Reasons for Revolt of 1857
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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