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The Transportation of Narain Sing: Punishment, Honour and Identity from the Anglo–Sikh Wars to the Great Revolt

By Clare Anderson


This paper examines fragments from the life of Narain Sing as a means of exploring punishment, labour, society and social transformation in the aftermath of the Anglo–Sikh Wars (1845–1846, 1848–1849). Narain Sing was a famous military general who the British convicted of treason and sentenced to transportation overseas after the annexation of the Panjab in 1849. He was shipped as a convict to one of the East India Company’s penal settlements in Burma where, in 1861, he was appointed head police constable of Moulmein.\ud Narain Sing’s experiences of military service, conviction, transportation and penal work give us a unique insight into questions of loyalty, treachery, honour, masculinity and status. When his life history is placed within the broader context of continuing agitation against the expansion of British authority in the Panjab, we also glimpse something of the changing nature of identity and the development of Anglo–Sikh relations more broadly between the wars of the 1840s and the Great Indian Revolt of 1857–1858.Peer-reviewedPublished versio

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1017/S0026749X09990266
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/9864

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