Are right-wing Indians against learning about 1857?

kandal

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,608
USA
#92
It is delusional to think that Indians would have carried on the task of conquering and uniting India, if for some miraculous reason British were ousted from India in the Sepoy mutiny. It is merely a fantasy of Hindu Nationalists. Indians didn't think or behave that way then. On the contrary the British thought pan-Indian with their worldly knowledge and experience. Indians didn't think patriotically either then. There was no India as a country to defend.

It is 100% certain that Indians would have gone back to their perpetual squabbles and internecine warfare of the times British started the conquest venture. As a result there would be no India today if the mutineers had succeeded.
 

tornada

Ad Honoris
Mar 2013
15,380
India
#93
It is delusional to think that Indians would have carried on the task of conquering and uniting India, if for some miraculous reason British were ousted from India in the Sepoy mutiny. It is merely a fantasy of Hindu Nationalists. Indians didn't think or behave that way then. On the contrary the British thought pan-Indian with their worldly knowledge and experience. Indians didn't think patriotically either then. There was no India as a country to defend.

It is 100% certain that Indians would have gone back to their perpetual squabbles and internecine warfare of the times British started the conquest venture. As a result there would be no India today if the mutineers had succeeded.
Neither did the British. They hardly set out to "unify" India either. Nor did they maintain any plans too. Even despite Queen Victoria's proclamation, the Native States remained de-jure independent, and nominally sovereign. Not the policy actions of a state looking to "unify" India. The British acted as expedient.

As to whether "Indians" could unify India. Depends on how you define it. Sepoys across the breadth of the Revolt regarded the Mughal Emperor as their nominal sovereign. This was a relationship even Marathas such as Mahadji Shinde, many decades previously, had been willing to acknowledge. Would India necessarily have emerged as a parliamentary democracy? Sure, that's unlikely. But if you consider the Delhi Administration that was setup by the Sepoys, with a President and a Vice President (they were literally called that, their titles transliterated into Urdu), acting under the authority of the Mughal Emperor - that suggests the Sepoys had drawn from European administrative systems. It suggests that the Sepoys did in-fact have a tentative political manifesto of action. One that was not limited to the City, or to just their local geography. Since the different areas of Rebellion were never able to politically link up into a single cohesive whole, we can hardly speculate into what overall governance might have emerged. But when we examine what we have, it doesn't paint an image of the Sepoys and the Revolt leaders acting in an entirely ad-hoc and narrowsighted manner.

Arguably that was the fundamental flaw in the Sepoys. They were acting and reacting politically whereas they needed to act militarily. Congregating to Urban Centers such as Delhi made political sense. It made zero military sense. It gave the Sepoys legitimacy in the way they imagined their world. It gave them zero tactical or strategic advantage.

Venturing down the path of what might have been is a futile exercise. But you should perhaps better understand what was actually happening during the Mutiny, instead of simply using books trying to cover the history of the British Empire as a whole for your lens on the event.
 
Likes: prashanth
Nov 2008
1,283
England
#94
The additional forces Indians raised (that is other than the mutineers) were also untrained rustics (but even the British had levies).
This is an important point. During the course of the mutiny, the quality of the mutineer fighters gradually degraded, and we see this at Jhansi late March, 1858 when Tantia Topi with about 22,000 men attempted to raise the siege of that city which was being besieged by General Rose`s Central India Field Force. Sir Hugh Rose decided to maintain the siege of Jhansi but also to engage Tantia`s army. Sir Hugh took just over 1,500 men, that is all he could spare, to confront the enemy. This small force consisted of 430 British infantry, 700 native infantry, 240 men of the 14th Light Dragoons and 200 Hyderabad cavalry. He also took from the siege lines 16 field guns and three heavier pieces. That`s all Rose had and he routed Tantia`s army, forcing it from the field. Rose then returned to the siege of Jhansi which was stormed successfully on the 3rd of April, with the last of the defenders being driven from the town by the 25th Bombay Native Infantry .

It is interesting to note that Rose`s Central India Field Force was one third British and two thirds Indian. Of Sir Hugh`s army the ones who could be described as levies, well trained though, were two infantry regiments and two cavalry regiments of the Hyderabad contingent and a force of 800 men of the Bhopal contingent. These contingents were from princely states.
 

kandal

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,608
USA
#95
Neither did the British. They hardly set out to "unify" India either. Nor did they maintain any plans too. Even despite Queen Victoria's proclamation, the Native States remained de-jure independent, and nominally sovereign. Not the policy actions of a state looking to "unify" India. The British acted as expedient.

As to whether "Indians" could unify India. Depends on how you define it. Sepoys across the breadth of the Revolt regarded the Mughal Emperor as their nominal sovereign. This was a relationship even Marathas such as Mahadji Shinde, many decades previously, had been willing to acknowledge. Would India necessarily have emerged as a parliamentary democracy? Sure, that's unlikely. But if you consider the Delhi Administration that was setup by the Sepoys, with a President and a Vice President (they were literally called that, their titles transliterated into Urdu), acting under the authority of the Mughal Emperor - that suggests the Sepoys had drawn from European administrative systems. It suggests that the Sepoys did in-fact have a tentative political manifesto of action. One that was not limited to the City, or to just their local geography. Since the different areas of Rebellion were never able to politically link up into a single cohesive whole, we can hardly speculate into what overall governance might have emerged. But when we examine what we have, it doesn't paint an image of the Sepoys and the Revolt leaders acting in an entirely ad-hoc and narrowsighted manner.

Arguably that was the fundamental flaw in the Sepoys. They were acting and reacting politically whereas they needed to act militarily. Congregating to Urban Centers such as Delhi made political sense. It made zero military sense. It gave the Sepoys legitimacy in the way they imagined their world. It gave them zero tactical or strategic advantage.

Venturing down the path of what might have been is a futile exercise. But you should perhaps better understand what was actually happening during the Mutiny, instead of simply using books trying to cover the history of the British Empire as a whole for your lens on the event.
Though British didn't have a strategy to conquer India when they started, they soon developed one, as the venture kept going rather very favorably to them. British in India were not going to stop it even when EIC and the British government were not all that favorable to the idea initially. Later they also changed. Call it good fortune for the Indians.

Sepoy mutineers were nothing but a bunch of ragtag, lawless, pissed off, ill trained losers, also driven by religious backwardness. Their inept supporters were no better either. They actually should be treated as traitors because they fought against unifying India. Glad that British suppressed it for good. Another good fortune for Indians!

Are there any contemporary Indian writings about this Mutiny? My feeling is that there aren't. It shows Indians generally didn't care.
 
Nov 2008
1,283
England
#96
Are there any contemporary Indian writings about this Mutiny? My feeling is that there aren't.
Practically none, much to the dismay of historians. If you are interested in some good books on the Indian Mutiny, both modern books and contemporary ones, I will happily advise.
 

tornada

Ad Honoris
Mar 2013
15,380
India
#97
Sepoy mutineers were nothing but a bunch of ragtag, lawless, pissed off, ill trained losers, also driven by religious backwardness. Their inept supporters were no better either. They actually should be treated as traitors because they fought against unifying India. Glad that British suppressed it for good. Another good fortune for Indians!
You just proved to me that you haven't actually read anything on the Mutiny. Atleast nothing published in the last 50 odd years. Thanks for that.
Are there any contemporary Indian writings about this Mutiny? My feeling is that there aren't. It shows Indians generally didn't care.
Well, that and the fact that the British actively suppressed Indian views. That said, what do you mean by contemporary. By witnesses? There are infact writings. There are the Rebel Proclamations for instance. There are the Mutiny Papers, which include material by individuals such as Zafar's courtiers. More recently papers of Tatia Tope were published. Ghalib himself also wrote poetry about his time in the immediate aftermath of it. There is also an account by an individual (I think he was a Maulvi) who had been part of the Delhi College (Though I think more popularly/officially called the Anglo-Arabic College. Delhi College might be a Delhi University oddity) and later was a member of Zafar's court during the Mutiny, and was thus exiled. I forget his name though.

Lastly though, I want to emphaize the biggest source of all, one which I have repeatedly brought up. And which once again proves that you are simply not interested in reading or comprehending the points people make, simply in insulting them by calling them Nationalists or what not. I'm talking about the Mazha Pravas. An autobiographical account of the Mutiny in the regions of Jhansi and Bundelkhand as well as bits of Kanpur. By a Brahmin by the name of Vishnu Bhatt Godse was literally THERE during the siege of Jhansi. You don't get more contemporary than the account of a person who actively survived the events. But let me guess, you think his work is a Nationalist concoction too right?

PS: On those untrained, religiously backward losers. I'm not even gonna bother responding. Just gonna leave this here for those with any actual interest in the subject, since I realize I had neglected to provide an appropriate reference in my last post for this
"The rebel administration of Delhi" - Iqbal Hussain, in "Facets of the Great Revolt 1857" edited by Shireen Moosvi. If you want to call Shireen Moosvi and Iqbal Hussain Hindu or Indian Nationalists, go right ahead I suppose. 🤷 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 
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kandal

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,608
USA
#98
Practically none, much to the dismay of historians. If you are interested in some good books on the Indian Mutiny, both modern books and contemporary ones, I will happily advise.
Thanks. Could you list the ones you are aware of? My knowledge of the Mutiny comes from history books about India and EIC, and not ones specific to it.

Indians hadn't developed the notion of a unified Indian nation during the time of the Mutiny. It developed later after the British developed India as a unified entity. British had in fact observed that, "by and large, Indians had no patriotism. The Indian fighting man's loyalty was focused elsewhere; to his religion, his commander, his locality, or to whoever fed him and paid his wages." That could be a reason why Indians didn't care to write about it.

Today's Indian nationalists find that a very hard and shameful fact to comprehend, so they are busy manufacturing scenarios, twisting whatever the British had written, that would fit their fantasies but not the realities.
 
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Nov 2008
1,283
England
#99
Thanks. Could you list the ones you are aware of? My knowledge of the Mutiny comes from history books about India and EIC, and not ones specific to it.
Two books I can recommend by modern historians are "The Indian Mutiny" by Julian Spilsbury and "The Indian Mutiny 1857" by Saul David. Both are reasonably priced on Amazon, but with the obvious duplication of facts, you probably need only one. The book," Our Bones Are Scattered", by the American writer, Andrew Ward, I highly recommend, but bear in mind it places most of its emphasis on the events at Cawnpore; however, it does touch on the wider aspects of the Mutiny also. At over 700 pages, it goes into great detail, a lot of it graphic, so you need a strong stomach, particularly in the description of the massacre in the Bibhigar (Lady`s House), and what those British officers saw when they looked into the well. Then there is "Daily Life During The Indian Mutiny" by John Walter Sherer, which is a contemporary account, also available on Amazon.

You may also be interested in this article on the Mutiny by the late highly respected Sikh academic, Ganda Singh.

Sikh Digital Library: The indian mutiny of 1857 and the Sikhs - Dr. Ganda Singh
 

Aupmanyav

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,298
New Delhi, India
Indians hadn't developed the notion of a unified Indian nation during the time of the Mutiny. .. That could be a reason why Indians didn't care to write about it.
Could not have or could have, that is speculative history. You may have one view, others may have different views. Unity was not necessary. India could have taken a different shape. India could have remained united with a population of some 1,742 million people. We have to deal with 'what happened' and not with 'what could have happened'. Indians never cared much about history. It comes and goes. Britain does not rule the waves now and India has recently has become a bigger economy than United Kingdom (which is not so much united now. With Brexit, you may see more changes). Your posts are nothing other than the rants of a Hindu-hating person from a converted Christian family. We understand that very clearly.
 
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