Comments for en-gb 30 Mon 04 May 2015 11:44:55 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at Julian Manning I found this to be a very informative and entertaining discussion on the whole. I think that Melvyn Bragg does an admirable job with what is a very challenging brief in chairing this programme. I can't think of any other broadcaster who would do it better.I also think the topic could have been allowed to go on for longer as a few pertinent issues relating the events of 1857/8 directly to our times were only just touched upon. Firstly, I think the events of the mutiny and its aftermath in 1857/8 in the context of the political economy of Europe in the mid 19th century (the rise of socialism and the parliamentary reforms in England for example) provide a real 'turning point' in how different people in the UK perceived the Empire and the Imperial mission as a whole. One effect of this was to allow the aspect of British Christian missionary zeal to become relatively more important compared to the mercantile adventurism of earlier times (this is not to say that evangelism played no part before 1857 - it clearly did). Another effect is the beginning of a consciousness in the UK (perhaps based in a growing class based politics) that the whole Imperial project was morally illegitimate. The programme's emphasis on the Conservatives and Disreali concerning this point rather missed what was going on in working men's self-education groups and lecture halls around the country.The narrative built up following the mutiny tied into later atrocities such as the Amritsar Massacre to provide opponents of Imperialism in the UK with a persuasive argument, which in turn fed into perceptions of the independence movements that grew up in the later 19th and early 20th centuries.The second point is how the narrative of the mutiny (or 1st War of Independence) has fed into contemporary perceptions of Indian nationalism. How has the story been used in India? For example, was the mutiny a rallying symbol for later politicians and their visions for specific forms of an independent India? These are not points on the veracity or otherwise of specific elements of the history of the mutiny, but rather how the various versions of the narrative of the events and the interpretation of those events have affected subsequent history and continue to do so to this day. After all, that is one the main reasons that history is important, is it not? As the programme is called "In Our Times" perhaps these historical topics should be directed more clearly towards the implications of history for our times, rather than being diverted, as at times this programme was in danger of being, into academic chest beating about the veracity or the correct order of events. Of course, I accept that we do need to be sure we are all on the same page, more or less, before analysis of the events can begin. Thu 25 Feb 2010 02:29:11 GMT+1 Ricardo H Hi Melvyn:I LOVE your show! I follow it every week and I tell everybody I know about it. Keep up the excellent work!Please forgive me if you've already answered the following question, but (can I be selfish) and ask you why you couldn't continue the show with your guests "off air" after your alloted time "on air" is exhausted?. You could then post the "off air" podcast as an "appendage" (or something to that effect) in order to fully develop the subject of the week.I'm thinking maybe an extra 1/2 hour or so?It would really be a great service to everybody if more could be said and discussed about all the subjects you touch upon week after week... Can the BBC develop an internet "off air" podcast service of sorts?Such an "off air" podcast would exploit the potential of the internet (if you think of the internet also as another complementing type of broadcasting service) especially for shows like yours and your very distinguished and expert panel of scholars which I'm sure would love to keep on talking for a little while longer...That's all!Cheers! Sun 21 Feb 2010 07:00:30 GMT+1 annjam I was particularly interested in the programme this week, because I'm spending my last years researching for a history of my family, back to the 1857 Indian Uprising. Although they didn't of course know each other, a great-grandfather on my mother's side was Alfred Stowell Jones, who won the VC on 8 June 1857 at Delhi when he captured one of the enemy'd guns; and a great-great uncle on my father's side was William Olpherts who, as a captain in the Bengal Artillery, Indian Army, won the VC on 25 September at Lucknow when the troops penetrated into the city, and "Captain Olpherts charged on horseback with the 90th Regiment when they captured two guns in the face of very heavy fire v grape...." I am particularly interested to know more about Olpherts; I wonder whether my grandmother, his niece, got her British Israelitism from the Olpherts family who lived in County Armagh. Her extreme religiosity was a major influence in the life of my father, R C Hutchinson, novelist -- whose novels would have had greater success if they hadn't had such a resurrectionist theme in them all, I believe. I would like to have a correspondence -- ideally with one of the discussants on Melvyn's programme on Thursday. But possibly somebody else who sees this may know if there was any link from William Olpherts to the religion of my paternal grandmother, Lucy Mabel Coryton. (My father and I each have Coryton as our middle name.) Fri 19 Feb 2010 21:49:13 GMT+1 William I totally disagree with 'Acciaio'. I felt that Melvyn (as ever) did his utmost to give each contributer a fair amount of time for each 'stage' of the discussion, but those two 'pushy' ladies just went rambling on, and at one point Mervyn (who didn't profess to be an 'expert' by any means on the topic, but the humble chairperson) had to correct one of their statements! Melvyn, you did a spendid job once again on a topic which really deserved twice the allotted time. Fri 19 Feb 2010 20:19:53 GMT+1 Kim Wagner As a historian actively working on the 1857 Uprising, I would like to just make a brief comment regarding the greased cartridges. We will never know whether the grease manufactured in India contained cow tallow or pig lard or not - all the authorities at the time could say was that they could not guarantee that it did not contain these components. The point, however, is that the only regiment being armed with the Enfield rifle before May 1857, was a British regiment (HM 60th Rifles) stationed at Meerut. Small groups of sepoys were receiving instructions in the use of the Enfield rifle but had not yet started the process of handling the greased ammunition by the time the rumour spread, which immediately caused the authorities to change the lubricant - allowing the sepoys themselves to use ghee or coco-nut oil. No sepoy at any time anywhere in India was ordered to receive the greased cartridges and when sowars (native cavalry troopers) refused to receive cartridges at Meerut, which led to their imprisonment and the subsequent mutiny, they were objecting to ungreased ammunition for the smoothbore carbines they had been using for years. It is therefore incorrect to claim that the sepoys first refused greased cartridges at Meerut and then subsequently used the same weapons against the British. This is not a terribly complicated issue and for those interested in the matter most of the relevant primary sources are to be found in G.W. Forrest 'The Indian Mutiny 1857-1858: Selections from Letters, Despatches, and other State Papers' (Calcutta 1893), volume 1. The absence of actual greased cartridges in 1857 points to the importance of rumours. As was correctly stated in the program, the issue of the cartridges reflected much deeper fears amongst the sepoys and the native population regarding British rule. Fri 19 Feb 2010 16:00:55 GMT+1 Jane In Our Time is never just a radio programme to me. In my world, there are three doors which lead from it :- firstly the one to my own mind and its ruminations, secondly the one to others' minds via subsequent conversations and thirdly, the one to further research. Yesterday, with few inner resources of my own, I 'picked' the amply informed brain of my friend as we walked the perishingly cold hills, his dog and my son bouncing along in front of us. I missed chunks of this programme because, try as I might, I could not stop my mind's path of least resistance from focusing on the beautifully lilting voices of the guests...which rather sidetracked me! A few weeks ago I borrowed a DVD about India's history... "Seeking in the present for clues to her past and in the past for clues to her future"... from the library. (When did countries, ships, cars etc become gendered - and in such a male world, why are they female? Just looked it up - not much wiser, but this trend is, apparently, in decline.) It's a colourful (how could it be otherwise) six part 'Story of India' written and presented by the enthusiastic Michael Wood for the BBC. There's quite a lot to watch...I didn't get far before I had to return it... however, I see it's easily available on Amazon. Thanks for once again 'shedding light' wishes Jane Fri 19 Feb 2010 12:57:52 GMT+1 acciaio My comment is not about this program but about the programs on science. I wonder whether I can comment here.Melvyn Bragg is an excellent mediator save in science programs where, perhaps due to his relative lack of familiarity with the topics, interrupts the speakers at crucial moments when they are in the middle of their point. I find this irritating and wish he left them the leisure to expound whatever they are saying. Fri 19 Feb 2010 08:48:50 GMT+1 Peter Bolt I think your academics were being a little too courteous.There was determined efforts at proselytising deliberately aimed at the Hindus by the Evangelical wing of Anglicanism.William Wilberforce (he of anti-slavery fame) placed the conversion of India above that of the abolition of Slavery .Charlotte Bronte has the "Benefactor", (Mr Brocklehurst) of the infamous Lowood Institute make a ferocious attack on "Hinduism".In fact the East Indian Company used talow from Sheep in an attempt to assuage the Sepoys. Fri 19 Feb 2010 06:57:27 GMT+1 SurreyABC No mention of possible Russia involvement either? Far fetched, maybe. Thu 18 Feb 2010 20:20:06 GMT+1 John Surtees One thing you never hear about the Indian Mutiny was whether the cartidges really were greased or not, and if so why - was it just in India / surely the authorities must have known the consequences / was it a Whitehall blunder against local advice? (Wikipedia adds some detail but still does not address the question). It's too facile to say the rebellion would have happened anyway (as it is to claim it sealed the fate of British India - the Empire couldn't go on for ever, and another century doesn't seem a bad innings). Surely it's not beyond the reach of some proper research to try and answer what must be one of the great 'ifs' of history. Any historians out there who would care to get to the bottom of this? Thu 18 Feb 2010 13:47:02 GMT+1 keithbrettell Do you think that the proliferation of telegraph communication meant a great deal of decision making could be shifted to London rather than on the ground? This would have had a real effect on attitudes. Thu 18 Feb 2010 12:35:58 GMT+1