J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

“Two Nations, Shared History” in Lexington, 30 April

On Friday, 30 April, at 7:00 P.M., the Lexington Historical Society will host a program called “Two Nations, Shared History” with two professors from Tufts University: Benjamin Carp, who specializes in early America, and Kris Manjapra, who studies the history of India (and Germany).

The pre-1776 British colonies in North America are now often called “the first British Empire.” After losing the most populated of those territories, the Crown began to build the “second British Empire” by taking over the troubled East India Company’s holdings in South Asia. In the 1800s Britain planted colonies there, in Africa, and elsewhere around the world. In the twentieth centuries those countries gained their independence, taking some inspiration from American history but also having to create their own path. It looks like this program will compare and contrast those colonial histories.

Another connection between the histories of U.S. of A. and India shows up in Carp’s upcoming book, Teapot in a Tempest, about the Boston Tea Party.

This event is co-sponsored by the Indian Americans of Lexington. It will take place at the Lexington Depot, and is free and open to the public.


NB said...

I attended the event and found it very uplifting. Overflowing, capacity crowds left more than a score standing. Both Carp and Kris were very creative in highlighting the common ideals and connections between the freedom struggles of the two countries. The theme of "Economic Oppression" by the British--buying tea from India at dirt cheap prices, starving the Indians and imposing a hidden tax by selling tea to Americans at very high prices-- was cited and pointed out as one reason for the Boston Tea Party. A similarity in “Pledge of Freedom” and “Declaration of Independence” between the two countries was mentioned. Stories of three revolutionaries in Indian struggles were creatively narrated; all of them had US connections and influence. Dr, Ambedkar, an untouchable Dalit, who wrote the Indian constitution, was educated at Columbia University. All in all, it was very informative and uplifting to me because it highlighted violation of human rights as the fodder for two revolutions.

J. L. Bell said...

Thank you for the report. I’ve learned that Ben Carp’s upcoming book now has the title Defiance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party and the Making of America.

Anupendra Sharma said...

This was an incredible event.I learnt some very interesting things about India and the US, and our shared history. The fact that three famous Indians came to Harlem, and lived here, and were influenced by the what was happening here was truly remarkable. I also learnt about the book "Black is a country". Professor Kris Manjapra is truly eloquent in the way he is able to tell stories, and weave them into his explanations. Prof Benjamin Carp did some excellent digging. I hope we can do another event tieing South Africa and India together. This was a great event that brought the Lexington Historical Society and the Indian Americans of Lexington together for the first time. Next time we should order extra chairs ! Thanks to the organizers.