The Penguin 1857 By Pramod K. Nayar (9780143101994)

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However infamous the conduct of the sepoys, it is only the reflex, in a concentrated form, of England’s own conduct in India . . .’ “Karl Marx 1857 was a defining moment in the history of the British Empire. As native troops in India -rebelled’ against their colonial masters and were joined by a large number of local chiefs, civilians and princes, the Empire almost lost its most prized territory. A hundred and fifty years later, scholars, academics and historians still argue about the exact nature of the uprising and the appropriate nomenclature for it: the First War of Independence, the Great Indian Mutiny, the Sepoy Rebellion. Debates still rage over its causes. Did it really originate from a dispute over greased cartridges? Was it premeditated? Not surprisingly, the -uprising’ attracted both local and global attention and produced a massive archive of documents. The Penguin 1857 Reader depicts the historic event from various perspectives: English, Indian, European and American. Through a selection of documents of the time, it provides glimpses into the actions across northern India, maps the contours of dissent against the Raj and explores the immediate responses to the upheaval in India and outside. Included here are numerous newspaper and magazine accounts in leading English and American papers, chronicles of British and Indian men and women who witnessed the turmoil, intelligence reports and narratives of soldiers, the British administration’s responses, the opinions of Karl Marx, Lord Macaulay and Mark Twain, British views on the Rani of Jhansi and Nana Saheb, and Mirza Ghalib’s moving narration in his diaries and the historic trial of Bahadur Shah Zafar. With a scholarly and comprehensive introduction, this reader captures the many dimensions of one of the most momentous episodes in the history of the Indian subcontinent.

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