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Uprisings of 1857-Perspectives and Peripheries

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Item Code: HAN543
Author: Edited By Subhas Ranjan Chakraborty
Language: English
Edition: 2022
ISBN: 9788195619818
Pages: 317
Other Details 8.5x5.5 inch
Weight 508 gm
Book Description
About the Book

The problem of how to read the Revolt of 1857 has been a long-standing concern in the historiography of India. The essays anthologised in this volume were presented in a seminar in Kolkata in March 2007, organised by the Asiatic Society to celebrate the 150th year of the event. The focus is on the regions beyond the Gangetic heartland. In the first part are presented five essays which look at certain general perspectives and historiographical issues, while the eight other essays examine aspects of 1857 over a wide area stretching from Assam to Punjab via Bengal, Orissa, Andhra, Tamil Nadu and Malwa. The book, it is hoped, would be of interest to both historians and general readers.


The Asiatic Society, which remained totally oblivious of the Uprisings of 1857 for reasons which need no explanation, held a good seminar on the historic event in March 2007. Some of the important essays, well-researched, were read in the seminar. These essays have been collected in this volume with an appreciable introduction of Subhas Ranjan Chakraborty, who has rightly pointed out the progress of the uprisings in the districts of Bengal, a subject which needs further research. The other essays deal with various aspects of the uprisings. The collection, by and large, is a valuable contribution to the continuing studies of the subject in India and abroad. I trust that this book would be appreciated by the historians and the general readers.


On the eve of his departure from India Lord Dalhousie evinced great optimism: 'I trust that I am guilty of no presumption in saying that I shall leave the Indian empire in peace, without and within.' He also wrote, in a letter to a friend on the 24 February, 1857 that he had not foreseen a general mutiny of the Bengal army. "I had', he observed, 'the guarantee of a hundred years of fidelity before me, and there were no symptoms of unfaithfulness.2 His optimism, we now know, was belied and he was proved wrong on both counts. The year 1857, the centenary of the battle of Plassey, it was prophesied, will witness the fall of the British Empire. Bengal Harkaru and Indian Gazette, 1 June 1857, noted the 'sepoys of the Bengal army take much unnecessary pains to procure the services of foretellers and soothsayers... the principal question asked... by these misguided men (Hindus as well as Mohammedans) refers to the duration of the British rule over this country'; on 23 June the paper noted, 'Today is the centenary of the battle of Plassey and according to prevalent belief the last of our rule.... On hearing these predictions the Hindus exclaimed: "on the departure of the English from this land, we will offer one hundred lac of beasts for being sacrificed at the shrine of the mighty Kalee."3 We have contemporary evidence to suggest that this was believed by many (from Calcutta to Delhi), irrespective of whether they acted on it or not. Indeed, 1857-8 witnessed the most critical time for the Raj so far, notwithstanding the fact the Company faced resistance, with varying degree of impact, from the moment it established de facto political power.

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