About The Book
The China Relief Expedition, an eight-nation military effort, was organized to rescue foreign nationals in the country during the Boxer Uprising (1899-1901). In Thirteen Months in China,Thakur Gadadhar Singh, a British Indian soldier of the 7th Rajput Regiment, recounts his experiences as he set sail along with his men for Beijing in the summer of 1900. Written shortly after his return to India in 1901, he details several aspects of China and its people he met over the course . of thirteen months. Part travelogue, part history, Singh's eyewitness account offers a first-hand view of the tumultuous events of the Boxer Uprising and its aftermath, as also of Chinese society, culture, politics, religion, and art and architecture, often in a comparative perspective. It is a rare historical source of an Indian subaltern's outlook on the history of China, and its customs and practices.
A Subaltern's Vision of China and India during the Boxer Expedition of 1900-1 `Who does not know,' writes Gadadhar Singh, the author of Chin Me Terah Mas (Thirteen Months in China), in the opening line of the concluding section entitled 'Chin aur Hind [ustan]', 'that in the Asian continent, both China and India are very big and fertile coun-tries and, as civilizations, the most superior' (p. 299). Moreover, they shared a common heritage in Buddhism. In addition, he
acknowledges having a special attachment to China because it was in 'distress', a sentimental connection grew out of his concern that China was about to succumb to foreign rule. That is, it was about to face a future that India had already experienced in its past. This book is an annotated English translation of Singh's stunning account in Hindi of his experiences in China as a soldier in the International (also known as the China Relief) Expedition, a multinational force of eight nations organized in the summer of 1900 to march on the capital city of Beijing, lift the siege of the Foreign Legations there, and defeat the insurgent Boxers and the Qing Empire that supported the movement. Self-published in the north Indian city of Lucknow in 1902, several months after his return from Beijing in September 1901, Singh's book of 319 pages details many aspects of China and its people who he encountered over the course of thirteen months. As its cover page declares, the book, parenthetically subtitled Chin Sangram (The China War), offers readers.
The sheer breadth of topics he writes about, based on his first-hand experiences and his follow-up research, speak volumes about his intellectual curiosity and the uniqueness of the book as a travelogue and a historical account of China.. Singh was a member of the 7th Rajput Regiment, also known as the 7th Duke of Connaught's Own Bengal Infantry, mobilized in India to fight in China on behalf of the British. Numbering 500 in all, he and his men left Calcutta on 29 June 1900, to become part of the Indian contingent that constituted the bulk of the British force of 3,000 men in the International Expedition of 20,000 or so foreigners, convened to follow in the wake of an initial multinational force that failed to make its way into Beijing.3 Their mission was to defeat the ruling Qing dynasty, which, by then, openly sided with the Boxer Uprising and its anti-foreign and anti-Christian movement.
The book cover identifies its author as Thakur Gadadhar Singh-the thakur in the name adding the honorific title, meaning lord or master, that is often linked to Rajput elite or to landed gentry. (Rajputs belong to the Kshatriya or warrior caste.) It also lists the well-known area of Dilkusha, Lucknow, as Singh's address and indicates that the book could be obtained from him. That is, Chin Me Terah Mcis was available from his Lucknow cantonment address, where his regiment was stationed following its return from China in September 1901 and remained until November 1905, when it was dispatched to the North-West Frontier Province.5 The initial run of this work was a thousand copies. According to Divamgat Hindi-Sevi (The Encyclopedia of Late Hindi Litterateurs and Devotees), a book published in 1981, Gadadhar Singh was born in the village of Sanchedi in Kanpur district in October 1869. His father, Dariyao Singh, was a military man-he served in the 5th Bengal Native Infantry between 1864 and 1878. The son followed in his father's footsteps, in his case enlisting in the 7th Rajputs in 1886 when he was seventeen years old and when that regiment was stationed at Fort William, Calcutta. By then, he had already completed the tenth standard of secondary school, a level of education that made him highly educated, in comparison to most inhabitants of his region of the North-Western Provinces and Oudh (NWP&O, renamed United Provinces after 1901), where less than 10 per cent of the population was enumerated as literate, let alone in high school.6 His scholastic record also made him stand out in the military, enough so that he apparently served as a 'teacher' in his regiment in 1894. According to his biography in Divamgat Hindi-Sevi, he fought in the British campaigns in Burma (now Myanmar) in 1887, which is clearly erroneous since his regiment did not go there until 1891. So is its claim that Singh attained the lofty position of subedar major in 1896, the highest commissioned rank an Indian officer could attain in the infantry.
Your email address will not be published *
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend