Alternate history

Posted in books, fantasy, sci-fi, what ifs by jrahman on January 13, 2013

Apropos nothing, let me talk about alternate history — you know, those fantastic tales where this or that even had or had not happened, leading to a very, or not so very, different history.

As the regular readers would know, there are at least two such series, perhaps three, running in this blog where Bengal, or India, had never been partitioned, or where partition had meant a different kind of Pakistan.  There was even a post about had there been a battle in Plassey.  But when it comes to the subcontinent, the big alternative history subject is about Mughal Empire continuing on beyond the 17th century.  Since the Empire exhausted itself during Aurangzeb’s reign, perhaps had his brother Dara Shikoh had been the emperor, things might have been different?


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Sir Roger of Bengal

Posted in Bengal, Bollywood, Dhallywood, Drama, history, movies, people, South Asia, TV by jrahman on June 23, 2012

Sir Roger Dowler of Bengal was a terrible, terrible guy who used to spend all his time boozing and doing wicked, wicked things with women, all the while his countrymen were impoverished by rapacious men of avarice who loafed around in the capital.  What?  Never heard of Sir Roger?  Sure you have, except you know him by his real name — Siraj-ud-Daulah, the last independent nawab of Bengal.

John Company’s men anglicised Siraj’s name.  They also wrote about him being a very bad ruler, from whose misgovernance the people of Bengal had to be delivered by Clive and his men.  And that historiography essentially continued with the orientalists of the 19th century all the way to 20th century Indian historians like Jadunath Sarkar and Ramesh Chandra Majumdar.

Of course, that history is not what any school child in either Bengal learns.  What we learn is this: