1857 War of Independence Or Clash of Civilizations?: British Public Reactions

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Oxford University Press, Jan 1, 2008 - History - 288 pages
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This book has significant historical value: a) it offers a serious insight into the British psyche at the height of Victorian England by delving into the serious debates which ensued in the wake of the revolt in India. The result is analytical reflections on British imperial, evangelical, economic, political, military and moral thinking. While a majority of the Britons were social, political or spiritual Rudyard Kiplings, a smaller number, like Chartists headed by Ernst Jones and the Irish nationalists were moral provocateurs who seriously challenged the conscience of their countrymen on imperial issues. b) The book breaks a number of myths which had been carefully nurtured in Britain about the popular acceptance of British rule in India. Even though public opinion by its very nature is a combination of fact, fiction, and gossip, the extraordinarily large number of reports from the field in India (the fist mail dealing with the uprising in India brought more than 20,000 piecesof mail from the rebel colony on 26 June1857) shattered the long held convictions in Britain that their rule was popularly embraced by the populace in India. c)The book further opens a new vista in the study of the Indian 'mutiny'; so far it has been viewed everything except a Muslim rebellion, while the reports from the field indicated that it was a Muslim rebellion first and last. Why this interpretation was missed by so many scholars in the past is an inexplicable enigma. While Hindu participation was based on their perceived or real grievances and was limited in scale, the heart and soul of Muslims was in the revolt and it was shared in all parts of Indo-Pakistan subcontinent - from province to province and from villages through towns into cities. d) The book also opens a new chapter on the degree to which Christian evangelism had taken hold of British imperial effort in India, used and exploited it to advance missionary efforts in the South Asian colony. It also reveals the degree to which Christians had become intolerant of other faiths.

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Background of British Reaction to the Crisis of 1857
Causes of the Military Mutiny
Variations on the Mutiny Theme

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About the author (2008)

Salahuddin Malik is Professor of History at the State University of New York College, Brockport, N.Y..

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