By Mubarak Ali; Dawn, April 29, 2008
ON the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the uprising of 1857 against the British Raj in India, we organised three conferences — in Lahore, Karachi and Gujrat. The idea was to recall and analyse the events of that historic year.
Some friends raised questions about its relevance to the times in which we are living. We realised how people can misunderstand history and take it as an obsolete discipline.
True, all historical events are not relevant to the present. But very often those events which are forgotten surface again in a pattern that sheds light on the happenings of today and inspire us to learn lessons from the past. The commemoration of 1857 not only serves to revive the past and to help us remember the sacrifices of those who fought against foreign rule, it also helps us understand the people’s response to such rule. Thus we can grasp its consequences.
The revolt of 1857 was a widespread popular reaction against British …