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.

Folk Songs and the Oral Tradition

Folk songs and the oral tradition

FOLK songs and oral traditions are a valuable resource, underused by historians. Handed down through successive generations, they are inevitably subject to revision and modification and cannot therefore be precisely dated. They nonetheless provide a clue to popular sentiments of the present and recent past and commonly emphasise the importance of local figures which are overlooked in other histories.

The first song, from the Bhojpuri speaking region of Bihar, relates to Kunwar Singh (aka Kooer Singh) who was the primary rebel leader in this area during the uprising. On the brink of bankruptcy and in danger of losing his ancestral lands in 1857, he decided to join the rebel sepoys. Apparently, 80-years-old at the ...

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