A gem – The Great Fear of 1857: Rumours, Conspiracies and the Making of the Indian Uprising

This excellent book focuses on the events of the first 6 months of 1857 which led to the outbreak of the Indian mutiny { called the War of independence or The Indian Uprising by the Indians} on 10 May 1857 by sepoys in Meerut. It examined the alleged conspiracies for the mutiny and examined whether these are true. It also examined whether it is true the British introduced new Enfield rifles with cartridges greased with cow tallow and pig lard. {p 30}. It also examined the veracity of the famous story of chapattis being distributed, travelling 200 miles in 24 hours, with secret messages inside to Indians . { p 64}

Wagner writes very well. His points are put succinctly. I highly recommend this book besides recommending these books in the next para which I have read.

For those interested in the trial of Bahadur Shah and the court proceedings I recommend Pramod K Nayer { Ed.} The trial of Bahadur Shah. For those interested in the life and role played by Bahadur Shah in the mutiny do read the excellent book The Last Mughal by William Dalrymple. For those who want a detailed account of the mutiny I recommend Christopher Hibbert’s The Great Mutiny and Saul David’s The Indian Mutiny.

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