Varnam | Indian History Carnival – 58: Sir Edward Winter, Indian Spy, Mahatma Gandhi

  1. Sriram writes about the less known deposition of Governor Foxcroft by Sir Edward Winter in 1665

    The moral tenor of the Fort was fairly lax with even the chaplain, Simon Smythe being a hard drinker. He was besides married to Winter’s niece. Together, the two hatched a plot and on the pretext of an argument at the Common Table in the Fort, Winter sought the impeachment of Foxcroft. Nothing came of this immediately beyond Winter storming into Foxcroft’s rooms early one morning. Convinced that a coup was at hand, Foxcroft ordered the arrest of Winter. But within 48 hours, Winter had won over the Captain of the Guard and more importantly, the latter’s wife. He was released and bided his time during which interval, the Captain, Lt. Chuseman, burst into Foxcroft’s rooms and in the ensuing duel, at least one Councillor was killed while Foxcroft, his son and another Councillor were wounded. Foxcroft and three others were arrested and Winter took possession of the Fort. That was in September 1665. 

  2. Maddy has the fascinating tale of an Indian spy in Turkey following the first World War
  3. This is one of the strangest cases I have come across and perhaps one that is still not solved. On May 24th 1921, this Indian was hanged to death in Ankara, indicted of spying for the British and of a purported assassination attempt on Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Well, as it was to turn out, that was a turning point, and a reason for a total lack of Turkish support for the Indian independence and Khilafat movement in India. Later as it turned out, when the Ali brothers went to Turkey, they could not even get an audience with Mustafa Kemal, perhaps owing to the aborted plans of Saghir. At that point in history, it became a major event in Turkey and the nationalists made a big fuss of it, due to their own issues with Britain. It was a period when Indians in general were not too popular in Ankara as a large number of Punjabi’s and Gurkha’s were involved in the battles at Gallipoli and part of the Allied powers.

  4. Baxter Wood has a review of Prof. Vinay Lal’s UCLA course titled Topics in Contemporary Indian History: The Moral and Political Thought of Mahatma Gandhi. This was my opinion after listening to Prof. Lal talk about the dark skinned dasas in another course.
  5. Vinay Lal covers many themes about Gandhi: Women, Religions, the West, the Body and his Mentors. But perhaps the most interesting thematic subject is about fasting. And it is presented in several places throughout the course. Twenty-five years ago Lal wrote a book about fasting. His mother’s critique was that the author of a book about fasting should actually try fasting. So Lal took an oath not to publish until he experienced fasting and, of course, the book has not been, nor will ever be published. You will have to get it here.

Not many entries this time. The next carnival will be up on Nov 15th. Send your nominations as a tweet to @varnam_blog or as a mail to varnam.blog @gmail