We fight for independence. In the words of Lord Krishna, we will, if we are victorious, enjoy the fruit of victory, if defeated and killed on the field of battle, we shall surely earn eternal glory and salvation.Rani Lakshmi Bai
The Englishman never goes to a place without a Bible. It precedes, or closely follows, his sword.A. Madhaviah
‘Bring me a sword.’1 Kings 3.24
If the first casualty of war, as the cliché goes, is truth, the second casualty to sustain heavy collateral damage is text. In war, along with truth, texts of various kinds, ranging from reports of the battle to religious texts that justify it, also fall victim to the hands of both proponents and opponents. This chapter is about the misuse of biblical texts when they were conscripted by Victorian preachers and employed as potent textual weapons during the Indian insurrection of 1857.
In the middle of the nineteenth century there was a passionately fierce and violent reaction against the penetration, presence and powerful influence of the British in India. Hindus and Muslims fought side by side, their collective outrage directed at their common enemy, the British – in the form of the East India Company – who were blamed for disrupting both the religious and the political traditions of the country and intensifying the suffering of the people. This rebellion, or mutiny, was an affair mainly restricted to the northern states of India.