This album has planned to present a pictorial account of the
Indian struggle of 1857 on the occasion of its centenary celebrations. It contains
portraits of the Indian leaders of the revolt and sketches and pictures of important
places and significant incidents connected with it. In the selection of material for
the album an attempt has been made to obtain, as far as possible, contemporary
materials were either not available or were unsuitable for reproduction, modern
photographs have been used. Authenticity of the sketches has been another
criterion in the selection.
The task of obtaining material suitable from the
Indian point of view has been rather difficult. Illustrative material on the subject is
mostly available in the works of British writers and artists. There are hardly any
contemporary portraits or sketches made by Indian artists. It is fortunate that
British artists, many of whom were in the thick of fighting, have left us their
impressions of 1857-58 in pictures and sketches; but for them there would not
have been any pictorial record of some of the historic events of those years. Their
drawings, naturally, are not in keeping with the Indian sentiments. They shared the
feelings of the other British residents of the time and their productions extol the
deeds of the British, and the Indian people are often treated with derision.
However in the works of these contemporary artists we get authentic impressions
of many places of significance in the struggle as well as certain incidents. The
sketches were quite often prepared on the spot and in the midst of fighting.
may also be pointed out that it is difficult to get authentic portraits of many of the
Indian leaders of the revolt whereas a large number of portraits of British generals
and statesmen of the period are available. It has been impossible to obtain a true
likeness of even the Rani of Jhansi. Her available portraits are works of modern
artists and do not conform to contemporary accounts of the Rani. Many of the
main characters have not been preserved on canvas at all and outstanding
leaders like Maulvi Ahmadullah Shah, Shahzada Firuz Shah and Rana Beni
Madho are absent from the album for this reason. Some of the important places
connected with the struggle have also gone unrepresented. However, no effort
has been spared to make the collection as representative as possible.
illustration have been arranged so as to tell a story. Notes have added to the
captions to help in the proper appreciation of the pictures. The introduction
contains a short and simple account of the struggle; the details of the fighting
have been omitted.
This publication owes much to the help and co-operation
of many. Dr. S. N. Sen , the author of 1857, gave advice regarding its scope and
the collection of material for it. Dr. Bisheshwar Prasad, Professor of history,
University of Delhi, helped in the final selection of the pictures, and Dr. P. Saran
of Delhi University read the manuscript of notes and the introduction and made
valuable suggestion Dr. V.G. Dighe, Research officer, Ministry of External Affairs,
translated the letter of Rani of Jhansi, the facsimile of which appears on page 61.
The work of collection of material and its final presentation was done by Shri V.C.
Joshi of the National Archives of India.
For access to the material included in
this publication we are indebted to many libraries, museums and other
institutions in India and the United Kingdom. We would like in particular to record
our appreciation for the facilities afforded to us by the National Archives of India,
New Delhi, the National Library, Calcutta, the Amir-ud-daula Public Library,
Lucknow, and the United Service Institute, New Delhi. Our thanks are also due to
the Governments of U.P, M.P and Bihar for the co-operation they have extended
us. We are grateful to the publishers of old books from which many of the
illustrations have been drawn.
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