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 Le 10 Mai 1857

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Nombre de messages : 322
Date d'inscription : 05/10/2006

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MessageSujet: Le 10 Mai 1857   Le 10 Mai 1857 EmptyVen 18 Mai - 16:10


Un article apparut sur le Time Magazine à l'occasion du 200eme de cette révolte. Je l'ai trouvé fort intéressant.

Mais dommage qu'il soit en anglais.

Bonne lecture.



When East Fought West
Thursday, May. 10, 2007 By WILLIAM DALRYMPLE

It is one thing to conquer a country. It is quite another to stay there and try to force-feed your ideas onto a part of the world that has its own traditions. It is when empires strive to impose their ideals onto the conquered at bayonet point that even the most powerful occupying armies find themselves provoking violent resistance.

After the tough time the U.S. has had trying to maintain its garrisons in Afghanistan and Iraq, this lesson may seem very contemporary. But it is one that has been learned before, notably by the British in India exactly 150 years ago. On the evening of Sunday, May 10, 1857, some 300 Indian troops (called sepoys) in the town of Meerut mutinied against their officers. They shot as many as they could, then rode through the night to the old Mughal capital of Delhi. There they massacred every Christian man,woman and child and declared the 82-year-old Mughal Emperor Zafar their leader. The rhetoric of the uprising explicitly revolved around the threat that the British posed to Indian religions. As the sepoys told Zafar on May 11, "We have joined hands to protect our religion and our faith." British men and women who had converted to Islam were not hurt, but Indians who had converted to Christianity were cut down immediately.

What lay behind the uprising? The British, through the East India Company, had been trading in India since the early 17th century. But the commercial relationship changed toward the end of the 18th century as the authority of the Mughal Empire collapsed and a new group of conservatives came into power in London, determined to expand British ascendancy. Lord Wellesley, the British Governor-General from 1798 to 1805, called his new approach the Forward Policy. Wellesley made clear that he was determined to establish British dominance over all European rivals and believed it was better pre-emptively to remove hostile Muslim regimes that presumed to resist the West's growing power.

The Forward Policy soon developed an evangelical flavor; the plan was to impose not just British laws and technology on India but also British Christian values. That way India would be not only ruled but redeemed. Local laws that offended Christian sensibilities were abrogated. The burning of widows, for example, was banned. One of the company directors, Charles Grant, spoke for many when he wrote of how he believed that Providence had brought the British to India for a higher purpose: "Is it not necessary to conclude that our Asiatic territories were given to us, not merely that we might draw an annual profit from them, but that we might diffuse among their inhabitants, long sunk in darkness, vice and misery, the light and benign influences of Truth?"

The reaction came with the Great Mutiny of 1857. Of the 139,000 sepoys in the Bengal Army--the largest modern army in Asia--all but 7,796 turned against their masters. Before long, the mutiny had snowballed into the largest and bloodiest anticolonial revolt facing any European empire in the entire course of the 19th century. There are many echoes linking the uprising to the Islamic resistance the U.S. faces today. Though the great majority of sepoys were Hindus, in Delhi a flag of jihad was raised in the principal mosque, and some of the insurgents described themselves as mujahedin or jihadis. Eventually, the uprising was crushed, but only after some of the most vicious fighting seen at any point in Indian or British history. Innocent British women and children were killed by the rebels; in response, the British destroyed entire cities. Delhi, a bustling and sophisticated city of half a million souls, was left an empty ruin.

The Emperor was put on trial and charged--quite inaccurately--with being the evil genius behind an international Muslim conspiracy stretching from Constantinople, Mecca and Iran to the walls of the Red Fort in Delhi. Contrary to all the evidence that the uprising broke out first among the overwhelmingly Hindu sepoys, the British prosecutor argued that "to Musalman intrigues and Mohammedan conspiracy we may mainly attribute the dreadful calamities of the year 1857." Like some of the ideas propelling more recent adventures in the East, this was a bigoted oversimplification of a complex reality.
The lessons of 1857 can be seen today on the streets of Iraq. No one likes being conquered by people of a different faith, then being force-fed improving ideas. The British in 1857 discovered that nothing so easily radicalizes a people or undermines the moderate aspect of Islam than aggressive Western intrusion in the East. The histories of Islamic fundamentalism and Western imperialism have often been closely intertwined--so much so that thinking of 1857, we might remember the celebrated dictum of Edmund Burke: that those who fail to learn from history are always destined to repeat it.
Dalrymple's latest book is The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty, Delhi 1857
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Nombre de messages : 477
Date d'inscription : 28/10/2006

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MessageSujet: Re: Le 10 Mai 1857   Le 10 Mai 1857 EmptySam 19 Mai - 1:17


Les beaux anglais, tout propres et tout civilisés qu'ils prétendent être n'ont pas hésité à exécuter les fils du vieil empereur moghol (un grand poète) devant ses yeux ...
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