Our past public lectures

The Raj Re-Examined

A lecture series on British India presented by the British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia in association with the South Asia Centre, London School of Economics.

Scotland’s Empire: The Scots in British IndiaScotland's Empire: The Scots in British India podcast image

Monday 8 April 2019

In this lecture Scotland’s most distinguished historian Sir Tom Devine considers the role of Scots in India in administration, the military and trade with special reference to the period from the late seventeenth to the early nineteenth centuries. Among the themes examined are the scale of Scottish ‘colonisation’ of the East India Company, the reasons for this and the impact of the India connection on Scotland itself. Sir Tom Devine is Professor Emeritus in History at the University of Edinburgh. His books include To the Ends of the Earth: Scotland’s Global Diaspora, The Scottish Nation 1700–2000 and Scotland’s Empire.

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Dark Hero: Nicholson of DelhiThe British in India: Dark Hero podcast image

Monday 11 February 2019

Mortally wounded in the storming of Delhi in 1857, Brigadier General John Nicholson was one of the great heroes of Victorian Britain. Dubbed the ‘Lion of the Punjab’ by contemporaries, he has more recently been referred to as an ‘imperial psychopath’. BACSA member Stuart Flinders, BBC journalist, broadcaster and author of Cult of a Dark Hero: Nicholson of Delhi (2018), considers the life and reputation of a man as courageous as he was ruthless who lived a life of adventure on the North West Frontier before his inspirational command at Delhi, decisive battle of the Indian Mutiny.

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The Raj Re-examined-Claude Martin

Claude Martin: An Enlightenment Figure in 18th-Century India
Monday 3 December 2018

A Frenchman in the service of the East India Company, Major General Claude Martin was not only the richest European of his day but the embodiment of Enlightenment thinking in his philanthropy and passions for scientific discovery, natural history and antiquarianism. His houses in India were filled with classical statues, paintings, cabinets of curiosities and a great library. Rosie Llewellyn-Jones, who is working on a third book on Martin, explores the life and legacy of this remarkable man. Dr Rosie Llewellyn-Jones MBE is editor of BACSA’s journal Chowkidar and the leading authority on the history of Lucknow. Her most recent books are The Uprising of 1857 and The Last King in India: Wajid Ali Shah.

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The British in India: Three Centuries of Ambition and Experience podcast imageThe British in India: Three Centuries of Ambition and Experience
Monday 5 November 2018

British people settled in India shortly after the reign of Elizabeth I and were there well into the reign of Elizabeth II. Who were they and why did they go? What drove these men and women to risk their lives on long voyages down the Atlantic and across the Indian Ocean? And when they got to India, what did they do and how did they live? Were the memsahibs really as E. M. Forster portrayed them? Why did so many Britons ‘stay on’ after 1947? In the opening lecture to our series, BACSA member Sir David Gilmour, distinguished author of Curzon, The Long Recessional (a life of Rudyard Kipling), The Ruling Caste and The British in India (2018), outlines the social history of a long and extraordinary endeavour.

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