Interpreting the Santal Rebellion: From 1855 till the End of the Nineteenth Century

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Postcolonial studies have interpreted the Santal Rebellion, the hul of 1855, as a
peasant rebellion that the colonial power construed as an ethnic rebellion (R. Guha). Anthropologists and historians have stressed the near-complete mobilisation of the Santals, whereas a later colonial historian (W. W. Hunter), who opposed the exploitation of the Santals by the East India Company, regarded the rebellion as a peaceful demonstration gone astray. This article argues that the rebellion was a socially and religiously motivated rebellion against the East India Company and that its leaders sought unsuccessfully to mobilise Hindu landlords to join the rebellion, as documented in their letters. The reinterpretation of the objects and events that went astray dates to the court case and conviction of one of the leaders after the rebellion was lost, yet his defence was carried much further by a colonial historian (Hunter). The mobilisation of the Santals and the later religious reinterpretation of the lost rebellion are investigated from archives and contemporary Santal eyewitnesses who described the horror of the events.

The DOI for the open article was malfunctioning, so there has been put a file of the article for open access. /pa-, Monday, 18 June 2018
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnglistica AION
Issue number19.1 - 2015
Pages (from-to)121-132
Number of pages12
ISSN2035-8504
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016

ID: 168302095