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

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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".

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.

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.

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.
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