Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter

Photo by Flickr

1857: The First War of Indepe

Drawn from the details provided by a Brahmin-turned-amateur-historian, this is a real story that follows two learned men as they traverse India during the 1857 uprising on foot, unearthing history from a new vantage point

As the First War of Independence raged, a Brahmin from Maharashtra, Vishnubhat Godse, on a pilgrimage found himself caught right in the middle of the action. He, along with his uncle Rambhat, went through a series of adventures, including barely escaping hanging.

Upon his return home, Godse wrote it all down in Marathi so that his forthcoming generations could have an idea of how things were during that tumultuous period. "The Walking Brahmin" by Maneesh Madhukar Godbole retells that journey, which is a rare eyewitness account from a common Indian's point-of-view.

Published by Garuda Prakashan decades after the original manuscript, it puts all pieces of the story together with maps and photographs and offers a unique insight into what really happened during the War of 1857.

This tale starts in 1857, as the protagonist duo starts on a 'teertha yatra' from Varsai, a small Maharashtrian village, and walk smack in the middle of the mutinous upheaval of 1857. Having the misfortune of being at the wrong place at the wrong time, they were caught in the crossfire between the loyalist Indian troops and the British.

Delhi Government under ‘Sipahi Rule of 1857’.Photo by Flickr

Narrativising historical incidents through an Indian lens, such as the fall of Jhansi, they survived the aftermath of British savagery, were robbed of all their belongings multiple times, and even managed to avoid getting hanged twice. Being on the road for over two years, they finally returned to Varsai, which was where Vishnubhat penned down his adventure for his descendants.

"His original manuscript, which ran into 297 pages, comprised two notebooks and twenty-two individual pages. It was eventually published as a Marathi book in 1907, a few years after Vishnubhat's death. This is probably the only known instance of a document that talks about 1857 from an Indian perspective," the Pune-based Godbole said.

"Not only does it give us the story from the perspective of the vanquished, but it is also more reliable as it is a first-hand account of experiences and not based merely on hearsay. Thus, the value of this book, in the annals of history, is quite priceless.

"Vishnubhat's book offered me a unique and authentic insight on how our ancestors lived. What they believed in, the social structure of those times, the hardships, the never-give-up attitude, their fortitude, their beliefs and their ability to even put their lives at risk to fulfill their responsibility," added Godbole, who learnt about this lesser-known story when he was busy writing blogs related to his travel to northeast India and subsequent research.

Sharing his insights on the book, Uday S. Kulkarni, historian and author of "The Extraordinary Epoch of Nanasaheb Peshwa", said that it "gives us a graphic account of the cruelty perpetrated by British forces in cities such as Jhansi, where troops looted and massacred the populace in retaliation for the stiff resistance the city offered the attacking force. It's a short book, which brings alive the times, the dangers, the smell of war and of death...a first-rate historical account of those turbulent times."


Keywords: India, History, Independence, War, Maharashtra.



Antiques to enhance and magnify a place with timeless beauty.

The catalogue for the next auction, which includes over 150 pieces, has been meticulously handpicked to bring together an extraordinary collection of decorative collectibles from 19th and 20th century India, China, Japan, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. The auction features pottery, furniture, crystal chandeliers, silverware, Persian carpets, vintage clocks, and many more collectibles as a testament to the rich design aesthetics and traditions of these various countries.

Sunny Chandiramani, Vice President, Client Relations, AstaGuru Auction House The success of our first Opulent Collectibles auction was a testimony to the attraction of fine antique decor items. |WikipediaWikipedia

Keep Reading Show less

iPadOS 15 is Helping Millions Of Kids, Professionals Navigate Covid

As millions of students and professionals globally, including India, go back to learning and work from home amid the Covid wave triggered by the Omicron variant, the focus is back on devices that can boost their productivity and creativity at home and help them sail through the period. The all-new iPadOS 15 has brought in some fresh features to help kids navigate the crisis.

Take advantage of Quick Note, a fast and easy way to take notes anywhere outside the app, and you can even add links from apps and websites to provide context. You can simply start one by swiping up from the bottom right corner of the display. In iPadOS 15.2, you can also access Quick Note with a swipe from the lower left or lower right corner of the screen.

Keep Reading Show less

For the first time in independent India, now a postgraduate course in Hindu Dharma is included at the Benares Hindu University.

By Maria Wirth

Things are finally changing for the better for Hindu Dharma. For too long, many educated Indians, including the first Prime Minister Jawahar Nehru, had accepted the biased view of the British that Hinduism is inferior to the Abrahamic religions, without realizing, that this was a clever strategy to hide the fact that Christianity and Islam are based on a ‘must-belief’ story and Hinduism in contrast, is based on verifiable insights of the Vedas and a genuine enquiry into the truth.

For the first time in independent India, now a postgraduate course in Hindu Dharma is included at the Benares Hindu University. It reminded me that already almost one year ago, a centre to study the practice and philosophy of Nath Panth was established at Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gorakhpur University by Yogi Adityanath, who himself is a Nath Yogi and the Mahant of Gorakhpur Mutt, apart from being the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. A conference was held in March 2021, to which I contributed the following thoughts:

Keep reading... Show less