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Visions of the Rebels: A Study of 1857 in Bundelkhand

  • Tapti Roy (a1)
Extract

The available literature on the uprising of 1857 is fairly voluminous. Successive generations of historians have studied the subject in its varied aspects. Their concern, however, quite often lay with long-term political issues, with questions of the growth of the colonial state, of nationalism, of the unity and integrity of the country. These problems were made central to the study of the rebellion not because they were of any relevance to the rebels but because contending imperialist and nationalist historians were seeking to accommodate the event in a longer time span of history.The rebellion of 1857 was thereby assimilated to a linear order related to a context that largely lay outside of the occurrence itself. To most early English writers the mutiny marked the watershed between Company rule and Crown rule, an interlude in the transition to a better imperial system. For Indian writers it was the beginning of India's struggle for national independence

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1 Eric Stokes and Rudrangshu Mukherjee are, among others, notable exceptions. See Stokes, Eric, The Peasant and the Raj: Studies in Agrarian Society and Peasant Rebellion in Colonial India (London, 1978);Stokes, , The Peasant Armed: The Indian Revolt of 1857 ed. by Bayly, C. A. (Oxford, 1986);Mukherjee, , Awadh in Revolt, 1857–1858. A Study of Popular Resistance (New Delhi, 1984).

2 From Hamilton, R., Agent Gov. Gen. for Central India to G. F. Edmonstone, Secy to the Govt of India with Gov. Gen. camp Jhansi, 24 April 1858, Foreign Political Proceedings [For. Pol. Progs], 30 Dec. 1859, nos 280–8, National Archives of India (NAI)Rizvi, S. A. A. and Bhargava, M. L. (eds), Freedom Struggle in Uttarh Pradesh vol.III (Uttar Pradesh, 1959), pp. 1420 (hereafter FSUP).

3 ‘Victory to Religion’, Forrest, G. W., Selections from the Letters, Despatahes and other State papers preserved in the Militay Department of the Government of India, 1857–58, 4 vols (Calcutta, 1893-1912), FSUP, pp. 42–6.

4 Deposition of Sewak Singh Kshatriya Kanbarya, Sipahi of Palton Hewett, Regiment 12. Lucknow Collectorate Mutiny Basta, Uttar Pradesh State Archives Lucknow (UPSAL), FSUP, p. 4.

5 From S. Thornton, Dy Coll. To Maj.Erskine, W. C., Commr Samthar, 21 Aug. 1857, for Sec. Cons, 30 Oct. 1857, nos 602–3 (NAI), FSUP, pp. 814.

6 From Lt A. C. Gordon, Dy Commr 2nd class Chanderi to Maj.Erskine, , Commr Sagar Dvn, Sagar, 17 Sept. 1857. For Sec. Cons. 18 Dec. 1857, no. 237, NAI.

7 Further Papers (no. 7) relative to the Mutinies in the East Indias. Enclosure 34 in no. 8, pp. 155–6. Narrative of Events (N.E.) attending the outbreak of disturbances by Passanah, G., Coll, Dy., of Jalaun May 1858, para. 2, p. 498. Statements of Makhan Kumar & Bisasu Lakshman, servants of Lt Browne, who left Orai on or about 1 Sept. 1857. Agra, 9 Sept. 1857. Home Dept Public Branch, 6 Nov. 1857, no. 18, NAI.

8 N.E. in Hamirpur, 1857–1858, para. 9, p. 491.

9 N.E. in Banda, 1857–1958, Pt I, paras 18–22, pp. 318–20.

10 Written deposition of a native of Bengal Forrest, G. W., Selections from the State Papers, vol. IV, FSUP, pp. 42–6.

11 N.E. in Hamirpur, 1857–1858, para. 9, p. 491.

12 Written deposition of a native of Bengal (see fn. 10).

13 ‘The world is God's the country is the Emperor's and it is the rule of the soldiers’. N.E. in Banda, , paras 18–22, pp. 318–20.

14 From Ellis, , Pol. Asstt for Bundelkhand & Rewa to Secy ot the Govt. of India, Nagode, 2 July 1857, For. Sec. Cons, 31 July 1857, no. 182, NAI.

15 From Gordon, to Erskine, , 17 Sept. 1857, For. Sec. Cons, 18 Dec. 1857, no. 237, NAI. N.E. in Banda, paras 18–22, pp. 318–20.

16 From Durand, to Edmonstone, , 15 Oct. 1857, For. Sec. Cons, 18 Dec. 1857, no. 838, NAI.

17 Copy of a Service Message received by Electric Telegraph from Panna, 19 Nov. 1857, For. Sec. Cons, 18 Dec. 1857, no. 186, NAI.

18 Translation of a circular letter from Tantia, , dated 31 Dec. 1857, For. Pol. Progs, 30 Dec. 1859, Suppl. no. 619 FSUP, p. 211. Trans. of a circular letter addressed to the chiefs of Bundelkhand by an individual styling himself Mohamad Ishaq, Aide-decamp to Maharaja Sreemunt Peshwa, 2 Jan. 1858, For. Pol. Cons, 31 Dec. 1858, no. 2132,FSUP, pp. 211–12.

19 Abstract translation of a letter from Ramchand Pandurang Topi, Chirkhari, 7 Feb. 1858, For. Pol. Progs, 30 Dec. 1859, Suppl. no. 633, FSUP, pp. 234–5.

20 N.E. in Jalaun, para. 7, p. 501.

21 From Maj. Gen. Hugh Rose to Maj.Gen.Mansfield, W. H., Gwalior, , 22 June 1858.Forrest, , Selections from State Papers, vol. IV, FSUP, pp. 387405.

22 Ibid. Abstract of Intelligence, 9 April 1858, For. Sec. Cons, 28 May 1858, no. 128, NAI.

23 From Browne, G. to Commr Sagar Dvn, Agra, 11 Sept. 1857, Home Dept Public Branch, 6 Nov. 1857, no. 18, NAI. Abstract trans. of the Statement of sahibuddin, Khansamah of Maj. Skene, FSUP, pp. 20–4.

24 Abstract trans. of the statement of Aman Khan, 14 April 1858, For. Pol. Progs, 30 Dec. 1859. Suppl. no. 283, FSUP, pp. 24–7.

25 N.E. in Hamirpur, para. 9, p. 491.

26 Trans. of a Procl. addressed to the Native Soldiers of the Regiments of Infantry, Cavalry & Artillery & cantoned at Lahore. Trans. of a Procl. issued by the Hindus and Mussulmans assembled at Delhi. From Offg secy to the Chief Commr Punjab to Edmonstone, G. F., Rowalpindi, 19 June 1857, For Dept Sec., 30 April 1858, nos 13–14, NAI.

27 Conversation between Simon Fraser, Commr of Delhi, and the soldiers is interesting in this context. Rizvi, S. A. A., Swatantra Dilli (Varanasi, 1957), p. 52.

28 Deposition of a native of Bengal. FSUP, pp. 44–6. Trans. of the statement of Bhugwan Brahmin for Pol. Progs, 30 Dec. 1859, no. 284, FSUP, p. 28.

29 From Gordon, to the Commr S & N. Territories, 19 June 1857, For. Sec. Cons, 18 Dec. 1857, no. 237, NAI.

30 Banda, N.E., pt I, paras 20, pp. 319.

31 Parl. Papers, H. C. vol. 44, pt III, 1857–1858. Further Papers (No. 7) relative to the Mutinies in the East Indias, Enclosure 34 in no. 8, pp. 155–6.

32 Jhansi, N.E., paras 58, 70, pp. 518, 520–1.

33 Trans. of Kharitas of the Rani of Jhansi to the address of the Commr & Agent Lt Gov. Sagar Dvn, 12 June 1857, 14 June 1857, Trans. of Kharita detailing Narrative of Events which transpired in Jhansi on 5 June 1857, For. Sec. Progs, 31 July 1857, pt II, no. 354, FSUP, pp. 67–9. From Ellis to Secy to the Govt of India, Nagode, 2 July 1857, For. Sec. Cons, 31 July 1857, no. 182, NAI.

34 Deposition of Lalu Bakshi on 6 April 1858. Trial proceedings in the case ‘Govt vs. Lalu Bakshi’ Jhansi collectorate Mutiny Basta, FSUP, pp. 48–57.

35 Jhansi, N.E., paras 78, p. 522.

36 Narrative of events in the N.W.P. for the week ending the 13 March 1858, Home Dept Public Branch, 30 April 1858, no. 91, NAI.

37 News for Bundelkhand, 5 Jan. 1858. Sec. Cons, 25 June 1858, no. 115, NAI.

38 From Mayne, F. O., to Thornhill, , 4 Aug. 1858, For. Pol. Cons, 8 Oct. 1858, no. 13, NAI.

39 Abstract of Intelligence from Bundelkhand 26 Jan. 1858. For. Sec. Cons, 26 March 1858, nos 32–3, NAI.

40 Abstract of Intelligence from Tehri, 10 Feb. 1858, For. Sec. Cons, 26 March 1858, no. 42, NAI, FSUP, p. 250. Abstract of Intelligence, Alipura 16 March 1858. For. Sec. Cons, 30 April 1858, no. 147, NAI, FSUP, pp. 295–7.

41 Urdu-Persian Records, Jalaun From Ali, Sayyid Munawar, Deva, Thanadar, 7 July 1858, Basta no. 1, File no. 1, Uttar Pradesh Regional Archives Allahabad (UPRAA).

42 ‘The world is God's the country is Emperor's the rule is Despat's’.

43 Urdu-Persian Records, Hamirpur. Thanadar of Islampur, reporting from Jalolpuer, n.d. Basta no. 8, sl. no. 10. File no. 10, UPRAA.

44 A particular tenure of Bundelkhand where the holdar, nearly always a Rajput, held several villages and resided in a garhi or a small mud fort, paying quit rent to the regional king.

45 Trans. of a letter from Maharaja of Jhansi to the Rt Hon'ble the Gov. Gen. For Ootacamund, Pol. Cons, 15 Aug. 1834, nos 40–41, NAI.

46 From Fraser, S. to Offg Secy to the Govt NWP, 8 March 1840, For. Pol. Progs, 6 April 1840, no. 53, NAI.

47 From Ross, D., Suptd of Jalaun, to Sleeman, , 30 Sept. 1844, C.O.A. Jhansi Recrds, vol. II, File no. 22, UPRAA.

48 Sleeman, W. H., Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official (Karachi, 1973), p. 245; Col. Davidson, I., Report on the Settlement of Lalitpur, N.W.P. (Allahabad, 1871), para. 43.

49 Banda, N.E., paras 10, pp. 316.

50 Ibid., pp. 337–40.

51 Trans. of a letter from Chester to Sreemunt Narain Rao & Madhav Rao, 30 July 1857, Banda Coll. Records, Box no. 2, Sl. no. 30, File no. 31, Dept XVIII, UPRAA.

52 Hamirpur, N.E., para. 19, p. 493.

53 Banda, N.E., para 10, p. 316. From the Spl. Commr Banda, 31 Dec. 1858. Banda Coll. Records, Sl. no. 40, file no. 41 (II), Dept XVIII, UPRAA.

54 Banda, N.E., para 14, p. 318.

55 From Chester, to Strachey, , 22 Oct. 1857 Home Dept Public Branch, 27 Nov. 1858, no. 6, NAI.

56 From Western to Erskine, , For. Soc. Cons, 30 Sept. 1857, no. 573, NAI.

57 List of Persons sentenced under the special Comm. for the week ending 25 Dec. 1858. Banda Coll. Records, Sl. no. 40, File no. 41 (II), Dept XVIII, UPRAA.

58 Banda, N.E., para 8, p. 325.

59 Capt.Scot, P. G., Personal Narrative of the Escape from Nowgong to Banda and Nagode (n.d.), pp. 21–2.

60 Maude, Francis Cornwallis, Memoirs of the Mutiny with which is incorporated the Personal Narrative of John Walter Sherer, vol. I, 2nd edn (London & Sydney, 1894).

61 Scot, , Personal Narrative, pp. 20–3;Banda, N.E., para. 11, p. 317.

62 Sylvester, J. H., Recollections of the Campaign in Malwa and Central India under Maj. Gen. Sir H. Rose G.C.B. (Bombay, 1860), pp. 84–5.

63 Intelligence of 15 April 1858, For. Sec. Cons, 28 May 1858, nos 134–5, NAI.

64 From Maj. Gaussen to Brig. Sage, 16 June 1858, For. Sec. Progs, 18 Dec. 1858, no. 232, NAI.

65 From Bayley, to Edmonstone, , 29 July 1858, For. Dept N.W.P. Narratives, sl. no. 77, vol. 82, 1858, UPSAL.

66 From Hamilton, to the Secy to Govt of India, For. Dept, 15 Feb. 1859. Mil. Dept Progs 18 March 1859, no. 361, NAI.

67 Urdu-Persian Records Hamirpur Dist. From the Thanadar of Jalalpur, 27 July 1858, Basta no. 8, sl. no. 9, File no. 9, UPRAA.

68 From Freeling to Pinkney, , 26 Aug. 1858. Hamirpur Magistracy Records, Box no. 4, sl. no. 86, File no. 129, Dept XIII, UPRAA.

69 Urdu-Persian Records, Jalaun Dist. From Lala Bulgarilal Muharee, thana Madhogarh, July 1858, Basta no. 1, sl. no. 3, UPRAA.

70 From Osborn, to Orai, Dy Commr, Mohana, Camp, 23 June 1859. Comm. Office Jhansi, Basta no. 11.5 (iii), sl. no. 41, File no. 46, Dept XXI of 1859, UPRAA.

71 Scot, , Personal Narrative, pp. 31–2.

72 Report on Nunora, parg. Panwari, 21 Oct. 1859, Hamirpur Magistracy Records, Box no. 1, sl. no. 8, File no. 18, Dept XIII, UPRAA.

73 Urdu-Persian Records, Jalaun Basta, no. 4. File no. 94, p. 8. List of villages that joined the rebels. From the tahsildar of Jalaun, 7 September. 1858, Basta no. 4, File no. 94, p. 22. List of villages some of whose residents joined the rebels. From the tahsildar of Deva, 30 Aug. 1858, Basta no. 4, File no. 94, pp. 4–6. Names of villages whose residents voluntarily joined the rebels. From Debiprasad, Naib Tahsildar, Kunar, 31 Aug. 1858, UPRAA.

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