Friday, 25 September 2015

The history behind Cawnpore: the final word.

I hope you've enjoyed my week of posts about Indian history. I've blogged about the siege of Cawnpore and the British reprisals afterwards quite recently, so I'm not reposting these: click on the links if you want to read them. There is a post about Nana Sahib, seen by the British as the villain of the piece, HERE.

Cawnpore, now called Kanpur, remains the largest city in Uttar Pradesh. It flourished for a while as a centre of the cotton trade, but cotton manufacture has moved on to cheaper countries and many of the mills are closed. It remains, though, a centre of industry with significant plants producing wool and leather, as well as factories supplying the defence industry.

The Cawnpore Memorial in 1860. Now demolished.

The memorial well, which marked the site of the second massacre, was demolished after Indian independence in 1947. A park was built in its place with statues of leaders of the independence movement, including Tatya Tope, who many historians believe was the man behind the massacre. The park is called Nana Rao Park, in memory of Nana Sahib.


  1. Hv u recently visited cawnpore , many things still exist from time of british colonial era like one of the top engineering college of india I.e. Harcourt Butler technological institute , I was passed out from their; you were mostly talked about the massacred done by indian revolutionary but it was also happened from both side. I belongs from cawnpore (kanpur) & i hv seen here several places still exists , many british old houses , graveyard , schools , colleges and full credit goes to British for development of this city .
    - saurabh dhawan

  2. Thank you for writing.

    I am all too aware that there were atrocities committed by both sides. I've written about the disgraceful British behaviour on my blog here:

    Until the middle of the 20th century, the British generally see to have believed that colonial rule was a Good Thing. There was a reaction against that, which saw the British Empire as almost wholly bad. I think it is time for us to realise (as you clearly do) that colonialism had a mix of motivations and produced both good and bad things. 'Cawnpore' tries to illustrate this.

    For the record, I think that, however honourable your motives, once you start interfering in cultures that you do not properly understand, the possibilities for disaster are substantially greater than the chances of success. This is the underlying theme of the first Williamson book, 'The White Rajah'. The truth of this seems all too clear in the Middle East these days.