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Spectre of Violence: The 1857 Kanpur Massacres

Rudrangshu Mukherjee (Author)
Synopsis On 27 June 1857, Rebels publicly slaughtered over 300 men, women and children of the 'master race' at the Satichaura Ghat in Kanpur. On 15 July, a group of women and children who had survived were killed at the Bibighur. Two days later, general Havelock reclaimed Kanpur and Colonel James Neill decimated the rebel population. This sequence of violence has held sway over Indian and British imaginations for generations, and historians and commentators have recounted the massacres with horror. Locating the massacres in the upheaval which overtook North India in the early nineteenth century, Rudrangshu Mukherjee, an eminent 1857 historian, analyses the nature of the violence. Mukherjee argues that the absence of rebel accounts and chronicles inhibits a telling of their version of the story. What is available are the contemporary accounts of British survivors, diaries of British loyalists and depositions as part of the official report prepared by the British. By reading these sources 'against their grain' and by examining the manner in which the evidence was stitched together, Spectre of Violence brings to light fresh directions of inquiry into the events of 1857.
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About the author

Rudrangshu Mukherjee

Rudrangshu Mukherjee was educated at Presidency College, Kolkata, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and St. Edmund Hall, Oxford. He was awarded a D.Phil in Modern History by the University of Oxford in 1981. He has taught History at the University of Calcutta and held visiting appointments at Princeton University, the University of Manchester and the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is author of Awadh in Revolt 1857-58: A Study of Popular Resistance (Delhi, 1984, repr. 2002) and Spectre of Violence: The 1857 Kanpur Massacres (Delhi, 1998). He has also edited The Penguin Gandhi Reader (Delhi, 1993) and the Art of Bengal: A Vision Defined, 1955-75 (Kolkata, 2003). He is the co-editor of Trade and Politics and the Indian Ocean World: Essays in Honour of Ashin Das Gupta (Delhi, 1998). He is now editor, editorial pages, The Telegraph.

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Bibliographic information

Title Spectre of Violence: The 1857 Kanpur Massacres
Format Softcover
Date published: 28.06.2007
Edition Reprint
Language: English
isbn 0143101811
length xxii+210p.
Subjects History