The Revolt of 1857 in India has so far largely been viewed as an event that was of interest to British and Indian scholars investigating the various consequences of British colonial rule in India. What has remained out of the focus of study during the last 150 years is the possible impact of the Revolt elsewhere, its so to say international dimension: what, in particular, was the reaction in Europe where elemental social and political transformations were underway.
Whatever the varied nature of the reactions, the space given to the Revolt in many European newspapers and journals while it was in progress is certainly extensive. What is more, representations of and reflections on the Revolt appeared both during the event and for long after its suppression, above all in forms of popular fiction but also in historical accounts, letters, reminiscences and other forms of writing. The collection of essays in this volume ventures into this unexplored terrain and offers a first look at some of these European responses.
Shaswati Mazumdar is Professor, Department of Germanic and Romance Studies, Arts Faculty, University of Delhi.