Sunday, March 29, 2015

Mangal Pandey: Drug-Crazed Fanatic or Canny Revolutionary?

Mangal Pandey revolted agin the British on this day 158 years back. The Raj English term for mutineer soon became Pandy in fact.

The British, however, portrayed him as a drug-crazed fanatic who did what he did in the grip of bhang and opium intoxication. On the other hand, popular Indian history has portrayed him as a freedom fighter, struggling against a colonial power. The Aamir Khan-starrer movie on his life took this to its extreme and made him into republican crusader for democracy.

For better clarity, read this lovely paper from the the Columbia Undergraduate Journal of South Asian Studies. It discusses both narratives and comes down somewhat on the Indian side. Yay!

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