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Thursday, Oct 21, 2021
Outlook.com

Event, Metaphor, Memory

A sober, analytical demonstration of the "various tellings" of the sack of Somnath

Event, Metaphor, Memory
Event, Metaphor, Memory
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
On January 14, 1843, a certain Captain Harries wrote sardonically to his father from rural Punjab, about the "droll cortege" he was helping escort from Afghanistan to Kathiawar. "First of all comes the adc on a white Arab (charger), with 25 troopers as his escort, next the Political Major and the officers of the Escort, and then drawn slowly and solemnly by four and twenty bullocks the car carrying the Gates surmounted by a tall and imposing canopy of Red Cloth with fringes of silk and tinsel; the curtains are so arranged that when a sufficient number of villagers are collected round the car, the curtains can be raised for them."

The sandalwood gates, unhinged from a derelict tomb of Sultan Mahmud on the express orders of the Governor-General, were thought to have been removed from Somnath by that notorious despoiler in 1026. The November 1842 proclamation addressed to the ‘People of India’, which a privately irreverent Harries had earlier forwarded home as proof that he had survived the Afghan war, had talked of avenging "the insult of eight hundred years": "the gates of...

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