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Image by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič

1857: Reading between Narratives


'The 1857 Uprising holds centrality in framing our imagination of the making of the modern Indian nation historically. It is emphasized as the first juncture that shook the cusp of British colonial rule over India. Although this period features as a significant section across history textbooks in the country, the narrative that they uphold is a linear one with distinctive sections on causes of the revolt, its course and outcome. However, historical narratives around 1857 are much more complex and contested than that. There are several dilemmas and debates, increasingly so, about the nature and place that it should occupy in our memorialization of the national movement. Debates and contestations range across its nomenclature as a revolt, the first struggle for independence, sepoy mutiny, or the mutiny of 1857; the place of other resistance movements that preceded the 1857 Uprising; its memorialization across British sources versus that in the Indian sources; the place of gendered violence in framing arguments of morality between the English and Indian forces during this period; memorial sites that have been constructed following this moment including the well at Kanpur, among others.'

-excerpted from the Introduction to the module.

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