A O Hume's Sepoy Mutiny diary to go under the hammer | world | Hindustan Times
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A O Hume's Sepoy Mutiny diary to go under the hammer

world Updated: Mar 30, 2010 12:59 IST

A diary kept by Indian National Congress founder Allan Octavian Hume during the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 will be auctioned at Bonhams' next month.

The dairy which will feature in the "India and Beyond, Travel and Photographs" sale of April 13 has an estimate of 15,000-20,000 pounds.

As magistrate and collector of Etawah district in modern-day Uttar Pradesh, Hume led an irregular force of 650 Indian troops in defence of the area and kept a daily record of skirmishes with the mutineers.

Blaming the uprising on the British government's political ineptitude, Hume sympathised strongly with the plight of ordinary Indians unwittingly caught up in the action, writing, and "God help the poor cowed villagers I can't...and nobody else seems inclined to do so".

He pursued a deliberate policy of mercy towards the local population estimating that there were no more than 3,000 rebels in the area.

From 1850, when he was first posted to India, Hume had been a prominent social reformer introducing secular education in Hindi and Urdu, newspapers in the same language, and improving health care provision.

His lasting contribution, however, was as founder of the INC in 1885 and its first general secretary.