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The Revolt of 1857 - The first spark towards Independence


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New Delhi:
The revolt of 1857 was a major and important event against the British rule. This revolution started from Meerut on May 10, 1857, which gradually spread to places like Kanpur, Bareilly, Jhansi, Delhi, Awadh etc. The revolution started as a military rebellion, but over time its form changed into a mass rebellion against the British power, which was called India's first war of independence. come on
On this anniversary of the first war of independence, let's know the special things related to it…

During the first half of the 19th century, the East India Company had occupied large parts of India. As the influence of British rule on India increased, discontent against British rule spread among the Indian people. One hundred years after the Battle of Plassey, discontent against the oppressive and unjust rule of the British Raj began to flare up in the form of rebellion which shook the foundations of British rule in India. Talking about the freedom struggle of 1857, before that many incidents had happened in different parts of the country. For example, towards the end of the 18th century, there had been the Sanyasi movement in North Bengal and the Chunar movement in Bihar and Bengal. The mid-19th century saw a number of peasant movements, notably the Moplah peasants of Malabar and the Faraizi movement by the Muslim farmers of Bengal.

The first five decades of the 19th century saw several tribal revolts such as the Bhils in Madhya Pradesh, the Santhals in Bihar and the Gonds and Khonds tribes in Odisha. But the sphere of influence of all these movements was very limited i.e. they were local in nature. The first organized rebellion that broke out against the British was in 1857. Initially it flared up as a revolt of the sepoys but later it became a mass revolution.

Causes of Rebellion:

Political Reasons: The main political reason for the revolt of 1857 was the 'prohibition of adoption' or 'grab policy' of the British government. It was the expansionist policy of the British which was the brainchild of the Governor General of British India, Lord Dalhousie. The Governor Generals of the Company made many rules for the purpose of annexing the Indian states to the British Empire. For example, when a king was childless, his kingdom became a part of the British Empire.

Social and Religious Reasons: There was resentment among a large section of the society about the rapidly spreading western civilization in India. In 1850 the British Government changed the Hindu Succession Law and now only a Hindu who adopted the Christian religion could be entitled to the property of his ancestors. Apart from this, missionaries were given the freedom to convert all over India. People felt that the British government wanted to make the Indian people Christian. Dissatisfaction arose in the minds of the people in the Indian society on abolishing some of the practices which had been going on for centuries, such as the practice of Sati.

Economic Reasons: There was discontent among the peasant and landlord classes due to heavy taxes and strict rules for collection of revenue. Many of these were unable to meet the tax demand of the British government and were unable to repay the loans of the moneylenders, which ultimately led to the loss of their ancestral land. A large number of sepoys were related to these farmers and hence they were also affected by the sufferings of the farmers.

After the Industrial Revolution in England, the Indian market was flooded with products made in Britain. India's local textile industry was particularly devastated by this. The handicrafts industry of India could not compete with the cheap machine made goods of Britain. India became a supplier of raw materials and a consumer of goods made in Britain. Those who depended on royal patronage for their livelihood, all became unemployed. So there was a lot of anger in them against the British.

Military Reasons: The British army in India had more than 87% Indian soldiers. They were considered inferior in comparison to the British soldiers. Indian soldiers of the same rank were paid less than the European soldiers. Apart from this, Indian soldier could not get promotion above the rank of Subedar. Apart from this, the condition of Indian soldiers was badly affected after the expansion of British rule in India. They had to serve far away from their homes.

The upper community of Awadh was recruited in the Bengal Army. According to their religious beliefs, it was forbidden for them to cross the ocean (Kalapani). They suspected from Lord Canning's rule that the British government was bent on making them kitchens. The Nawab's army was disbanded after the annexation of Awadh. His soldiers became unemployed and became the staunch enemy of the British rule.

Immediate Causes: One of the immediate causes of the Revolt of 1857 was the rumor that the cartridge shell of the 1853 rifle was coated with the fat of pigs and cows. This rumor was hurting the sentiments of people of both Hindu and Muslim religions. These rifles were part of the 1853 rifle arsenal.

Mangal Pandey and his contribution:


I know you all have been waiting to see this name as many of us from the early classes associate the Revolt of 1857 with the name Mangal Pandey. On March 29, 1857 AD, a soldier named Mangal Pandey revolted against his officers in 'Barrackpore Cantonment', but British military officers easily controlled this military rebellion and along with his battalion '34 N. I.' disbanded. 3 L.C. on 24th April In Parade Meerut, 85 out of 90 cavalrymen refused to take fresh cartridges. These 85 horsemen were given 5 years imprisonment by court martial for disobeying orders. The 'open rebellion' began between 5 and 6 pm on Sunday, May 10. First foot detachment '20 NI.' The rebellion started in AD, followed by '3 L.C.' The rebellion also spread in These rebels opened fire on their officers. 'Hearse' was shot by Mangal Pandey, while 'Afsar Bagh' was murdered. Mangal Pandey was hanged on 8 April. On 9 May, 85 soldiers in Meerut who refused to use the new rifle were sentenced to nine years in prison.

Spread of Rebellion:

After this incident, the fire of rebellion broke out in Meerut Cantonment. The Meerut Rebellion on 9 May marked the beginning of the War of 1857. In Meerut, Indian soldiers killed British officers and ransacked the prison. On 10 May they proceeded for Delhi. Reaching Delhi on 11 May, the revolutionary soldiers of Meerut occupied Delhi on 12 May. These soldiers declared the Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah II as the emperor of Delhi. Soon the rebellion spread to Lucknow, Allahabad, Kanpur, Bareilly, Banaras, Bihar and Jhansi also. The British first captured Delhi by calling an army from Punjab. On September 21, 1857 AD, the British recaptured Delhi, but 'John Nicholson' was killed in the struggle and Lieutenant 'Hudson' deceived Bahadur Shah II's two sons 'Mirj Mughal' and 'Mirz Khwaja Sultan' and a The grandson 'Mirza Abu Bakr' was shot. The rebellion started in Lucknow on June 4, 1857. The British Resident 'Henry Lawrence' died after the siege of the British residency by the revolutionary soldiers here. Havelock and Outram tried hard to suppress Lucknow, but they were unsuccessful. Finally, Colin Campwell, with the support of the Gurkha regiment, captured the city in March, 1858 AD. By the way, the effect of the revolution here lasted till September.

Crushing the Rebellion:

The war of 1857 lasted for more than a year. It was crushed in the middle of 1858. On July 8, 1858, fourteen months after the rebellion broke out in Meerut, Canning finally announced that the rebellion had been completely suppressed.

Reasons for the failure of Rebellion:

  1. Limited Movement: However, in a short span of time the movement reached many parts of the country but it did not have any effect on a large part of the country. This was especially true in the Doab region. The provinces of the south took no part in it. Important rulers like Scindia, Holkar, Rana of Jodhpur and others did not support the rebellion.
  2. Lack of Effective leadership: There was lack of effective leadership for the rebellion. There is no doubt about the bravery of Nana Saheb, Tantya Tope and Rani Lakshmi Bai but they could not give effective leadership to the movement. Apart from this, the rebels lacked experience, organization ability and the power to work together. The rebel revolutionaries lacked concrete goals and clear plans. He was also not sure what to do and what not to do in the next moment. They were moving forward only out of emotion and circumstance. Bahadur Shah Zafar and Nana Saheb were a skilled organizer, but they lacked the ability of military leadership, while the English army had skilled generals like Lawrence Brothers, Nicholson, Havelock, Outram and Edward.
  3. Limited resources: The rebels had neither numbers nor money. On the contrary, the British army had a large number of soldiers, money and weapons, on the basis of which they were successful in suppressing the rebellion.
  4. Was not the part of middle class: The 'educated class' remained completely indifferent to this revolt of 1857. The merchants and the educated class had also prayed for the success of the British by holding meetings in Calcutta and Bombay. If this class had infused enthusiasm among the people through its writings and speeches, then undoubtedly the result of this rebellion of revolution would have been different.

Consequences of Rebellion:

After the rebellion ended, in 1858 AD, the British Parliament passed a law ending the existence of the East India Company, and now the full right of rule over India came in the hands of Queen Victoria. In England, under the Act of 1858, an 'Indian Secretary of State' was arranged, for whose assistance a 'consultation council' of 15 members was formed. Of these 15 members, arrangements were made to appoint 8 by the government and 7 by the 'Court of High Courts'.

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