The Coming of the Revolt in Awadh: The Evidence of Urdu Newspapers
On the eve of the Rebellion of 1857, several weekly Urdu newspapers had begun to be published and widely circulated. By and large, their evidence has not been used for depicting conditions in Awadh on the eve of the insurrection. In most of the works on the Rebellion there is an excessive, if not exclusive, reliance on the official English sources. As a consequence, the indigenous perception on the Revolt has often been casually treated, where it is not entirely ignored. In this paper, I propose to present the indigenous evidence on the eve of the Revolt of 1857 as can be gleaned from three important newspapers of the period: Tilism from Lucknow, and the Sadiq-ul-Akhbar and Delhi Urdu Akhbar from Delhi.
Written in rhyming prose, Tilism is the most informative of the three newspapers for the present theme. Its editor and publisher Muhammad Ya'qub belonged to the well-known theological house of Firangi Mahal in Lucknow. Forty one issues of the Tilism, beginning from 25 July 1856 and ending with 8 May 1857, with one issue (No.37) missing, are preserved at the Centre of Advanced Study in History, Aligarh Muslim University. Attention to this weekly was first drawn in English by Iqbal Husain.1
The Sadiq-ul-Akhbar, also a weekly journal, was edited and published by Saiyad Jamiluddin Khan from Delhi. The National Archives has only few issues, from No.4 of Vol.3 dated 26 January 1857 to No.7 of Yol.4, dated 19 March 1857. It is a disconnected series and many issues of the paper are missing. There is one issue (No.ll of Vol.2, dated 19 March 1857) that bears the same title, but has a different editor and publisher and belongs to a different series. The editor and publisher of
Former Research Scholar of History, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh
Social Scientist, Vol. 26, Nos. 1 - 4, Jan. - Apr. 1998