Few Bland Men

In terms of scholarship, compared to the centenary year, the 150th year of 1857 draws a spectacular blank.
Revisiting 1857: Myth, Memory, History
By Boria Majumdar
Edited By Sharmistha Gooptu
Roli Books Pages: 218; Rs: 295
Anniversaries apart, 1857 doesn’t seem to hold much attraction for historians. There are perhaps only three living experts on it in the world. The field is thus wholly open to outsiders. The pitfall is that instead of researched books and monographs, one is more likely to find articles. Further, in moving away from the old debates about mutiny vs rebellion or local vs national, we have now moved beyond the event itself to its afterlife in various forms, even though there is still much to be learnt about it.

This collection has two earlier articles put together by the same editors, and some articles I’ve already heard of before. Apart from the mandatory historiographical essay, there are seven articles outlining how it has been remembered, written about or represented. That is not to say that the essays are not rewarding. Majumdar’s essay on contestations on the cricket field and Projit Mukherjee’s article on Scottish and English ballads are an illuminating read. What one misses in this, and other similar seminar-led collections, is a sense of advancement of our understanding of what the whole damn thing was about. All the dozens of seminars and hundreds of small papers have not been able to compensate for one big book by William Dalrymple; perhaps that is why a single quote from him appears in three different parts of this book. In terms of scholarship, compared to the centenary year, the 150th year of 1857 draws a spectacular blank.

Next Story : Exotic Toxins
Download the Outlook ​Magazines App. Six magazines, wherever you go! Play Store and App Store

Post a Comment

You are not logged in, please Log in or Register
THE LATEST ISSUE
CLICK IMAGE FOR CONTENTS
REVIEW
Review
A.C.N. Nambiar was Azad Hind envoy in Nazi Germany, an associate of Bose and Nehru and later a diplomat. His glittering life has been told at last.
MAGAZINE March 16, 2017
Review
A gimlet-eyed Gulzar deals with intolerance, a gloating media, persistent injustices, and a failed national project. All are skewered in startling imagery.
MAGAZINE March 16, 2017
Review
This slim novel stews in the passionate juice of wronged love. The protagonist, symbolically wedded to deep Krishna love, rages on.
MAGAZINE March 09, 2017
Review
A Pakistani immigrant family returns to Karachi from Chicago. For the children, it’s a bewildering can of worms, as well as a sentimental education.
MAGAZINE March 09, 2017
Review
An able administrator, Sreedharan was a stickler for integrity, efficiency and good business practices. This non-eulogistic account serves us well.
MAGAZINE March 09, 2017
read more>>>
Advertisement

OUTLOOK TOPICS :

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

or just type initial letters