It came as a shocker — a book by this name, from none other than Jules Verne!! This is going to be my next read, and the book is on the way.
Who was Nana Sahib? More intriguing is — what happened to him? He disappeared in 1857 after playing a prominent role in the battles. Some said he had fled to Nepal, and there were rumours that he had escaped to Constantinople. Many people turned up claiming to be Nana Sahib. As it happens in India, no one knows for sure. And no one knows what happened on that fateful day on the ghat of the Ganga in Kanpur. I went and saw the graves of the soldiers at the All Souls Church. And spent a harrowing 3 hrs walking around the army camp in search of that ill fated well where the British ladies and children had been dumped. I couldn’t locate it, but then exhausted I walked into a bookstore to find out, and was sent to visit Brahmavarta instead.
It turns out that the well was probably in the company garden I had visited earlier. Now it is known for the freedom fighters who were hanged there. Very few go to the Church.
The events of the mutiny have been covered from both the Indian and British perspectives. But the massacre of Kanpur stands out for its utter lack of values. It was war, but still… Ruskin Bond has written a marvellous account of the common ground of values between the two countries in his ‘Flight of Pigeons‘.
Coming from Jules Verne, the story is obviously woven around science fiction — a steam powered elephant!