Cawnpore, Kipling and Charivari: 1857 and the politics of commemoration

Tickell, Alex (2009). Cawnpore, Kipling and Charivari: 1857 and the politics of commemoration. Literature and History, 18(2) pp. 1–19.

URL: http://open.library.ingentaconnect.com/content/man...

Abstract

This paper examines the politics of commemoration in colonial India, and the notorious massacres of Europeans at Cawnpore (and subsequent reprisals) during the 1857 rebellion. Drawing on Giorgio Agamben’s work I suggest that changing colonial practices of Mutiny remebrance reveal the organising logic of colonial sovereignty, as it negotiates the transition from the exceptional (potentially scandalous) violence of counter-insurgency to the sovereign paradigm of the rule of law. I conclude by examining Kipling’s journalism on the 1857 rebellion, and tracing the persistence of ‘mournful’ tropes of social exclusion and ritualised banning (as charivari) in his short fictions.

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