September 07, 2006

Latest "The Last Mughal" is arriving in October 2006

There is a report on by Vishal Arora from Delhi. It is titled "New Twist to 1857 mutiny debate". It is surprising to read that for Arora the Uprising of 1857 was an event which has to be either identified as a Mutiny or a First War of Independence. Anyhow, the report is about a forthcoming book of William Dalrymple.

According to this report William Dalrymple has come out with a research work spread over four years and the result will be in form of a book titled "The Last Mughal". It is just a coincidence that my last post was about the Last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar whose song "Na Kisi ki Ankh Ka Noor Hoon, Na Kisi kay Dil Ka Karar hoon" made famous in the silken voice rendered to his poetry by late Mohammad Rafi. He is definitely becoming a "Dil Ka Karar" with great Shidad after 142 years.

Well, the book is not in my hands. It will be released, as reported in the above mentioned report, in the month of October 2006. However, there are some details about this book which are given in the above mentioned report.

The first feature of this book mentioned in the report is that Darlymple had reached conclusion that the 1857 event was a "war a religion due to concerns over British intentions to impose Christianity".

Darlymple has, it is emphasized, reported in an interview on BBC that he had consulted nearly 20000 documents of the rebels now preserved in National Archives of India. The documents are in Persian and Urdu. He was assisted by Mahmoud Farooqi in gleaning and evaluating the documents. The documents were recovered from the Sepoy Camp and the Palace in Delhi.

A question was asked from the historian that whether the missionaries were a separate identity and opposed by East India Company. The historian had explained the position of missionary in British East India Company in the year 1857 and reported to 1833 Charter. Though the historian has not specifically mentioned the Charter and the report only records that the historian had told that the missionaries were legally allowed in East India territory in 1830s. He seems to have categorically stated that after that "missionaries and Church building were both patronized by the company. This was a major cause of the uprising of 1857."

In report a very important statement has been attributed to the celebrated historian which is the major contention against the Indian historians till this day. It is said that "up to now most of the data used by historians exploring 1857 has come from British source." The historians clarified that the papers in National Archives has never been properly explored before. There may be a truth in that observation.

It is further written that the historians told in the interview that the war of religion was linked to the foreign domination. He had substantiated by referring the war cry of the rebel sepoys which consisted the word Din and Dharma in danger. He also emphasised that other concerns like self-government and economic freedom had found little mention in their documents and the main concern had remained about the imposition of Christianity by the British edifice.

A very peculiar observation is made in the report. The historian is reported to have said that the main rebels were the upper class Hindus because of the composition of the infantry at that time and they were later joined by freelance Jehadis. Further, in a categorical statement, he has reported to have told that "There are clear and specific references among the Mutiny Papers to a regiment of jihadis arriving in Delhi from Gwalior who are described as suicide ghazis who had vowed never to eat again and to fight until they met death at the hands of the kafirs". Then he has further reported that the sepoys indulged in prosecution of Christian converts during the course of uprising. He has pinpointed a specific case of Chaman Lal, a Christian convert living in Delhi. It will be of interest to note that how he has referred to such an observation in his book.

However, the report ends on a very fascinating note. The BBC has sought answers to questions about present affairs of India on socio-religious level. The historian has given his opinion also. Anyhow, this report has attracted my attention and I found it worth recording on my blog.

There is need to direct the attention of the readers to an article by Prof. R. K. Khanna at Uprising in 1857.

In addition to that the BBC interview with William Darlymple can be accessed here. It is worth reading it. As far I am concerned, I am not amused with the contents given in there.

Being a student of history, I must say that history should not be used as a propaganda material by using dialectics. Is there any conspiracy against India? The Ghost of J. S. Mill is still alive. The Shradas has started in India from today that is September 7, 2006. The United Kingdom must do some thing about this Ghost.

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