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Thursday, Oct 21, 2021
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A Hanging Twice Over...

Is what we'd do if we hang the story of 1857 by a single thread. The mutiny was a more multi-faceted event.

A Hanging Twice Over...
A Hanging Twice Over...
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

They say it was the telegraph and 'native intelligence' (Indian spies) that saved the Company Bahadur in 1857, helping the firangis retake 'their' Indian Empire. But that was in real historical time. In poised retrospect, it was photography—the thousands of takes of ruined remains, strung-up rebels, the dead stripped to skulls and bones that held the Ghadar up as an object lesson for all colonial times to come. Then there were the unrelenting Stones of the Empire: the manicured, bombed-out Residency at Lucknow, the pointed victory memorial on the Delhi Ridge which were meant to monumentalise the mutiny for posterity. And finally, as is its wont, came History. English history, written almost in the manner of the classic accounts of Mughal royal hunts: the hounding of game gone wild into ever-shrinking enclosures for the final, heroic coup de grace.

The challenge of 2007 is how to rescue the centenary-and-a-half of 'san sattavan' from evaporating into fluffy celebrations ad nauseam. Our leaders and copywriters, the media and...

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