See The Essays on 19th Century India atthe London Book Fair.The London Book Fair 2013, Earls CourtExhibition Centre, April 15th-17th, 2013Hall 1, Stand J655.Books of India –Motilal Books UK
Foreword In early November, 2010 I heard Rajesh Rampal give a lecture to a British military audience at the Gurkha Museum in Winchester. Its titlewas The Siege and Assault of Delhi, 1857: a case study for any army that wants to punch beyond its weight – it is reproduced in this collectionof essays. This was a bold lecture to give in front of professionals, particularly by a civilian resident of Delhi who was a Chartered Accountantwithout any training either as historian or soldier. He is also, of course, Indian and although that seemed to pass without notice, a lot less than acentury ago the very notion of this lecture would have been inconceivable. Yet Rajeshs knowledge, charm and confidence as a public speakerheld the attention of all of us. T These essays are typical of Rajeshs unique status. No academic historian would compile such an eclectic anthology and this is acompliment! It covers contemporary writing such as Sir William Sleemans observations of Wolf Children (a fascinating essay) and the diary ofMunshi Jeewan Lal, who provided the British with information about the rebel forces from inside Delhi during the siege; this did not stop theavenging army from looting his house. Then there are new findings of today, such as Dr. McEldowneys essay on the Pindari horse-ridingbandits who terrorised the Maratha states until suppressed by Lord Hastings in 1819, and my own disturbing experiences in India a hundredyears after the Great Mutiny (Are embers of 1857 still smouldering in India). Rajeshs own essays are crammed with fact and prone to diversions that are the prerogative of the enthusiast, and none the worse for that.No one can accuse him of bias. While his admiration for the British army that recaptured and laid waste his city may be remarkable in TheAssault on Delhi, September 1857, his Famines of Colonial India 1860 – 1900 is an outspoken criticism of the British Indian Governmentsindifference and its ignorant policies. I did not know that in 1876 when the British held a grand durbar to proclaim Queen Victoria as Empress ofIndia, 100,000 Indians were dying of famine in the south of the country. Incidentally, the statistical tables and bar charts in this essay give awayRajeshs past as an accountant! Rajeshs essay on Thuggee Organised crime in the garb of religion is very well informed because he has alreadywritten a book on the subject, The Divine Stranglers. Always, his writing is entertaining and individual however much he relies on secondary aswell as primary sources. What holds these essays together is the authors sense that the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in India, when the East India Companywas but the most prominent of rulers, were times of awful anarchy and turbulence. He quotes from the epic love story Heer Ranja, by thePunjabi poet Waris Shah (1722 – 1798) in his earlier book, The Divine Stranglers:Great confusion has fallen on the country
There is a sword in everymans hand.The veil of shame and modesty has been lifted,And the entire world goes naked in the open bazaar.Thieves have become leaders,Harlots have become mistresses of the households.The company of devils has magnified exceedingly,The state of the multitude is pitiable.Men without character flourish and the devil is in great prosperity,Fools have become masters of our country.This is the background to these stirring essays that I recommend to all lovers of BritishIndian history, and those who wish to draw lessons from the past.Hugh Purcell10/7/2012
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About the AuthorRajesh Rampal is a Chartered Accountant. He has worked with premier Corporate Sector Companies in India and in the process dealt withleading financial Institutions of the world namely ICICI, SBI, IDBI, IFC (W) and EADB. He has also worked during the project phase in Indiaof two Fortune 500 companies viz. GKN plc and Degussa AG. He was Manager Corporate Finance-I in Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited and alsolooked over the financial aspects in Technology Transfer Engineering and R & D Divisions of this company. He spent two years in Uganda, EastAfrica working with Cable Corporation Ltd., set up with Japanese Collaboration- Hashimoto. He also worked with Indias premier EconomicThink Tank – Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, where he rubbed shoulders with many Economists ofInternational repute.He has delved in Insurance, Stock Markets and Corporate Sector Training. He wrote a book The Divine Stranglers- A Story of Thugs andThuggee Sleeman that details the life and times of 19th century world across three continents in historical fiction form.He has lectured and made presentations on Organised Crime in the Garb of religion in 19th century India- Thuggee in the Intelligence Bureau,National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Sciences, India International Centre and Royal Military Police HQ in Southwick Park,Hampshire, U.K.He has also made presentations on The Siege and Assault of Delhi 1857- A Case Study for any Army that wishes to punch above its weight inGurkha Museum, Winchester, Royal Armed Medical Corps Museum and the Duke of Cornwall Light Infantry Museum in Bodmin. He alsomade the same presentation to the International Guild of Battlefield Guides in London in November 2010.Rajesh has also taken several British Army officers around the sites of Delhi 1857. Some prominent names are General Sir Richard Shirreff,Deputy Supreme Commander Allied Powers, Europe, General Sir Christopher Wallace former Commandant Royal College of Defence Studies,Colonel Dr John Richardson of the Royal Armed Medical Corps, Colonel Gerald Napier of the Royal Engineers and author of Sapper VCs andFollow the Sapper.Former BBC producers Hugh Purcell and Margaret Percy have been with Rajesh several times on Delhi 1857 sites. Former BBC producer PhilipGeddes and his team made a Documentary The Devils Wind on 1857 and Rajesh took them around for the shoot. He was interviewed byGeneral Sir Richard Shirreff on battle tactics in the Documentary.Rajeshs only claim to being a Historian is being the next door neighbour of the famous Indian Historian Dr Bipin Chandra for nearly a decadewho was his fathers colleague in the Delhi University. He has never studied History beyond the 8th Standard!
Also by the same AuthorThe Divine Stranglers – A Story of Thugs and Thuggee SleemanISBN 818549573-4Also available in ebook format at AMAZON in KindleEdition http://www.amazon.com/THE-DIVINESTRANGLERS-THUGGEE-ebook/dp/B0089ISAN4Hard Copy: Price India Rs 600, USA: USD 20, UK:GBP: 15 Delivered (by Indiapost.)(Order & Details: email@example.com)Story in BriefSet in turbulent Central India in the early 19th century,the story revolves around an Englishman in the employ of the East India Company, hisFrench wife from a noble Émigré family, businessmen. Policemen and a sect of Divine Murderers. The Englishman sets out to exterminate thesect, using the first ever modern scientific methods of Criminal Investigation and detection. This results in the arrest of 3,689 killers, 466 ofwhom are hanged and 2497 imprisoned for life. Based on Historical facts, the story takes you through early 19th century customs and practicesin England, France and India. Strangulations, Famine, Epidemics,Myths, Folklore , Superstitions gel together in the story to unfold the mystiqueof India. The Thug MenaceMore than a hundred Thug gangs prowled Indias highways and annually killed about 40,000 travellers in the early 19th century. The Thugs wereheld together by a perversion of religion that made killing a part of worship. The gangs were knit together by a strange and bizarre regimen oflife, that destroyed their victims with a combination of guile and cruelty almost unparalleled in the history of crime anywhere in the world. TheThugs had been plying their trade undetected for nearly 500 years.Major General Sir William Henry Sleeman was a man of zeal and spirit far above the ordinary and his extraordinary tenacity of purpose was inthe final analysis the reason why Thuggee could be eliminated. The legal procedures of the time also helped a lot as they permitted quick andeffective trials and deterrent punishment to thugs.K. F. Rustomji , Former D. G., B.S.F. (Indian Police Journal 1962 – Thugs, Pindaris and Dacoits)
Readers Feedback on THE DIVINE STRANGLERSIt is a good read, seriously. I liked Divine Stranglers. You have thought your way into the subject so that it convinces the reader and has aperiod authenticity, I admire your confidence in adopting a semi-fictional approach. I like your direct no-nonsense style too.Hugh Purcell (Author and Former Managing Editor BBC)Now that I have read Divine Stranglers my son, a Detective Superintendent in the London Metropolitan Police will get to read it.Ron Cassidy (Author and former Curator RGJ Museum)A masterful book about William Sleeman- all fascinating. Do come and visit us in Wales.Nicky and Colonel Johnny RogersGreat story line! The Divine Stranglers would make a really good movie, showing thedilemmas of the individual boy caught up in circumstances beyond his control. Keep trying and I will be there to support you at the premier.Colonel Dr John Richardson (RAMC) (Retired)A real gem –The Divine Stranglers. That you kindly inscribed it for me makes it extra special.Clive Elderton (Former British Defense Advisor, BHC ,New Delhi)I very much enjoyed reading the Divine Stranglers, which I thought very well written.Professor Stephen Slemon (University of Alberta, Canada)Fascinating! I was glued to it till I finished it. You keep the tempo fast paced and exciting. It would make a wonderful film. Only Sir RichardAttenborough can do justice to make a film on your story.Darshan Lal (Director- Monsanto Holding P. Ltd), Former Director BASF India Ltd."The Divine Stranglers" -found it absolutely fascinating. I particularly enjoyed the way you introduced the background of the differentprotagonists, including the sympathetic portrait of the thug Mahaveer. It was a remarkable achievement to destroy the network of Thugs.Frank Baldwin (Chairman- Battlefields Trust, U.K.)I absolutely adore your endeavour. The story succeeds in creating the mystique and highlights each character sympathetically.J Sanyal (Author- Bengalee)Your book is a Master piece! Pavani Sitaramiah (Author-Tamil & Telugu)I found your book very interesting. S. S. Dawra IAS (Former Secretary GOI)Good luck with Thuggee film project - I agree would be a fascinating project.......Phillip Geddes (Formerly BBC and Communications Advisor EU)