It's a very small book; few essays that are indicative of this man's legacy. Yet there is so much more to this man, who is not mentioned enough when w...moreIt's a very small book; few essays that are indicative of this man's legacy. Yet there is so much more to this man, who is not mentioned enough when we speak of India's freedom struggle, which I think is a shame. The book is not so much an introduction to the man himself, as much as it is an introduction to his legacy.
A good book, perhaps, to get you curious about this tall leader.(less)
Almost two years ago, when I reviewed The Ranee of Jhansi, D. V. Tahmankar, I had expressed a strong desire to lay my hands on Vishnu Bhatt Godse’s Ma...moreAlmost two years ago, when I reviewed The Ranee of Jhansi, D. V. Tahmankar, I had expressed a strong desire to lay my hands on Vishnu Bhatt Godse’s Majha Pravas (My Travels), published in 1907, by Chitrashala Press, Pune. While I was quite determined to get my hand on the book - I'll admit, I wondered if I'd be able to ever get to read that book - it was in Marathi.
I was happily surprised when I saw 1857: The Real Story Of The Great Uprising at Crosswords in Pune - the English translation of Vishnu Bhatt Godse’s Majha Pravas (My Travels). Since I do not take the effort of reading Marathi books, I had to make do with the translation. Some of you may know my thoughts on translations. Having read this book now, I feel the need to go back the beautiful book by DV Tamhankar.
1857: The Real Story Of The Great Uprising is a well-translated book. Given that I haven't read the original Marathi book, this statement is open to conjecture. Yet, I have heard about this book and its content from family and friends who have read the original - that's the first premise. The fact that the original was actually written in the Modi Script and translated into Marathi, with some liberties and that Mrinal Pande alludes to using the original, is the second premise. Finally, my own understanding from reading of the book and the uneven granularity of the book, makes me believe that the English translation has not taken (m)any liberties.
Vishnu Bhatt Godshe Versaikar (the original author of the book) doesn't come across as a very good writer (at least not in the English version, the original may some fantastic idioms and nuances that cannot be captured in English), however he has done a great service to history by this book. The book follows his travels for the most part - and therefore the accounts in the book may be treated as authentic. At times however, he seems to rely on hearsay, and it may be worth noting that these are the parts which actually provide the necessary links to the story of the mutiny - and causes the bumpy texture of the presentation.
Having said all the above, it is a great read - especially if you are interested in history beyond a story (though this one is written more like a story; a travelogue). The text creates stunning visual imagery, which, in my opinion is very necessary when writing historical accounts. Facts and dates may be gleaned from Wikipedia, but a visual presentation is key for non-fictional historical presentations.
That - this book achieves with great aplomb. (less)