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LET me state from the very beginning that I am rather an intruder in the arena of the rich historiography of the 1857 Uprising. My interest is in the history of the low Europeans' and their various derivatives in the colonial era. They played a significant role in the tumultuous events of 1857 and conversely the uprising played a significant role in their lives. This encouraged me to record their role, which has not, as yet, been adequately represented in the history of the uprising. Significantly, Bengal and Eastern India have largely remained on the margins of the history of 1857 and have hitherto been relatively little explored. It is true that this region was not at the epicentre of the upheaval, but, contrary to common perceptions, it was not immune from its shockwaves either, and the uprising had a significant impact on the lives of the ruling elite, marginal Europeans and Indians in this region. The news of the uprising flew around Calcutta, the seat of the empire, while direct and violent actions took place in different parts of the Bengal Presidency. All these had deep and abiding impact on the administration's mindset, all the more because 'hardly a single district under the Government of Bengal has escaped either actual danger or the serious apprehensions of danger'.2 Actual incidents of rebellion occurred in some parts of western, southern and eastern Bengal and Assam, and the dark cloud of fear, distrust and anxiety shrouded the entire Bengal Presidency. This rebellious environment had generated fear and apprehension. The Uprising of 1857 was not an organised affair and the rebels did not have the benefit of modern military organisation, or control over the administrative and communication network that the empire had at its disposal. But if we scratch the surface and read between the lines of the communications among officials, as well as numerous reports and petitions, the most intimate thoughts of the administration and the European population are revealed.
MARGINAL WHITES AND THE GREAT UPRISING A Case Study of the Bengal Presidency

MARGINAL WHITES AND THE GREAT UPRISING A Case Study of the Bengal Presidency

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Sarmistha De

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Subject:

Military Science

Subclass:

Military science (General)

Reign:

Bahadur Shah II 1837–1857

Subject Year (Time):

1857

Author:

Sarmistha De

Languages:

English

Royal Mughal Ref:

ARC-07062021-1009

Date of Creation:

MARGINAL WHITES AND THE GREAT UPRISING A Case Study of the Bengal Presidency
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LET me state from the very beginning that I am rather an intruder in the arena of the rich historiography of the 1857 Uprising. My interest is in the history of the low Europeans' and their various derivatives in the colonial era. They played a significant role in the tumultuous events of 1857 and conversely the uprising played a significant role in their lives. This encouraged me to record their role, which has not, as yet, been adequately represented in the history of the uprising. Significantly, Bengal and Eastern India have largely remained on the margins of the history of 1857 and have hitherto been relatively little explored. It is true that this region was not at the epicentre of the upheaval, but, contrary to common perceptions, it was not immune from its shockwaves either, and the uprising had a significant impact on the lives of the ruling elite, marginal Europeans and Indians in this region. The news of the uprising flew around Calcutta, the seat of the empire, while direct and violent actions took place in different parts of the Bengal Presidency. All these had deep and abiding impact on the administration's mindset, all the more because 'hardly a single district under the Government of Bengal has escaped either actual danger or the serious apprehensions of danger'.2 Actual incidents of rebellion occurred in some parts of western, southern and eastern Bengal and Assam, and the dark cloud of fear, distrust and anxiety shrouded the entire Bengal Presidency. This rebellious environment had generated fear and apprehension. The Uprising of 1857 was not an organised affair and the rebels did not have the benefit of modern military organisation, or control over the administrative and communication network that the empire had at its disposal. But if we scratch the surface and read between the lines of the communications among officials, as well as numerous reports and petitions, the most intimate thoughts of the administration and the European population are revealed.

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