Revolt of 1857

Revolt of 1857  
Revolt of 1857

At the time of 1833 most part of the Indian province was under the system of the monarch. The East India Company was the ultimate power at that time due to their immense powers in the region of the army, so they proposed a system of subsidiary alliance in which rulers of these monarchies were asked to remove their independent army and were assured to be protected by the British army in the condition of attack upon them, in the exchange of it they want payment for it. This was a trick by the Britishers, as for some time the king was unable to pay the payment, and their territory would be annexed by the east India company. This was the first reason for the Revolt of 1857 the anger against the east India company among the nawabs and kings.

The second reason for the Revolt of 1857 is the anger among the public was the harsh and inhuman treatment by the Britishers towards the residents of India.

The policies of colonial rule made by the east India company appeared as the greedy policy of the Britishers. The company ruined the Indian industry with its factories.  land revenue policies were also very harsh.  The period from 1770 to 1857 also experience 12 major famines which created critical living conditions. As the company had not granted any relief to the people, people could not connect with their rule, as a result, grievance accumulates among people against the east Indian company’s rule.

The Third reason for the Revolt of 1857 was the sepoys

i.e. The army of the east India company was made up of peasants whose lands were annexed by the Britishers, as a result, they could not show their full loyalty to the company.

The Fourth reason for the Revolt of 1857 was the exclusion of Indians from high-paid jobs in the darbars of kings, as Britishers did not support the artisans, craftsmen, and old army of kings.

This contributed to the emergence of a new group of unemployed aggressive class of soldiers called pindars who belongs to the army of kings.

The Fourth reason for the Revolt of 1857 was the “doctrine of lapse”

policy by lord Dalhousie under which no rulers were allowed to transfer the power of ruler to their adopted son and the kingdom will ultimately come under British administration. This shocked the Indian kings and queens. And find no way except either to accept their administration and pension or to fight a war with them.

The immediate cause of the revolt was the introduction of the Enfield Rifle in which greased cartridges were used.

Rumors soon spread among the native troops that the grease in the cartridges contained cow and pig fat. And this hurts the feelings of soldiers of both religions i.e. Hindus and Muslims in the army (Sepoy).

On 29 march 1857 revolt started as Sepoy “Mangal Pandey” of 34 native infantry in Barrackpore, Bengal, refused to use these cartridges and fired on his superior. And on 6 April he was hanged to death by the Britishers. This situation gained fire and on 24 April 1857 the main revolt began at Meerut near Delhi where many sepoys refused to use these bullets, in averse of this 5 sepoys of the 3rd cavalry were hanged, and 85 were imprisoned. On 10 May the rebellious soldiers of  Meerut killed their superiors and marched to Delhi. Soldiers marched to the red fort and there they made Bahadur Shah the leader of their revolt.

Bakht Khan the commander-in-chief of  Bahadur Shah lead the revolt in real. Following this, the sepoys captured Delhi city and Simon Fraser of east India company with many other officers was killed. from Meerut, this revolt spread to another part of central India. In June 1857 revolt spread in Kanpur, Lucknow, Benaras, Bareilly, Jagdishpur, and Jhansi.

In Kanpur Nana Saheb 2 became the leader of the revolt with their 2 lieutenants as Tatya Tope and Azimullah Khan. They annexed Kanpur fully from the grip of the Britishers. This incident was followed by brutal violence from the rebels killing many Britishers this was known as the Massacre of Satichura ghat, Bibighat Massacre. The East India Company used this as a propaganda tool, back in London for gaining support for them.

Many British troops regiments arrived in India, and they first siege Delhi again in the month of September Bahadur Shah was arrested and his two sons and grandson were shot by British agent William Hodson.

Just after capturing Kanpur, Tatya Tope with 20000 men went to help Rani Laxmibai (Manikarnika) of Jhansi. Dalhousie refused to allow her adopted son to succeed to the throne, after her husband’s death. Both Tatya Tope and Laxmibai fought and were defeated by british forces and went to Gwalior and captured Gwalior fort but loses Jhansi fort to Sir Huge Rose. On 6 December Colin Campbell defeated Nana Saheb 2 and retook Kanpur. Nana Saheb escaped to Nepal and Tatya Tope was hanged to death. Mass rapes and killings of women and children, by the british soldiers, to avenge Bibighat and Satichur massacre. In June 1858 Rani Laxmibai was martyred in the battle of Gwalior.

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Begum Hazrat Mahal led the revolt in Lucknow and was later suppressed by Colen Campbell.

Many other important leaders of the mutiny are Kunwar Singh of Bihar, Liyaqat Ali of Allahabad, Kadam Singh of Meerut, Maulvi Mohammed Ullah of Faizabad, and Khan Bahadur Khan of Bareilly.

As Delhi was under siege again, the intensity of the revolt declined rapidly. As the revolt failed, Bahadur Shah Jafar was exiled to Rangoon, Burma. Begum Hazrat Mahal escaped to Nepal. Many brutal punishments were given to sepoys who participated in mutiny.

The causes of failure are as many as in the revolt there is a lack of leadership in the revolts. the revolt was confined only to north and central India, and not the whole of India participated in it. Many Indian rulers give active support to Britishers like Scindias of Gwalior, Holkar of Indore, Nawab of Bhopal, Maharaj of Kashmir, Raja of Jodhpur, and many other Rajput rulers.

Another reason is modern educated Indians did not support the revolt as they think this would lead to a monarchy system against democracy in the few emerging countries like France and USA.

Lack of communication and planning also cause failure. In opposite of it, the Britishers have telegrams, railways, and post support which help them in a fast faction against revolt.

With the fall of Delhi on 20 Sept 1857 after a bitter fight, the nerve point of revolt disappeared.

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By the end of 1858, British rule over India was fully re-established. After this Government Of India Act of 1858 passes in the british parliament after which by Queen’s proclamation, the administrative control of India was transferred from the East India Company to the British crown