Revolt of 1857 in India
Causes of Revolt of 1857 :
Political Causes of the revolt of 1857 :
- Nana Sahib was refused pension, as he was the adopted son of Peshwa Baji Rao II.
- The policy of Doctrine of Lapse.
Economic Causes of Revolt of 1857 : Heavy taxation, evictions, discriminatory tariff policy against Indian products and destruction of traditional handicrafts that hit peasants, artisans and small zamindars.
Military Discrimination :
- Indian soldiers were paid low salaries; they could not rise above the rank of subedar and were racially insulted.
- They were also grieved because of the refusal of British to pay Foreign
Service allowance (batta) while fighting in remote regions such as Punjab and Sindh.
Religious Discrimination :
- British social reforms (widow remarriage, abolition of Sati, education for girls, Christian missionaries).
- The introduction of Enfield rifle, the cartridge of which was greased with animal fat, provided the spark.
- Inventions like railway and telegraphs spread of Western education also promoted the cause.
- On Mar 29, 1857, a soldier named Mangal Pandey attacked and fired at his senior at Barrackpur in Bengal (in 19th and 34th Native infantry).
- On May 10, there was a mutiny of sepoys’ at Meerut (3rd native cavalry).
- 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.
- Where the rulers were loyal to the British, the soldiers revolted as in Gwalior and Indore. In some places, the people revolted before the sepoys did.
- In the beginning, the rebels were successful. Europeans were killed, law courts and police stations were attacked and revenue records were destroyed. But reverses soon began to occur.
Important Persons :
- Bakht Khan (captured Delhi, was from the Barreily unit of the army).
- Nana Sahib alias Dhondhu Pant (from Kanpur, along with Tantia Tope and Azimullah) Begum Hazrat Mahal of Awadh (declared her son as the Nawab of Awadh).
Rani Lakshmi Bai History :
Rani Lakshmi Bai, the queen of Jhansi, represents a symbol of resistance to British rule in India. Affectionately called Manu, she was married to 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 and died.
Lord Dalhousie tried to annex Jhansi under the Doctrine of I.apse. But Rani was determined to defend Jhansi. She fought valiantly and 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.
Because of her unprecedented bravery, courage and wisdom, and her progressive views on women’s empowerment, and dAue to her sacrifices, she became an icon of Indian nationalist movement.
- Rani Lakshmibai, the widowed queen of Raja Gangadhar Rao of Jhansi (Tantia Tope joined her and they defeated the Scindia of Gwalior, but both were defeated by Sir Hugh Rose. She died on Jun 17, 1858, while Tantia was later captured and executed).
- Kunwar Singh and Amar Singh (Bihar).
- Maulavi Ahmedullah (First Awadh and then Rohilkhand).
- Devi Singh of Mathura.
- Kadam Singh of Meerut.
- Delhi : By John Nicholson and Hudson
- Kanpur : By Campbell, Havelock
- Lucknow : By Havelock, Outram, James Neill and
- Campbell Jhansi : Hugh Rose
- Banaras : James Neill
- The revolt was completely suppressed by the end of 1858.
Fate of the Leaders of Revolt of 1857 in India :
- Bahadur Shah II : Deported to Rangoon, where he died in 1862. His sons were shot dead.
- Nana Sahib and Begum Hazrat Mahal : Escaped to Nepal.
- Rani Jhansi : Died in the battle field.
- Tantia Tope : Was captured and executed in 1859.
Causes of Failure of 1857 Revolt :
- Scindia of Gwalior, the Holkar of Indore, the Nizam of Hyderabad, the Raja of Jodhpur, the Nawab of Bhopal, the rulers of Patiala, Sindh and Kashmir and the Rana of Nepal provided active support to the British.
- The military equipment of the rebels was inferior.
- Comparative lack of efficient Leaders.
- The modern intelligent Indians also didn’t support the cause.
Impact of the revolt of 1857 :
- The revolt was mainly feudal in character carrying with it some nationalist elements.
- The control of Indian administration was passed on to the British crown by the Govt, of India Act, 1858. The army was carefully reorganized to prevent the recurrence of such an event.