Author: H L O GarrettForeword/Introductio: M J AkbarPublisher: Roli BooksYear: 2007Language: EnglishPages: 450ISBN/UPC (if available): 8174365842
In January 1858, the cataclysmic conflict - depending on your point of view, either the "Indfian Mutiny" or the "First War of Independence" - over the East India Company brought Bhadur Shah Zafar to trial. The last ruler of the House of Babar was charged with "treason" and war crimes in his own country, a fine instance of victor's justice: how else would one explain the conundrum of a nation's ruler accused of rebellion by foreginers?The dcuments presented in this book are a fascinating portrait not only of the three-week trial, with details of arguments for the prosecution, evidence placed before the military court and the defence of the last mughal. They also describe Delhi at a crucial junture in its high-voltage history, the leap of national expectations, the mismanagement by a ruling elite that had forgotten how to rule, the extraordinary Hindu-Muslim unity at street and sepoy level, and the tragic somersault of events that ended in silence, despair and resignation.The narrative is laced with a wealth of detail: the instigation of the Muslim citizenry of Delhi, the King'apparent belief that a Persian invasion in support of the Mughal throne was imminent, his faith in the Urdu tabloid press, soothsayers and charlatans and the compelling role of rumour and bazaar gossip in rousing a people, perhaps an incipient nation. This invaluable primary material is wroth the while of both the historian and the history buff.