facebook.com/Outlookindia twitter.com/outlookindia digimag.outlookindia.com instagram.com/outlookindia youtube.com/user/OutlookMagazine

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.

READ MORE IN:
SECTION: Books
SUBSECTION: Reviews
OUTLOOK: 10 September, 2007
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
  • Daily Mail
THE LATEST ISSUE
CLICK IMAGE FOR CONTENTS
REVIEW
Excerpts
An exclusive extract from Josy Joseph’s book on Dawood's hold over Indian business and the questionable rise of Jet Airways
MAGAZINE July 21, 2016
The Reviews
A satire on the way the fate wind blows in small towns with no hope.
MAGAZINE July 21, 2016
Review
A novel on the ravages of terrorism fails on account of insipidity
MAGAZINE July 21, 2016
Reviews
Genes define the individual. Siddhartha Mukherjee’s poetic exegesis charts its thrilling discovery and its current significance in ethical medicine.
MAGAZINE July 14, 2016
Review
Lacks the warmth of a memoir, which is a pity, given the choice of subject.
MAGAZINE July 07, 2016
read more>>>
OUTLOOK ON TWITTER
POLLS

The cricket icon is reported to have tried to curry favour with Defence Minister Parrikar for a friend's property adjoining defence land in Mussoorie. Parrikar is said to have declined to help. The recipient of India's top honour is also busy endorsing various products. Is India's legendary batsman insulting the Bharat Ratna, which was given to him after amending rules?

POLL STARTED ON: Jul 19, 2016
Quiz
Ramzan is the month of intense prayer, dawn-to-dusk fasting and nightly feasts for millions of Muslims to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad. As the world celebrates Eid al-Fitr to mark the end of Ramzan, take this quiz to find out how well you know it. Eid Mubarak!
QUIZ STARTED ON: Jul 06, 2016