Revolt of 1857: Causes, Impact & failure

Reasons for Revolt of 1857

1.Political reasons

  • Lord Dalhousie’s policy of “Doctrine of Lapse
  • Lord Wellesley’s policy of “Subsidiary alliance”
  • Annexation of Avadh on the ground of “misgovernance
  • Lord canning’s announcement to that Mughals would lose the title of King & be mere Princess
  • Disbanding of the Pindaris & irregular soliders who constitued a large section among the army ranks

2.Administrative and economic reasons

  • Inefficient administrative machinery of the company & Uncontrolled corruption.
  • Racial discrimination in civil & military administration.
  • Introduction of revenue system which snatched the land from cultivator and gave it to the moneylender.
  • De-industrialisation of the country.

3.Military reasons

  • Dispenser of Indian sepoys with alien rule.
  • Compulsion of the sepoys to serve at the cantonments.
  • Withdrawal of Postage facility for sepoys, enact of Post office act of 1854.
  • Debarring the foreign service allowance or batta for sepoys serving in Sindh & Punjab.
  • Racial discrimination of the British soldiers against Indians soldiers.

4.Social and Religious reasons

  • Social discrimination of the British against Indians
  • Spreading of Christianity through missionaries.
  • Government’s decision to tax on mosque & temple lands
  • Enactment of the Religious Dis-abilities act 1850, which enabled a convert to inherit his ancestral property
  • Opposition of the traditional Indian society into to the law prohibiting sati, child marriage & female infanticide.

5.Immediate reasons

  • The government introduced a new Enfield rifle the Army. It’s cartridges had a greased paper cover which had to be bitten off before the cartridge was loaded into the rifle.
  • Indians believed that increase was composed of beef & pig fat.
  • The Hindu as well as Muslim sepoys was enraged because the use of greased cartridges was against their religion.
  • Feared that the government was deliberately trying to destroy their religion & convert to Christianity.

Beginning of Revolt of 1857

  • Started by Mangal Pandey on 29th march 1857, refusing to use greased rifle cartridges & killing his officer at Barackpore, Bengal
  • Mangal Pandey was hanged & his regiment disbanded with sepoy guilty of rebellion punished
  • Mutiny spread throughout UP along with some other parts of the country.
  • ‘Mar to Delhi’ became the battle cry of the rebels. At Delhi, the Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah II was proclaimed the Emperor of India.
  • In the beginning, the rebels were successful. Europeans were killed, law courts and police stations were attacked & revenue records were destroyed. But reverses soon began to occur.

Causes for the failure of Revolt of 1857

  • By July 1858, the revolt was completely suppressed.
  • Lack of coordination & central leadership.
  • The revolt was supposed to have started on May 31, 1857 as decided by Nana Saheb & his colleagues. But the Merrut incidence led to early breaking of the revolt
  • Indian leaders lacked resources & experience as compared to British.
  • Lack of support & martial races of the North
  • British power have remained intact in the eastern, western & southern parts of India from where the forces were sent to suppress the revolt
  • Silent support of certain sections of Indian public.
  • Limited territorial & base.
  • Many native Indian states, influenced by the powerful Nizam of Hyderabad, did not join the revolt.
  • Sikh soldiers of the Punjab area loyal to the British.
  • Bahadur Shah was neither a brave general not a sharp leader of people.

Impacts of the Revolt

  • In August 1850, the British Parliament passed an act for Better Government of India, 1858, which put an end to the rule of the Company & control of the British government to the British Crown.
  • British Governor general of India changed to Viceroy.
  • Marked the end of British imperialism & Princely states were assured against annexation. Doctrine of Lapse was withdrawn.
  • End of Peshwaship & the Mughal rule.
  • After the revolt, the British adopted the policy of divide & rule.
  • Far-reaching changes were made in the administration & increase of white soldiers in the army.
  • Total expense of the suppression of the Revolt was borne by the Indians.d revenue records were destroyed. But reverses soon began to occur.

revolt-1857Revolt of 1857

1. Revolt in Delhi

  • Led by: Bahadur Shah, General Bakht Khan of Bareilly regiment
  • Suppressed by: Nicholson, Lt Wiloughby, Lt Hudson
  • Result: Bahadur Shah deported to Rangoon, Bakht Khan died in battlefied.

2. Revolt in Lucknow

  • Led by: Befum Hazrat Mahal of Avadh
  • Suppressed by: Colin Campbell
  • Result: Escaped to Nepal

3. Revolt in Kanpur

  • Led by: Nana Saheb, Tantia Tope, Azimullah
  • Supprssed by: Colin Campbell, Henry Havelock, Henry Lawrence
  • Result: Nana Saheb escapted to Nepal, Tantia tope was hanged, Azimullah died of illness.4

4. Revolt in Jhansi

  • Led by: Lakshmibai
  • Suppressed by: Hugh Rose
  • Result: Lakshmi bai died in battlefield.

5.Revolt in Bihar

  • Led by: Kunwar Singh
  • Suppressed by: William Tyler & Eyre
  • Result: Kunwar Singh died of wound sustained in the fight.

1857 armyRani Lakshmi Bai

  • Wife of Raja Gangadhar Rao, the Maharaja of Jhansi in 1842.
  • She gave birth to a son in 1851, but this child died when he was about four months old.
  • In 1853, the couple was forced to adopt a child as Gangadhar Rao fell very ill & died.
  • Lord Dalhousie tried to annex Jhansi under the Doctrine of I.apse. But Rani was determined to defend Jhansi.
  • She fought valiantly & was even able to acquire Gwalior from the Sindhia rulers, who were British allies. But eventually, the Rani reached her martyrdom at Kalpi, near Jhansi.
  • Hugh Rose praised Lakshmi bai as “Indian John of arc”.

Important books on Revolt of 1857

  • “The first Indian war of Independence 1857-1859” → Karl Marx.
  • “Causes of Indian Revolt” → Sayed Ahmed Khan.
  • “The Indian war of Independence” →V.D. Savarkar.
  • The Sepoy Mutiny and the Rebellion of 1857” → R.C.Mazumdar
  • “Civil Rebellion in Indian Muties” → S.B.Chowdary
  • “Rebellion, 1857: A symposium” → P.C.Joshi.
  • “1857” → S.N.Sen

Famous CRITICS about Revolt of 1857

  • “It was wholly unpatriotic and Selfish Sepoy Mutiny with no native leadership and no popular support” → John Seely
  • “The so-called first National war of Independence is neither ‘First’, nor ‘National’, nor a war of Independence” → R.C.Mazumdar.
  • “A national revolt rooted in deep mistrust” → Benjamin israely.
  • “The Revolt of 1857 was ‘the First war of Independance.’” → V.D. Savarkar.
  • “What began as a fight for religion ended as a war for Independance.” → S.N.Sen

One thought on “Revolt of 1857: Causes, Impact & failure

  • March 15, 2017 at 10:49 pm
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    thnx for creating such a good webpage!!!! it was really helpful : )

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