The Indian War of Independence 1857, is a step by step account of the uprising of India as a whole be it Hindu or Muslim agaist the ruthless British empire. Tracing footsteps of the barefooted, undernourished and almost unarmed Indian common folks challenging the British bullets by sheer force of will power, the author establishes beyond an iota of doubt, that the uprising was a war of Independence, and not a mere sepoy Mutiny as dubbed by the British.
Some Glaring Truths About This Book:
1. This book became the Bible for Indian revolutionaries.
2. The book was proscribed (banned) by the British Government before its publication.
3. The book was smuggled in India and England after it was published in Holland.
4. The demand for this book was so enormous that it used to be sold and resold at fabulous price as such as Rs. 300/-( in 1910)
This book on the history of 1857 was originally written in an Indian vernacular. But owing to he unique nature of the book which, for the first time ever since the great War was fought, proves from the English writers themselves that the rising of the Indian people in 1857 was in no way an insignificant chapter in, or a tale unworthy of, a great people’s history, pressing requests were made from many quarters to translate the work into the English language, so that, by translations into the other vernaculars the whole of the Indian nation might be enabled to read the history of the ever memorable War of 1857. Realising the reasonableness and important of these requests and with the reasonableness and importance of these requests and with the kind permission of the author, the publishers undertook the translation of the original into the English language. With the patriotic cooperation of many of their countrymen, they are able to-day to place this work in the hands of India readers.
The work of translation an Oriental work into a western tongue has ever been a task of immense difficulty, even when the translator has all the facilities which leisure and training could afford. But when the translation had to be done by divers hands and within a very short time, it was clearly defective and unidiomatic. But the main point before the publishers was not to teach the Indian people how to make an elegant translation nor to show them how to write correct English-points to which they were supremely indifferent- but to let them know how their nation fought for its Independence and how their ancestors died ‘for the ashes of their fathers and the temples of their Gods’. So, the publishers decided to run the risk of publishing the book as soon as it could explain the facts it had to tell, though none could be more conscious of the faults of the language than they themselves. Fifty years have passed and yet those who died for the honour of their soil and race are looked upon as madmen and villains by the world abroad; while their own kith and kin for whom they shed their blood, are ashamed even to own them! To allow this state of public opinion, born of stupid ignorance, and purposely and systematically kept up by a band of interested hirelings, to continue any longer, would have been a national sin. So, the publishers have n to waited till the language of this translation could be rendered elegant, which would be more shameful-to let hideous calumny hover over and smother down the spirit of martyrdom, or to let some mistake creep into a book admittedly translated into a foreign tongue! The first, at the best, was a crime, and the second at the worst a venial literary offence. Therefore, the publishers owe no apology to, nor would one be asked for, by the Indian readers for whose special benefit, the work is published.
But, to those sympathetic foreign readers who might be inclined to read this book, we owe an apology for the faults for the language and crave their indulgence for the same.
Fifty years having passed by, the circumstances having changed, and the prominent actors on both sides being no more, the account of the war of 1857 has crossed the limits of current polities and can be relegated to the realms of history.
When , therefore, taking the searching attitude of an historian, I began to scan that instructive and magnificent spectacle I found to my great surprise the brilliance of a war of Independence shining in ‘ the mutiny of 1857’. The spirits of the dead seemed hallowed by martyrdom, and out of the heap f ashes appeared forth sparks of a fiery inspiration. I thought that my countrymen will be most agreeably disappointed, even as I was, at this deep-buried spectacle in one of the most neglected corners of our history, if I could but show this to them by the light of research. So, I tried to dot the same and am able to-day to present to my Indian readers this startling but faithful picture of the great events of 1857.
The nation that has no consciousness of its past has no future. Equally true it is that a nation must develop its capacity not only of claiming a past but also of knowing how to use it for the furtherance or its future. The nation ought to be the master and not the slave of its own history. For, it is absolutely unwise to try to do certain things now irrespective of special considerations, simply because they had been once acted in the past. The feeling of hatred against the Mahomedans was just and necessary in the times of shivaji- but, such a feeling would be unjust and foolish if nursed now, simply because it was the dominant feeling of the Hindus then.
As almost all authorities on which this work is based are English authors, for whom it must have been impossible to paint the account of the other side as elaborately and as faithfully as they have done their own, it is perfectly possible that many a scene, other than what this book contains, might have been left unstated, and many a scene described. But if to collect the traditions from the very mouths of those who witnessed and perhaps took a leading part in the War, the caught, though unfortunately it will be impossible to do so before very long. When, within a decade or two, the whole generation of those who took part in that war shall have passed away never to return, not only would it be impossible to have the pleasure of seeing the actors themselves, but the history of their actions will have to be left permanently incomplete. Will any patriotic historian undertake to prevent this while it is not yet too late?
Even the slightest references and the most minute details in this book can be as much substantiated by authoritative works as he important events and the main currents of the history.
Before laying down this pen, the only desire I want to express is that such a patriotic and yet faithful, a more detailed and yet coherent history of 1857 may come forward in the nearest future from an Indian pen, so that this may humble writing may soon be forgotten!
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