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Pramod K Nayar

India 1857: The Great Uprising by Pramod K Nayar

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As India marks 150 years of the 1857 Uprising, this meticulously researched and vivid work recounts a time both tragic and compelling. Many-staged and many-charactered, this volume searches for the key issues, causes and effects, figures and developments that culminated in the massacres of Cawnpore, Satichaura and Bibighar, the ensuing counter-massacres, and the gory retribution dealt out by the British on their subjects.

Beginning with an account of the state of the British Raj in 1857, Pramod Nayar moves on the ‘A Gathering Storm’, the strife that led to the Uprising, ‘The Summer of Discontent’, recounting the Mutiny, ‘The Retreat of the Native’ which tells us how the British won back lost ground, and ‘The Raj Rises Again’, explaining the repercussions the Mutiny had on the administrative plans of the empire. He also delves into the real causes of the Uprising, more complex than what conventional history upholds. Detailed descriptions of the Mutiny’s main figures, including Henry Lawrence, John Nicholson, Lord Canning, Nana Sahib, the Rani of Jhansi, and the tragic king of Delhi, Bahadur Shah Zafar, are interspersed with quotes, facts and anecdotes that reanimate the past.

An overview and analysis of the Mutiny is flavoured with references to the literature of the time and includes an appendix on how the events of 1857 influenced European literary imagination.

Kanpur and Jhansi, violence and counter-violence, heroism and savagery – this every-person’s guide to 1857 captures the most tumultuous years of British India and re-enacts the drama of the first stirrings of nationalism.


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