ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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History as Revenge and Retaliation

Savarkar's account of 1857 has served to legitimise retributive violence in the name of Hindu nationalism. It is based on a conception of how the history of the "Hindu Rashtra" ought to be written, while enunciating a model of politics based on the opposition between "friend" and "foe".

The Rebel Army in 1857

Debate persists as to the role of the Company's soldiers in the events of 1857. There were several regiments that were at the head of the resistance against the British, but as this paper argues, in very many instances, their resistance was not representative of wider class and caste interests. A reading of the mutiny across its many centres reveals that the sepoys' resistance, while largely unplanned and even spontaneous, did not reflect the desire to reimpose the traditional order of things, or to even espouse the interests of the old peasant society from which many of them, especially those in the Bengal army, hailed. Moreover, there were also signs that the institutions or the initial order the sepoys sought to establish in centres such as Delhi or Gwalior were more "democratic" and egalitarian in character.

Dalit 'Viranganas' and Reinvention of 1857

Contemporary Hindi dalit popular literature has emerged as a critical source for deeper insights into dalit politics and identity. This paper examines the ways in which this literature has dealt with the role of dalit women in the revolt of 1857. It interrogates both conventional and historic writings on 1857 and mainstream portrayals of dalit women and also dalit writings on the subject.

Inscribing the Rani of Jhansi in Colonial 'Mutiny' Fiction

This paper scrutinises four, little-known, 19th century "Mutiny" novels, illuminating their fascinating diversities, as well as the politics of representation. It reveals how some of these texts cast the rani of Jhansi as cruel and licentious, situating her role in the Rebellion within contemporary colonial stereotypes. However, two unusual novels, Philip Meadows Taylor's Seeta (1872) and Michael White's lesser-known Lachmi Bai, Rani of Jhansi (1901), interestingly enough, drew upon the paradigm of the warrior-woman and projected her as a fearless freedom fighter in a manner that surprisingly fed into later Indian nationalist iconography.

Mangal Pandey: Film and History

Debate over the film, Mangal Pandey, has raged on its putative lack of objectivity on the one hand, and on the other, on its depiction of an event that still has the power to "move" people. Ever since films emerged as a mass medium of significance, the notions of the "public sphere" in democracy have changed as well. This is especially so over remembering an event such as 1857, on which Indians continue to have very differing opinions. This paper argues that concerns over the film, as with 1857 itself, speak of an unresolved question of Indian democracy, i e, whether the two domains of Indian democracy, comprising the "elite" and the "subaltern", can ever combine to produce a "politics of the people". Such a politics would give Indian democracy both a working sense of sovereignty and a lively sense of being truly a democracy.

Remembering 1857

To discuss the practice of memory and its relations to politics, social scientists rely on three kinds of practices - memorialising, memorising and the act of remembering/forgetting. The commemoration of "1857" is unique in that official celebrations of the event have been instituted even as 1857 continues to refigure in myths and endures as a symbol of popular resistance. The articles in this special issue address the seeming contradictions and complexities that "remembering" 1857 involves, and the tension that prevails between different kinds of recall.

Multiple Meanings of 1857 for Indians in Britain

Many historians and commentators have discussed the disparate roles and responses of various Britons and Indians in India as well as the opinions and public policies of Britons in Britain during the struggle of 1857. This paper complements such work by highlighting how Indians living in British society related to those events and also the ways in which British attitudes toward them changed before, during and after 1857.

New Lamps for Old

Education policy as it came to be elucidated over the 19th century was driven by colonial imperatives. The early 19th century was a time of experimentation, it was a period of acquaintance and also of open ideological debate. Barely a few decades later, however, and especially following the revolt of 1857, as the Raj asserted itself, and imperialism gained in zeal, some of this early experimentation was lost in the drive for more Anglicisation of education. The setting up of the universities in the three presidency towns reflected the growing assertiveness in colonial ideology. This article, however, looks at two experiments in education, located in the vernacular medium, that had their origins in the earlier period of new understanding, but were decisively affected by the events of 1857 and reactions to it.

The Beginning of 'People's War' in India

The British response to the mutiny led to fundamental changes in the manner of their rule over the next century. But in several respects, the battles waged in course of the mutiny of 1857 were radically different from those fought before. As this article argues, it marked the advent of "people's war" as opposed to the "limited war" of the past. Not only were militia and local levies raised from among the citizenry but the deliberate savagery inflicted on the defeated civilian populace was a conscious policy of demoralising the enemy. Other effective strategies that were developed to draw civilians into the war effort involved the use of religion and the deliberate use of rumour.

Reactivating the Past

Nondescript memorial stones and small shrines in several regions of Uttar Pradesh commemorate those dalit heroes who played a significant role in the events of 1857. For dalits in the region, these shrines are sacrosanct structures where their heroes are worshipped, while stories and legends relating to them are used to fashion a new history for the marginalised, one that glorifies the role dalit rebels played in 1857.

The Mutiny Novel

The Indian Mutiny of 1857 marked a shift in governance from the Mughal emperor to the East India Company. The literature of this period indicates a movement away from India as an adventure space to India as a domestic space. This essay examines two novels, to show the dissolution of a romantic and picturesque India; instead it is a land that is feminised, determined and bound to its colonial masters.

Banking Reforms in India

The public sector banks have shown a remarkable transformation in the post-reform period. Profitability is comparable to international banks, efficiency and stability have improved and there is a convergence between PSBs and private banks. But the PSBs will be severely tested as disintermediation proceeds apace on both the asset and liability sides. Their survival depends on their ability to rise to the challenges ahead. Both unions as well as government in its capacity as owner have an important role to play in ensuring that PSBs are well prepared to meet these challenges.

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