Readers Write In #576: Book Review: The Last Mughal by William Dalrymple

by bollywoodbubbles
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Jeeva Pa Ka G War

Explores the so-called First Indian War of Independence in Delhi through the eyes of historian William Dalrymple in his book last mughal, I was led to revise many of my longstanding assumptions. Not entirely fought for pressing issues such as widespread exploitation. The deliberate mishandling of famine and food shortages by the Company Raj, or Company, which was so rampant during his reign. Dalrymple’s analysis struck me as, by attributing it to a more or less one-dimensional elemental religion, would diminish or dwarf the supposed loftiness of the Sepoy cause.

Dalrymple focuses on unbridled evangelism practiced by Christian missionaries who are fully sanctioned by the company’s management. Dalrymple writes with great pain about the transition that took place in India. It dates back to the 1700s in India’s history when British traders, soldiers and officials based in India actually embraced Indian culture, customs and ethos. A lot of love and generosity until about 20 years ago in the 19th centuryth They began for reasons that are not entirely clear, viewing the local culture with condescension, prejudice, and typical European exceptionalism. and adopted Indian fashion, cuisine, religious customs and practices,white mughal‘1700s. Many Brits married indigenous Indians and the company was initially very open to this practice. Their initial aim was to ensure that the company would provide adequate returns to subscribers and shareholders in London, and that it would promote a harmonious relationship between company officials and the local population. A mix of races and customs makes for a good business environment.

This attitude, emphasized by Dalrymple, began to change in the early 1800s, perhaps due to the unexpected rise of the company’s political fortunes in India, by which time local kings and nawabs had become foreigners. It had been reduced to the status of a puppet in hand. By the early 1800s, the company had established a strong foothold across most of the Indian subcontinent, and a new band of officials who had entered India from Britain had assumed an omnipotent, hyper-civilized, and arrogant attitude. It was time to decide: a white-skinned ruler overseeing the affairs and destinies of thousands of “barbaric” superstitious black natives.

Dalrymple mentions the efforts of Padre Jennings, who received sufficient funds to practice his favorite profession, with the locals, especially the Indian sepoys and scribes of Christian evangelism. Even if India’s response to these efforts was initially modest and indifferent, both Hindu and Muslim clerics and religious leaders showed Christianity’s deliberate and meticulous attention to local religions. began to get angry at what they thought was the planned onslaught. The view of eradicating and destroying them.

As many knew from their history books, there was a partially correct rumor during the sepoy that the new cartridges were made of cow and pig fat and had to be chewed up before being loaded. It spread like wildfire in the 1940s and became the turning point for the rebellion. Dalrymple notes that the army is made up of large numbers of upper-caste Hindus and Muslims, both of whom are under the control of “pro-Christian” companies to insult and demean their religious feelings. Completely disillusioned with what was perceived as a deliberate attempt.

In his book, Dalrymple focuses only on what happened in Delhi during the rebellion, ignoring other towns where rebellion took place. To me, how much has been overlooked by our history textbooks while covering this topic due to the complexity and sheer length and breadth of detail required to give a convincing explanation. One area was against innocent Britons, including women and children living in Delhi, but also against local shopkeepers and merchants who were being continuously looted and harassed. For many weeks together Delhi became a very dangerous place for even Indians to go out, sometimes even locked havelis and bungalows were spared. No. Looting ranged from diamonds, rubies, and gems to staples such as grains, fruit, and meat. The details Dalrymple gives of the suffering of the innocent masses at the hands of the rebels are disgusting, and they do not have as much public support as they ideally should have had if the rebellion achieved its ultimate goal. It pretty much explains why it wasn’t. Purpose – To remove the Company from his Raj and restore the Mughal king to the throne.

The suffering endured by British women and children in the first weeks of the rebellion is very difficult to read or to imagine, and the intensity was so barbaric that the British soon after recaptured Delhi. I can partly explain why they resorted to the means: crack down on rebels and locals they assumed were supporting them. General John Nicholson, who supposedly led a huge regiment of British soldiers, is portrayed as a psychopath, and Theo Metcalfe, the son of one of the company’s top executives, is, according to Dalrymple, one of the greatest and greatest of all. I was at the forefront of what can be described as one.The most horrific episode of murder that mankind has ever witnessed occurred in Delhi when the British recaptured the city.If I understand correctly, the local Delhi population At least 50% or more of the population must have been slaughtered without rhyme or reason, regardless of gender or age, while the rest endured a painful flight far from home. , an unknown location for safety.

Indian Sepoys, supported even by Muslim “Wahhab” jihadists who flocked to Delhi in huge numbers from various parts of India, together resisted British forces for weeks without proper planning and coordination. , their enemies, is so vividly written and engrossingly chronicled by Dalrymple. In contrast to what I have studied of the mutiny in history books, the mutiny was a very small-scale conflict that took place between a very small number of Indian sepoys and a powerful and sophisticated company, and that the mutiny was real. As historians later said, even if the cause behind it seems superficial to me now, of course, if I look back lazily, it’s the real thing. It was the Indian War of Independence. The battle that took place in Delhi was so large and real that it required a lot of planning and strategy by both sides, and Dalrymple has over 100 pages to illustrate its amazing intensity and unmissable importance. are prepared.

Even in the midst of the noise, turmoil and commotion of all these massive and earth-shaking events, Dalrymple managed to keep his focus on the subject of his book, Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal emperor of India. . His son, wife, and of course his master company are filled with sadness, humanity and, of course, bittersweet nostalgia. Zafar is portrayed as a weak man in his early 80s with no ambitions to reclaim the throne, but when faced with the salivating possibility of finally reclaiming the throne during a rebellion, he is shaken. It looks like you’re giving in. The vices commonly associated with royalty, of course he had no power or authority, his devotion to the security, unity and well-being of his subjects, especially Wahabism, which threatened to divide the local Hindus and Muslims. After arriving in Delhi. Unity, very touching and compelling. The final few pages, in which the company sets up an investigative committee to investigate the cause of the mutiny, and the impudence of refusing to recognize and investigate the company’s mistakes that actually caused the mutiny, are thought-provoking. Yes, and very detailed.

PS: The Last Mughal by Dalrymple is one of four books that form his so-called Company Quartet, all of which describe events that took place during the British rule of India. I’ve reviewed two more books in this series on this blog.

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