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Rumours and Rebels

A New History of the Indian Uprising of 1857

Kim A. Wagner

The Indian Uprising of 1857 had a profound impact on the British experience on the subcontinent and fears of its recurrence continued to haunt the colonisers until the very end of the Raj. For the past 150 years most aspects of the Uprising have been subjected to intense scrutiny by historians, yet the nature of the outbreak itself remains obscure. What was the extent of the conspiracies and plotting? How could rumours of contaminated ammunition spark a mutiny when not a single greased cartridge was ever distributed to the sepoys?

Based on a careful, even-handed reassessment of the primary sources, Rumours and Rebels explores the existence of conspiracies during the early months of 1857 and presents a compelling and detailed narrative of the panics and rumours which moved Indians to take up arms. With its fresh and unsentimental approach, this book offers a radically new interpretation of one of the most controversial events in the history of British India.

Contents: Prologue: The Ghost of Mutiny Past – The Greased Cartridges – Barrackpore and Berhampore – Rumours and Chapattis – Mangal Pandey – Arson at Ambala – Meerut – Alarm at Ambala – The Outbreak – Meerut Ablaze – The World Turned Upside Down – Meerut Aftermath – To Delhi! – The Fall of Delhi – The Uprising – The Great Conspiracy – Epilogue: 1857 Today.