‘We should remember, not celebrate, 1857 War’

When over-the-top, State-sponsored celebrations of the revolt of 1857 have begun in right earnest, Rudhrangshu Mukherjee, the historian and editor, has struck a dissenting note in today’s Telegraph, saying the event should only be remembered, not commemorated.

“Today, as the celebrations begin to mark the 150th anniversary of the rebellion, some questions need to be asked: is 1857 an occasion to celebrate? Can the Indian state uphold the violence that is inextricably linked to that year? Can the Indian state say that it is loyal to the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of non-violence, and in the same breath celebrate 1857 when so many innocent people, on both sides, were brutally killed?

“The questions are important because in India, there is no mode of remembering without celebrating. We commemorate to remember, sometimes even to forget. Eighteen fifty-seven is an event to remember, as all events of the past are; it is an event to comprehend and analyse because, as Jawaharlal Nehru wrote, it showed “man at his worst’’. That comprehension and analysis is best done outside the aegis of the State.”

Read the full article here: Kill the white man