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Title: The uprising in the 'periphery' : Bengal 1857-58
Author: Chatterjee, Niladri
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2015
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The thesis deals with the rebellion of 1857 - variously described as the Sepoy Mutiny or the First Indian War of Independence - in an area generally stereotyped as the periphery in the context of the rebellion. The geographical area covered in the thesis includes the lower province of the Bengal Presidency, which at present roughly incorporates the states of West Bengal and Assam in India, and Bangladesh. Using the hitherto underutilized sources this dissertation seeks to venture into the task of constructing a narrative of sequential events related to the rebellion in this region, while simultaneously analysing the moments of crises that the colonial administration had encountered during this time. The dissertation argues that in spite of the regional specificities that determined the nature, character and outcome of the movement, the rebellion was a multifaceted and multi-layered one, and the events of varying multitudes in the region were interconnected with the broader conflagration of 1857, together which brought about a crisis of the colonial rule in Indian subcontinent. While doing so, the thesis looks at the action of the rebels, the networks of communication, and the role and significance of non-traditional modes of communication, with specific focus on the circulation of rumours and panic in shaping the character of the rebellion in the region. It argues that during a moment of social and political upheaval, such as the rebellion of 1857, rumours and their consequent effect have the potential to be a source of historical analysis. As a corollary to the present study, the thesis also revisits the question of 'loyalism' of the middle class intelligentsia of Bengal during the rebellion, arguing for a more nuanced understanding of such terminologies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral