WARS AND NUMBERS

Guest Post by: T.R. Ramaswami

The First World War, called the Great War acquired its premier ordinal global status only in 1939 after WW II started. Similarly when, how and why the Great Indian Mutiny aka Sepoy Mutiny acquired the appellation ‘First War of Independence’ is not very clear. But then, which was the second? Why not call it just the War of Independence? It would appear that the Congress wanted its freedom struggle to be ‘recognized’ as the ‘Second War of Independence’ though all-out wars can hardly last more than a few years. The independence ‘struggle’ proper took more than three decades.

Why did the Sepoy Mutiny fail? Compare the current nation-wide participation in the Anna Hazare campaign. The mutiny had no central leadership, identity or plan. Separate uprisings at various places on hearing of similar events elsewhere pursued their own agenda. But the most critical reason is that there was no means of mass communication. Thus the mutiny could not acquire the critical mass required for success. Telegraph came to India only in 1869. Contrast this with the manner the Anna campaign has all means of internal communications and external publicity. Without this it could have never become what it is. If JP had got this publicity in 1975, history would have been different. No wonder the Government wants to clamp down on electronic media. Let alone India, even the world is watching the Second (or is it Third?) War of Independence – with the Government being a very good comedian. Only the heroine is missing.

 

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