Revolt of 1857

Revolt of 1857

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

1857 mutiny: In Punjab, the British swiftly put down a short-lived rebellion

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.

Revolt of 1857 PDF

Revolt of 1857 Causes and Effects

Causes of the Indian Revolt of 1857

The 4 major causes of the revolt in 1857 were based on political, economic, military & social causes. Here are all the details.

  • 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. 

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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.

What Were the Effects of the Revolt of 1857 on India?

The Public Archive: Indian Revolt of 1857
Credit: Not Even Past

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. 

Centers of the Revolt of 1857

The revolt spread over the entire area from the neighborhood of Patna to the borders of Rajasthan. The main centers of revolt in these regions namely Kanpur, Lucknow, Bareilly, Jhansi, Gwalior, and Arrah in Bihar. 

  • Lucknow – It was the capital of Awadh. Begum Hazrat Mahal, one of the begums of the ex-king of Awadh, took up the leadership of the revolt. 
  • Kanpur – The revolt was led by Nana Saheb, the adopted son of Peshwa Baji Rao II.
  • Jhansi – The twenty-year-old Rani Lakshmi Bai led the rebels when the British refused to accept the claim of her adopted son to the throne of Jhansi. 
  • Bihar – The revolt was led by Kunwar Singh who belonged to the royal house of Jagdispur, Bihar. 

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Failure of Revolt of 1857

Revolt of 1857 in Rajasthan | RajRAS
Credit: RajRas

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

Leaders of 1857 revolt
Credit: SlideShare

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
Barrackpore Mangal Pandey
Bihar Kunwar Singh, Amar Singh
Faizabad Maulvi Ahmadullah
Jhansi Rani Laxmibai
Bijnaur Mohammad Khan
Allahabad & Banaras Maulvi Liyakat Ali
Farrukhabad Tufzal Hasan Khan
Muradabad Abdul Ali Khan
Kanpur Tantia Tope
Mandsor Firoz Shah
Rajasthan Jaidayal Singh and Hardayal Singh
Kullu Raja Pratap Singh
Assam Kandapareshwar Singh, Manorama Datta
Orissa Surendra Shahi, Ujjwal Shahi
Gorakhpur Rajadhar Singh

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List of British Officials in Revolt of 1857

How a massive explosion on this day in 1857 signaled to the British that  Delhi was taken
Credit: Scroll,in
  • 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

Results of the Revolt of 1857

  • End of Company Rule: The revolt marked the end of the East India Company’s rule in India
  • The direct rule of the British Crown: India came under the direct rule of the British Crown. This was announced by Lord Canning at a Durbar in Allahabad in a proclamation issued on November 1, 1858, in the name of the queen. 
  • Religious Tolerance: It was promised and due to attention was paid to the customs and traditions of India. 
  • Administrative Change: The governor general’s office was replaced by that of the Viceroy. 
  • Military Reorganisation: The ratio of British officers to Indian soldiers increased but the armory remained in the hands of the English. It was arranged to end the dominance of the Bengal army. 
Credits – Exambin

Best Books

Here are some books you can dig into for more details on the Revolt of 1857. 


The revolt of 1857 was an unprecedented event in the history of British rule in India. It united, though in a limited way, many sections of Indian society for a common cause. Though the revolt failed to achieve the desired goal, it sowed the seeds of Indian nationalism. 

Revolt of 1857 PPT

Credits: SlideShare

Revolt of 1857 Project for Class 8

Credits: Anuj Goyal
Credits: Tanisha Gupta

Important Questions

Why were the powers of the East India company transferred to the British Crown?

It transferred because the company rule was ended in India after the revolt. 

How did the position of governor-general change after the revolt of 1857?

The governor-general was given the title of a viceroy who became a personal representative of the crown.

How was the revolt suppressed by the British?

The company decided to regain control over its lost territories and suppressed the revolt in complete retaliation. 

What was the role of Mangal Panday in the revolt of 1857?

Mangal Panday was the young soldier station in the British army at Barrackpore refused to use the rifle and attacked his British officers.

Revolt of 1857 UPSC

Why did the sepoy rebel?

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.

What was the duration of the Revolt of 1857?

The revolt of 1857 lasted for a year.

Was Mangal Pandey also among the leaders of the revolt of 1857?

Yes, Mangal Pandey was among the leaders of the revolt of 1857.

Did the doctrine of lapse affect Rani Laxmi bai?

Yes, Rani Laxmi bai adopted a son & after the doctrine of lapse only the true & natural male heir was allowed to rule.

What were the causes of the Revolt of 1857?

There were political, social, religious & military causes that resulted in the revolt of 1857.

Was the revolt of 1857 the first war for independence?

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.

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