The Siege of Darabad is a work of fiction. Darabad, as described,does not exist, but it is typical of a small town in the province of Bihar at the time. Many of the events portrayed happened in one form or another somewhere in British North India during that fateful year of 1857, the hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Plassey which had created British India in the first place. The individuals playing their part in the drama of the siege are also fictional. The background however, and the characters and events outside the fictional district of Shantapur are factual. They represent a part of the historical baggage of almost every small boy brought up in any English school before the cultural revolution of the sixties. This historical background as portrayed ignores the impact of political correctness in all its forms, both the correctness that is and remains necessary and that which is merely part of a changing fashion. It is no use deploring some of the opinions and attitudes of the characters – that is how it was in 1857. As the most cursory military research would show the 66th and 68th Sepoy Regiments of the Bengal army did not then exist, though, once again, they are representative of the many that did. The Nawab of Jagpur is also an imaginary character, although again the problems that he faced were duplicated throughout North India in that year and had to be faced by many such rulers.
Tahta attained his degree in Modern History at Oxford where he
specialized in “the Eastern Question.” On leaving
Oxford, he became a lawyer, remaining in that profession for
forty years. Along with his brother, Dick Tahta,
Haig translated the classic Armenian novel, Burning Orchards,
published by Black Apollo Press. The first novel of Haig’s
projected trilogy, April 1915, was published in 2005. Constantinople
1920 is the second in this series which follows the Avakian
family through the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
SIEGE OF DARABAD
by Haig Tahta
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