Abstract

The number of persons who perished in the so-called Black Hole of Calcutta in 1756 has long been a matter of controversy, especially intense since the Indian viceroyalty of Lord Curzon of Kedleston. Two scholars, C. R. Wilson and S. C. Hill, and their patron, Lord Curzon, have maintained that HolwelPs narrative declaring that 123 persons perished in the Black Hole is substantially true. On the other hand, J. H. Little has argued that the Black Hole tragedy is a “gigantic hoax,” exaggerated beyond all proportions, since only a few men, in his opinion, were confined in the Black Hole, and of them only those who had received severe wounds during the actual fighting died. While English scholars have generally followed the Curzon- Wilson-Hill school, Indian scholars have recently come to accept Jadunath Sarkar's opinion that probably not more than sixty were confined in the Black Hole.

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