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 14: Ghalib and Delhi
Ghalib and Delhi
THE famous Urdu poet Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan (1797–1869), better known as Ghalib, lived through both the chaotic rebel occupation and violent recapture of Delhi and provides in his epic poem Dastambu a detailed account of his experiences. It was written mindful of his intention to present it to the British authorities upon its completion. Ghalib, thus, writes
Let the reader of this book understand that I, the motion of whose pen spills pearls upon the page, have from my childhood eaten the salt of the English government. So to say, since I cut my first teeth my bread has come from the table of these conquerors of the world.
His writings, therefore, require careful disambiguation. However, Ghalib does not lack ...