July 25, 2006

Advancement in History Research Methodology

While writing a post titled "Working in the Browser" on optimizing the search activity for pursuing an answer to a question or a research work, William J. Turkel made the following remarks.

"Working with digital sources means that historians will spend more time working with computers. Most already use e-mail and word processing, search library catalogs and archival finding aids, read online journal articles and book reviews. Digital history puts primary and secondary sources onto the computer, too, and provides new opportunities for historical research and writing: blogging, digitization, web and wiki authoring, programming, and so on."

In the above quoted statement, the author has explained in a brief and an effective manner the change in the research methodology of history owing to advancement in the technology.

I have extracted it here because it tries to answer different questions which generally appears in the NET examination of India wherein it is asked that what are the new changes seen in the field of research methodology. Or, the question can be that how can ICT and computer be useful in research in history.

Turkel works in a realm of knowledge, skill and understanding which is presently beyond my capability, knowledge and skills, but I have also tried something in my article titled "Quasi Mutiny of 1824 by 47 Native Infantry at Barrackpore" . I have yet to complete the writing on this topic but I have used different digital resources already available online along with in-print secondary sources. No doubt, therein, I have done everything manually and there is less of software based activity and syndication as it is being done with coming of new tools now and then or rather every next second. The topic of quasi Mutiny was identified and located through online sources. The question was already with me but I did not have a starting point to explore my question. The question is that what is the real nature of historiography on Indian Nationalism. I had been commenting and criticizing which amounted to nothing much. In the topic which I have pursued there, I have used the digital sources, made right links to the primary and secondary sources and within the article used tags to present it as an article of research as it is presented in the field of history. The activity is not of the level which Turkel has achieved by establishing his own server and then optimizing the server itself as the storehouse of the primary and secondary sources using different computation devices that I have already admitted that I am incapable of understanding and less capable of practicing for the time being. But it is also a paradigm which lesser people like me can practice. No doubt, it is not all that original idea. There are similar paradigm found in Guttenburg ebooks. I have just tried to bring it out in open as to me it seems that it is also a good way of developing an archive. One topic is taken. The sources on online are located. The thesis is presented. All the references are given link to their source where they are needed. Continue to do it till that article reaches a saturation point. Ultimately, you will have a topic wherein you will find all the authentic and authoritative references at one place.

Well, I will be interested in the comments now.

Credit and Acknowledgement :
William J. Turkel at Digital History Hacks

July 21, 2006

Ban Is Lifted from Blogs In India

"A week ago, we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem out pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially."

I am using Reliance Infocom for accessing internet. Now I can open my blogspot sites. I can also access typepad site. It seems that the ISPs have released these sites. I hope the rest of neticians can also open any site which they like on different blog portals.

I also hope that the government of India will review the procedures to implement their decisions in this technically advanced milieu. They have faced the music. They now know that the bloggers may be a "miniscule minority" but they can do great damage to the reputation of the government if the government behaves like an archaic state and conduct itself in a clumsy manner.

I also feel that some good has also come out of it. For me, I have learned about proxy servers. I am not going to remove the logo of Slap the block. I believe that it has bound the bloggers into a community. It may have popularized this activity of blogging.

I also want to thank the foreign media who had actually played a major role in voicing our concern. The Indian media had played its role but dear friends, it was on the milder site. They shout from the top of the roof on some clumsy stink operations or Matuk Das Chaudhary (Patna) lover affair with his student Julie. But they did not find the block on blogs as gagging of the freedom of the expression. No, they did not play the role which was expected of them.

Let us hope that there will be no next time.

Now, in future, I will be more abrasive and straightforward.

I will now return back to the theme of this blog and start posting history related articles. However, I will not remove those posting which were made on the issue of blocking of blogs in India.

July 20, 2006

Gift From Pakistan for the Indian Blocked Blogs

Pkblogs has gifted to Indians their own INTRUSION site.
It says, "Unable to view pictures on your blog??check http://www.inblogs.net to access banned blogs "with pictures" from India"
Check it

July 18, 2006


The blogspot, Typepad and geocities sites are blocked in India.

The bloggers were using various proxy servers to reach their sites. They were using pkblogs.com for blogspot sites.

It seems that it is now blocked. It also shows that blocking is being done intentionally. It is not that it is has been done by some foolish babu or something like that.

The government is becoming nasty. It is crub on fundsmental right of freedom of expression. The emergency days seems to be returning. No Pakistan has a case to present before Bush that India is more dictorial than General Musharaff.

On can keep on ranting on it. But it seems now is the time to take up some concrete action and check how this new technology can be a force.

An Update (July 20, 2006): It seems that pkblogs.com sometimes go off the web for some time. It might be that I had accessed it at such a time that prompted me to make the above remark.

The portal pkblogs.com is very much alive. Just visit the link "Funny Message on blocking the Access".

July 17, 2006

Use RTI against Blocked Blogspot, Typepad and Geocities

Nandan has made a point.

Now the word has spread that sites are blocked in India. However, there is no clarity about why this has happened. There is mere commotion and sweet wishes but no concrete suggestion on how to go about it and react in the right manner.

Nandan has made a suggestion at "Blogger has been blocked in India". Kindly read it. He suggests that the blogger should make use of Right to Information Act. He is quite right. He has even suggested the draft of the application for that. I think that it is a practical solution. I will follow it.

This post is related to "The Ghost of Lord Lytton is Still Alive in India" and "Cough Problem with Blogspot".

Here is a compendium of the posts gathered through technorati.com in the twenty four hours.


http://www.pkblogs.com/nonedone/2006/07/blogger-has-been-blocked-in-india.html It has some practical action plan.
Funny Message on Blocking from Access

It is seen that some of the bloggers are still adopting a typical Indian escapist approach. They are giving very innocent responses and diverting the attention from the real issue. They are raising points like BSNL and MTNL have yet not done it. They suggest that it means that the situation is not that bad and probably this is a foolish act on the part of a babu or the ISPs. They are so nice in suggesting that the people, who blocked it, are in their rights to do that. It is not the right approach. One of them even suggested that it was a usual Saturday maintenance activity of google. Dear friends, it started around 5 pm on July 14, 2006.

Ghori invaded Somnath and 5000 Rajputs lost their lives. The rest of the people just prayed that the situation would improve. Kindly come out of that mindset. Learn to call spade a spade. Do not expect that a Bhagat Singh should definitely take a rebirth but in a house of a neighbour.

Kindly go and watch Rang De Basanti.

July 16, 2006

The Ghost of Lord Lytton is Still Alive in India

The Ghost of Lord Lytton is still alive in India.

Somewhere on July 13, 2006, many blogs were blocked in India. All the blogs which contained the term "blogspot" or "typepad" in their addresses did not open. They are not accessible till this day. As per the subdued whisper among the bloggers in India, the sites of the blogs had been blocked on the orders of ‘the ministry’. The users of Tata Indicom ISP are able to access it. However, the users of Reliance, Spectranet and MTNL can not access their sites. The knowledgeable people have suggested a way out which was being used by Pakistan bloggers. One can reach his/her blog through proxy server and one of the suggested site for access is www.hidemyass.com. Even the Pakistan crusaders have their solution and one can use that also. ( Through dependable sources)

I do not go into the reasons and causes of this ‘Irish Coercion Act 1870’ activity. I do not find all the people in that All India Service cadre as bright chaps. They always adopt the worst and funniest responses to the crisis (7/11 and Zero Tolerance boosting). And the worst is that lot (politicians) which runs government as the elected members. I do not find complaints against them genuine because they are elected representatives and it is ‘we the people of India’ who are bound to suffer because of our exalted faith in ourselves wherein we believe we know better than everyone else. ‘All knowledge is there in Vedas mentality’ pervades without actually knowing what is there in Vedas. Even if some of us who know something about it, we have learnt it from the writings of the English scholars of western countries.

The episode of blocking of blogs has shattered my plans on writing on blogs. Earlier, it was the erratic supply of electricity which was the major problem. Then there was problem of broken roads which reduces your movement around the city and between the cities. The problem of unsupportive attitude of library people is always there and I have in my possession some emails which contain complaints against such attitudes. Now, some great great grand ****** son of Lytton has blocked the blogs because he might have thought that it was an intelligent way of undertaking an investigation.

The blocking of blogs has all the ingredients of Lytton Press act.

Lytton was the author of great tragedy of the Second Afghan War. He was strongly and ferociously condemned by the Indians. Lytton reacted like a mentally sick person. On March 13, 1878, he sent a telegram to the Secretary of State for India requesting to permit through reply telegram to allow him to issue an executive order on the lines of the Irish Coercion act of 1870. He got the sanction for the bill the next day that was March 14, 1878. Within the couple hours from receiving the permission, he issued the law called the Vernacular Press Act. It was nick named as "The Gagging Act" by the Indian people. It is on record in a statement of S. N. Banerjea, that "Within less than fifteen months, the vernacular press all over India, save that of Madra, was muzzled. ( V. D. Mahajan, Modern Indian History from 1707 and the Present Day; 1995; S. Chand and Company Ltd.; New Delhi. Pp. (487-499)

There was an ingredient of ‘Rang De Basanti’ in the sequel to the Gagging Act which the present day administrators may not know. It is believed and emphasized by many historians that it was the activity which followed this act, that laid the action plan of future protest movements that won freedom for India. It was undertaken in the following manner. A demonstration (first of its kind in the history of India) was organized in Calcutta in the Town Hall to discuss the Gagging Act. The activity continued through different public bodies and Press. The most interesting act was performed by Amrita Bazar Patrika of Sisir Kumar Ghosh and Motilal Ghosh. The act was against the Press in regional languages. When the act came into force on March 14, 1878, Ghosh converted it into an English Newspaper. (Bipin Chandra and others; India’s Struggle For Independence 1857-1947; Penguin Books India (P) Ltd. New Delhi; pp. 105). This act of Amrita Bazar Patrika is now played by Bloggers by accessing their site from proxy servers and for blogspot sites they are getting assistance from Pakistan bloggers who beat their government for similar bans.

Now these dates 13 and 14 are against the freedom of speech fundamental rights of Indians.

One really gets exasperated by the intellectually stifling and gagging atmosphere in India. There is so much talk of ICT, Edusat and e-governance in India. On the one hand, the infrastructure to support the economic growth (it seems that economic growth is only termed in earning money) is not at place and on the other hand there is myopic attitude and adhocism in every sphere. There may be one problem and crises but the solutions are always out of context. The government may be undertaking investigation in Bombay Bombing of 7/11. They have learnt that the anomaly groups are using cyberspace to communicate. They have found the solution. They are banning the cyberspace. On the other hand, the government is so proud in telling that how it is using GSAT – III (The Edusat – the name by which it is popularly known ) for the promotion of education and promoting forward looking technologies but on the other hand, the great great grand sons of Lytton are stifling this activity because they want to investigate.

One can only pray that they may release the blocked sites. Till then, Proxy Servers Rang de Basanti.

July 14, 2006

Quasi Mutiny of 1824 by 47 Native Infantry at Barrackpore

The mutiny of 1824 was quite significant from history perspective. It is proved from the fact that it has found special mention in many of the contemporary sources and as well been given due attention by various historians. However, it is other thing that they have not mentioned the name of Bindee Tiwari. On the other hand, there are many references in different sources that there was a Brahmin who had taken over the responsibility of leading the troops in revolt or who headed the revolt or who was remembered by the troops after he was hanged. In spite of these facts, this event has not found due place in regular history of Modern India. They are many reasons for that but here the aim is to identify that the event had taken place and it was an important event.

In case of the cause of the mutiny of 1824, there were a variety of causes which had been listed by different authorities. The causes which had been mentioned by the authorities who were directly involved in the administration of the affairs of East India Company whether sitting in London or in the field areas, were mainly related to the administrative shortcomings. They have viewed the mutiny in 1824 as a result of the shortcomings on the part of the British government or the officers of the East India. It is surprising that it had not been emphasized. The reason can be easily sought. There had been two types of history dominating the Indian history. One history was written by Cambridge school of historians who had tried to project Britain on a mission to civilize the world. The second history is by the nationalist historians of India who had tried to project that Britain was an imperialist power who was bent upon destroying the Indian culture and civilization. In between, they lost the scientific attitude of looking at the facts as they existed. As a result where the authorities had developed the feeling that it was their mismanagement and lack of concern due to pervading doctrine and policy, the Cambridge historians did not emphasized it because it weakened their thesis. The nationalist historians did not emphasize such aspects because they did not want to be identified as sympathizers of the imperialist power.

A review of the several sources on the incidence of the mutiny of 1824 will be a useful exercise to bring out the relevance of above observation.

The sources discussed here are mainly the online sources. However, this does not lower the credibility of this dissertation because those sources are such sources which are available in the archives and established libraries which are drawn upon for any serious research. The only difference is that some of the libraries and the archives have come online. The only difference is that a scholar now does not need to go to the buildings of the archives and libraries and sit in there to pursue these sources. Now, he can do the same job by watching at the screen of his monitor. However, some of the printed secondary sources have been cited and duly acknowledged while researching the details of this event from different perspectives of the historians and contemporary sources available online.

The Event of 1824:

There is need to first determine that the event occurred through various sources with special emphasis on the online contemporary sources.

According to Majumdar, the 47th Native Infantry was moved to Barrackpur in order to proceed to take part in some of the operations of the Burmese War during the early months of 1824. 1

According to Leitch Ritchie account of 1846, it was in the middle of 1824, the 47th Native were marched to Barrackpore, with a view of being sent thence to Rangoon. Leitch Ritchie had given a graphic account on the basis of the an eyewitness information that “On the 1st November a parade took place at daybreak, but the order to fall in was only partially attended to.” As per his account, when the officer at that time, General Dalzell tried for total compilation of his command, all the troops, “dashed forward in a body, drove off their officers, tore the knapsacks from the backs of the soldiers of the fifth company, established themselves on the parade fronting the line, and having piled their arms, planted a cordon of sentries round them, openly raised the standard of revolt.” 2

Majumdar had attributed the information of this event to S. C. Chaudhari. In his account, he traced the event to the date October 30, 1824. As per his account, “In the parade held on October 30, 1824, they (the soldiers of 47th Native Infantry) appeared without their knapsacks and refused to bring them even when asked to do so, on the ground that they were unfit for use. A part of the regiment then declared that they would not proceed to Rangoon or elsewhere by sea and they would not move at all unless they were to have double batta. The Commanding Officer, unable to subdue the discontent, dismissed the regiment and proceeded to Calcutta to consult the Commander-in-Chief. After his return he held a parade on November 1. At this parade the sepoys burst into acts of open violence. The same mutinous spirit also affected the other regiments which were stationed at Barrackpur, preparatory to their proceeding on service.” 3

Jyoti Singh in an article in the Tribune without referring to the sources describes the event somewhat like this. The English officers at Barrackpore ordered the 47th infantry to march to Chittagong and from there to Rangoon by sea in 1824. The sepoys opposed this ordered due to number of issues. They also opposed the order “saying that there was not mandatory clause in their contract about serving overseas. In order to check their resistance against the imperial might, the British officers not only remained adamant but also stopped extra allowance. The hardened stand lead the sepoys to desist with an equal force. They got together to oppose the British and elected a commander – Bindee Tiwari – from amongst them. 4

Unable to face the ire of the speoys under Tiwari’s command, the British officers had no other option but to flee. For two days Barrackpore was under the command and control of Tiwari and his men.” 5

According to the research of Kanaippada Roy, the 47th regiment of Binda Tiwari was ordered to proceed to Rangoon (The present day Yangon). Lord Amherst was the Governor General at that time. “Binda refused to go to Rangoon. Several Native colleagues joined him in the refusal and later, as the things turned nasty, Binda and his men fired at the British officers killing some of them.”6

According to the official website of the Barrackpore cantonment maintained by Ministry of Defence, Government of India, Barrackpore is the older cantonment in the sub-continent. It was the symbolic seat of military power of Britain since 1765 and remained so upto 1910. It is emphasized on the web site that the “modern history of Barrackpore revolves around three historic events.” Out of the three events, the second event was the revolt in 1824. To quote from the site, “As a result of this Mutiny, native sepoys under the leadership of Bindce Tiwary famously called as Bindi Baba, Sepoy of 47 infantry rebelled on the order of British to move to Chittagong and on to Rangoon. Barrackpore was virtually under the control of 47 Native Infantry led by Sepoy Bindce Tiwary for 2 days and thereafter the rebellion was crushed with great force by British. All the rebels were mercilessly massacred. 7

Further, continuing the narration of the history of the place, the third event is described as follows.
“The third event happens to be the most prominent and tipped to had started first was of Indian Independence in 1857, when the first shot against British was fired by Sepoy Mangal Pandey on 29 March at Barrackpore. The thread of social events running through these periods is best left to the imagination of oneself since this mutiny of 1857 has had a tranquil existence.” 8

On the web site of Barrackpore, among the heritage structures, a Hanuman Temple is included and mentioned prominently. It is called the Bindee Baba’s Hanuman Mandir. The following details has given.
“The facts which have been gathered are that in the mutiny of 1824, 47th native Infantry was abandoned by the Officer and was Commanded for two days by a Sepoy named Bindee Tiwary. He was caught and later hanged in chains and his body was left hanging as a warning to potential recalcitrant. Later offering were made by Sepoys to his remains as he was considered a martyr. Folklore made him 'Colone' Bindee and the temple stand today where his body was left hanging.” 9

According to George Francis Train, an American, “During the Burmese war in 1824 (the year before the panic) the Barrackpore regiments refused to go to Burmah.” 10

According to St. George Tucker, in his book published in 1853 posthumously and edited by John William Kaye, “The quasi mutiny at Barrackpore, in 1824, was one of the most unfortunate occurrences in our military history – one which I have always deplored. The regiment could not move without the means of conveyance for its baggage, which had not been provided; ….”11

Hence, it can be safely said that the sepoys of 47 Native Infantry mutinied in year 1824 at Barrackpore, a seat of Military power near Calcutta, the seat of the Governor General of British India. Lord Amherst was the Governor General. He was pursuing a Anglo Burmese War which is also remembered as First Anglo-Burmese War. During the course of the war, 47 Native Infantry was ordered to move to Rangoon but it mutinied.

The next question is, What were the causes of the mutiny of 1824? It will be taken up in a future posting.

Footnote 1:
(return)(R. C. Majumdar_British Paramountcy and Indian Renaissance_Part I, Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan Bombay, Third Edition, 1988. pp 428.)

Footnote 2:
(return)( Leitch Ritchie, “The British World in the East – A Guide Historical, Moral, and Commercial, to India, China, Australia, South Africa, and the other Possessions or Connexions of Great Britain in Eastern and South Sea. Two Volumes. ” by Leitch Ritchie, W. H. Allen, 1846.pp 278, (Source: Books Google, accessed on June 20, 2006, link: Leithch Ritchie on Google Books

Footnote 3:
(return)R. C. Majumdar Op. Cite. pp 428.

Footnote 4:
(return)Bindee Tiwari by Joyti Singh: as accessed on July 14, 2006.

Footnote 5:
(return)Bindee Tiwari by Joyti Singh: as accessed on July 14, 2006.

Footnote 6:
(return) Who first sounded bugle of freedom – Mangal or Binda? Accessed on June 19, 2006. The same article has appeared at different portals also.

Footnote 7:
(return)History of Barrackpore Cantonment as accessed on July 14, 2006.

Footnote 8:
(return)History of Barrackpore as accessed on July 14, 2006.

Footnote 9:
(return)Heritage Sites of Barrackpore as accessed on July 14, 2006.

Footnote 10:
Geroge Francis Train, Date of Accessing: Friday, June 30, 2006

Footnote 11:
(return)St. George Tucker

July 09, 2006

Happiness of Mind through Tantra Vidya

The name of the blog is Manasollasa ( मानस उल्लाह्स). The etymology and composite(सन्धिविछेद्द ) of the word is given in the very title of the blog. The meaning of the word Manasollasa, which can be derived from the elucidation, is the Happiness of Mana or The Mind. The blog is located through a posting at Jinajik, a blog by Ian Sinclair, a scholar of Vajrayana with special interest on Nepal Buddhist Tantraism and also a writer on South Asian history and culture. His remark is imbued with some amazement and he wrote:
"This semi-‘experiential’ yogin’s diary, peppered with Sanskrit soundbites, echoes tantric literature in its subject matter as well as in its sheer eclecticism: proper ritual procedure, useful mantras, lineage authenticity, mythical history, and pseudo-real reports of encounters with deities and Sadhakas."

Well, the contents are really awesome. However, it leaves you unsatisfied. The author (agnikula : probably the caste and gotra of the author or may be the name) has adopted a style of notations for writing the Sanskrit Mantras. It becomes difficult to read them with their real sound pattern in their given form. The display of the contents shows that the blogger knows about the technical aspects of making a site and HTML quite well. He may have adopted UTF 8 code for writing the Devnagri and that would have been more effective. It seems that the author is addressing to the audience who know English. However, the author can get good assistance from the Hindi bloggers like Akshargram, Chittahvishav or e-swami if interested in giving Devanagri version of the mantras.

The Tantrism has its roots in Vedic literature. The Tantraism traces its origin to the contents of Black Yajur Veda (Yajur Veda has two renditions namely White Yajur Veda and Black Yajur Veda. It is Black Yajur Veda, which contains Tantric practices) and Atharva Veda. In eighth century A. D., tantraism dominated the Indian religious scene. The Vajrayana after Hinayana (Thervada) and Mahayana involved tantraism in Buddhist religion.

There are many postings which are of great interest. I was really attracted to the contents of the Gatha on the founder of our nation. There are many more such posts which are related to the history as well as to tantraism as explained by Ian Sinclair. The author has interest in Ornithology and paleontology. The blogger has special interest for cricket. There are many postings related to history of other continents.

I regret that I have not introduced these sites to Miland Brown for Asian History Carnival 5.

I have made a noting to this blog because I take a particular view of the definition of history. I do not consider history merely a continuity and change relations over a period of time and space based on written records. This definition is good if you are interested merely in political history. For me, history is also a continuity of customs, traditions, rituals and collective memory over a period of time on the basis of such records which are available in present also. From that point of view, all the rituals, folklores, faiths, customs, traditions are part of history subject. From this perspective, the study of Tantrism and its development in India forms the subject matter of history also. That is other thing, that I have never undertaken this definition in practice. On the other hand, there are many rituals in daily life of an Indian which points towards tantric practice. Whenever one visits a cremation ground, before living the cremation ground, the mourners pick up a small twig or dried piece of a stamp, break it and throw over theri heads behind them. It is generally taken as a ritual and tradition. But it is believed that it is a very strong tantric device. It saves from malevolent spirits which may follow back to your house. This act works as a weapon to throw them back into the cremation ground. There are many such rituals and practices which are ingrained into social practices and they have their origin in tantric practices. Even in case of numerous revolts during the colonial periods, it were the traditions which became the source of the strength and all such traditions were not based on any written records.

Apart from such aspects of social life, there is a sect of Aghoris who practice Tantrism and they played a big role in history of India. Similarly, Lingyats and Shulikas, who are considered to be devotees of Lord Shiva practice Tantric practices. Lord Shiva himself is called the Bhottnatha who is always accompanied by goblins, dakanis and pichshasa.

Well, I have yet to fully explore the above mentioned site but as Ian Sinclair was fascinated by its presence on cyberspace, same is the case with me.

I end this note with another observation. I have pointed out somewhere else, that all such people who talk about esoteric sciences and mysticism, they prefer to pick black background for their site. It intrigues me. There must be some logic on their part for adopting such a background. As far I am concerned, I prefer white back ground.

Contact Form


Email *

Message *