History does nothing, it possesses 'no immense wealth', it 'wages no battles'. It is man, real, living man who does all that, who possesses and fights; history is not, as it were a person apart, using man as a means to achieve its own aims, history is nothing but the activity of man pursuing his aims.
Marx & Engels, The Holy Family
There is a curious complicity between all the principal modes of historiography which have engaged so far in the study of the rebellion of 1857. According to S.B. Chaudhuri, an eminent nationalist historian, 'it was the class of the landed chiefs who led the struggle against the British', for they were 'the natural leaders'. R.C. Majumdar, too, is of the view that taluqdars and zamindars, regarded highly by the mass of the peasantry, were responsible for the 'origin and prolongation of popular revolt'. Eric Stokes, in his otherwise admirable work on the local background of the popular upsurge, has also____________________