Research on folk songs in 1857 war urged


New Delhi : Reiterating the role of folk songs as a motivating force in the 1857 uprising, noted historians Tuesday urged scholars in India to carry out research on folk songs and publish books on the event.

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"During 1857 war, British rulers had put a blanket ban on all kinds of publications. Here folk songs especially played an yeoman's role in spreading the message of revolt," noted historian Bipin Chandra said here.

"The variety of folk songs and Britishers' incapability to understand it kept the literary genre from the ban purview. We know something about 1857 uprising and research on folk songs will certainly unveil many new things," Chandra, who is also the chief of National Book Trust, said.

He said the national archive has bundles of materials and what people need is "to unbundle and read. History can be written on this subject."

Historians were speaking at the inaugural function of the three-day seminar on '1857-Renaissance of Indian Language' at the Sahitya Akademi here. Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh inaugurated the seminar Tuesday.

The seminar coincides with the yearlong celebration of the commemoration of the 150th year of the 1857 war, also known as India's first war of independence.

Sabysachi Bhattacharjee, chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research, said literature knows no boundary and folk songs should be explored for knowing our own past.

"The language of 1857 uprising may be Urdu or Hindi, or Bangla or, it may be any other language, it does not matter, but we should see the underlying current which united the freedom fighters. We should understand and absorb it," Singh said.