first of the three articles on a hitherto forgotten subject.)

(To be continued)

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->CHENNAI : As the 150th anniversary of the landmark revolt in 1857 against British rule was celebrated on Friday in New Delhi with much fanfare, the South Indian History Congress (SIHC) has voiced its concern over the sidelining of South Indian rebellions before 1800.

The association is set to release a book on `South Indian Rebellions before and after 1800' on Sunday at a ceremony co-hosted by Madras Book Club and Centre for Contemporary Studies.

Compilation of papers

The founder-president of Centre for Contemporary Studies S. Gopalakrishnan said the book was a compilation of papers presented by eminent historians at a symposium held recently.

Mr. Gopalakrishnan, who has compiled the book, said there were several anti-British rebellions before 1857 in south India led by stalwarts such as Marudanayagam, the Marudu brothers, Kattabomman, Kittur Rani Chennama in Karnataka and Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy.

Agreeing that the revolt in 1857 was the major turning point in the history of the Indian freedom movement, SIHC's general secretary B.S. Chandrababu said the significant contribution of revolts in South India such as Vellore Mutiny of 1806 and South Indian Rebellion (1800-1801) must not be ignored.

The members of the SIHC demanded that a balanced projection of Indian history of independence be provided in the evaluation of the freedom movement.

Mr. Chandrababu said the South Indian revolts against the British rule must also be included in history books to create awareness among the younger generation.

The book, which contains papers by historians such as S. Muthiah and K.Rajayyan, also carries several photographs, including those of the tomb of Marudunayagam and pictures of Marudu brothers and Kittur Rani Chennama.

The Centre for Contemporary Studies plans to organise a national seminar on South Indian revolts in Chennai shortly under the aegis of Indian Council of Historical Research.

The SIHC, which was founded in 1979, has about 700 members across the southern states.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Dr. Marx Mohammad Shame, in his speech in parliament on the eve of 150th year of the War of 1857, had quoted from Karl Marx while not even mentioned Mangal Pandey.

This ongoing series of research articles By Prof. Devendra Swarup in Organiser examins the true Marxist views on the whole affaire of 1857, which CPI(atoz) are trying to bury in the rubble of the past now.

1. Pre-1957 Left perspective on 1857 - I: Did Moscow play fraud on Marx?

2. Pre-1957 Left perspective on 1857–II : "Reactionary and feudal outburst"

3. Pre-1957 Left perspective on 1857–III : Marx’s perception of India in 1853

some quotes:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->“This passive sort of existence evoked the other part, in contradistinction wild, aimless, unbounded forces of destruction and rendered murder itself a religious rite in Hindostan.”
—Karl Marx

“I share not the opinion of those who believe in a golden age of Hindustan.”
—Karl Marx

Endorsing the Macaulayan policy in the field of education and employment, it says: “The failure of the Mutiny proved conclusively that the people of India were not united by the old social institutions and religious traditions—that the future of India was to be secured not by the impossible revival of the old order of things but by the birth of a new force arising upon the ruins of the old” (p. 161).

“This objectively reactionary character was the reason of its failure. It could not have been suppressed had it been a progressive national movement, led by the native bourgeoisie with advanced social ideas and political programme. But such a movement was impossible in that epoch.”

“No Indian nationalist who stands for the social progress of his people and who struggles for political independence as a step towards that goal, would be treading the right path by clanging to the sentiments that lay behind the revolt of 1857.” —M.N. Roy

“The Revolution of 1857 was nothing but the last effort of the dethroned feudal potentates to regain their power. It was a struggle between the worn-out feudal system and the newly introduced commercial capitalism for political supremacy” and therefore “the last vestiges of feudal power were shattered by the failure of the Revolution of 1857, which is known as the Sepoy Mutiny.” (Reprint, Bombay, 1971, p 20). To be more explicit, it says, “The revolt of 1857 was the first serious attempt to overthrow the British domination; but by no means could it be looked upon as a national movement. It was nothing more than the last spasm of the dying feudalism… socially it was a reactionary movement because it wanted to replace British rule by revived feudal imperialism, either of the Moghals or the Marathas."

must read
<!--QuoteBegin-"Acharya"+-->QUOTE("Acharya")<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>The Government of India seems frightened to tell the whole truth about what happened to India after the British</b>—at first just the East India Company—came to our country first to trade and then to loot, <b>lest it embarrass our former rulers</b>.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Actually a bigger scam was the fact that the British stole the sterling reserves that were moved to Londion during WWII as collateral for the wartime loans to USA. The Labor govt did not payback the sterling resreve in exchange for getting out of the country.That is why the foreign exchnge crisis and the long and dismal "Hindu" rate of growth post Independence. The rate was so low as it started from nothing but the paltry Rs. 150 crores of which Rs. 50 crore was given to TSP as its share.

The bottom line is India purchased her freedom from the British in 1947. This is the indisputable fact.

On BRF other posters will jump in and tell how generous the British were in providing the old military hardware and useless jets.
plus, they had borrowed large sums of money from the princely states of India, on account of WWII. Since these states were 'dissolved' into Indian Union, British paid back nothing.
We now have fiction to mirror the truht of the war.
From The Telegraph, 22 june 2007

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>GORY TALES
- 1857 as a moment of savage cruelty  </b>
<b>THE MUTINY By Julian Rathbone,
Penguin, Rs 695</b>

Aristotle calls the poet a ‘maker’ because he deals not with what has happened, as a historian does, but constructs what might happen according to the laws of probability and possibility. Even if the poet deals with historical events, he will not limit himself like a historian to the particulars of the episodes but will glean the universal truths inherent in them. <b>In The Mutiny, Julian Rathbone brings to life the fateful days leading to and following what has been variously called the Sepoy Mutiny, the revolt of 1857 or the first war of Indian independence. By imaginatively living the lives of the characters fractured by the uprising and compelling readers to do the same, Rathbone is able to bring out the waste, rather than the glory of the revolt.</b> For those eager to project the mutiny as a remarkable instance of the awakening of the Indian nationalist sensibility, reading the The Mutiny would be a chastening exercise.

The novel begins on May 12, 1853, with the newly married Sophie Hardcastle — wife of Tom Hardcastle, the assistant attorney general of the Meerut Contingent — trying to accustom herself to life in Simla while her heart aches for her native Dorset. As Sophie makes her way to the gathering hosted by Lady Blackstock, she encounters the voluble Catherine Dixon, who will prove to be her closest friend in India. Most of the English characters Sophie gets acquainted with in Lady Blackstock’s party will be dead by the time the novel ends, in May, 1858. The list of the dead will include not only Sophie’s husband but also Catherine and her four children, who are butchered in the infamous Bibigarh massacre.

Although Sophie is one of the chief protagonists in the novel and she is left bereft in the aftermath of the mutiny, <b>the reader is hardly encouraged to sympathize exclusively with her, or, by extension, with the English side in the revolt. The injustices perpetrated on the natives by the English merchants of the Company are put forward in terms too unequivocal to enable the Englishmen to have claims on the readers’ compassion. But, in the final analysis, what emerges as more important than measuring the guilt of the respective parties, is the number of innocent lives lost in the skirmish. Considered in that light, if the revolt of 1857 is to be deemed momentous at all, it will be because of the unbelievable level of cruelty demonstrated by both the natives and the English. Each side outdid the other in unleashing a series of arbitrary killings. </b>The only creatures that benefited from the revolt were perhaps the carrion-feeders — the vultures, jackals and kites that sated themselves on the innumerable corpses strewn all over from Meerut to Delhi. There is a brilliant section in which the reader follows a kite as she takes stock of the feast led out before her. Through her eyes we see a Muslim butcher being shot at by a British “squaddie” for no other reason but because he wanted to test whether his “firelock would go off all right after being loaded so long....”

Although the scale of violence was unprecedented, the atrocities were but the natural outcome of, on the one hand, the pent-up irritation of the British with the recalcitrant natives who refused to fall in line, and of the rage that had long been simmering inside the colonized masses on the other. The natives resented the fact that the English, who understood nothing of their culture, were trying to replace it by their own. The colonizers, who were in many ways as prejudiced or as enlightened as the natives, nevertheless imposed their might on the colonized after stripping them of the power to protest. <b>Rathbone underlines the fact that the British in India were merchants, who were trying to give a pious aura to their mercenary motives by attempting to convert the ‘barbaric’ natives to an alien faith. The false assumption of superiority and the resultant coercion were tantamount to “a psychic rape and the response of many was hate, a hate that could drive a sword edge through muscle and bone, deep into the living flesh and organ of a person you know nothing about, save that she or he represented for you those who had raped you.”</b>

<b>An interesting parallel emerges in the novel between the way the English behaved with the natives and the way the average Victorian gentleman treated the angel of his hearth.</b> Sophie finds herself married to a man of an intellect inferior to hers. Tom Hardcastle almost becomes a figure of farce with his bungling ways, which contrast sharply with the measured steps of his wife. Yet he is the master of the Victorian household over which he presides, and Sophie cannot protest when he exerts his power over her, physically and emotionally. Trapped in a loveless relationship, Sophie feels herself raped every time Hardcastle forces himself upon her body. The Reverend John Rotton, trying to instil the fear of rape by natives in Sophie as the mutiny breaks, makes her reflect that he must be “sadly unaware of how often it occurred in the bedrooms of his congregation.”

Interestingly, all the memorable characters in the novel are women — be it Sophie, her native ayah, Lavanya, the mysterious Uma Blackstock or the singular Ranee of Jhansi. The Ranee, seen mostly through the eyes of the besotted British lieutenant, Bruce Farquhar, dazzles by the displays of her power, cunning and wit. The other leaders of the revolt, Nana Saheb or Bahadur Shah, seem pale by contrast, pathetic in their laziness and self-indulgence. The shrewd but loving Lavanya becomes the pivotal figure in the novel as she rescues her daughter and the children of her employers from the onslaught and survives the horrors with them. As a native ‘sub-altern’, social morality, which constricts the lives of women like Sophie, means nothing to her. She allows herself the pleasures of the flesh when offered the opportunity — unlike Sophie, who, in spite of bristling with desire, has to content herself with just staring at the naked Farquhar. The novel ends with Lavanya finding herself a mate as she reaches the end of her journey with the children.

It is significant that Lavanya alone finds the fulfilment that eludes every other character in the novel. <b>In her position of complete powerlessness — as a woman in a patriarchal society, and as a servant in a colonized world — Lavanya has nothing to lose. But she has much to give — whether in the form of her milk with which she feeds Sophie’s son, Stephen, because social custom would not allow Sophie to give suck to her child, or by way of the selfless love that enables her to save and protect not only her own child but also those of her white masters. Lavanya later gives Stephen not only a home, but, in a startling reversal of the master-slave dialectic, also her language. Her success in The Mutiny is also the triumph of the novelist/poet over the historian.</b>


In other words Lavanya is the common Indian who eventually emerged stronger after the ordeal.
Page: 35/42

Home > 2007 Issues > July 01, 2007

An essay on 1857-II
The British were greedy for money, land and wanted to Christianise

HAT exactly happened in India in 1857? Was it a “Sepoy Mutiny” as some British historians, contemptuous of India, would have us believe? The usual explanation given by the British was that the ‘Sipahis’ were unhappy with the introduction, in 1857, of the new Infield rifle, with its distinct ammunition, which required the bullet to be bitten before loading. Rumours were that the grease used on the bullets was either from the fat of cattle or pigs and that was an attack on Hindu and Muslim religious sentiments.

There are many historians who doubt this thesis. The primary cause of the revolt was the imperialist exploitation of the Indian people. The population of Dacca—renowned throughout the world for the fine quality of Muslims they produced, decreased from 150, 000 in 1827 to 20,000 in just ten years. The peasants fully supported the rebels and did not stand apart. Indeed, the peasants were on the side of the rebellion in areas where the cowardly talukdars remained loyal to the British. It was not an elitist war as some would like us to believe. It had roots deep in the hearts of the people, though, in Punjab, the Sikhs sided with the British not because they had any love for the foreigner but because they had enough of tyranny from the Mughal dynasty.

And it is well to remember—as Savarkar himself has pointed out—the 1857 movement continued even after the British Governor -General issued a proclamation to withdraw the offending grease cartridges. A British writer, Charles Ball put the case in proper perspective when he wrote: “The Meerut Sepoys in a moment found a leader, a flag and a cause. The mutiny was transformed into a revolutionary war”. Another British writer, Justin McCarthy wrote: “The fact was that throughout the greater part of northern and northwestern provinces of the Indian peninsula there was a rebellion of the native races against the English power. It was not the sepoy alone who rose in revolt. It was not by any means a merely military mutiny. It was a combination of military grievance, national hatred and religious fanaticism against the English occupation of India. The Mohammedans and the Hindu forgot their old religious antipathies to join against the Christian….”

Still another Britisher, Charles Ball wrote: “At length the torrent overflowed the banks and saturated the moral soil of India. The movement now assumed a more important aspect. It became a rebellion of a whole people incited to outrage by resentment for imaginary wrongs and sustained their delusions by hatred and fanaticism”. And P.C.Joshi, in a volume he edited on 1857 quotes Sir W.Russell, the London Times correspondent as writing: “Here we had not only a servile war, but we had a war of religion, a war of race and a war of revenge, of hope, of national determination to shake off the yoke of a stranger and to re-establish the full power of the notice chiefs and the full away of native religion.”

It is significant that almost for the first time, Hindu and Muslims joined hands. They were both opposed to attempts by the new rulers to establish Christianity in India. P.C.Joshi quotes the Chairman of the Court of Directors of the East India Company as saying in the House of Commons: Providence has entrusted the extensive empire of Hindustan to England in order that the banner of Christ should waive triumphant from one end of India to the other. Everyone must exert all his strength that there may be no dilatoriness on account in continuing in the country the grand work of making India Christian”. Joshi also quotes one Rev Kennedy as saying: “Whatever misfortunes come on us as long as our empire in India continues, so long let us not forget that our chief work is the propagation of Christianity in the land. Until Hindustan from Cape Comorin to the Himalayas embrace the religion of Christ and until it condemns the Hindu and Muslim religions, our efforts must continue persistently”.

The Christian missionary propaganda was not only violently aggressive and widespread, writes Joshi; it was also supported by the government agency. Joshi quotes Syed Ahmad Khan as saying: “In some districts, the missionaries were actually attended by policemen from the station.

And then the missionaries did not confine themselves to explain the doctrines of their own books. In violent and unmeasured language they attacked the followers and the holy palaces of other creeds, annoying and insulting beyond expression the feelings of those who listen to them. In this way, too, the seeds of discontent were sown deep into the hearts of the people”. And imagine what Macaulay wrote, to his mother on October 12, 1836: “It is my firm belief that if our plan of education is followed up, there would not be a single idolater in Bengal thirty years hence”. The British were not only greedy for money and for land. They wanted to Christianise and de-nationalise India. And that is the Truth. Religious India, of course, retaliated with vigour and vengefulness. Every act of conversion, every act of brutality, was repaid in equal brutality. The story of 1857 was one of revenge. When the British realised the full vigour of Indian anger, they fought back in ample measure.

The poet Ghalib is quoted as saying: After the British re-occupation of Delhi. “The victors advanced through the passage in front of the Kashmir Gate which leads to the market and killed whomsoever they could find on the road. Not one among the gentry and the sober but barred the entrance to his house”. Ghalib noticed that “there were gallows on every side”. When James Neill with the Madras Fusiliers marched from Banaras to Allahabad, he systematically executed 6,000 Indians who were termed “niggers”.

According to Kaushik Roy writing in Economic and Political Weekly (May12) “the number of civilians and Indian soldiers killed exceeded one lakh (1,00,000). There was not a tree in some places which did not see a dead Indian hanging from the branches. In comparison just about 2,034 British soldiers died in action another 8,978 died form disease. British terrorism did not frighten Indians. The EPW quotes a British lady residing in Lucknow noting in her journal on May 16, 1857: “You can only rule these Asiatics by fear; if they are not afraid, they snap their fingers at you”.

(To be continued)
Acharya ji, can you please post the link of the above article?

suggestion to members. If possible, kindly provide the URLs when posting the articles from elsewhere please.
Book Review:

From The Telegraph, Kolkota, 29 June 2007


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->OLD WINE IN A NEW BOTTLE 
The Great Uprising: India, 1857 By Pramod K. Nayar, Penguin, Rs 250

The 150th anniversary of the uprising of 1857 has occasioned a number of publications. Many <b>of these works have been written by non-historians using interdisciplinary research. Pramod K. Nayar, in this book, follows such an approach.</b>

The Great Uprising is Nayar’s second book on 1857 published this year. Although he claims to provide a holistic understanding of the great mutiny, what we have in this book is just a descriptive narrative. Nayar provides a brief background to colonialism and then moves on to a chronological account of the uprising in north India, the subsequent civil rebellion and, finally, the return of the British raj.

<b>Frankly, there is nothing new in his book compared to Christopher Hibbert’s The Great Mutiny: India 1857,</b> which was published 29 years ago. Hibbert made extensive use of private papers unlike Nayar, who uses printed sources, not archival research. <b>Nayar aspires to unveil the Indian side of the story, which is simply not possible without using Urdu sources.</b>

<b>The one original point that Nayar makes is that British barbarity, perpetrated by James Neill and Henry Havelock, was not the reaction to the Bibigarh massacre in Kanpur by the rebels, but rather the other way round. When Neill advanced from Benaras, he started burning villages and killing native civilians indiscriminately. The spread of such news probably encouraged Nana Sahib and his henchmen to organize the massacre of British men and women in Bibigarh. Further, the Satichaura Ghat massacre of General Wheeler’s troops, which preceded the Bibigarh massacre, writes Nayar, was the result of confusion and not of any plan implemented by Nana Sahib and his followers.</b> This cause-effect equation has been overlooked by colonial writers and historians.

<b>The only valuable section in this book is the Appendix, where Nayar analyses the representation of the 1857 rebellion in English fiction. For the British, the experience of 1857 proved to be traumatic.</b> Hence, the ‘mutiny novels’ contrast the peace in the Indian towns before 1857 with the violence that unfolded during the ‘mutiny’. <b>Another feature of this genre of fiction is the emphasis on the sufferings of the British people. However, Gautmam Chakravarty’s The Indian Mutiny and the British Imagination still has the last word on the ‘mutiny novels’. </b>

To sum up, The Great Uprising is an ideal read for the uninitiated. But for the serious historian there is nothing particularly new in this book. The educated, inquisitve readership, at which this book is targeted, would be the best judge of its merits.

<img src='http://img.jagran.com/news/040707/5juyct2307.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>लालू ने ली तात्या टोपे के वंशजों की सुध</b>

नई दिल्ली। रेलमंत्री लालू प्रसाद के राजनीतिक विरोधी इसे चाहे जिस रूप में लें, लेकिन आजादी के सेनानी तात्या टोपे के वंशजों के लिए यह किसी चमत्कार से कम नहीं। तंगहाली का जीवन व्यतीत कर रहे इन वंशजों के दिन अब बहुरने वाले हैं। लालू की मेहरबानी से तात्या की प्रपौत्री सरस्वती देवी की दोनों पुत्रियों को अचानक रेलवे में नौकरी मिल गई है। रेल मंत्री ने रेल भवन बुलाकर इस परिवार को सम्मानित किया और दोनों बालिकाओं को अपने हाथों से नियुक्ति पत्र सौंपे।
   प्रगति और तृप्ति अब कंटेनर कारपोरेशन आफ इंडिया में वाणिज्य सहायक के तौर पर कार्य करेंगी। प्रगति स्नातक है जबकि तृप्ति स्नातकोत्तर की पढ़ाई कर रही है। इनके पिता विनायक रावजी टोपे ने अपनी पत्नी के साथ आधे पेट रहकर और परचून कर दुकान चलाकर इन्हें पढ़ाया लिखाया है। इन बहनों का एक भाई आशुतोष अभी छोटा है। पूरे परिवार को देखने से ही प्रतीत होता है कि अब तक उनकी किसी ने जरा भी फिक्र नहीं की।
   यह परिवार कानपुर के नजदीक बिठूर में रह रहा है जो स्वतंत्रता संग्राम के दौरान तात्या टोपे, नाना साहब पेशवा और झांसी की रानी की कर्मभूमि रही है। विनायक रावजी के मुताबिक बिठूर के संदर्भ में जब भी चर्चा हुई तो नाना साहेब और रानी झांसी का ही जिक्र हुआ, तात्या को प्राय: भुला दिया गया। जबकि बिठूर उनकी भी उतनी ही कर्मस्थली रही है। बहरहाल अब जबकि आजादी की पहली लड़ाई की डेढ़ सौवीं सालगिरह पर भारत सरकार की नजर उन पर पड़ी है तो उन्हें इस पर सहसा विश्वास नहीं हो रहा है।


The descendants of Tatya Tope, General and the Commander in Chief of Peshwa's forces, "discovered" by Indian Government, living in poverty, near Bithur in Kanpur. Railway ministry gives jobs to two girls of the family.
Lalloo Yadav was even at Swami Ramdev's book release.
In Sunnyvale, Ca I met the descendent of Tippu Sultan by way fo his daughter who fled to Nizam's dominions. He was not told his ancestry till the Police Action in 1947 for fear that they would be betrayed to the British by way of the Nizam. He left India in 1960s and retired in 1992. Needless to say he was a strong believer in India and wanted the TSP whipped to its place.

Meanwhile India's Sepoy Mutiny

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->India's Sepoy Mutiny

India (including what in the 20th century would be Pakistan and Bangladesh) had hundreds of independent states, with <b>the British ruling less than half of its total area and the British East India Company in charge. It was a rule motivated by commerce. From India, Britain's manufacturers were receiving raw cotton, and the British were exporting to India manufactured goods - one tenth of Britain's exports going to India. As the government for the British in India, the British East India Company was paying the expense of troops to defend their interests, saving the budget conscious British government this expense. </b>Some of India's princely rulers were puppets of the East India Company, and if such a prince failed to cooperate with the company, the company might dispose of him and annex his territory, ousting him from power using the Indian troops (Sepoys) that it employed. <b>Ninety-six percent of the company's of army of 300,000 men in India were native to India.</b>

<b>Among common Indians the introduction of rail lines and telegraphy had spread a fear of being overwhelmed by the British, and they feared that the British intended to Christianize them.</b> Rebellion against rule by foreigners came 1857 from those the British East India Company had hired as troops - the Sepoys. The British had introduced a new rifle which used rifle cartridges the end of which had to be bitten off before use, and the cartridges were rumored to be greased with oil made from animal fat - the fat of sacred cows being taboo to Hindus and the fat of pigs being repulsive to Muslims. In May 1857 a soldier shot his commander for forcing the Indian troops to use the new rifles. Violence against the British spread among the Sepoys, and it spread as leading landowners encouraged revolt among civilians, the landlords hoping to regain losses from land reform that the British had imposed on them. The revolt spread to Kanpur, on the Ganges River 250 miles southeast of Delhi, and it spread to Lucknow, 45 miles northeast of Delhi. A leading participant in the rebellion was the former Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah II, and rebels looked to him as the power that would drive the British from India. It was what Indians would view as their first war of independence and the British would call the Sepoy Mutiny.

The rebellion included attacks on various European civilians and on British women and children. <b>The British press exaggerated, describing the rebels as tossing British babies into the air and bayoneting them for sport. By September, Queen Victoria was writing about the horrors committed on women and children making "one's blood run cold." She wrote that,

Altogether, the whole is so much more distressing than [the war in] the Crimea - where there was glory and honourable warfare, and where the poor women and children were safe.</b>

In a letter by Queen Victoria to her uncle, the King of the Belgians, dated September 2, 1857.

<b>India remained too divided for success against the British. It was divided in language, with Hindi spoken by only a third of the population, and Bengali by one-sixth. The powerful Indian state of Hyderabad was not interested in supporting the rebel leader, Bahadur Shah II. Other Indian states followed Hyderabad's example, and the Sikh warriors hired by the British also failed to join the rebellion.</b>

The British public viewed their military officers serving in India as gentleman-warriors defending dignity, God's purposes and Britain's civilizing mission. There was talk of "the resolute vigor of the Anglo Saxon race." The British viewed those Indians who supported the uprising as ungrateful and treacherous.

During the rebellion the British government took control of India from the East India Company, Britain's possessions in India henceforth to be governed by a government-appointed viceroy and the British government's colonial office. And a more friendly policy toward the Indians was considered. Queen Victory was concerned, and she exercised the crown's interest in foreign affairs and its right to give advice and to be consulted on government policy. In a proclamation she promised to preserve the rule of Indian princes in return for loyalty to the British crown. Indians under British rule were to be British subjects, and they were promised their own governance over local affairs. Queen Victoria wrote about "attracting Indians with British generosity, about the privileges which the Indians will receive in being placed on an equality with the subjects of the British Crown, and the prosperity following in the train of civilization" in a letter by Queen Victoria to Lord Derby, dated August 15, 1858.

<b>The rebellion made a stand in central India, under the leadership of Tatya Tope. He was captured and executed in April 1859,</b> and in July the British described the rebellion as all but defeated. The British claimed that only a few thousand rebels were still in the field, men "belonging to the most guilty regiments and those which murdered their officers." 

The civil war was a turning point for British rule in India. The Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah II, was exiled to Burma and the Mughal Empire formally liquidated.  The British replaced the British East India Company with direct rule under the British Crown. And Britain's Queen Victoria promised the Indian people equal treatment under British law. In the wake of the Sepoy rebellion, however, remained widespread mistrust of British rule.

Recommended Books

Empire: The British Experience from 1765 to the Present, by Denis Judd.

European imperialism in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, by Woodruff D Smith, 1982.


<!--QuoteBegin-ramana+Jul 5 2007, 02:11 PM-->QUOTE(ramana @ Jul 5 2007, 02:11 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->the descendent of Tippu Sultan by way fo his daughter who fled to Nizam's dominions. He was not told his ancestry till the Police Action in 1947 for fear that they would be betrayed to the British by way of the Nizam. He left India in 1960s and retired in 1992. Needless to say he was a strong believer in India and wanted the TSP whipped to its place.

British kept a close watch at the Tippoo's descendants, and most lived in Vellore and Calcutta, under British supervision.

Descendants of Tippoo are to be found in Calcutta today, living very ordinary lives. One friend from Calcutta knows them first hand - one runs a motor mechanic shop

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->After the Fall of Seringapatam in 1799, Tipu's family were detained in the Fort at Vellore, and in a walled enclosure, some 1.2 km East of the Fort, are the family tombs of Bakshi Begum (d.1806) widow of Haidar Ali; Mirza Raza, who married one of Tipu's daughters; and Padshah Begum (d.1834), Tipu's wife. The presence of Tipu's sons at Vellore has often been cited as one of the causes of the uprising which took place there in 1806. In fact, the instructions of Sir John Craddock, prohibiting the wearing of caste marks and beards, were probably a far more significant issue.

Nevertheless, after this episode, Tipu's family were transferred to the capital, Calcutta, where they received settlements of land and pensions. These are detailed in an "Account of the Receipts and Expenditure of the Appropriated Mysore Deposit Fund" and of the "Disbursements on account of the families of Hyder Ali and Tippoo Sultan," including "Memorials from Prince Gholam Mahomed," one of Tipu's sons, "Despatches to the Court of Directors of the East India Company" and "any Dissents recorded by Members of the Council of India".

A comprehensive record of Tipu's family and descendants, to great grandchildren, is also included. Descendants of Tipu still live in Calcutta today.
One more book review from Telegraph, 6 July 2007

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->PRODUCE THE WITNESS, PLEASE 

Against the Bombay sepoys 
The Indian Mutiny By Julian Spilsbury, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £20

<b>Who else but a journalist — and that too from the Daily Telegraph — would have the effrontery to write a book on history without a single reference or footnote, indeed without even a bibiliography?</b> This is to stretch the readers’ credibility a bit too far.

The blurb claims that Spilsbury has woven his narrative around eyewitness accounts. This could very well be true, but what are these eyewitness accounts? Who wrote them? What is their provenance? Where did Spilsbury read them? Have other historians/writers read these accounts before Spilsbury? If so, how does Spilsbury’s account differ from those previous readings? One looks in vain for an answer to any of these questions in Spilsbury’s book. <b>He unashamedly violates every single established norm of constructing a historical narrative.</b>

<b>Reading his racy narrative, written in the manner of G.A. Henty’s novels for schoolboys when Britannia ruled the waves</b>, a reader unfamiliar with the rich literature on the revolt of 1857 might get the impression that Charles Ball, John Kaye, T. Rice Holmes, G.W. Forrest, S.N. Sen and other historians have not written at all. The argument that a popular book, like the one that Spilsbury has written, need not be weighed down by footnotes and references does not hold at all. Christopher Hibbert and William Dalrymple have both shown that footnotes and references have nothing to do with readability. What about a bibliography? Doesn’t Spilsbury owe his readers this much?

<b>Spilsbury commits too many egregious errors, some of them would not be passed by the Daily Telegraph’s desk. To take just a few. He describes the talukdars of Awadh (Oudh) as village headmen. The king of Awadh, Wajid Ali Shah, who was deposed by Lord Dalhousie, is made into the Nawab of Awadh. Spilsbury describes with brio James Neill’s march from Benares to Cawnpore in the summer of 1857, and notes also the indiscriminate violence of that counter insurgency operation. What he completely fails to note is that by a series of Acts passed in May and June, 1857, individual Britons were given the power to judge and take the lives of Indians without recourse to the due processes of law. This permitted the hanging parties to go out into the North Indian countryside. Spilsbury misses this because he is writing solely on the basis of eyewitness accounts, and is therefore clueless about the overall policy which made such violence possible.</b>

Spilsbury doesn’t even make an attempt at an analysis. The really big question is why a well-known publishing house like Weidenfeld and Nicolson chose to publish this book. Did it go through referees which is the standard practice for all books? <b>The reasons for the callousness, author’s as well as publisher’s, were probably two-fold. One, the 150th anniversary was too good an occasion to let slip. Second, in the world of British publishing, so far as Indian history is concerned, anything goes.</b>

It is possible that all of Spilsbury’s account is factually correct and based on valid documents. But how is a reader to judge that, since the sources are not given? How does one trust an author who doesn’t extend to his readers the common courtesy of sharing his sources and their origins?

There are several Marathi Brahmins with the surname Tope. I understand from a person with this surname that they include Tatya Tope hail from a single village in Maharashtra. This person mentioned that they all have a common origin with Tatya though he was unable to make a direction connection. He speculated that the surname may have come from their role in the artillery and originally it was something like Yeolakar.

Google Books:
Records of the Intelligence Dept on the 1857 Mutiny- Sir William Muir

Very interesting prespective. The British thought that it was jihad. Also read page 532.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The British thought that it was jihad<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
However British made it a point to appeal to bigwigs in Turkey to NOT declare 1857 war a Jihad. This is from M J Akbar's book The Shade of Swords

Without cover of an official religious war meant Brits could win our more learned intellectual type IMs to their side who naturally looked down upon 1857. These intellectuals (e.g. Sir Syed Ahmed etc) were perfect pawns in years to come and played their part in opposing the formation of INC and at times even the freedom struggle. Jinnaha was just the last in that line.

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