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

Special IssuesSubscribe to Special Issues

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.

1857 and Ideas about Nationhood in Bengal

The events of 1857 have been represented in divergent ways. Most popular of such interpretations have been those that link 1857 with the emergence of nationalism in the country. This article draws on accounts, actual and fictional, written by the Bengali literati to explain the various discourses shaped by 1857. In the Bengali nationalist imagination an understanding of 1857 was derived via the conceptual category of the "samaj".

Historians and Historiography

The many interpretations of the events of 1857 since the 150 years of its occurrence need to be seen in their historiographical context. This explains the narrow religious focus that contemporary observers bestowed on it as well as the nationalist aspirations that were seen to characterise 1857, as historians in the years immediately following independence in 1947 sought to establish. The important presence of 1857 in the creation of an Indian history and identity explains the many "myths" traced to it by various communities and groups, as well as the abiding interest of historians in the various facets of that special event. These are all aspects of 1857 that this special issue seeks to explore.

Music and Society in North India: From the Mughals to the Mutiny

The period from early 18th century leading up to the Mutiny of 1857 witnessed massive political and socio-cultural turmoil which impacted the evolution of musical culture as well. This paper synthesises existing historical work on the complex evolution of musical culture in northern India during the period, focusing on the origins and development of those forms that became identified as mainstream classical Hindustani music in the 20th century.

On the Rebellion of 1857

Colonial arguments about 1857 largely centred on the nature of India and the way it should be ruled. For their part, Indian arguments after independence were similarly debates about Indian nationhood. These debates continue to the present: was there a multicultural polity in place or a monocultural identity at work? The various arguments on the nature of 1857 as also history of the idea of a rebellion are also in a subliminal sense a debate on identity and developing a nationhood.

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".

How Do We Assess Monetary Policy Stance?

This paper develops a measure of the monetary policy stance from the detailed reading of various monetary policy announcements in India from 1973 to 1998. According to the proposed measure, the stance of monetary policy has been mildly contractionary over this period with its emphasis on inflation control. The constructed measure of monetary policy stance is then linked to output and prices in a three-variable vector autoregression framework, which indicates that, for the period of study, the potency of monetary policy seemed to have been more effective in price control vis-a-vis stimulating output growth.

Pages

Back to Top