India was under British rule for 200 years. The fight for independence was not easy & certainly not won in a day. Many revolts were won & lost that led to the moment of independence for India. One of the major was the Revolt of 1857 that is also known as the first war of independence and the first rate of freedom fighters of India. In this blog, you will learn about the revolt of 1857, its causes & failures and how it became the harbinger of other Indian National Movements.
Introduction to Revolt of 1857
Revolt of 1857 was first started on May 10, 1857, by sepoy mutiny in Meerut. The revolt lasted for a year but was unsuccessful. The revolution brought many changes that were needed at that moment. A major highlight of this revolt was that it abolished the East India company in India. Central & northern parts of India took part in the revolt of 1857. There were various reasons that bundled up the Indians. It was also known as the Sepoy Mutiny, the Indian Mutiny & the Great Rebellion.
Causes of the Indian Revolt of 1857
- Political Causes – In the late 1840s, Lord Dalhousie imposed the Doctrine of Lapse. Under this, no ruler will be allowed to adopt any child & only true & natural heir has the right to rule. The political cause was the extension of British policies like the Doctrine of Lapse. If a ruler dies without a male heir & is under east India company it will be annexed.
- Economic Causes – The peasants & farmers were affected by the various British reforms. They were forced to pay heavy taxes & the ones that were unable to pay the taxes or loans had to surrender their lands to the Britishers. Constantly Indians have to compete with the British industry machine manufactured goods with Indian handicraft goods.
- Military causes – The Indian sepoys were paid less than European sepoys. Indians were considered menial & European sepoys were given much importance in terms of salary, pension & promotion.
- Social Causes – East India company abolished Sati pratha, child marriage & encouraged widow remarriage, at that time it was considered as a threat to Indian traditions. Britishers wanted Hindus & the Muslim religion to be converted into Christianity.
Immediate Cause for Revolt of 1857
With all the causes the immediate cause that infuriated soldiers was when the ‘Enfield’ rifle was introduced. Before this soldiers had to carry gun powder & bullets along with their rifles. The process of using a gun was time-consuming, Britishers introduced the Enfield rifle gun & cartridge. The cartridge was in a cylindrical shape with a knot on top & filled with the perfect amount of gunpowder & bullet in the end. Soldiers just had to tear the cartridge & then ready to use a rifle, this saved a lot of time. There was a rumor that aroused that the cartridge was greased with pig & cow fat. The pig is taboo in Muslims & the cow is sacred in the Hindu religion. Indian soldiers refused to use the cartridge & soldiers were also sentenced.
Impact of Revolt of 1857
The revolt of 1857 was not a success but created a huge impact on India. The major impact was the abolishment of the East India Company, India was under the direct control of British authority, The Indian administration was directly controlled by queen victoria. The second impact that the revolt of 1857 created was to develop unity & patriotism among the nation. Peasants were also actively involved. The restrictions on the press were also involved. The press played an important role in the freedom struggle. It helped to educate Indians, influence them & aware of government policies.
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Failure of Revolt of 1857
The revolt was an extraordinary event in Indian history, the result of the revolt was unsuccessful due to some major drawbacks. Here are all the reason for the failure of the revolt of 1857:
- One of the reasons for the revolt of 1857 that there was no leader. The need of that moment was a leader that could lead & execute the plan.
- At some places, only sepoys were revolting & there was no support from the commoners. There was a lack of support from people in the revolt of 1857.
- Rulers of Indian states did not support the Indians & suppressed the revolt.
- There was no unity, the northern region was active in the revolt of 1857 while the southern states didn’t take any part.
- At that time the Indians involved in the revolt had limited resources in terms of financial aid, equipment & guns. On the other hand, Britishers didn’t face any issue like this.
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List of Leaders
Many leaders took part in the revolt of 1857, here are all the leaders.
|Place||Leaders of the Revolt of 1857|
|Lucknow||Begum Hazrat Mahal, Birjis Qadir, Ahmadullah|
|Delhi||Bahadur Shah II, General Bakht Khan|
|Bihar||Kunwar Singh, Amar Singh|
|Allahabad & Banaras||Maulvi Liyakat Ali|
|Farrukhabad||Tufzal Hasan Khan|
|Muradabad||Abdul Ali Khan|
|Rajasthan||Jaidayal Singh and Hardayal Singh|
|Kullu||Raja Pratap Singh|
|Assam||Kandapareshwar Singh, Manorama Datta|
|Orissa||Surendra Shahi, Ujjwal Shahi|
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List of British Officials in Revolt of 1857
- General John Nicholson
- Major Hudson
- Sir Hugh Wheeler
- General Neil
- Sir Colin Campbell
- Henry Lawrence
- Major General Havelock
- William Taylor and Eye
- Hugh Rose
- Colonel Oncell
Here are some books you can dig into for more details on the Revolt of 1857.
- Religion and Ideology of the Rebels of 1857 by Iqbal Hussain
- Rebellion, 1857: A Symposium by Puran Chand Joshi
- Great Mutiny by Christopher Hibbert
There was a change in rifle, Sepoys had to tear the cartridges with their mouths & it was greased with cow & pig fat. The sepoys were also sentenced when they rejected the rifles & cartridges.
The revolt of 1857 lasted for a year.
Yes, Mangal Pandey was among the leaders of the revolt of 1857.
Yes, Rani Laxmi bai adopted a son & after the doctrine of lapse only the true & natural male heir was allowed to rule.
There were political, social, religious & military causes that resulted in the revolt of 1857.
Yes, the revolt of 1857 is considered the first war of independence.
This was all about the Revolt of 1857, We hope this blog has helped you to understand the topic better. The Revolt of 1857 is one of the topics covered in government exams & UPSC as well. If you are planning to study abroad, you can now get a free trial session with our experts & counselors at Leverage Edu. You are just one call away to enter your dream college.