Representations of 1857:
Recovering the Indian Voice
There are contemporary pictures and
a few photographs of the uprising of 1857 made by the
British. Such visual material represents the events
in a certain way. By and large, in the triumphal British
writings on the rebellion and its suppression the heroes
and villains are depicted from the point of view of
the victors, and the same perception is reflected in
the pictorial representation of what happened. Is there
any way we can reverse the gaze?
Many sketches and paintings of 1857
from British hands were reproduced by the British printing
press in journals and albums and these have been preserved
with care in museums and archives, including those Indian
tax-payers paid for. While there is a multitude of such
pictures there is none by Indians of those times, none
identified as authentically contemporary. The Indian
voice of those times can be heard only in the surviving
texts of proclamations and letters and orders and the
like, as well as rare first person narratives in the
form of memoirs and depositions at trials of the rebels.
That alone can help us overcome the silence of the defeated.
The exhibition planned by the Indian
Council of Historical Research tries to recover the
Indian voice hundred and fifty years before our times
in this exhibition. The pictorial representation from
British hands is undoubtedly of historical value as
the pictures are authentic artifacts of those times.
The texts from Indian hands are also authenticated statements
of a different way of looking at those times. These
two different kinds of documents have been assembled
in the exhibition entitled Representations of 1857:
Recovering the Indian Voice.
We are happy that the India International
Centre has hosted this exhibition and has included it
in their regular programme of activities.
To view the Photogallery
- click here
Programmes on 1857:
Research and Publication:
1. Proclamations and statements
of the Rebel Leaders of 1857, collected from archival
sources and translated.
2. Extracts from Indian language newspapers of 1857,
specially Delhi Urdu Akhbar.
3. Publication of selected research papers presented
by experts at ICHR conferences on 1857. Scholarly
1. National Conference on 1857 at Delhi in December
2006 (proceedings in press) and International Conference
in December 2007 at Delhi.
2. Regional conferences funded by ICHR at 17 universities
in different parts of the country.
3. Conferences at the ICHR Southern Regional Centre
at Bangalore and Eastern Centre at Guwahati and popular
lectures at ICHR, commencing with Symposium on 1857
on 2May 2007 at India International Centre.
1. Exhibition on 1857 at Delhi and
traveling exhibitions in six other cities.
2. An album of pictorial representations of the Uprising
3. Prize of Rs. 50,000 for writing a work of popular
history on the Uprising of 1857, to be selected by
a panel of juries and to be published by the ICHR.
All these programmes are funded by
the Ministry of Human Resource Development and guided
by an Advisory Committee of experts and some members
of the Council of the ICHR.
Indian Council of Historical Research