Historiography is a continuous process of debate in historical scholarship. It provides space for re-examining, rethinking or re-evaluating existing perceptions on particular historical events or developments. It poses a challenge before the scholars to search for new evidences, explore hitherto unknown areas in order to enable new and different interpretations of human history.
The Uprising of 1857 has assumed national character. Particular understanding developed on the nature of this event in 1857 and later on in 1957, during its 100th year of commemoration. Yet this perception is marked by two limitations one, pertaining to the character of the happenings ; two, role of the Sikhs. Further its scope remained limited because it was largely seen as religion oriented and for its failure Sikhs were held responsible.
Later on with the availability of newer evidences and with re-visiting the issue certain facts began to emerge with a country-wide debate generated because of its 150th year of commemoration in 2007. To participate in this opportunity the Department of Punjab Historical Studies organized Seminar on 28 November 2007. The issues taken up are very relevant and pertinent. Apart from discussion on the above mentioned two inter-related themes of the event; other issues explored are the official understanding contemporary non-official perception, early nationalist views, Radical and Marxist perspectives, recent descriptions and evaluations, the event in literature and memory along with its academic and social relevance.
I am hopeful that publication of these research papers will help in re understanding the happenings and also relocating position of the Sikhs in particular historical situations. The Department of Punjab Historical Studies and its Head, Dr Navtej Singh deserve congratulations for hard work and bringing out the volume. Its publication during 150th year of commemoration will certainly contribute to the debate with significant addition to the national historiography.
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