The revolt of 1857 shook the British empire to its foundation . Through it started as a military revolt , the causes were deeply rooted in the nature of the British rule in India.
by Kashish Rajput
Causes of the revolt
Causes of the revolt of 1857 may be studied under the following heads .
1 . Social and religious causes
- Laws that interfered with the religion and customs of the people
- Fears of religious conservation
- Responses to the reforms done by the British
- Indignities hurled at Indians
- Apprehension about English education
2. Economic causes
- Ruin of trade and handicrafts
- Improvement of the cultivators
- India reduced to an agriculture colony of the british
- Inhuman treatment meted out to indigo cultivators
- Drains of wealth
3. Political Causes
- Erosion of nawabs power
- Discourtesy to the mughals
- Treatment meted out to nana saheb
- Doctrine of lapse
- Annexation of Awadh
4. Military Causes
- Low salary and poor prospects of promotions
- Glut of unemployed soldiers
- General services enlistment act
5. Immediate Causes
- The Enfield rifle
Outbreak of the revolt
On 29 march 1857 , Mangal Pandey , a brahmin sepoy , openly revolted and killed a british officer . This resulted in an open revolt at Meerut , Delhi , Kanpur and other places .
Events at Meerut
On 6 may 1857 , 85 sepoys to touch the cartridge’s on the parade ground . They were sentenced to 10 years rigorous imprisonment . On 10 , may 1857 , all the sepoys at Meerut broke into open revolt . They rushed to the jail and released all the prisoners . They were killed the British officers and burnt their houses .
Events at Delhi
The Meerut sepoys reached Delhi on the morning of 11 May . They produced to the cantonment where the local troops joined them .
These soldiers forced their ways into the palace of BAHADUR SHAH ZAFAR and proclaimed him as their leader .
Events at Kanpur
At Kanpur , Nana Saheb , the adopted son of bajirao II , was directing all the operations .
Events in Centeral india
Rebels in central India found very able leaders in Tantia Tope and Rani Lakshmi Bai of jhansi . The revolt broke out at jhansi in early june in 1857 . The fortess of jhansi at that time had about 10,000 bundelas and nearly 2,000 sepoys . Sir Hgh Rose laid siege to the fortess of jhansi in March 1858 .
Events at other parts of india
In bihar , the revolt was led by Rajput Kunwar Singh , the onwer of the vast estates at Arrah and Jagdispur in Patna .
Suppression of the revolt
Thee revolt spread like wildlife in northern and central India . Unserved by the large scale of the upheaval , the company decided to suppress the revolt with all its might .
Causes of the failure of the revolt
- Lack of planning and coordinating among the rebels
- Lack of efficient leadership
- Superior equipment and resorces of the british
- Non – participation of several section of the society
- Indiscipline among soldiers
Results and effects of the revolt
- End of company rule and changes introduced in the administrative set – up
- Policy towards the Indians princes and chiefs
- Reorganizations of the army
- Solemn promises made to the people of India
- Rise of nationalism in India
Nature of the revolt
The nature of the revolt of 1857 has been a matter of controversy among historians VD Savarkar was the first nationalist to call the revolt of 1857 as the FIRST WAR OF INDEPENDENCE . Subash Chandra Bose also referred to it by the same name . Ashok Mehta was also convinced about the national character of the revolt .