TORCH Book at Lunchtime webinar on Royals and Rebels: The Rise and Fall of the Sikh Empire, written by Dr Priya Atwal.
Book at Lunchtime is a series of bite-sized book discussions held weekly during term-time, with commentators from a range of disciplines. The events are free to attend and open to all.
In late-eighteenth-century India, the glory of the Mughal emperors was fading, and ambitious newcomers seized power, changing the political map forever. Enter the legendary Maharajah Ranjit Singh, whose Sikh Empire stretched throughout northwestern India into Afghanistan and Tibet.
Priya Atwal shines fresh light on this long-lost kingdom, looking beyond its founding father to restore the queens and princes to the story of this empire’s spectacular rise and fall. She brings to life a self-made ruling family, inventively fusing Sikh, Mughal and European ideas of power, but eventually succumbing to gendered family politics, as the Sikh Empire fell to its great rival in the new India: the British.
Royals and Rebels is a fascinating tale of family, royalty and the fluidity of power, set in a dramatic global era when new stars rose and upstart empires clashed.
Dr Priya Atwal is Community History Fellow at Oxford. She is a historian of empire, monarchy and cultural politics across Britain and South Asia. She has taught History at King's College London and Oxford, where she obtained her doctorate. Her research has been featured in collaborative projects with Historic Royal Palaces, among others; and she makes regular broadcast appearances, most recently presenting the BBC Radio 4 series, Lies My Teacher Told Me. She tweets @priyaatwal.
Professor Faisal Devji is a Professor of Indian History and the Director of the Asian Studies Centre at Oxford. His research focuses on political thought in modern South Asia, and is more broadly concerned with ethics and violence in a globalized world. He is the author of four books, most recently Muslim Zion: Pakistan as a Political Idea. He is a Fellow at New York University’s Institute of Public Knowledge and was formerly Yves Otramane Chair at the Graduate Institute in Geneva.
Professor Polly O’Hanlon is a Professor of Indian History and Culture at Oxford and co-course director for the MSc and MPhil in Modern South Asian Studies. Her research interests focus on the social and intellectual history of India. Her most recent book was At the Edges of Empire: Essays in the Social and Intellectual History of India, which explores new approaches to questions about caste, gender, and religious cultures across a range of historical environments.