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The Revolt of 1857 is an important topic in almost every competitive exams. The Revolt of 1857 is also called as Sepoy Mutiny, the Indian Mutiny, the Great Rebellion, the Indian Insurrection, and the First War of Independence. The Revolt of 1857 was a major outbreak but ultimately unsuccessful, uprising in India in 1857–58 against the rule of the British East India Company. The rebellion against colonialisation of British East India Company, began on 10th May, 1857, in the form of a mutiny by sepoys of the Company’s army in the garrison town of Meerut and this led to further mutinies by civilian rebellions in other parts of India mainly in upper Gangetic plain and central India. After the outbreak of the mutiny in Meerut, the rebels quickly reached Delhi and proclaimed Bahadur Shah Zafar as emperor of India. This uprising rebellion posed a considerable threat to British power and gave Indian’s more hope and strength to fight for freedom. But eventually everything took a toll when the rebellion was contained by British East India Company by end of 1857 and beginning of 1858. Various reasons has led to the revolt. In this article we will discuss about the Revolt of 1857 and its causes and effects.
Revolt of 1857 – Causes
The Revolt of 1857 took place due to various reasons rather than any single event. There was diverse reasons like political, economic, military, religious and social reasons for the uprising of revolt against the tyranny of British East India company. The rebellion was first started by sepoys of the company’s army on May 10, 1857 at Meerut. Wherein the sepoys were Indian soldiers who were recruited into the Company’s army. It was initiated by sepoys in the Bengal Presidency against the British officers, marking the beginning to the end of rule by the British East India company. One of the main cause for uprising in several sepoy companies of the Bengal army was because of the introduction of new gunpowder cartridges for the Enfield rifle. Sepoys had to open the greased cartridge with one’s teeth to load the Enfield rifle. Indian sepoys believed that the cartridges were greased with cow and pig fat. This hurt the Indian muslims and Hindus religious ideologies and they refused to use the Enfield rifle. Below listed are few other reasons that led to revolt of1857-
- Also the British East India Company had abandoned its policy of non-interference in the social and religious life of the Indians. Many Indian Hindus were not happy with legal changes introduced by the British which led to prohibitions few Indian religious customs such as Abolition of Sati (1829), Hindu Widow Remarriage Act (1856). Also these were seen as steps towards forced conversion to Christianity.
- Then British Governor-General of India, Lord Dalhousie (1848 to 1856) who passed the Widow Remarriage Act of 1856 also passed decrees allowing Hindus who had converted to Christianity to be able to inherit property, which had previously been denied by local practice.
- Indians were agitated with the company because increased tax on land. This seems to have been a very important reason for the spread of the rebellion, Heavy taxation and land annexations by the British East Indian Company (BEIC) led to a large number of peasants losing their land, were another reason for the uprising.
- Prior to the rebellion, the BEIC had imposed a new law ‘doctrine of lapse’ and the policy ‘subsidiary alliance’, which deprived Indian ruler of their kingdoms .
- Indian economy now suffered under the British policies. Since they worked against the interests of Indian trade and industry, Indian handicrafts completely collapsed and British trading policies destroyed the Indian cottage industry.
Effects of Revolt of 1857
The main impact of Revolt of 1857 was the dissolution of the East India Company(EIC). The EIC returned to being just a trading organization. Government of India Act 1858 was passed, according to which the army, financial system, was reorganized and was administered directly by the British government in the new British Raj. The era of annexation and expansion ended. Princely states were promised partial autonomy while remaining under British protection. Bahadur Shah was arrested at Humanyun’s tomb and exiled to Rangoon where he died in 1862 bringing the Mughal dynasty to an end. Although the revolt of 1857 was a failure, but this helped in sowing the seeds of nationalism among the Indians.
Revolt of 1857 – Quiz
1. The Revolt of 1857 was started at
2. Who led the Revolt of 1857 in Jhansi?
A) Rani Laxmi Bai
B) Bahadur Shah II
C) Tantia Tope
D) Kunwar Singh
3. Who was the first Martyr in the first Indian Independence war 1857?
A) Tantia Tope
B) Mangal Pandey
C) Bagath Singh
D) Rani Laxmi Bai
4. The revolutionary leader who conducted guerrilla warfare against British during 1857 revolt?
A) Mangal Pandey
B) Bahadur Shah II
C) Tantia Tope
D) Kunwar Singh
5. The Revolt of 1857 was described as ‘The first war of Independence’ by
A) K.K Dutta
B) V.D Savarkar
C) B.G Tilak
6. Who was Governor General of India during 1857 mutiny?
(A) Lord Dalhousie
(B) Lord Dufferin
(C) Lord Canning
(D) Lord Rippon
7. Who was the British Military chief at the time of 1857 revolt?
A) Baron Clyde
B) Lord Dalhousie
C) Sir Colin Campbell
D) None of the above
8.) To which regiment did Mangal Pandey belong?
A) 34 Bengal Native Infantry
B) 7 Oudh Regiment
C) 19 Native Infantry
D) Madras Regiment
9. Who led the rebellion against the British at Kanpur?
A) Rani Lakshmi Bhai
B) Bahadur Shah, General Bakt Khan
C) Kanwar Singh
D Nana Saheb, Tantia Tope
10. Which British officer played prominent role in recapturing Kanpur and Lucknow?
(A) Lieutenant Hudson
(B) Sir Colin Campbell
(C) Colonel Neil
(D) John Nicholson
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