25 February, 2021

Empire Is Born In A Six By Four Cell

Indian history is peripheral in these essentially Brit books on the old Empire and the modern Corp

Empire Is Born In A Six By Four Cell

The coming year marks the 150th anniversary of the Uprising of 1857 and the 250th anniversary of the Battle of Plassey. The connection is not arbitrary, the fighters of 1857 were keenly aware of the significance of the Plassey anniversary and their preachers and ideologues enthusiastically played up the apocalyptic moment. When we attempt to celebrate these momentous events of modern Indian history, however, we are faced with a woeful lack of iconic images. What do we recall when we think of Plassey, merely the chagrin of defeat or worse, the Black Hole. What can we bring to 1857 that will match the stupendous mythology around Kanpur and Satichaura Ghat, the Residency and the relief of Lucknow? There are no episodes of last ditch stands, no display of individual heroism and valour, no markers, myths, figures or details on which to hang our fevered imagination. British Imperial mythology on the other hand, when you begin to probe it, is often less about glorious victories than accounts of defeat and dejection -- think Dunkirk, Khartoum, Kanpur, Black Hole --...

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