The Mutiny at the Margins series takes a fresh look at the revolt of 1857 from original and unusual perspectives, focusing in particular on neglected socially marginal groups and geographic areas which have hitherto tended to be unrepresented in studies of this cataclysmic event in British imperial and Indian historiography.
Chapter 7: The Circulation of Chapattis
The Circulation of Chapattis
THE alarm caused by rumours concerning the circulation of chapattis and lotus flowers illustrates the confusion of colonial officials and their lack of, or at least highly mediated, understanding of the society they were governing. Rumour played a significant role on both sides during the uprising, and their anxieties about the circulation of chapattis illustrates that the British were as susceptible to rumour as the mutinous sepoys. It is impossible to know whether the chapatti had anything to do with the events of 1857, but R. Guha has described their possible use as a form of symbolic communication.1
Extract from The Delhi Gazette, 28 February 1857
We have received a statement from the Assistant Secretary to the Government of ...